Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate Program

Upcoming Program Dates in Rutland, Ohio

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate Program (MPCCP) with United Plant Savers. We have been doing our best to work through the many challenges that have arisen over the past 10 months related to Covid-19. Despite our best efforts to find ways to create a safe place and protocols for us to host groups, programs, and events, we have unfortunately had to cancel & delay all our on-site programming this past year. 

As we begin planning for 2021 we have been struggling with how we may be able to create programs that can be successful and safe given the current environment and concerns. Through this effort we have concluded that we cannot safely host the MPCCP in 2021. Because of the shared housing and communal spaces and the fact that we have participants come from all corners of the globe, we would not be able to provide you with the quality and safety of programming that we want to offer. Beyond our concerns for you, many of our partners, teachers and community members who work closely with us to create and participate in this programming are not engaging in these activities this year due to concerns over COVID-19.

We recognize your interest in our organization, our mission and our programs and we do not want to lose that interest. We truly believe that the MPCCP is one of the most critical and important programs we offer. To that end we are hopeful that we will be able to host some smaller, outdoor activities and programs that can be run safely. These are likely to include some planting days and projects, some volunteer days and potentially some open house dates. As always, we offer camping space for anyone who wishes to visit. We would encourage you to consider a visit or to check in with us on any potential day-long events in 2021. We will also be offering some virtual programming and workshops in the coming months. Please follow us and check in on our website and social media to stay current with offerings.

medicinal-plant-conservation-certificate-programHard Working? Motivated to learn about medicinal plants? Want an opportunity to live and work on United Plant Savers’ Botanical Sanctuary in Ohio?

Participants in the program will work and take classes for approximately 30 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. The program is organized under the supervision of UpS staff Chip Carroll and Susan Leopold and community teachers Paul Strauss, Lonnie Galt-Theis, Tanner Filyaw, Caty Crabb, Rebecca Wood, and more. Participants will be 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 biodiverse 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 is physically strenuous and participants will be expected to be self-motivated. During the program, folks 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 non refundable deposit required upon acceptance into the program and the balance due one month prior to the start of the session. Aside from lodging and programming, 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

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 the 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 Teachers:

Chip Carroll has been involved with agroforestry and 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.

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.” (ADD) He teaches medicine making, organic farming and farm systems, land reclamation and improvement, and much, much more.