Why “Lichen”?

Our name is inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. In this work, Kimmerer describes the bond between fungi and algae that forms lichen as a powerful symbol of reciprocity, blurring the lines between individual and community. She also outlines how lichen’s ability to grow on rocks allows it to serve as the foundation for many other things to grow. At Lichen Early Learning, we hope to embody this spirit of reciprocity and community while helping lay the foundation for children to continue to grow and thrive after they leave our care.

Producers and decomposers, the light and the darkness, the givers and receivers wrapped in each other’s arms, the warp and the weft of the same blanket so closely woven that it’s impossible to discern the giving from the taking…These ancients carry teachings in the ways that they live. They remind us of the enduring power that arises from mutualism, from the sharing of the gifts carried by each species. Balanced reciprocity has enabled them to flourish under the most stressful of conditions.

Robin Wall Kimmerer