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Dedicated to Developing Responsible Herbal Practice

Established in 2002 by Susan Wynn, DVM, CVA, CVCH, AHG, DACVN





*Qualifies for 12 hours of CE credit from IVAS!*




Have you ever wanted to spend time in the Valley of the Rain Forest Giants? The World Largest Sitka Spruce, a mountain lake and five miles of Quinault Forest trails will be steps from your door on our VBMA domestic Ecotour 2016.


The magic of cascading waterfalls, the magnificent Pacific Ocean and endless medicinal plants and soft green moss and lichen-rich forests await you. The incredibly primal rain forest and Olympic Peninsula are world-renowned, and whether you want easy flat hikes along river beds, mountain hikes with views and elevation or a combination of everything the Orcas have to offer, this EcoTour has it all!


When we take the time to step into the natural world and learn who the plants are, in their own element, we are able to open up and use our intuitive gift.  It is not enough to learn the names of a plant and memorize medicinal properties.  One must take the next step, and walk among them, experience them with all five senses and get to know them on an energetic level.  This is how we develop the intuitive that is the other half of the art of medicine.


Even if you are not primarily interested in the plants, we will offer some classes on how to incorporate nature and Spiritual centeredness into your daily life to help you cope with the pressures of our work as veterinarians. Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, Yoga and breathing exercises will all be incorporated for mental health balance.


This VBMA is sponsored USA EcoTour is being held directly after the 2016 combined IVAS/AAVA meeting, June 8-11, 2016 in Tacoma, Washington. CLICK HERE for a printable flyer.




SATURDAY June 11th, 2016:


  •     Arrive any time
  •     7 PM - 9 PM, meet and greet at host cabin



SUNDAY June 12th, 2016


  •     Morning opening ceremony at the Spruce by Dr. Donna Kelleher
  •     10 AM - 1 PM Heartmath/Neuroscience and possibly herbs for emotional well being with Hanna Jordan
  •     3 PM - 5 PM Introduction to local plants with Dr. Donna Kelleher
  •     After 5 PM - dinner on your own/free time



MONDAY June 13th, 2016


  •     Morning - more local plants with Dr. Donna Kelleher
  •     Afternoon - "Connecting with the plant energies" with Dr. Liz Hassinger: Scientific research has demonstrated that plants have amazing abilities to interact with each other, and respond to the energy of objects and animals that surround them.  When we truly want to understand the plants that we use in herbal medicine, it is fascinating to take the time to connect with the energies that plants possess. In this exercise, after a discussion of some of the science of plant energies, we will each take time to find a plant we are drawn to and spend some time with it, open your mind and heart to the energy.  After this we will reconvene to share our experiences with the group.  Some of what we learn will relate to the doctrine of Signatures, an important element of understanding herbal medicine. Time apx 1.5 hr.
  •      Afternoon - "Tinctures and Extractions" with Dr. Liz Hassinger: As a practioner of herbal medicine, it is helpful to have knowledge and understanding of the preparation of our remedies. While it is not practical for most of us to make our own medicines for clinical use, it is vital to understand the principles of how they are made, and it is really fun to be able to make your own!  Dr Hassinger will share some of her favorite "do it yourself"  remedies,much as St Johns wort oil, echinacea tincture, Chai made with Trametes mushrooms and custom formulas.Time apx 1.5 hr.



TUESDAY June 14th, 2016


  •     Mushrooms - lecture and hunting with Dr. Ihor Basko
  •     Evening - Farewell dinner



WEDNESDAY June 15th, 2016


  •     Personal retreat day or travel home



NOTE: Event times subject to change due to weather.



Participants MUST make their own room reservation and travel arrangements.


Car pooling and room sharing is strongly encouraged.  To co-ordinate travel and lodging, contact Cindy Lankenau at



Hanna Jordan is a body-centered psychotherapist, herbal medicine educator, HeartMathⓇ trainer, and has been supporting people on their healing journeys for over a decade. She is also the co-founder of The School of Traditional Western Herbalism which she co-directed for five years. Her work has focused on integrative mind-body strategies, the heart-brain and gut connection, trauma, emotional resilience, nutrition, and of course herbal medicine. She's deeply influenced by the healing qualities of nature, cutting edge neuroscience, and by many healing traditions around the world. Her passion is empowering people in taking charge of their health and in participating wholeheartedly in the creative unfolding of their lives.


Donna Kelleher (WSU, ’94) started studying herbal medicine in the late 1990’s when she completed the Master Herbalist class (AHG) through K.P.Khalsa. Then she took to the forests and fields to learn about local medicine with various herbalists including Rosemary Gladstar, Jeremy Ross, Michael Pilarski, Heidi Bohan and others.  Emphasis has always been on Western herbs and global energetic systems.  In harvesting the plants there is medicine for the healer as well as the patient and this doctor-plant-patient interface is becoming her particular focus. In her own words, here's a sneak preview of what it's like to visit the area she calls home: "A walk through the rain forest is a gift to the senses. The trail runs beside Shamrock-like soft green Redwood sorrel and the Deer fern is plentiful on the ground as well. There is medicine hanging in sheets from the giant hemlock, Sitka spruce, fir and cedar trees in the form of a lichen called usnea, so sensitive to pollution its all but extinct in much of the world. Volatile oils from the trees help respiratory infections as you steam their rich green bows, but just inhaling the vapors of these giant treasures along the trail is medicinal on many levels. The spiky giant leaves of devils club gather in deep old ravines reminding us of how plants can strengthen our spirits and also our endocrine system and, like them, tap into our deepest reservoirs of strength."


Ihor Basko: The study of mushrooms began when I was a little boy.  My dad collected edible mushrooms from which we dried and made soups and gravies.  Living in the California Santa Cruz Mountains in a forest, got me reacquainted with a wide variety of edible mushrooms which I found out later… contained medicinal properties.  While I was studying TCM herbology, my curiosity expanded to the use of medicinal mushrooms in my practice.  Back in the 1970’s, only Chinese (TCM) and Japanese (Kanpo) sources were available for study.  Now many countries across the globe are doing research and recognizing their great potential in the treatment of many diseases, as well as improving health and well-being.  Their use in a veterinary practice will provide new options for the treatment of cancer, immune system problems, liver, heart and kidney disorders, as well as improve longevity and the quality of life of patients.  Dr. Basko is the current vice-president of the American College of Veterinary Medicine.


Liz Hassinger DVM is and integrative veterinarian from Exeter, RI.  She has had a lifelong interest and love for plants, including their function in their environment and medicinal value. She has completed several courses in herbal medicine for humans and animals, including an internship program in the science and art of herbalism at Sage Mountain, with Rosemary Gladstar.  Liz has lectured on veterinary herbal medicine at the International Herbal Symposium, and led medicinal plant walks for the VBMA and the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society.  She lives on a 28 acre farm in Rhode Island, where she "grows her own" and has been a wild-harvester of medicinals for over 20 years.  Liz will present a workshop on tincture making, and also lead an exercise in connecting with plant energies in the forest.



Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora

Medicinal Plants of the NorthWest by Michael Moore

The Secret Teaching of Plants by Stephen Buhner

Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and Mackinnon

Watch Dr. Donna Kelleher's Plant Walk in the Quinault Rain Forest below.

Below is a clip from a beautiful short film called FORESTS by Louie Schwartzberg. It is a journey through the coastline and forests of the Olympic National Park.  There are some amazing time lapsed sequences of mushrooms growing, and the entire film is beautiful and inspirational for anyone who is wondering about the location of our 2016 Domestic EcoTour event. The full length feature can be found on Netflix, or other similar services.

- courtesy of Liz Hassinger