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Waldorf School Project:
Native Prairie and Woodland Medicine Trail

      It is our intention to work with the community of Charlottesville by selecting projects that would allow us to educate the public about the vital importance of native, medicinal plants, how to preserve these treasures and their habitats and more importantly how to replant our lands in a sustainable fashion.

      We have been investigating various schools where we could implement an educational trail. After hearing about the Charlottesville Waldorf Foundation's plans for “the greenest school” in America, we became very excited about the possibility of creating an alliance with the landscape designers of the site.

      What we are offering is to design a native prairie as well as a woodland medicine trail. Members of Virginia Plant Savers would do the initial planting and we could introduce the plants as well as their uses through the curriculum via Nature Studies or another appropriate vehicle. The hope is to transfer the maintenance of the planting to the students. We would try to raise funds for the plants as well as the markers and solicit donations. All labor would be voluntary. We would then use local nurseries for plant materials such as Garden Medicinals and Culinaries.

Sunnyside Farm Native Plants Project:
Dreamtime Center for Herbal Studies

      Hardy native plants play an integral role in maintaining sustainable landscapes. Our ecological health is dependent on these plants as they provide an irreplaceable habitat for visible, as well as invisible life forms needed for harmony and balance in the environment. It is said that they posses the genetic memory of the areas they are native to. This means that they represent evolution itself: they have adapted over millennia perfecting the complex chemical requirements needed for seed germination and pollination. They have cohabitated with other species and have designed the formula for survival as well as balance.

      The grant money United Plant Savers so generously gifted Dreamtime with enabled us to purchase high quality natives to augment our projects. The plantings at Sunnyside Farm (where our school is located) have a three-fold purpose. First, to reinstate the native environment to allow beneficial insets and microenvironments to thrive and provide the sustainable foundation necessary for a healthy ecosystem. Second, the plantings serve as an educational component for Dreamtime Center and Sunnyside Institute. Third, these institutions are providing a forum for research in medicinal plant propagation. It is our feeling that land restoration can be one in the same as economic plant ventures. Native plants have demonstrated greater medicinal value than those cultivated with conventional methods.

      The forest planting is primarily designed to yield economic harvest in five to ten years. There are a variety of test plots with the focus being Goldenseal Root (Hydrastis canadensis) and American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium). Yet these plants cannot thrive in a sterile environment. So to ensure the health and potency of these plants, as well as the forests themselves, we have planted over two hundred other natives. Many of these are what botanists refer to as spring ephemerals. These early flowering beauties ensure the proper pollination for the diverse eco-niches present in the woodlands.

      The pond plantings are located on either side of Sunnyside’s major vegetable and flower tracks. This is to serve as a natural form of integrated pest management. It has also been proven that when natives are near water sources, there is a natural purification through pH balancing as well as presence of beneficial flora. The natives here are also highly valued for their medicinal value. Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) is a well-known kidney tonic and famous for the resolution of kidney stones. There are many lobelia species present. The cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) as well as showy lobelia (Lobelia syphylitica) are resplendent in their beauty. Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) is well respected for its actions upon the respiratory system. There are native grasses on the far bank that will demonstrate to visitors how natives can prevent erosion while providing exquisite scenes as well as habitats.

      The following plants were purchased with the help of the United Plants Savers $500.00 grant

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) 6 @ $3.50
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) 20 @ $4.50
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) 30 @ $5.00
Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) 15 @ $5.00
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) 30 @ $4.50
Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) 20 @ $4.50
Spikenard (Aralia racemosa ) 20 @ $6.00
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) 6 @ $4.00
Maidenhair fern (Adiantum sp.) 4 @ $5.00
Feverwort (Triosteum aurantiacum) 1 @ $5.00
Soloman’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) 6 @ $4.00
TOTAL $634.00

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