I’ve been to other herbal schools and what I found unique about the Blue Otter School is that Karyn and Sarah not only share their wisdom about how plants heal you on both physical and spiritual levels, but they offer very deep and meaningful training on how to be a healer. That is, how to walk in your power and hold yourself, your clients and your community so that we can all realize the potential to be our brightest selves. It’s a rare gift to find an herbal program that takes you beyond studies about the plants and holds you through a deeply transformational experience. This is training for life, not just for being an herbalist.
Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes created and founded the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine, opening its doors in the spring of 2003. Both practicing herbalists, they are committed to teaching and passing along this craft. Karyn and Sarah had been teaching for many years prior to the opening of Blue Otter and wanted to create an environment in a rural location where students could completely immerse themselves in the study of plants, nature and self. Together they have over well over 60 years of experience.
Karyn Sanders, Clinical Herbalist and Educator
Karyn has been working with plants for most of her life. She was first trained in Native American traditional plant medicine. In her mid-teens she apprenticed with a Mexican curandera and has subsequently studied with various traditional teachers as well as Western herbalists. Karyn has been teaching and practicing herbal medicine from an energetic perspective for over 42 years.
Karyn has a live radio show, The Herbal Highway, that has aired weekly since 1997 on KPFA, 94.1FM out of Berkeley, California. She co-hosts this program with Sarah. You may listen to her show live through the internet at www.KPFA.org Tuesdays from 1 to 2pm. Karyn is also available to teach at other schools, community groups and conferences.
Sarah Holmes, Clinical Herbalist and Educator
Sarah Holmes has been in private practice as a clinical herbalist since 1998. She trained in Native American and Western Herbalism starting out at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine in Oakland, CA and continued with Karyn Sanders. Sarah believes strongly in the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit and enjoys working with clients and students to open them to this concept on both obvious and subtle levels.
Sarah has a strong commitment to service that started with volunteer work in her teens and continued into a career in social work. Her background in social work enriches her current vocation bringing together her love of nature and a commitment to service and working with people and the plants.
Sarah also has a love for teaching and has been teaching people for many years before beginning her career as an herbalist which has expanded her teaching beyond health to also include plants and the outdoors. For nine years she ran an outdoor education program for The Sierra Club Foundation on Mt. Shasta with local school children and is trained as a Wilderness First Responder through Wilderness Medicine Associates. Sarah co-hosts The Herbal Highway on KPFA public radio with Karyn Sanders.
When not working, Sarah can often be found hiking in the vast wilderness of this area, puttering in her garden or curled up with a good book. Sarah is also available to teach at other schools, community groups and conferences.
Stella & Annie
Our four-legged staff, when they are available, assist students in relaxing and being in the moment. Stella likes to hang out in the garden and provide the occasional appearance with her cat self.
Our beloved Annie, who has been with us from the start of our school, died in March of 2017. She will be missed and remembered by many. Annie, January 6, 2003 – March 6, 2017.