Special Events and Intensive Workshops

Wilderness First Responder Certification Course
with Sam Coffman, founder of The Human Path and Herbal Medics
offered by the CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism

For more information and to register please visit www.commonwealthherbs.com
Monday, August 15th – Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
9 – 5 each day
Royalston, MA


The WHFR is taught both from the perspective of pure wilderness first aid techniques as well as being able to successfully rely on and work with plant medicine – both in the local ecosystem and using self-prepared herbs from elsewhere around the world. The WHFR covers the following subjects and more – all subjects contain orthodox, wilderness first responder treatment as well as the use of botanical medicine (internally and externally). Exercises and scenarios put every subject to the test for all students.

Unlike other WFR programs, this program will include an online video component to be studied before the program starts to familiarize you with many of the ideas and techniques that will be taught in the program – this will give you a head start! The more times you see a skill and practice it, the easier it will be for you: we recommend that you spend some time with these videos both before the program for familiarity and after the program for skill drill practice. These are provided with no extra charge.

SOLD OUT | Wabanaki Ethnobotany: Food and Medicine
a year-long course with Dr. Frederick M. Wiseman
one Monday a month, February through November, 2016
$135 (classes can be taken individually at $17 per class)

For students enrolled in this course, please note that there are two separate sessions. Dates are listed below for individual classes for each session. Please call 802-224-7100 if you are interested in taking an individual class. 

The Wabanaki Agroforest
Session 1: Monday, July 25th 6-9 pm

Much of Vermont’s Northern Hardwood Forest has been converted into specially selected stands of trees that maximize the fuelwood, timber, aesthetic/recreational use, or maple sap collection. This conversion seems to have deep local roots. Professor Fred Wiseman developed the concept of a “Northern” permacultural system. This workshop will focus on the types of edible/ medicinal trees (plums, etc.), shrubs (hazelnuts, etc.), subshrubs (sweetfern, etc.), vines (grapes, etc.) and herbaceous perennials (Jerusalem artichokes, etc.) and herbs (white sage, etc.) organized by canopy stratum by light, water and nutrient requirements — to optimize production.

Green Corn Season: The Role of Story, Music, Dance and Food In Community Well Being
Session 1: Monday, September 26th 6-9 pm

The most important ceremony of the Abenaki Horticultural/Ritual Calendar is the Green Corn Ceremony. Join Prof. Wiseman as he shares his studies into the origins of the ceremony that seem embedded in half-forgotten legends of the Abenaki Creation Time, and encoded in the controversial Corn Song. He will then discuss the revival of the Green Corn Ceremony by the Abenaki Koasek Tribe in the Newbury VT/Haverhill, NH area. It includes learning the music, making the regalia and ceremonial accouterments and practicing the choreography and oratory. However, the Green Corn Feast, and its taboos and protocols as well as its socio-nutritional characteristics are the “food as medicine” focus of the day’s activities. Lastly he will share music and videos of the Green Corn Ceremony as it is up and running today and how it contributes to community healing and well-being.

Harvest Season and Orthorexia nervosa: The Ethnobotany of Indigenous Foodways in Eating and Medicating One’s Identity
Session 1: Monday, October 24th 6-9 pm

Ethnobotanists have studied the culture and environmental psychology that lies behind food (and medicine) choice. These researches had led to the development of some important theory regarding how, when, where and why we eat — of which nutrition forms but a small component! Prof. Wiseman will look at Indigenous food choice/cuisine and what we may consider drugs from a scientific “optimization” perspective as well as an Indigenous community-based perspective. Using examples from modern Anglo-American life, as well as Southwestern and Wabanaki cuisine and food service, he will explain the unstated rules for eating and how that reinforces individual, family and community identity.

Decolonizing Thanksgiving: The Politics of Native Foods and Medicine
Session 1: Monday, November 21st 6-9 pm

November, is designated “Native American Month” by various presidents, but never seems to “stick” in the consciousness as does “Black History Month” or “Woman’s History Month.” Native advocates have tried for years, but without much success, to turn Columbus Day and Thanksgiving into opportunities for opening a serious dialogue on Native history and culture. Using the “Decolonizing Thanksgiving” movement as a rubric to understand Native concerns about decolonized diet, food sovereignty, food justice and food security, Prof. Wiseman will show how food is a quintessential political statement, and how it should be treated by both Native and Non-natives alike, especially in the fall.

Dr. Frederick M. Wiseman was trained as a paleo-ethnobotanist at the University of Arizona. He taught and did research at Louisiana State, MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology, and Johnson State College in Vermont, where he retired as Department Chair in 2014. He has published extensively on tropical fieldwork in Belize, Honduras, Yucatan and arid-lands research in Arizona and Sonora Mexico. Over the last twenty years he has focused on the culture and ecology of the Wabanaki people of northern New England, Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes, completing books and films, scholarly and popular articles and presented papers on Wabanaki culture & ecology.