Wisdom Tutorial Certification Program, Spring 2019

Course Number: EDU 5627 C03
Instructor: Annie McCleary
Location: This course offers options for in-person meetings at the Wisdom of the Herbs School and also an independent format.
Dates and Times: January 1, - December 31, 2019.

One-on-one or group options are available. Students choosing to work one-on-one may elect their own start date which may be at any point in the year. Certification is awarded upon completion of 50 hours of combined one-on-one In-Person Tutorials and Home Tutorials dates to be arranged. Alternatively, hours may be accomplished by attending 8 days of the group program, Wisdom of the Herbs 2019, which meets April 27-28, May 25-26, June 22-23, July 20-21, August 17-18, September 14-15, Oct 12-13, 2019. Thus the Tutorial Certification Program offers the flexibility of scheduling to accommodate classroom teachers and others with challenging schedules. Times: One-on-one sessions are to be arranged with the student; In-Person sessions are 4 to 6 hours; Home Tutorial sessions are 2 hours on the phone; evening and weekend hours may be available. The group meetings are held on weekends from 10am to 4pm.

Credits: 3 graduate credits

$2,875; $2,775 when paid in full before the first meeting for the one-on-one experience. $1,800 if attending the group meetings.

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

Course Description

Course Description:

The Wisdom Tutorials provide a unique opportunity to build identification skills and knowledge of wild herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees, their edible and medicinal uses, and awareness of habitat, while building relationship with the spirits of the plants and resilience in these times of planetary change. Students may participate in 8 days of the group program, or alternatively, meet one-on-one with Annie; sessions are designed to suit your schedule and skill level.

Comments from Tutorial Students:

As a farmer living a good distance from Annie, I knew that the best way for me to capture the most from her Wisdom of the Herbs teachings was to study and learn with her during the winter months. Annie very artfully prepared a set of plants, definitions and plant preparations/food recipes for me each week, allowing us to learn sets of plants at a pace that fit my learning style and schedule. Her wealth of knowledge and appreciation for each plant that we studied made me feel like I was being introduced to many of her dearest friends. L. M.

Working together on the phone with Annie using her carefully written botanical and ethnobotanical descriptions of plants and links to botanical internet sites (with many pictures), we explored sets of plants grouped by habitat or by family. Our discussions ranged delightfully from the scientific to the experiential and back again. P. N.

Home Tutorials gave me time to study during the winter, and In-Person worked well because the plants are out. Still absorbing the Wisdom of the Herbs book, so much packed in there! Getting in more practice with Newcomb's was great. Food was delicious! S.N.

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 become aware of plant-habitats.
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 experience profound connection and rejuvenation from time spent in Nature and from connecting with the plants.
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 connection with Nature.

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 demonstrate appropriate caution with toxic and rash-causing plants.
Students will be able to name at least five plants which grow in the following habitats: rich woods, boreal forest, wet places, fields and edges, and disturbed soil.
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 name five ways to rejuvenate in Nature.

Course Expectations


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

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. Demonstration of a working knowledge of the botanical key in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.
  4. Working knowledge of local edible, medicine and toxic plants.
  5. Awareness of characteristics of plant habitats.


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
Botany in a Day by Thomas J Elpel

For additional course & registration information

Annie McCleary
(802) 456-8122

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