Sanctuary Stewards: Pam Montgomery and Mark Carlin
Sweetwater Sanctuary sits at the base of Marble Mountain and the Dorset Peaks, some of the highest mountains in southern Vermont. This is home to black bear, coyote, bobcat, moose, raven, wild turkey, porcupine, ermine, beaver, red-tail hawk and the extremely rare catamount. We are surrounded by thousands of acres of protected woodlands and meadows with a rushing brook that cascades down the mountain and flows centrally through the property. There are many natural springs on the mountain and right at our doorstep is Heart Spring, generously providing our drinking and washing needs. This constantly flowing water filters through the mountain’s abundantly natural marble (calcium carbonate) base creating a very high PH, literally making it sweet. It is this pure, sweet water that is the ever present reminder of the dynamic life force that nourishes not only our bodies and soil but our spirits as well. For centuries the rich alluvial deposits have found their way to the base of Marble Mountain giving us deep rich soil that makes for good gardening.
Sweetwater is a natural sanctuary with many of UpS’s identified at-risk and to-watch plants growing wild such as blue cohosh, trillium, bloodroot, eyebright, goldthread, maidenhair fern, lobelia, partridge berry and mayapple. Others we grow in our organic gardens or woodland setting such as goldenseal, echinacea, black cohosh, butterfly weed and arnica. The treasure trove of plants here at Sweetwater includes many others as we continually expand our gardens.
Sweetwater Sanctuary is the home for Partner Earth Education Center where herbal, earth-centered and plant spirit healing classes are held. Many well-known teachers such as Rosita Arvigo, Matthew Wood, Rosemary Gladstar, David Winston and Amanda McQuade Crawford, to mention a few, have taught classes here.
My passion has always been about understanding plants beyond their physical properties. Over the years I have developed a way of working with plant spirits- the intelligent conscious aspect – which has resulted in a Plant Spirit Healing Apprenticeship that I teach here at Sweetwater Sanctuary. It is the plants and their intelligent spirits that have guided me to create a sanctuary where plants and people can be in sacred space together. When plants are in sanctuary they know they are being kept safe with life-giving intent. This knowledge by the plants brings about a heightened level of positive response to those tending and visiting the sanctuary. The sacred space that is created by sanctuary allows communion between plants and people to occur easily and viewed in this light the sanctuary becomes a living church/temple where communication and healing can take place. Plants have always preceded their animal counter-parts in evolution so that now the plant spirits are leading us in our spiritual evolution. It is our intent here at Sweetwater Sanctuary to create a container of sacred space for the on-going communication between plants and people to guide us in the raising of our consciousness – an evolutionary imperative.
You can learn more about us at: www.partnereartheducationcenter.com.