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The mission of the ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism is to be a vibrant herb school offering a full, professional program and diverse curriculum to future practitioners. The school will provide training by qualified teachers, and will be a community resource and space to gather and share for the public in New Paltz, the Hudson Valley, and the Northeast region. The school is dedicated to the memory of the herbalist William LeSassier, and honors his wisdom and teachings. 


Overarching is the intent to teach botanical medicine in a broad and inclusive sense, honoring and reflecting the diversity of approaches in the herbal community, which incorporates: medicinal uses of herbs, botany and plant identification, holistic anatomy and physiology, medicine making, flower essences, Traditional Chinese diagnostics and uses of herbs, tissue states, Vitalism, and more. All instruction will integrate sustainable values, including a non-exclusive emphasis on plants that are native, naturalized, or able to be cultivated within the local bioregion.


The ArborVitae school is rooted in the wisdom of the natural world and the many traditions that have honed the craft of botanical medicine. We appreciate a holistic approach to healing and to general wellbeing that seeks balance in all aspects of the individual, including food, lifestyle, and spirit. We place ourselves within the context of community and our environment, recognizing our connection to the earth and the vital force.   

Our Team

ArborVitae’s administrators come from a variety of backgrounds, each using their unique skill sets to ensure ArborVitae provides the highest quality education and training in herbalism.

Diana Isidoro


Administrative Director

Sam Perry

Teaching Mentor

Core Faculty

Nasya Camacho

Community Outreach

Claudia Keel

Director, Founder

Core Faculty

Dana Perry

Teaching Mentor

Blog Manager

Shannon Van Loon

Finance Director

Richard Mandelbaum


Core Faculty

Amber Merkens

Clinic Director

April Matney

Financial Administrator

Past Team Members

Laura Palay

Finance Administrator

Michele Marlow

Tech Support Specialist

Angelica Vargas

Teaching Assistant

Rob Brink

A/V Support

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