Betzy Bancroft, RH(AHG) is a teacher, clinical herbalist, gardener, craftsperson and environmentalist who’s had a deep appreciation for the magic of plants since childhood. As VCIH co-director and core faculty, Betzy provides the earth element to the organization’s staff. Plants are truly her friends, and she feels ever inspired by the natural world—all its varied beings and the amazing interconnections and beauty that make up the great web of life. Read More...
Still an avid student, she has taught classes in herbal medicine, wild edible plants and the medicinal uses of food throughout the Northeast for over two decades, including major conferences such as Northeast Organic Farming Association, Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture Conference, the American Herbalists Guild Symposia and the New England Women’s Herbal Conference. Betzy was a part time instructor at the Tracker School for 7 years, specializing in edible wild plants and the physical languages of plants. Teaching there enabled her to take many classes in primitive skills, and she happily maintains connection to that community by teaching at the ROOTS School Rendezvous.
Betzy currently serves on the United Plant Savers’ Advisory Board. Her experience also includes over a decade in the herbal product industry as staff herbalist and general manager for Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc., a manufacturer of quality herbal extracts and other herbal products. Her favorite tasks at H&A were working with growers and the herbs they sent, and teaching workshops for natural food store personnel and customers.
Working at H&A made it possible for Betzy to attend numerous herb conferences. She’s also taken weekend or multi-weekend courses with a number of respected herbalists, including Amanda McQuade-Crawford and the late William LeSassier, two teachers who have particularly inspired her.
Practicing in the Western energetic tradition of herbal medicine, Betzy has been influenced by the Eclectic and other botanic physicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries in this country, and deeper back to the traditions of Europe. Her focus is on the common threads between all ancient medical systems, which ultimately lead to Nature itself–the four basic elements and the qualities intrinsic to them. Helping students and clients recognize the Nature of herbs, peoples’ constitutions and imbalances is a key part of her approach.
Betzy loves to introduce others to her green friends, to share the herbal wisdom she feels very blessed to have learned. Her goal is to help students and clients understand the plants’ “personalities” and relate to them as fellow living beings and guides to better health.
Larken Bunce MS is a clinical herbalist, educator, gardener, writer, and photographer deeply inspired by a life-long love affair with plants. Her approach to herbal medicine is equally rooted in science and spirit, novel practice and tradition, clinic and garden, reflecting her diverse experiences over 20 years in the field. Her work is primarily informed by Western herbal medicine, classical Chinese medicine, whole-food nutrition, mind-body and narrative medicines, and social justice advocacy. Larken is passionate about accessible and culturally competent care, bridging traditional medical systems with biomedical sciences, and restoring Nature to culture through herbal medicine. Read More...
Her work is rooted in the premise that the heart of healing lies in remembering that we belong to each other and to the land. In all she does, Larken hopes to increase awareness of the capacity of not only medicinal plants, but of all nature and wildness, to sustain and heal.
In addition to working with clients in VCIH’s community clinic, Larken’s passion is sharing her craft through education. As founding co-director and core faculty at VCIH, she developed the comprehensive curriculum together with Guido and Betzy, and continues to think about and experiment with new methods to inspire the combination of rigorous critical inquiry and joyful exploration that herbalism calls for. She is interested in education as necessarily life-long and transformative, and views learning and healing as parallel endeavors of discovery.
In addition to her roles at VCIH, Larken served for seven years as faculty in the Health Arts and Sciences (HAS) program at Goddard College, where she worked with students passionate about various herbal traditions, nutrition, agriculture, social and environmental justice, deep ecology, and radical public health. She continues to guest lecture and advise in the HAS program and is a recurring lecturer in the nursing programs at the University of Vermont. She teaches widely at national conferences and has served as faculty for numerous other clinical herbal programs. She also proudly serves on the advisory board of Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US), an educational and advocacy organization working towards a healthcare paradigm of wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and self-care.
Larken has written for various publications and was previously a regular columnist for UnifiedHealth, a practitioner’s journal devoted to renewing consciousness in medicine.
Her education includes a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts) and a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College. Larken holds certificates in Zen Shiatsu and Swedish/Esalen Massage from the Heartwood Institute and in using Teishin (acupressure) for pain and stress from the Barefoot Doctor Institute. She has also studied mind-body skills at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC and is currently completing certification in Somatic Experiencing, based on the trauma resolution work of Dr. Peter Levine.
