Sara Katz, co-founder and co-owner of the herb extract company Herb Pharm, was named president of United Plant Savers’ (UpS) Board of Directors in June 2008.1 UpS is a nonprofit organization based in Vermont that is devoted to conserving and restoring native medicinals of the United States and Canada.
“Sara is remarkably well suited for UpS presidency in all ways herbal, professional, and in her life-values,” said UpS Executive Director Lynda LeMole (e-mail, July 28, 2008). “She has been close to the center of the herbal renaissance in the United States since the late 1970s and has been an active green environmentalist as well. Her role at Herb Pharm for the past 30 years, besides successful business work, has included education, industry relations, and networking with NGOs [non-governmental organizations, i.e., nonprofits] whose missions are connected to the health of the planet. These are the exact skills and experience needed to guide UpS in its mission to protect native medicinal plants. Staying close to nature as she does, she not only brings us her business acumen but also her holistic and humanistic leadership style.”
Katz stated that she is honored to have been selected as UpS Board president. “I have been an active executive board member of UpS for over 10 years now,” she said (e-mail, July 28, 2008). “Being asked to be president feels like a ‘call to action’ for me to take a more active role than ever in helping UpS to realize its mission and mature as an organization.”
Before becoming the president of the UpS Board, Katz served as the organization’s treasurer and secretary.1 Herb Pharm’s organic farm in Oregon is a designated UpS Botanical Sanctuary and has hosted several UpS “Planting the Future” educational conferences.
“For such a small organization, UpS has had a big voice and has garnered a tremendous amount of clout from the herbal community,” said Katz. “We are supported by and offer support for herbal enthusiasts at all levels, from consumers to wildcrafters to practitioners to herb companies. Our planet has seen many ‘useful’ plants and animals brought nearly to extinction by over-harvesting and environmental impact. United Plant Savers is the organization that is on the front lines for bringing attention to the vulnerable status of many of our most long-treasured native medicinal plants.”
Katz added that UpS has established a very strong foundation under the directorship of LeMole. “What is in front of UpS in the near future is to fully launch our ‘At Risk Herb Assessment Tool’ in order to strengthen the substance and validity of the ‘At Risk List;’ to heartily expand participation in our Botanical Sanctuary Network; to grow our grassroots membership; and to attract a sustainable funding model.”
For the past 14 years, noted herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar has served as the founding president of UpS. According to LeMole, Gladstar will retain her role as founding president, working alongside Katz rather than retiring from her position on the UpS Board. “I am so pleased that Rosemary and the UpS Board made the decision that there is ‘room at the top’ of our organization so that there need not be retirement of long-serving officers. Rather than step down in leadership, Rosemary stepped up into a visionary guidance role, creating a place for Sara as the active president. It is important for organizations to change leadership, but it is also important not to lose leadership. How wonderful to create an organizational model that shares the many ways leadership can serve!”
LeMole noted that Gladstar’s passionate work and leadership have been instrumental in drawing attention to UpS’ mission of preserving, conserving, and restoring native medicinal plants. “Her deep-rooted passion for the plants, her intuitive and native knowledge of plants and nature, and foremost, her loving heart and generous nature have been an inspiration and guiding light for many, many plantloving people,” said LeMole. “Rosemary will always be in leadership with UpS, as it is part of her life’s work.”
1. Herb Pharm co-owner Sara Katz named president of United Plant Savers [press release]. Williams, OR: Natural Newswire; June 16, 2008.