medicinal plant conservation certificate programMedicinal Plant Conservation Certificate Program
Spring & Fall 2018
Rutland, Ohio


Spring 2018: Monday, April 30 - Friday, June 8.
Fall 2018: Tuesday, Sept. 4 -  Friday, Oct. 12.
(Move-in weekend before each.)

Hard Working? Motivated to learn about medicinal plants? Want an opportunity to live and work on United Plant Savers' 360-acre Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Ohio?

Interns will work and take classes for approximately 40 hours per week with the remainder their time left for independent pursuits. Typically this free time would include exploring the 379 acre sanctuary, spending time with the plants, making medicine, and engaging with the surrounding community. Interns will work under the supervision of UpS staff John Stock and Susan Leopold and community teachers Paul Strauss, Chip Carroll, Lonnie Galt-Theis, Tanner Filyaw, Caty Crabb, Rebecca Wood, and more. Participants will engage approximately 40 hours a week doing medicinal plant conservation and cultivation work, building and maintaining trails, maintaining and improving the Sanctuary landscape, assisting in developing signage and interpretive materials, all while immersed in the bio diverse landscape of the UpS Botanical Sanctuary. In addition to identifying and learning about the medicinal plants that live here at the Sanctuary, interns will take classes on medicine making, conservation, non-timber forest products, and more.

Much of the work done by the interns is physically strenuous and participants will be expected to be self-motivated. During the program interns will live on the Sanctuary property in double dorm style rooms with a shared shower room and composting toilets. Many interns choose to camp for part or all of their time here. Shared kitchen, eating, and common space for interns is housed in the sanctuary Yurt.

The cost for the six week program is $800.00 with a $300 deposit required upon acceptance into the program and the balance due one month prior to the start of the session. Aside from lodging and programing, participants will be responsible for all expenses including transportation and food. A typical group size is six to eight people and applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

This is a unique opportunity for intensive learning and the program generally fills up quickly. Applications are being accepted now for the next session. For questions email [email protected].

Program Details

Classes with guest teachers may include, but are not limited to: Plant Propagation and Cultivation, Trail Building, Prairie Management, Riparian Ecology, Wild Edibles, Medicinal Mushrooms, Materia Medica, Advanced Medicine Making, Historical and Practical Philosophies of Herbalism, and Aromatherapy.

At least one field trip will be made each session to a place of regional botanical and/or geophysical significance (Hocking Hills, Adams County Cedar Barrens, Serpent Mounds, etc). Shorter excursions may be made to local preserves or sanctuaries to assist with caretaking projects while honing plant identification and landscape interpretation skills. Educational outreach opportunities include the Spicebush and Paw Paw Festivals, the Athens Farmers Market and Sanctuary events.

Spring and fall sessions may vary considerably in terms of plants studied, propagated and harvested. Spring reveals the beauty of the early wildflowers and the medicine of aerial herbaceous plants, while fall focuses on the big herbs (trees) and root medicines. To experience a full growing season, participation in both Spring and Fall Sessions is recommended. Due to the communal nature of the program interns share knowledge and skills and living responsibilities. Non-violent communication and listening skills are introduced as needed.

Program Required Equipment:

  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Rain gear and boots
  • Clothing appropriate to season
  • Field notebook
  • Medicine making supplies as desired
  • Water Bottle

Optional Equipment:

  • Hand lens
  • Binoculars
  • Camping gear
  • Journal
  • Art materials, camera
  • Musical instrument
  • Hand pruners
  • Soil knife or trowel

Recommended texts:

  • Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Laurence Newcomb
  • Botany in a Day, Thomas J. Elpel

Core Guest Teachers:

Chip Carroll has been involved with agroforestry an non-timber forest product work for the last 20 years. He began his career working with Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program where he worked closely with producers growing medicinal herbs in their woodlands and helped to form the Roots of Appalachia Growers Association. Chip was the assistant farm manager for Frontier Natural Products’ National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs where he helped manage research projects and oversaw their internship program. He is currently the sanctuary steward for United Plant Savers 379 acre Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, OH. In 2016 Chip was hired as the manager of Ohio operations for American Ginseng Pharm, an agroforestry enterprise with operations in New York and Ohio. For over 16 years Chip has been growing wild-simulated American Ginseng on his farm in Southern Ohio.

Lonnie Galt-Theis was born and raised in Athens Ohio, spending much of her time outdoors, she began learning about, and connecting with plants at a young age. These experiences inspired her to pursue careers in herbalism, yoga, and environmental education. She has a degree in Anthropology with a focus on the environment, sustainability, and conservation from CU Boulder. Since 2013 Lonnie has been living and working on Equinox farm, with her main role being medicine maker and business manager for Equinox Botanicals, a local herbal medicine company. Her passion for herbalism has led her to study and take classes with many teachers and in 2016 she completed the fundamentals program at the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism. During the summer she runs an outdoor nature and arts camp for children.

Tanner Filyaw graduated from Ohio University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography, and a minor specializing in Environmental and Plant Biology. From 2005 to 2008 Tanner worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program conducting landowner education and outreach around sustainable forestry, land stewardship, and the production of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP's). In March of 2008 he accepted a staff position as Rural Action’s NTFP Specialist, and continues to act as the organizations NTFP Program Manager. He regularly conducts workshops, presentations, and other educational programs for Ohio landowners to help them develop sustainable income strategies from forested lands. Starting in 2012, Tanner began working with United Plant Savers as a guest speaker for the Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate program, and then becoming a seasonal staff member with the program in 2017. In August of 2017 Tanner earned a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs for his research examining mycorrhizal symbiosis in wild-simulated ginseng roots, and the effect of mycorrhizal colonization on root ginsenoside concentrations. In his spare time Tanner experiments with producing forest-grown mushrooms, maple syrup, American ginseng, and a variety of other edible and medicinal forest plants on his property.

Caty Crabb is a Clinical Herbalist with a practice inspired by a lifelong love of plants, a deep interest in the human body and a desire to help people to feel more capable and empowered. She is interested in community health and practices a western constitutional form of herbal medicine with a harm reduction approach.Her formal study of herbal medicine began at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine in California in 1994. Caty became certified as a Clinical Herbalist in 2004, from the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine with Michael Moore, and has had her own clinical practice since 2005. Additional studies include classes at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, the California School of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism, and the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic. Caty spends most of her time in the forest, fields and gardens around the home she shares with her sister, but can also be found singing lead vocals for the punk band, Snarlas. She teaches advanced medicine making.

Check out 2011 Fall participant Denise Despirito's Blog of her experience:

Another amazing blog to read is Jennifer Heinzel's, past participant, blog thymes ancient remedies:

Intern Program Photos by Katelyn Melvin
Intern Program Photos by Katelyn Melvin Here are some photos from recent intern program graduate, Katelyn Melvin, depicting some of the experiences she shared with her class. Thank you,...Read More
The Beginnings of a New Herbal Adventure by Jennifer Heinzel
The Beginnings of a New Herbal Adventure by Jennifer Heinzel This past fall I had the incredible, and I still believe once in a lifetime experience, to be an Intern at the United Plant Savers 'Goldenseal...Read More
Ohio Magazine article by Jill Sell
Ohio Magazine article by Jill Sell Botanical Wonders Goldenseal Sanctuary’s 378 acres in Southeast Ohio protect more than 600 kinds of medicinal plants. “When a tree has given...Read More
Sanctity of Sanctuary: The Movie
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Denise Despirito's Blog of her experience in 2011
Denise Despirito's Blog of her experience in 2011 We went up to Paul Strauss’s house today. He showed us his apothecary and told us about moving down here from NYC about 40 years ago and working...Read More