Wisdom Tutorials
In-Person, Home and Certification
Taught by Annie McCleary
Wisdom of the Herbs 2019
Wisdom Tutorials
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The Wisdom Tutorials provide a unique one-on-one 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. Students meet one-on-one with Annie, and sessions are designed to suit your schedule and skill level.

Tutorials are offered In-Person here at Wisdom of the Herbs School and on the phone as Home Tutorials. Students may elect to take as many or as few Tutorials as desired. Students seeking a comprehensive course of study are offered a Certification upon completion of 50 hours of combined In-Person and Home Tutorials. The text is Wisdom of the Herbs by Annie McCleary and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb is used for plant identification.

Wisdom Tutorial Certification Program

A Certificate is awarded to students who complete the comprehensive course of study of 50 hours of Tutorials. Certification requirements include demonstrating competency keying out plants with Newcomb’s Guide to the Wildflowers, reading Wisdom of the Herbs by Annie McCleary, and completion of 50 hours of combined In-Person Tutorials and Home Tutorials. Additionally, hours may be accomplished by attending an occasional class 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, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Thus the Tutorial Certification Program offers flexibility of scheduling to accommodate classroom teachers and others with challenging schedules. While the Certification Program may be accomplished in one year, extensions are granted. Students choose their start date which may be at any point in the year.

Graduate Credit

Students seeking graduate credit may earn 3 credits through our partnership with Castleton University.

Wisdom In-Person Tutorial

Our time together begins with a ceremonial circle, centering and grounding and setting intention. Plant walks in a wide variety of habitats allow students to build plant identification skills and relationship with the spirit of the plant. Hands-on activities include harvesting and preparing wild edibles and simple home remedies. Discussion topics include plant spirit communication, dowsing, toxic plants, invasives, signature plants and community resilience. We practice using the botanical key in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, a tool for a lifetime of enjoying the plants. Sessions are four hours. If you are coming from a distance, six hour sessions may be arranged. You are welcome to bring a friend or two along.

Wisdom Home Tutorial

Learn the plants from home at your own pace, during any season including winter and mud season! Eighteen topics covering plants of various habitats and plant use are offered, (see Home Tutorial Topics below) and each topic covers 12 plants. Since the Home Tutorials are not tied to the plants that are currently growing, we can cover a great many plants, making the Home Tutorials an excellent choice for experienced students to deepen and broaden their plant awareness.

The Wisdom Home Tutorial is unique! Here is how it works. Participants meet with Annie one-on-one on the phone for two-hour sessions. While you need access to a computer during the sessions, this is not an 'on-line' course! Before each phone session, the student selects one of the eighteen topics to cover on that call, and receives a Study Sheet by email, including a link for each plant to photos which you open on your computer screen during the call and as you study. We start the session with an opening ceremonial circle, check in, and set intention for our time together. There will be vocabulary to review and plant families to know, and time to commune with the spirit of the plant. Imagine being immersed in the beauty of the wild plants during a winter storm! (Boreal Forest Plants ~ sample study sheet)

Tuition and Grants

Wisdom of the Herbs by Annie McCleary is the required text for Tutorials, $30 payable at the first session. (Table of Contents)

Wisdom Tutorial Certification Program
$2500 for 50 hours combined In-Person and Home sessions.
Full payment discount: $2400 when paid in full before the first session.  

Graduate Credit
Attention nurses, teachers and others seeking graduate credit for continuing education! Participants in the Wisdom Tutorial Certification Program may earn 3 graduate credits through our partnership with Castleton University. Go to Castleton University's Continuing Ed page and look for EDUCATION IN HERBS. To register, you will be redirected to our Wisdom of the Herbs School page. Contact Annie for an interview. Once you have registered with Wisdom of the Herbs School, you can register on-line with Castleton University.

Wisdom In-Person Tutorial
Each four-hour session is $200. Longer sessions are also $50/hour. For each additional person, add $25 per session. A non-refundable deposit of $50 is requested before each session and the remaining balance is due at class.

Wisdom Home Tutorial
Each 2 hour session is $100, payable in advance.

Qualifying Vermont residents may apply for a Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) non-degree grant. Be sure to bundle the maximum number of In-Person and Home Tutorial sessions you are interested in taking. Apply early! Apply on-line at or to request a paper application, call 1-800-882-4166 or write P.O. Box 2000, Champlain Mill, Winooski, VT 05404-2601.


Call Annie at 802-456-8122 or contact Annie via email to talk about your interests and goals for taking the Tutorials.

Additional recommended resources

Botany in a Day by Thomas Elpel
Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson
Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James Duke

Home Tutorial Topics

  • Plants Growing in Disturbed Soil Habitat: ‘weeds’ of the garden
  • Boreal Forest Plants
  • Rich Woods Plants
  • Plants of Open Fields and Edges
  • Plants of Wet Places, Edges of Streams, Lakes and Ponds
  • Coniferous Trees
  • Trees and Shrubs in the Willow Family, Rose Family and Elm Family
  • Trees of Birch Family, Olive Family (ash), Beech Family (beech and oak), Soapberry Family (maple) and Mallow Family (basswood)
  • Shrubs and Small Trees
  • Spring Wild Edibles
  • Summer Wild Edibles
  • Late Summer and Early Fall Wild Edibles
  • Toxic, Poisonous and Rash-Causing Plants
  • Early Spring Plants
  • Wild Herbaceous Plants for Home Remedies
  • Bitters
  • Brambles, Vines, Ferns and Horsetail
  • Asteraceae Family Plants

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.

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.

The In-Person tutorial was the perfect choice for our schedules and motivations. We were satisfied with the four-hour course; and being able to take the Wisdom of the Herbs book, Goldthread tincture, and dandelion pesto back home are easy ways to continue our learning. K.M. and G.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.



Wisdom of the Herbs School
1005 County Road
East Calais, Vermont 05650

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