Sanctuary Stewards: The Manitou Project staff
“The Manitou Project celebrates the sacred interdependence of humans and nature. Through experiential education and mindful land conservation, Manitou integrates spiritual and practical ecological awareness. Manitou seeks to awaken its members to new ways of being in relationship with the land, its inhabitants, each other, and the wider community.”
The Manitou Project is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 1993 by Pamela Mayer to steward and celebrate 235 of mostly forested acres of land she owned in Williamsville, Vermont. We are very happy to be new members of the Botanical Sanctuary Network.
We have an extensive trail system, maintained by volunteer members. Along the trails are many sites such as “Grandmother White Pine”, “Grandmother Black Birch”, a large labyrinth, a winding stream, a fen, and several high-energy areas dowsed out by Pamela. At the entry area, several small gardens have been started. One has examples of local woodland wildflowers and medicinals. Another is an “observation” garden that is fenced off but will not be touched, so that the changes over time can be observed without interference. Another is a seed bed, so that visitors can bring seeds down from the trails for germination and protection and later replanting. In a sunny spot, there is “gardening by focused weeding” to encourage certain self-seeding species. In 2007 we added ten species of native plants to the entranceway gardens. We also received a community grant from United Plant Savers to plant ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, and black cohosh on the upland wooded slopes. Growing naturally on the property are blueberry, sundew, yellow lady’s slipper, goldthread, partridgeberry, wintergreen, and other herbs yet to be discovered. Our problems with invasives are at this point minimal.
Also in keeping with its mission, Manitou creates events for the community. Examples run the gamut from seasonal celebrations, children’s Wilderness and Art camps, to plant identification and bird walks. We have had t’ai chi on the land, dowsing, sweat lodges, and blessing ceremonies. All events are open to the public.
Manitou is honored to have joined the Botanical Sanctuary network. We look forward to learning, from those of you who have walked the trail ahead of us, how to reintroduce and encourage native medicinals in the forests and in our lives. As indicated above, we are open to the public. We hope other Botanical Sanctuary members will visit us, and hope ourselves to take trips to other sanctuaries. Please visit our website at www.manitouproject.org, and visit us in person if you are in the area!
Jeanette Pfeifer, Board President, gardening cluster
Martha Rabinowitz, staff assistant