You’ll find Larken happiest on an afternoon spent in a field with a harvest basket, a blue sky, and the sun on her face or kneeling in the dirt meeting a new plant. She lives on a ridge in Middlesex with her animals, messy perennial gardens, and similarly green-thumbed sweetheart. Close
Kristin Henningsen, MS, CH, E-RYT, IYT is a clinical herbalist, yoga therapist, writer, & educator, who first fell in love with plants in the desert southwest. There she was inspired to complete her graduate work, researching the Ethnobotany of the region. In addition to studying Native American herbal medicine in the Southwest, she has worked in academia and for non-profit organizations in the field of botanical research all over the country. Read More...
Her passion has always been bringing this medicine to the people, however, integrating Western Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic practices to empower those who are seeking a healthier path. Although she has been inspired by many herbalists along the way, some of her primary teachers have included Phyllis Hogan, Michael Moore, & Michael & Lesley Tierra.
Currently she serves as faculty for VCIH and Kaplan University’s School of Health Sciences, and has maintained a private holistic healthcare practice for the past 10 years. While she works with a wide variety of conditions, she specializes in women & children’s health as well as chronic disease. As a registered yoga teacher and integrated yoga therapist, she utilizes yoga therapeutics and mind body techniques in her treatment plans as well. She has been researching, writing, and teaching about medicinal plants for over 15 years. Look for her wandering through the woods, kids and dogs in tow.
Laura Litchfield is a clinical herbalist and educator and joined the directorial team at VCIH in 2013. She tends to the apothecary, finances and daily operations of the school and clinic, bringing extensive practical knowledge of taking care of people and things, both through her diverse work experience and from raising a family. She has been studying herbalism since 1998, including attendance at The California School of Herbal Studies and VCIH. Laura serves as adjunct faculty and works clinically with individuals in the professional clinic. She has a special interest in bringing awareness and knowledge of herbs and physiology to the next generation as well as reintroducing herbal remedies into the family kitchen.
Lisa Olson is a clinical herbalist, yoga teacher and certified Ayurvedic health counselor. Always fond of plants, she first studied plant evolution and ecology at the University of Vermont and later, plant and soil science at the University of Maine. She became increasingly interested in herbalism while working with native medicinals as a conservation botanist on the west coast. While there, she started on the path of herbalism as an intern at Herb Pharm. After returning to Vermont, Lisa continued her herbal education and graduated from VCIH’s clinical herbalist training program. Read More...
Lisa teaches throughout central Vermont, offering workshops on Ayurveda, herbalism, yoga and plant identification. She has worked as a state park naturalist in Vermont and leads natural science programs for elementary and middle school students as a certified Interpretive Guide. Lisa is also a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and teaches weekly classes in Barre and Washington, VT.
Lisa offers compassionate and accessible guidance to help clients incorporate new plants and patterns into their life for optimal health. She loves to introduce her clients to the plants growing around them and teaches how these healing plants can be easily integrated into one’s daily routine to achieve life-long vitality. With a background in science and extensive study of Ayurveda, Lisa weaves both into her consultations and provides clients with diet and lifestyle recommendations according to their constitution, as well as yoga recommendations and herbal formulas based on their health goals.
Lisa lives in Randolph, Vermont with her husband, Blake, where they raise vegetables, fruit, herbs and lambs on a little piece of land called Sweet Oak Farm.
Netta Mae Walsh is a clinical herbalist, activist, teacher, outdoor guide, and magic-maker.
The heart of her work is to inspire wonder in others; wonder for the beauty of the world around us, wonder for the magic in the faces and souls of our communities, and wonder for the power and ultimate perfection within each and every one of us. Netta believes that truly listening and loving are some of the most powerful ways to effect change. She is dedicated to continue learning and growing herself as well as to be a part of that process in others. She sees her work as a community herbalist as being an integral part of creating sustainable and resilient communities that are not dependent upon capitalist and patriarchal systems of oppression. Read More...
Netta Mae graduated from the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in 2015 and has formally studied western herbalism for the last 6 years. She is also a member of the International Cupping Therapy Association and loves how plant medicine and cupping work so well together. Netta is committed to bringing clients high quality herbal consultations and formulas specifically designed to meet their individual needs according to their physiological and energetic patterns for sliding scale and affordable rates. She works hard to be accessible to all people, especially teens and youth, queer and trans* folks, families, and folks who typically don’t have access to alternative healing modalities that are not covered by insurance. She is constantly working on what it means to be an ally through healing work, especially in the occupied territories of North America.