Giving Tuesday 2020

This isn’t a typical scene for an early December day in Central Vermont. A normal landscape would be blanketed in white, but today, the weather here was a full 20° warmer than our friends down in Florida were feeling.

While it may be a bit fun to bask in the warmth as we anticipate the impending winter, in reality, it’s deeply disturbing – just one more alarm call underscoring the climate chaos felt around the globe right now.

Conservation of wild spaces and medicinal plants, education on our collective and sacred responsibility of earth stewardship, and healing within ourselves and our communities, are our most important work right now if we as a species are to prevent, or survive, this and future pandemics.

In 2018, Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary was re-incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization to carry forward the thirty-year legacy of herbalist Rosemary Gladstar into the next era.

While COVID-19 interrupted our plans to reopen the center this summer to the public for group programs  it presented us an extra season of incubating a vision for how this 600-acre wilderness could serve the community and the planet through conservation, education, and healing.

We spent the last year repairing facilities, restoring trail systems, expanding the gardens, updating our biodiversity inventory, monitoring the behavior of wildlife, and studying colonies of rare plants. We’ve worked with state agencies and local organizations to research the plants and animals of this corridor, and to advocate for protective legislation of medicinal plants like ginseng that are commonly poached from rural forests in our area.

We built digital infrastructure to be able to transition our in-person educational programs to online formats, and began developing new courses to address the pressing environmental and human concerns of our time, especially in the face of COVID-19. We began developing an incubator program to promote forest farming of ginseng and medicinal plants for local landowners, offering an alternative economy to simply seeing the tree ecosystem as merely timber. We worked with local school systems to offer educational programs, and began digitizing our vast educational library and archive.

We continued work in collaboration with the Herbal Action Network and the Grief Care Project to provide Healing for the Heroes – offering free educational programs and herbal remedies to over 8,000 nurses, teachers, firefighters, counselors and others serving on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. We developed relationships with organizations and agencies to distribute herbal kits to families grieving loved ones lost to Covid-19 or the myriad of indirect casualties of the pandemic, such as deaths from suicide and substance overdose. The incubation season has allowed time to develop residencies and online training for 2021 to support herbal support for grief, trauma, mental health, substance dependency.

Despite a year of challenges and chaos, Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary serves as a touchstone for conservation, education and healing, in Central Vermont and beyond. We are hopeful for the role we can serve in protecting plants, animals, and the human spirit into the coming year, only made possible by your support.

This #givingtuesday we invite you to support our initiatives in conservation, education and healing, by sharing your tax deductible donation in support of our mission – work that we carry out to honor the legacy of our ancestors and teachers before us, on behalf of all species and future generations. Visit to make your tax-deductible charitable contribution today.   With our deepest gratitude,

the staff, volunteers, and critters at Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary

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