The mission of United Plant Savers is to preserve, conserve and restore native medicinal plants and their habitats of the US and Canada, while ensuring their abundant, renewable supply for future generations. To this end, United Plant Savers established one of our most important projects: the Botanical Sanctuary Network. As we became more deeply involved in the complexities of plant preservation, we realized that in order to preserve plants we must first preserve and protect the habitat in which our native plant communities thrive. What better way than to create a network of sanctuaries dedicated to restoring and preserving habitat for wildlife, both plants and animals.
To date there are over 70 Sanctuaries nationwide that serve as repositories of at risk native medicinal plants as well as educational and research centers helping to raise public awareness of at risk medicinals. The stewards of these sanctuaries actively restore the native ecosystems before unsustainable exploitation of these areas occurred—removing invasive plants and replacing them with natives, healing scars from mining and other extractive operations, assisting the restoration of riparian areas and prairie that have been over-grazed. Some sanctuaries are small, others very large, but we fervently believe they are critical refuges for many species of plants which are seriously at risk, as well as outright endangered. Plants ‘migrate’ so slowly that they cannot survive without safe haven.
Botanical Sanctuaries are refuges for plants primarily, but of course the plants’ well-being also depends on insects, fungi, worms and a host of other life forms. The intent of Sanctuary is to provide as natural an environment as possible, free of industrial and technological encumbrance, so the plants can thrive and people can study and use them sustainably for their traditional purposes as food and medicine.
The United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network is dedicated to helping its members create botanical sanctuaries on the land they live on. These Sanctuaries will serve as repositories of at risk native medicinal plants as well as educational and research centers helping to raise public awareness of at-risk medicinals. Or they can be established purely as places of beauty and refuge. For more information, please see the Botanical Sanctuary Network website.