Rock Barra Retreat Beach Dunes and Grasses

The Waters & The Wild Workshops

Rock Barra Artist Retreat Co-op in partnership with The Island Nature Trust are presenting a series of workshops to appreciate nature through art.

“Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild.”

— W.B. Yeats

Canada 150 Logo

The Waters & The Wild is a Canada 150 Project.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada / Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.

Workshop Listings

All workshops are on Tuesdays from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Admission is free. Directions can be found at the bottom of this page.

June 13, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Foraging for Wild Plants with Shallöm Tarzan

A look into the fascinating world of wild, edible & medicinal herbs. An adventure to discover the importance of the generous vegetation around us. 

Shallöm Tarzan is a naturalist, teacher of western wild herbalism and alternative living with nature, and an eco-friendly artist and musician. Contact:

June 20, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Piping Plover Walk and Talk with The Island Nature Trust

Piping plovers enjoy the beach just as much as us Islanders, using the beach and dunes as their home! Island Nature Trust will enthrall you with an event that will consist of a presentation on beach ecosystems and a walk on the beach to view a family of plovers that Island Nature Trust has been monitoring. Protection of the piping plover is critical as it is an endangered species, we need your help!

July 11, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Crafting Your Own Medicine Bag with Cree Elder Louise Lamothe

Join Louise for an afternoon of sewing to make your own medicine bag. A medicine bag contains personal sacred objects and other things that the person considers spiritually significant. Louise will share her knowledge about this ancient custom. Louise Lamothe is a great-grandmother from Northern Manitoba, steeped in the traditions of her Cree roots. Contact:

July 18, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Writing Songs About Nature with Patrick Bunston

This workshop will focus on writing songs about nature, the different kinds of relationships people have with nature or simply the things that nature inspires within us. Together we will craft songs that explore these topics and help participants understand and articulate their own relationships with nature and with themselves.  Patrick Bunston was born and raised in rural PEI. He has been playing music since early childhood focusing on guitar and mandolin, as well as songwriting, drawing musical influences from a broad array of genres and sources. Contact:

July 25, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Exploring Local Herbs with Emily Doyle

Emily will guide a plant walk where the group will gather plants and then learn about the different ways we can use local plants as medicine. We will also discuss our innate connection to nature and her beautiful cycles. Emily is an herbalist living on PEI who has a passion for living deeply-connected to Earth. She loves embracing the richness of a life rooted intentionally and powerfully into the interconnection of all things. Contact:

August 1, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Exploring The Medicine Wheel with Eliza Starchild Knockwood

Exploring the medicine wheel helps us to name and meet the transitions and changes that we face. In this workshop, we explore the four directions: the seasons of our life cycle, representing birth and infancy (Spring), childhood and early adolescence (Summer), adolescence and early adulthood (Fall), full adulthood (Winter) and elderhood (Spring again), and so the cycle repeats. Eliza Starchild Knockwood is a Mi’kmaq mother and filmmaker from Abegweit First Nation in Prince Edward Island. Contact:

August 8, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Crafting Art From Nature with Katlin Doyle

Crafting Nature ~ We will get crafty with the natural beauty that surrounds us, using the materials from land and sea to create art, building mobiles, dream catchers, sculptures, etc! A fun and interactive activity for all ages. Katlin Doyle is a young woman with a curious heart, spending most of her time hand crafting organic chocolate, holding women’s circle, connecting with nature and making art. Contact:

August 15, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Introduction to Clay Foraging and Primitive Pottery Techniques with Dylan Tierney

In this workshop for beginners, we will forage for local clay and make some simple pieces. We will strive to create works that mimic patterns and forms found in nature. Dylan is an engineering student and musician who started working with clay as a medium a few years ago creating both functional and sculptural pieces.

August 22, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Guitar Workshop with October Browne

A fun guitar workshop for all ages and levels. Bring your songs that celebrate nature and we will add colour, movement and texture to them. October Browne is an an award-winning guitarist who has been playing for more than 30 years. She teaches guitar at the Haliburton School of Art and Design and in workshops around the country. She has five CDs and is featured on the Borealis label recording Six Strings North of the Border alongside luminaries Bruce Cockburn, J.P.Cormier, and Colin Linden. Contact:

September 5, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Drawing Shore Birds with Guest Artists and The Island Nature Trust

The ‘back dunes’ at Rock Barra Retreat is a very rich habitat for birds and other wildlife. What better way to identify and appreciate our native birds than to learn to draw them?

September 12, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Seaplants for Food, Medicine & Art with Irene Novaczek

Walk the shore while learning how to identify and use common edible and medicinal seaplants of PEI, admire their beauty and make your own artistic pressing on a water-painted background. Snacks and medicinal tea featuring local seaplants included. Marine ecologist Dr. Irene Novaczek lives in Breadalbane, PEI, and has roamed the world learning and teaching about seaplants, and how they are used for food, medicine, art and small business development. Contact: | 902-964-2781.

September 26, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Acadian Folk Songs with Ian & Diane Farr

Diane and Ian perform traditional Acadian songs, and other old French songs, that would have been performed on Île St. Jean (now PEI) in the French settlements of the 1700s. Ian and Diane Farr are folk musicians living in Souris. In 2008, Diane’s knowledge of the old French songs was noticed by the board of the Roma at Three Rivers National Historic Site. Since that time, Diane and Ian have performed there for countless school field trips to the Roma site. Diane has put together fun, interactive song and dance programs for youngsters of all ages! Together they also compiled a song book with the lyrics of the songs from that era — complete with English translation. Contact:

October 3, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Honouring the Wild Salmon

Cross River at Rock Barra Retreat is one of the few remaining habitats of the native Island salmon. The salmon were a critical part of the Celtic and Mi’kmaq diets, but more than that, they are revered by both cultures. Join The Island Nature Trust and Eliza Starchild Knockwood to find out more about this part of our natural and cultural legacy.

October 10, 2017 (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Capturing Fall Colours

Bring your canvas or your camera to enjoy the ‘waters and the wild’ at Rock Barra Retreat. Island Nature Trust will be there, too, to help foster a deeper understanding of this unique landscape with its rich bird life.


Take highway #16 east from St Peter’s. When you enter the district of Rock Barra watch for Big Pond road on the left. Go down Big Pond Road for a kilometer. The Road turns sharply to the left. Do not go left. Continue straight and take the second driveway on the left #211. If you are traveling from Souris take the Souris Line Road to hwy #16, turn right, travel two kilometers and watch for the Big Pond Road going down to the shore.

For questions and additional information, email or text (902) 969-0367.