Hannah Sylvester has first class BSc (Hons) degree in Herbal Medicine. She is a registered Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (MNIMH) and supports clients across the country in her work as a Consulting Medical Herbalist, as well as being a highly regarded public speaker, and guest lecturer. Passionate about connecting people with nature, she additionally leads outdoor nature connection sessions, foraging walks, and runs a podcast called Edge of the Hedge; a peaceful exploration of the natural world, with rich audio description and field recordings.
Who are you and what is your story?
I’m a wild-plant obsessed, tree-loving, nature nerd, and rediscovered my childhood love of nature in my 20s, and then returned to Uni to retrain as a Medical Herbalist, and subsequently nature educator, and have been working in that field ever since.
What first inspired you to give a TEDx Talk?
I’ve been doing talks for small groups for years, but I really wanted to reach out to a different audience, and share my passion for wild plant life, help more people to view it more favourably, in the hope that if I just sow a seed or two with the audience, it might kickstart a deeper respect for these often overlooked plants, that have such a vital role to play in planetary health.
Three words to sum up the TEDx experience? How did you describe your TEDx Talk experience?
Community, Exciting, Terrifying!
What is the most important lesson you learned from doing a TEDx Talk?
Plan your talk well, and give yourself plenty of time to practice and tweak it!
How has your life changed since you did a TEDx Talk?
Not massively, just yet, but it has certainly changed the way I approach speaking in public, for the better.
What is something people may not know about doing a TEDx Talk?
The speaker coaching process – how vital and welcome it is, but also, how long the build up is.
What tip would you give someone who is about to apply for TEDx Talk?
Make sure you have enough time to dedicate to working on your script and practicing. It does take up more time than you realise.
If you have a chance to do a TEDx Talk again, what would be the topic and why?
I would love to, but this time more about the science and research regarding nature connectedness (the health and environmental benefits), linking in with my own direct experience of taking this into the field.
What do you think your next big project will be?
Working with national nature broadcasting.
Favourite TEDx Talk?
Dr Suzanne Simard: How Trees Talk to Each Other
David George Haskell: Trees, People, and Interconnection: We're All Made From Relationship
Just one? I’ll give you my favourite from last year: The Oak Papers by James Canton
You can watch Hannah's talk here