History and Development

In 1998, Paul Strauss donated 70 acres of his land to United Plant Savers to help form the first UpS Botanical Sanctuary. Shortly thereafter, Michael & Judy Funk of Mountain People, a natural products distributor, made a considerable donation that enabled UpS to buy 300 adjoining acres, completing the first United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary.

This 370-acre farm has many of the elements of a plant sanctuary already in place. The land is 50% mature diverse native hardwood forest and 50% fields. Extensive botanical assays have been performed to determine the resources present on the land. To date over 500 species of plants, over 120 species of trees and over 200 species of fungi have been identified. Half of the UpS "At Risk" native medicinal plants are thriving in abundance on this land. Large communities of goldenseal, American ginseng, black and blue cohosh, and grand old medicinal tree species such as white oak and slippery elm flourish in abundance on this reclaimed land. The UpS sanctuary is a living model for protecting diversity, and ensuring that the rich traditions of the North American and Euro-American folk medicine continue to thrive.

The United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary is being developed as an:

  • Educational Center—Diverse learning programs are being offered to children, university students, herbal products industry members, and scientists.
  • Onsite Research Center—Research of native medicinal plants in the wild focuses on population studies, wild harvesting sustainability studies, and seed germination studies. Research focusing on the cultivation of native medicinal plants (i.e. soil and shade requirements, disease challenges, etc.) is critical to ensuring abundant renewable supplies.
  • Repository of Native Medicinal Plant Germplasm—Healthy wild medicinal plant populations serve as repositories of germplasm which is essential for genetic diversity and ensuring the long-term survival of medicinal plant species.
  • Propagation Facility—The planting material for propagation is being generated through the various research projects and would be used to supply farmers wanting to commercially grow native medicinal plants.
  • Sustainable Land Use Model—The UpS Botanical Sanctuary is cultivated as a model of sustainable land use to others within the local community and beyond.
  • Eco-Tourism Attraction—We have been extending the trail network and installing educational information throughout the forest. We welcome you to visit the "Talking Forest" Medicinal Plant Trail.
  • The Goldenseal Sanctuary is currently open to the public by appointment only. If you are interested in visiting the Sanctuary or renting the facilities for an event or retreat please contact us at [email protected]




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