Program Changes for 2021
The 2021 Community Herbalism programs at Terra Sylva will be different from those held in the past. Epidemiologists and public health officials are predicting an increase in COVID-19 cases this winter, and predictions for the spring include continuing to limit travel as well as gathering indoors. As we consider the likely trajectory of the pandemic and the corresponding public health guidelines for the coming year, we have chosen to design our curriculum accordingly. Instead of simply transferring our usual schedule and syllabus to an online format, we are re-working the course to create a multi-faceted online approach that is engaging and immersive while being open to people both near and far. The course material will remain the same, minus the hours we usually spend in the field.
While we love to teach this material in person, we see this unexpected turn of events as an opportunity to share the power of plant medicine with students who do not have the ability to move across the country to attend herb school. Online curriculum allows more kinds of students access to an herbal education. In response to the needs of the current moment, we are stepping up to the challenge of providing an immersive, embodied experiential course in herbal medicine via online platforms. This format will also allow us to engage with the material in a wide variety of ways that will meet the diverse needs of different learners. In both the content and our facilitation, students can expect the same level of care and intention that we put into our in-person program.
2021 Terra Sylva course offerings:
- Our full 300-hour online Community Herbalism Program
- A 150-hour online Fundamentals of Community Herbalism program
- An in-person Bioregional Immersion for folks living in or around western North Carolina and who are also enrolled in one of the online programs.
Community Herbalism Program
Dates: The online Community Herbalism Program runs from March 15th to October 24th of 2021. There will be two separate week-long breaks during the term, from May 24th-30th & August 9th-15th.
Format: The 2021 Community Herbalism Program will consist of a minimum of 300 hours of content that will include weekly video lessons, 1-2 live video conferences a week, weekly assignments with personal feedback, peer-to-peer engagement between students and small-group as well as individual projects. We are committed to bringing our emphasis on engaged, experiential herbalism to the 2021 program by facilitating embodied practices. Our core faculty (Jen Stovall, Dave Meesters and Janet Kent) will be in regular contact with our students, reviewing assignments, giving feedback, and holding weekly live conference calls. Students who meet our attendance, project and exam requirements will receive a certificate equal to the one the graduates of our in-person training receive.
Live classes will be held via video conference on Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 2pm Eastern Time.
In addition to the recorded and live course material, students will receive over 150 pages of handouts and 80 detailed plant monographs. To ensure an embodied experience, we are also creating a mini-apothecary of dozens of herb samples for each student to taste, smell and experience when we discuss the plants in class.
Tuition: Tuition for the online Community Herbalism Program is $3,000. Once you are accepted, a $300 non-refundable deposit is required in order to secure your spot, with the rest of your tuition due by February 1st, 2021. If you would like to arrange a payment plan, we can discuss options after you are accepted into the program.
Additional costs: two required textbooks and a readings book, medicine making supplies, shipping and handling charge for the mini-apothecary. (kitchen scale and measuring cup required for medicine making.)
Unlike many online programs, our Community Herbalism program has a specific start and end date. We expect our students to be active and engaged in the program every week, and to keep up with assignments as we go. The entire class will go through the program at the same pace, completing coursework on the same schedule, and meeting together for scheduled live sessions, all facilitated in real time by the Terra Sylva instructors. Our core faculty (Jen, Janet and Dave) will be in regular communication with our students via live video conference, personal feedback on assignments, and Q & A sessions. Students can expect approximately 10 hours of course material a week and another 3-8 hours on assignments and self-study.
It is important to note that despite the change in format, there will still be an admissions process. While the class size will be larger than it is when we meet in person, we will limit class size to ensure that we have a cohesive group and plenty of student-teacher interaction. Everyone who applies will not automatically be accepted into the program. We are selecting a cohort of students who are a good fit for our curriculum and who will work well together as a group.
Is the community herbalism program for me?
Are you looking for an in-depth, solid education in plant medicine that requires a high level of engagement? Do you want to learn holistic plant medicine in a framework that acknowledges societal and ecological impacts on health? Do you have the time and energy for a rigorous seven-month program? If so, please apply.
If you would prefer a self-paced course that you work on as you find the time, this is probably not the program for you. This course is demanding and aimed at those who want a solid skill set in plant medicine to build on as they learn to serve their friends, families and community.
The Community Herbalism Program includes:
- Minimum 300 total hours of course content
- Weekly pre-recorded video lessons
- 1 or 2 live video conferences a week including weekly Q&A
- Weekly assignments with personal feedback
- Peer-to-peer engagement with students and faculty via online forums
- Small group assignments & projects
- Ongoing embodied herbal practices
- Periodic 1-on-1 check-ins with faculty
- Ability to communicate directly with faculty
- Mini-apothecary of dozens of herb samples
- Over 150 pages of printable handouts
- 80 detailed printable plant monographs
- 300-hour Community Herbalism Certificate upon completion of all requirements
Accessibility – While holding the 2021 Community Herbalism Program online does allow us to include people who cannot relocate for herb school, it does limit accessibility in other ways. Students will need access to reliable internet and a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. The device and the internet bandwidth must allow full video-conferencing capability.
