Wisdom of the Herbs Certification Program, McCleary, Summer 2019

Course Number: EDU 5627 C27
Instructor: Annie McCleary
Location: Wisdom of the Herbs School, 1005 County Rd, Woodbury, Vermont
Dates and Times: June 22 - 23, July 20 - 21, August 17 - 18, September 14 - 15, Oct 12 - 13, 2019 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Wisdom of the Herbs is an 84 hour program. 
Credits: 5 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $3,125; $3,025 early discounted tuition when paid in full by April 1, 2019.

Note: Please register directly with the Wisdom of the Herbs School. If you wish to take the course for Castleton credit, Wisdom of the Herbs will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form.

Course Description

Wisdom of the Herbs is an 84-hour Certification Program that focuses on local wild herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees, harvesting and preparing local plants for home remedies and wild edibles, healthy lifestyle, skillful use of intentionality, and profound connection with Nature. The hands-on curriculum facilitates deep engagement with the plants through plant identification, plant spirit communication, and sustainable wild harvesting. The skills and perspectives offered to provide a foundation for building personal and community resilience during these times of extreme changes on the Earth.

Comments from Graduates of Wisdom of the Herbs:
I originally signed up for the class because I wanted to learn about local plants and how to use them in food and as medicine. What I ended up with was a life-changing experience. M.R.

I came into Wisdom with a background as a clinical herbalist who wanted to learn about the plants and herbs growing here in Vermont. A.M.

One of the most profound ways in which Wisdom of the Herbs and plant communication has affected me is in the way I eat and medicate myself. M.R.

Not only have I gained knowledge about plants and herbs but also I have had the opportunity to grow my understanding of relationships, of how to live in community and harmony with all the beings that populate the Earth. D.H.

Audience: All educators

Course Goals & Objectives

Course Goals:

Students will expand their knowledge of and deepen their relationship with local wild herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees.
Students will be able to confidently identify and sustainably harvest and prepare wild edibles and simple remedies for home use.
Students will become familiar with local toxic and rash-causing plants.

Students will identify and use resources for research beginning with but not limited to the Wisdom of the Herbs suggested reading list.

Students will experience profound connection and rejuvenation from time spent in Nature.
Students will feel empowered to adapt to the outer challenges offered by climate change by learning the traditional skills of foraging and medicine making.
Students will gain inner resilience in the face of planetary crises through community building with peers in the group and connection with Nature.
Students will improve their physical well being by eliminating industrially processed food and eating traditionally processed, whole, local organic food.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to identify at least 30 plants in the wild by common name, and at least 15 of those by scientific binomial as well.
Students will show proficiency using the botanical key in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.
Students will be able to identify at least five local edible plants and know how to prepare them properly.
Students will be able to identify at least five local medicinal plants and know how to make herbal medicine from them.

Students will write a research paper as a part of their Independent Project, supporting their material and assertions with 5 to 8 citations.
Students will demonstrate appropriate caution with toxic and rash-causing plants.
Students will be able to name at least three plants in the following families: Rose (Rosaceae), Carrot (Umbelliferae), Mint (Lamiaceae), and Aster (Asteraceae).
Students will be able to make at least five types of herbal remedies.
Students will be able to name five ways to rejuvenate themselves in Nature.
Students will set three goals for changing their diet to traditionally processed, whole, local organic food.

Course Expectations


Monthly reading assignments in Wisdom of the Herbs by Annie McCleary. Identify and research the 8 to 12 plants highlighted each month, learning the scientific names, plant family, and primary chemical constituents, edible and primary medicinal uses if any. Review assigned vocabulary and all handouts.


  1. First Aid Kit: Students create or enhance an existing kit, incorporating herbal remedies and present the kit to the group.
  2. Independent Project: Students are asked to do independent research on a topic covered in the program. Projects include a research paper with 5 to 8 citations, and optionally, can include the creation of an herbal apothecary, assemblage of plant material (e.g. comparison of coniferous needles and cones) or other means of presenting. Students meet with the instructor early in the program for project approval and suggestions of appropriate resources. Projects are presented during the last weekend of the program (15-20 minute presentations). 

Evaluation: Students are evaluated in the following ways:

  1. Attendance.
  2. Active participation in discussions, wild edible and medicine-making workshops and plant walks.
  3. Presentation of their first aid kit.
  4. Presentation of their Independent Project.
  5. Demonstration of a working knowledge of the botanical key in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.
  6. Working knowledge of local edible, medicine and toxic plants.


Grades will be assigned in reference to how well the students have reached the goals and objectives of the program. Consideration is given to the entry-level knowledge of each student of the subject matter compared with the knowledge gained by the end of the program; student self-assessment will be considered.

Required Texts

Required texts are not included in the cost of course.

Wisdom of the Herbs by Annie McCleary is the primary text, included in the tuition.

Not included in the tuition:
Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb
Peterson’s Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson
Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James Duke.

For additional course and registration information

Annie McCleary
(802) 456-8122

Register online now!