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
  • Hand pruners
  • Soil knife or trowel
  • Linens
  • Medicine making supplies as desired
  • Transportation

Optional Equipment:

  • Hand lens
  • Binoculars
  • Camping gear
  • Journal
  • Art materials, camera
  • Musical instrument

Recommended texts:

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

Core Guest Teachers:

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.

Diane Don Carlos has worked professionally in health care and most recently in the organic foods industry. She has studied herbal healing systems for nearly 40 years including Unani and Southeastern Tribes Traditions with Tis Mal Crow. She shares in her classes her perspective of relationship to plants as elders, teachers, and healers. Her focus is to use plants without promoting the commodification of the sacred and to teach systems of herbalism that deny the selling of our ancestors. She teaches about her favorite plant, Monarda fistulosa, as well as herbal philosophy and energetics.

David Keller has worked as an aerospace designer for much of his professional life but has spent most of his passion learning survival and wilderness skills as an avid student of Tom Brown Tracker School. David has developed a few classes for beginners who are interested in spending time with plants in the wild. He teaches wilderness awareness skills which afford the hiker an opportunity to see nature in its fullness while achieving silence in movement. David and Diane share their lives at Sweet Farm, a 150-acre spread of mostly woods and gardens and ponds just down the road a bit from the UpS Sanctuary.

Paul Strauss, an herbalist, organic farmer and founder of Equinox Botanicals, has dedicated his life to preserving the rich biodiversity of Southeast Ohio, passing on what he calls "the green spark." He teaches medicine making, organic farming and farm systems, land reclamation and improvement, and much, much more.

Rebecca Wood teaches about Wild Edibles, Hydrosols, Aromatherapy and Body Care, Medicinal Mushrooms.

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
Sanctity of Sanctuary: The Movie The Sanctity of Sanctuary: Paul Strauss and the Equinox Farm, is an Appalachian love affair between a man, his farm, and his desire to make the world...Read More
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