Opening of the Center for Medicinal Plant Conservation

I was thrilled to be able to attend the opening celebration of the Center for Medicinal Plant Conservation at the 25th Anniversary of United Plant Savers. The new center is beautiful, with such incredible attention to detail, from using wood from the land to the displays for Jim and Peggy Duke, to the Lloyd Brothers, and the art work on the walls.

25 celebration of United Plant Savers

Passing out seeds.

The celebration began with a puppet performance by A Thousand Faces. Words can’t do justice to the beauty and grace of the puppets, the haunting lyrics, and the powerful message. You can learn more about their work here.

Plants Call us to Pay Attention

In her remarks to a crowd of almost 300 gathered under the tent, Rosemary Gladstar said, “The plants keep loving us. And they keep calling us to pay attention.”

“Don’t give in to despair,” she continued. “That only leads to depression.” Instead, she said, “Gather up and do the work we are here to do.”

Rosemary described bursting into tears the first time she saw goldenseal hill. Seeing goldenseal growing in such abundance awoke in her an understanding of what the earth had been like. And so at the next IHS gathering held two years later in 1994, she brought together a group of herbalists to talk about the plants. There were a lot of different voices in that room, she remembered. Everyone was noticing the same thing — there weren’t as many plants anymore.

“We spent a long time talking,” she remembered. “And we decided we needed to become a voice for the plants.” And so United Plant Savers was created.

See “From Little Acorns: A History of UpS,” a brief history of the first ten years of UpS that I wrote for the UpS Journal in Winter 2005.

What Matters

Steven Foster, who, Kat Maier said in introducing him, is “like walking with a live App” gave a wonderful dedication of the center to Jim and Peggy Duke that included a series of images of Jim’s early trips to the Amazon many years ago. One of my favorite parts was Steven’s list of the things that mattered to Jim: “Words mattered,” Steven said. “Information mattered. Music mattered. Plants mattered. Family and friends mattered.” The list continued. It was a beautiful way to honor a life.

As was Doug Elliot’s singing of “Ginseng,” written by Jim Duke:

For more information on the sanctuary and the center see the United Plant Savers site.