Introduction to Local Plant Medicine and Botany: July 10, 2016

10 am - 5 pm

with Amy Seifert

In this course we will learn the basics about medicinal plants in the Wrangells as well as gain a deeper understanding of how to use and prepare common plants. We will move beyond the “this plant is for digestion” paradigm, and explain why and how to use specific herbs.  The day-long workshop will include both classroom and field time. 

Students will learn:

  • When and how to use specific local plants
  •  Intro to “different plants for different people” concept – a basic tenet of herbal medicine
  •  Plant identification using simple botanical terminology
  • Ethical harvesting
  • Medicine making with teas and tinctures: when to use, how to make
  • How to apply this this knowledge. Each student will harvest and prepare a tincture of a plant of their choosing.


Amy Seifert is an herbalist living outside Fairbanks. She built and ran an herbal program in a low-cost integrative medicine clinic in New Orleans, and opened a collectively-run herb shop in the same city, before feeling the call back to the wilds of Alaska, where she grew up. Currently she is focused on developing her relationship with Alaskan plants and people where she teaches and operates a small practice under the name Two Rivers Botanicals.

Amy is passionate about the big picture and the radical roots of herbal medicine. When people begin to learn about plants as medicines, they gain empowerment in their own healthcare, which is essential in truly holistic medicine. Knowledge of herbs can be the beginning of a healthy body, mind, spirit, earth, and global community. She feels strongly that herbalism has always been a folk medicine and must continue to be a tradition based in self-care. 

Schedule:  This course will run from 10 am - 5 pm on Sunday, July 10th. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Students should be prepared to spend time walking and gathering plants outside. 

Instructor Amy Seifert

Instructor Amy Seifert

Cost:  Sliding scale $45-$80 with $8 additional supplies fee. Cost includes instruction, lunch, optional camping and food storage facilities. 

The Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy

The Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy

An outdoor lunch at the WMC

An outdoor lunch at the WMC

Meals and Accommodations:  Lunch will be provided and shared communally; workshop participants are responsible for the breakfast and dinner meals. Meals can be purchased from a limited number of local vendors or participants can bring  provisions to store and cook in the Hardware Store facilities during the day of the workshop. Hot water will be provided for coffee and tea. Every effort will be made to accommodate dietary needs and restrictions with advanced notice. Primitive camping is available at no cost to workshop participants. The campsite is located just a short walk away from the Wrangell Mountains Center campus. Those who camp are welcome to store gear and food, borrow bear barrels, and use our rustic shower and other facilities at the Hardware Store. WMC staff will direct you to the campsite and orient you there upon your arrival. 

Other lodging options within McCarthy include the full service McCarthy Lodge and Lancaster's Backpacker Hotel, located just down the street. The Kennicott River Lodge and Hostel is another great option outside of town; it's a short bicycle ride or twenty minute walk each way. If you bring a vehicle with you, Currant Ridge Cabins is located on the McCarthy Road about three miles from the road's end; it's about a half mile walk between the parking area there and the Old Hardware Store. Free shuttles run between the river and McCarthy on a rotation with limited hours. If you bring a camper in or would otherwise like to camp out with your vehicle, there are two commercial campgrounds near the end of the McCarthy Road that will accommodate you without advance reservations.

Location and Venue: This course is a Wrangell Mountains Center (WMC) program. The WMC is a private nonprofit institute whose mission is connecting people with wildlands through art, science and education in the Wrangell Mountains. The workshop is based at the WMC's headquarters in the Old Hardware Store in McCarthy, Alaska. The town of McCarthy is set in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest national park in the U.S. Over 23% larger than Switzerland, Wrangell-St. Elias is world renowned for its wild landscapes, high peaks, massive glaciers and rivers, healthy ecosystems, dramatic scenery, and unique cultural history.

McCarthy is approximately a seven hour drive from either Anchorage or Fairbanks (plus time for sightseeing) by way of Copper Center, Chitina, and the famed McCarthy Road (significantly improved by Alaska DOT in the last few years). It's also possible to fly or arrange shuttles from Anchorage to McCarthy.

McCarthy and neighboring Kennecott, a national historic landmark, are situated within the Kennicott Valley (note the different spellings between the natural features and historical features.) McCarthy and Kennecott serve locals and travelers alike as a gateway to world-class backcountry opportunities and amazing frontcountry hikes and walks (including access to the Root Glacier); the Kennicott Valley also provides a window into some of the most unique chapters in Alaska's history and an authentic, lively contemporary community.

If you prefer to register by phone or on paper please call Kristin Link at 907-554-4464 or send us a message here.