The Mandala Way Labyrinth – UpS Botanical Sanctuary Garden

Keene, NH
Sanctuary Steward: Katy Locke

In August of 2009, two dreams were born in my life that are now becoming one: first, I attended a slideshow presentation by Kate Rakosky on her United Plant Savers (UpS) Botanical Sanctuary Garden – how to establish, maintain, and delight in, such an endeavor – even in your own backyard; second, I read the Transition Handbook, by Rob Hopkins, describing how to transition your community “from oil dependency to local resilience” and delight in doing so. How do these two relate? Both are about taking action in our daily lives to create a sustainable future for all life on Earth. Both are about taking our rightful place as stewards of the natural and human communities with whom we are totally interdependent. Both are about healing ourselves, our communities and our world. I emerged from Kate’s presentation with the certainty that I would establish a UpS Botanical Sanctuary garden in my own back yard: a healing garden labyrinth for people and plants. That September, I planted four UpS Goldenseal roots, which anchored my dream all winter under the frozen earth.

In spring, with their emergence, the dream was born as I began to add other endangered wild, and common, medicinals; and over the summer, I developed the labyrinth paths for walking among them (photo of paths under construction). On September 8th, 2010, the Mandala Way Garden Labyrinth was officially invited into the UpS Botanical Sanctuary Network. I emerged from Rob’s book with the certainty that I would start a Transition Initiative in my home city of Keene, NH. In January of 2010, seven of us launched Transition Keene – the 56th initiative in the U.S. In this role, I have pledged to: raise awareness in my community of the triple threat of Climate Change, Peak Oil, and an unsustainable global economy; and to lead and inspire concrete local actions to build a healthy, happy, and just future. In addition to protecting endangered wild medicinals in my < 1/4 acre neighborhood plot, I am also ‘planting the future’ with Permaculture – perennial fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

In 2011, I will offer presentations and workshops on endangered wild medicinals and Permaculture, and will launch a Garden Share program (as a Work Group of Transition Keene) to match neighbors who have lawn they are not cultivating with neighbors who don’t have lawn – but would like to improve local resilience by growing their own food and medicine. To share what I am learning, I have built a website for this dream: Mandala Way: coming home to Earth, Heart, Spirit ( In it I advocate that what is good medicine for the plants and the earth is also good medicine for you and me; and what is good medicine for you and me is good medicine for all of life on Earth. UpS and Transition offer such good medicine, and will continue to cross-pollinate in my community to bring a sustainable, just, and fulfilling world (photo of paths in fall).