In addition to the primary Community Herbalism Program course and Fundamentals course, we are offering a Bioregional Immersion program for students who live in and around Western North Carolina. A bioregion is a geographic area defined by natural features rather than man-made boundaries. Southern Appalachia, called Katuah by the Cherokee people whose territory it lies within, is a bioregion known for its rich biodiversity. Hundreds of medicinal plants grow in this region. The Bioregional Immersion track will consist of 10 days of learning in the field which will include plant walks, ecology lessons, field botany, plant identification, and medicine making. From April to October, we will visit many special plant communities, including those we personally tend at the Terra Sylva field campus. Participants will learn the seasonal medicine of place from the sweet bloom of the spring ephemerals to the ripening of the Hawthorn fruit in the fall. We will meet the medicinal plants who grow in this wondrous bioregion and also visit local herb farms to harvest herbs throughout the season.
Though we are excited to reach a wider audience with our core curriculum, we want to preserve some in-person education in the field for local students. We will keep this group small enough to meet public health guidelines for meeting outside.
Field trip dates: April 24, May 20-21, June 12, June 24, July 8, July 24, August 21, September 11, October 10
Tuition: Tuition for the Bioregional Immersion is $800, with a $100 deposit to secure your spot in this part of the program. This deposit will be refunded if we are not able to hold the program due to public health recommendations.
*Participants in the Bioregional Immersion will be expected to operate entirely within the up-to-date public health guidelines. If we cannot hold the Immersion, due to prohibitions on outdoor gatherings, students will receive a full refund for this portion of their tuition.
Accessibility: The entirety of the Bioregional Immersion will be spent outdoors in fields, forests and farms. Some of these hikes will be on uneven and even steep terrain. Hikes will range from short distances to day-long hikes. We may also include some tent camping. If you have accessibility concerns before applying, please contact us to discuss them further.
Application for the above programs
Applications for the Community Herbalism online program (and the optional Bioregional Immersion) can be found here. Once the class is full, we will post an update here and begin accepting applications for the waiting list.
Fundamentals of Community Herbalism – NEW!
For students who prefer or require a less rigorous educational experience, and less monetary investment, our Fundamentals program includes all of the same pre-recorded content as the full Community Herbalism Program (CHP), with limited engagement with teachers, a less demanding workload, less peer-to-peer engagement with fellow students, and without teacher-facilitated exercises designed to integrate the subject matter.
The Fundamentals program follows the same March-to-October schedule as the full CHP, but instead of intensive weekly engagement and weekly homework, any assignments are turned in on a monthly basis, in time with the monthly live Q&A.
Dates: The online Fundamentals of Community Herbalism program runs from March 15th to October 24th of 2021. There will be two separate week-long breaks during the term, from May 24th-30th & August 9th-15th.
The live Q&A sessions will be held on the first Monday of each month (April-November) from 6pm-9pm Eastern time. In addition to these there will be a live session from 6-9pm on Monday March 15th to start off the school year and get everyone oriented to us and to the program.
Tuition: Tuition for the online Fundamentals of Community Herbalism program is $1,650. Once you are accepted, a $100 non-refundable deposit is required in order to secure your spot, with the rest of your tuition due by February 1st, 2021. If you would like to arrange a payment plan, we can discuss options after you are accepted into the program.
Additional costs: two required textbooks, optional mini-apothecary of herb samples. (kitchen scale and measuring cup required for medicine making.)
The Fundamentals of Community Herbalism program includes:
- Over 150 hours of recorded classes
- Monthly Q&A via video conference
- Monthly assignments with feedback
- Online forum for communication with other students
- Over 150 pages of printable handouts
- 80 detailed printable plant monographs
- 150-hour Fundamentals Certificate upon completion of requirements
How do I choose between the full Community Herbalism Program and the Fundamentals program?
Both courses include the full complement of Terra Sylva lectures and materia medica: foundations of herbalism & vitalism, tastes & energetics, intro to botany & plant identification, all medicine making classes, anatomy & physiology, herbal formulation, applied community herbalism & beginning clinical skills, etc.
The full Community Herbalism Program (CHP) supplements the lectures with facilitated live sessions where we answer questions, discuss readings, taste herbs together, and go deeper into course material through small-group exercises, case studies, and other ways to reinforce and apply what we are learning. The CHP also includes more homework, individual and collaborative projects, and quizzes throughout the year. It is an altogether more rigorous program that requires weekly presence and accountability on the part of students and teachers.
The CHP also emphasizes classroom cohesion and peer support. We can all expect to get to know each other as individuals, to share ideas, to collaborate, and to support each other’s learning experience.
The Fundamentals program, besides having a lower price, requires far fewer hours of engagement per week. Students have access to the recorded material, are assigned limited homework that the faculty will grade and offer feedback on, and are able to ask follow-up questions during monthly 3-hour live Q&A sessions. An online message board is available for students to communicate but otherwise there is no structured peer-to-peer engagement.
The Fundamentals program will be attractive to students who want or need to spend less on their education, desire a more relaxed, less demanding pace to their schooling, and are comfortable working on their own without being part of a classroom environment and without much interaction with the faculty.
The certificate awarded to those who complete the Fundamentals program reflects the program’s lower educational demands.
Note, howe’ver, that the Fundamentals program is not self-paced. The program still unfolds on the same March-to-October schedule as the full Community Herbalism Program. But while the CHP has assignments and Q&A’s on a weekly schedule, the Fundamentals assignments and Q&A’s are monthly.