Clearpath school of Herbal Medicine, Montague, Ma
Major: Environmental Studies, Concentration: Nature, Culture, History,
This summer I was an intern for the Clearpath school of Herbal Medicine based in Montague, Ma. I spent my time locally working with others participants of the program and the director, Chris Morano. My summer was filled with outdoor work. Plant harvesting and cultivation for herbal medicine making was the focus of my internship. Some days I spent in the woods of the Montague plains collecting wild blueberry leaf, or searching the pine laden woods of Amethyst brook in Amherst for stands of Indian pipe. While on these local trips I learned about Native American Ethno-Botany applicable to the Pioneer Valley. The majority of my time was focused on the further creation and maintenance of Mr. Morano’s herbal medicine gardens at Brooks Bend farm in Montague, Ma.
This internship involved a great deal of weeding, grass removal, seedling planting and removal/separation of established plant stands. I had the privilege of working alongside a man named Adam who was managing and overseeing the gardens for the summer. Adam applied Permaculture principles to the garden design that I was then able to learn and incorporate into my own contributions to the garden, companion planting, mulching strategies etc. There was a great deal of plant harvesting within the gardens. Some plants I worked with over the summer include: Echinacea, Gentian, sweet grass, spilanthies, chamomile, calendula, blessed thistle, California poppy, red root sage, blue vervain, mugwort and peony. The plant harvesting was conducted in an ethically conscious manner and at the height of flowering. Much attention was given to where the physical energy was in the plant at the time of harvest. I was able to contribute some of my seed saving storage knowledge at the end of the summer, when much of this took place. We finished the summer with the creation of a pollinator garden area on the front edge of the gardens. Overall this was a fruitful learning experience that I would recommend to others.