The Wisdom Tutorials provide a unique opportunity to deepen knowledge and relationship with wild herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees of northeast North America. The Wisdom Tutorials are a very personal, one-on-one transmission of my knowledge and over 35 years of experience and connection with the plant-people to you. We will cover edible uses, botanical structure and identification tips, habitat, and derivations of common and scientific names. While I teach medicinal properties of plants and kitchen remedies, I do not teach medical herbalism. Discussion topics include plant spirit communication, sustainable harvesting, ”invasives”, signature plants and community resilience. There will be vocabulary to review, plant families to know, wild edible recipes to inspire you. My newly revised Wisdom of the Herbs book will be your text and we will use Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb for plant identification. We begin each session with a ceremonial circle. We will work from the right side of the brain, engaging an intuitive heart connection with the plant-people, and the left side of the brain, exploring the science and botany. You may arrange to do both In-Person and Home sessions.
Wisdom In-Person Tutorial
For folks living close enough to come to Wisdom of the Herbs School in central Vermont,
I offer the In-Person Tutorial, three-hour sessions, one-on-one. You are welcome to bring a friend or two along. Our time together begins with ceremonial circle, and includes lecture and discussion, harvesting and preparing wild edibles and lots of wild plant walks, building plant-identification and connection. I suggest a minimum of three to five sessions. Time and dates are arranged to suit both our schedules and weekends may often be available. You can follow up with Home Tutorial sessions, if you like, which will broaden and deepen your plant knowledge and connection and can be especially satisfying in the winter.
Wisdom Home Tutorial
Learn the wild herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees from your home, at your own pace, during any season including winter! This is not an ‘on-line’ course. We meet on the phone for 1 ½ hour sessions covering plants in the categories below, including plants of various habitats, wild edibles, and toxic plants. This is a course of study and three to six sessions or more are recommended. The days and times of our sessions are arranged to suit our schedules, and weekends and evenings are often available. Before each call, I will email you a Wisdom Home Tutorial Study Sheet listing the plants that we will cover, topics for discussion and vocabulary. And very importantly, you will get links to photos of the plants which you can open on your computer screen during the call and as you study. Imagine being immersed in the beauty of the wild plants during a winter storm!
Plant identification using Newcomb's Guide to the Wildflowers (required for beginners)
Plant-Spirit Communication and Sustainable Wild Harvesting (required for beginners)
Spring Wild Edibles
Summer Wild Edibles
Late Summer Wild Edibles
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
Toxic, Poisonous and Rash-Causing Plants
Asteraceae Family Plants
More Plant Families
Your choice. Pick plants from the Wisdom of the Herbs Book that you would like to learn. Or let me surprise you with some of my favorite plants.
Wisdom Tutorial Tuition, Grants and the Details
Tuition for the Wisdom In-Person Tutorial:
Each three-hour session is $150. Each additional person, $25 per session.
A non-refundable deposit of $20 is requested before your first session and the remaining $130 is due at the first meeting. After the first meeting, bring payment for each meeting with you.
Tuition for the Wisdom Home Tutorial:
One to three sessions: $60 per session, payable in advance.
Package of four sessions: $220 payable in advance.
Required books for the In-Person and Home Tutorials:
Wisdom of the Herbs (revised 2017) by Annie McCleary. $30 in a three-ring binder plus shipping. Table of contents (PDF).
Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) non-degree grants.
Be sure to bundle the maximum number of In-Person and Home Tutorial sessions you are interested in taking when you apply for your VSAC non-degree grant; VSAC limits the number of applications you make, not the tuition amount. You must be a Vermont resident for at least one year by the start-date of the program and qualify by income. Apply early! VSAC is funded in June and tends to run out of funds by the end of the calendar year. For help with the on-line application or to request a paper application, call VSAC at 1-800-882-4166 or write P.O. Box 2000, Champlain Mill, Winooski, Vermont 05404-2601. You can also contact Wisdom of the Herbs School director Annie McCleary for an application or with any questions, 802-456-8122.
Interview and Registration: Call Annie at 802-456-8122 or send a message through our contact page for an interview date before you register. I am interested in learning about your background, interests and goals for taking the Tutorial. Then fill out the Wisdom Tutorial Registration Form and mail it with your payment to Wisdom of the Herbs School, 1005 County Rd, East Calais, Vermont 05650
The information in the Wisdom of the Herbs book and that relayed during the Wisdom Tutorials is intended to be educational and inspirational. The Wisdom of the Herbs book is a Who's Who of the Plants, not a materia medica. The author is a plant-lover, not a medical herbalist. For medical issues, consult with healers and your own wisdom as appropriate.
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
Also see the Wisdom of the Herbs School Reading List
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. Wisdom Home Tutorial Student