Plant saving, plant preservation for future generations are just two of the goals for United Plant Savers. Those of us in the herbal field rely on their up to date ‘at risk’ and ‘to watch’ plant list. Rosemary Gladstar and other concerned herbalists created an organization that was/is deeply concerned about the depletion of our plant populations. They began twenty -five years ago, in 1994, when herbalism experienced a resurgence. Many wild plants hit the airwaves like St John’s Wort and others creating intense demand. These grass root herbalists took their concerns, created UpS, United Plant Savers, and put those concerns into action.
In Rutland Ohio, the first UpS sponsored botanical sanctuary was born where species like American Ginseng, Goldenseal and others are propagated and replanted all over the country. Today many sanctuaries exist all over our country including personal backyards all the way to well known botanical gardens, all striving to propagate, educate their communities on the importance of respecting and using plants with mindfulness to species needs.
UpS also offers the opportunity to apply for grant money to fund your community project. It worked for me. Two years ago, with the grant money awarded to the Garden Path Garden Club in Tolland CT, we created the Turtle Teaching Circle. With parents help and students, a 20′ diameter circle was placed near the children’s garden with 12 stumps marking the places on a typical native American Wheel. Each place on the wheel has a trail quality sign featuring an ‘at-risk’ or ‘to-watch’ plant native to New England. The project is near a community trail with easy handicap access. Students are taught about gardening and seed saving.
We still see a decrease in plant populations due to popularity. I have been to the sanctuary in Rutland Ohio. Meadows and woodlands, forest and trails highlight the diverse habitats needed to preserve ‘at-risk- plants and more. They offer classes in herbalism with experts guiding foraging experiences that are respectful of habitat, plant-specific needs, and place in complex ecosystems. Sustainable regenerative gardening practices are key to the survival of our plants.
I hope you will go to their website and explore their articles, their resources and maybe get to one of their events. They will be honored and highlighted at this year’s International Herb Symposium in MA. If you use herbal supplements and garden, add another herb to your planting list this year to conserve our plant resources. If you use herbal supplements and don’t garden, please consider a donation to UpS.
I have been a member off and on for these past 25 years. We are activists, environmentalists, herbalists, folks who simply care about this earth and her resources, each in his or her own way. Check them out. This is a fantastic time for the organization, a time of honoring the work done and where and how we need to focus today on our journey, our partnership with the earth.