Katherine Novotny

Core Faculty

A self-portrait of Katie Novotny would look like a colorful octopus lady (probably with fairy wings) adorned in an experimental vintage wardrobe with each arm holding plants, tincture bottles, ceramic sculptures, crystals, records, a deck of cards, a novel, and a smudge stick. She comes from a long line of green-thumbed, strong female influences and has admired grandmothers for as long as she can remember.

Katie Novotny is a Clinical Western Herbalist with a certification in counseling, and has been seeing clients since 2011.  In consultations, she works with each individual’s unique case, and formulates herbal, nutritional, and emotional treatment to help her clients heal from their dis-ease. After each consultation, Katie takes the time to track each of her client’s progress and keeps a detailed record of the content in each session. Seeing clients is one of her passions, and is confidant working with all kinds of health concerns: emotional/physical/spiritual. She is currently teaching the “Foundations” class for the OHC in San Francisco.

When she’s not at the Ohlone Herbal Center, you could find her thrifting at yard sales, camping in her old Nissan truck, or in her backyard gardening, pruning fruit trees, or wrangling chickens.

Kelsey Barrett

Director of Operations, Faculty

Kelsey’s connection to community health arose while crafting legislation with New York City Council’s “Committee on Women Issues”.  Cooperatively working with councilwomen to pass New York City’s first legislation for women of color with HIV instilled in her the possibility of large-scale health care change.  Kelsey’s approach to health transformed on a pilgrimage to France where she studied with the herbalist and scholar Matthew Wood and flower essence master Julia Graves, in 2009.  This experience oriented her to nature as the primary source of healthcare.  Upon returning from France she co-founded an herbal gathering “Heavy Nettle Collective”, which presently holds monthly workshops in Los Angeles hosting local and national plant healers.  Continuing her education, Kelsey graduated from Ohlone Herbal Center as a Clinical Western Herbalist, where she applied her knowledge in a community clinic setting.  Kelsey currently works as the Director of Operations at Ohlone Herbal Center and has an active herbal practice.  She believes embracing plants as part of our larger community gives us greater opportunity to reconnect in meaningful ways.

Madeleina Bolduc

Core Faculty

Madeleina Bolduc, a certified Clinical Herbalist, has been cultivating the art of herbalism for twenty years. She has been leading small groups in transformative, therapeutic sessions and holding a private practice for the past twelve years in the Bay Area.

As a child growing up in the Colorado mountains, she spent most of her time talking with the natural world. Raised in the eclectic diversity of the Naropa University, she was trained by Tibetan lamas, artists and indigenous elders in the ways of magical reality, consciousness and meditation. She chose to develop the path of medicine by completing a three year clinical program at the Rocky Mountain Center of Botanical Studies, studying with David Hoffman, Chanchal Cabra, Mindy Green, Michael Moore, and completing her clinical studies with Paul Bergner in 1999.  Since then, she has traveled throughout South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and China studying with shamans, curanderas, master healers, doctors and medicine people.

With the encouragement of her teachers, she has developed a holistic understanding by integrating many healing modalities. She is certified as a massage therapist, radical counselor, Reiki practitioner, energy medicine practitioner and brings nonviolent communication and expressive arts therapy to her work. In 2005, Madeleina designed and planted an experimental asian medicinal plant garden at the Shambhala Mountain Center and lectured on over 40 species of native and asian plants. Currently, she is deep in the midst of a 12 year mystery school in New Mexico with the shaman/scholar Martin Prechtel and leads community grief rituals with the beloved African teacher and shaman, Sobonfu Some. As a cultural ambassador, Madeleina is passionately dedicated to teaching people about the Vitality of plants, healing and transformation and the incredibly diverse ways in which we can mutually benefit each other, while encouraging Life to thrive!

Pam Fischer, RH (AHG)

Founder, Executive Director

Pam is the Ohlone’s Head Instructor and the Center’s Director.

Pam has been working with herbs since 1986. She completed her studies at the California School of Herbal Studies in 1989. She has been teaching classes in medicine making, plant identification, wildcrafting, theory and practice of herbalism since 1991.   Pam began the BACHA (Bay Area Clinical Herbalist Association) organization in 1991.  In 1997 she became one of the first Western Herbalists on staff at Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic in Oakland.  Charlotte Maxwell clinic provides free access to alternative and complimentary medicine for low income women with cancer. Pam is a fourth generation Bay Area resident and has developed a deep love for native plants.

Sarah Bearden

Core Faculty, Nutrition

Sarah Bearden has been a practicing nutritionist since 1996. She is the Director of Roots To Health, a center specializing in Nutrition Consultation and Nutrition Education.  She received a diploma in Nutritional Medicine in London and practices both in Marin County and England.

Tanya Stiller

Core Faculty, Botany

Tanya Stiller has been teaching for 20 years as an herbalist, nutritionalist, gardener,  permaculturalist, and ethnobotanist.  She received her herbalism certificate in 1994 from The Oregon School of Herbal Medicine, ran a tincture and lotion-making company called Pixie Plants and has since been teaching herbal and foraging classes in Oregon and the Bay Area.  Tanya attended the University of Oregon and received her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies, where her thesis was focused on “The Ethnobotany and Ethnomedicine of the Oregon Native American.”  Tanya is a multi-generational Oregonian, growing up in northeastern Oregon on a small family farm, raising rabbits and sheep, and helping her family with the cherry orchard and farm.  You can finding her teaching classes on botany, seaweed harvesting, foraging, and homesteading through both the Ohlone Center for Herbal Studies and the Institute of Urban Homesteading.  She works as a Garden Teacher at the Edible Schoolyard on the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School campus and lives at an Intentional Community house called Brigid Collective in West Berkeley.

Mariah McDonald

Assistant Medicine Maker

Mariah has spent an extensive part of her life exploring earths healing bionetworks. Her passion sprouts from a deep respect of Earth’s elegant systems and the power of using a holistic approach to health and vitality. To expand her understanding of these systems and to develop a multifaceted approach to healing of the earth and her community, Mariah received her Bachelors of Science from the Evergreen State College studying mycology (mushroom science), botany and biology. Realizing the power of this information and honoring a desire to work in a more ethno-botanical healers format, Mariah furthered her herbal education at the Ohlone Herbal Center.

Tony Siefert

Core Faculty, Medicine Making

Tony manages the pharmacy & dispensary at Ohlone Center where he teaches botanical medicine making.
He is a graduate of the California School of Herbal Studies & apprenticeship programs with Matthew Wood.
He has a private herbal practice in San Francisco and can be reached at (415) 824-6165.

Visiting Teachers

Autumn Summers

Autumn Summers is a plant geek. Inspired by the plants since childhood she has studied herbalism and ethnobotany for the last 20 years with a kinship for the plants, seaweeds and mushrooms of Northern California. She has guest hosted KPFA’s Herbal Highway, co-organized free community herb festivals and worked at various herbal businesses including Rosemary’s Garden, Simplers Botanical and KW Botanicals. Currently she teaches edible and medicinal plant classes at the California School of Herbal Studies ( and throughout the Bay Area and manages Bayer Farm Community Garden for the non-profit LandPaths (

Karen Aquair

Karen is our Medicinal Mushroom Instructor. She has been making botanical medicines full-time for 8 years. Karen is an owner of The Herbal Apothecary, providing custom herbal medicines for health practitioners and others. She is also an organizer of the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium. Her Website is:

Terri Jensen

Terri has been working with botanical medicines in a variety of capacities for over 20 years. She is an owner and medicine maker for The Herbal Apothecary, a full line herbal pharmacy. She is also an organizer of the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium. Her website is: