Core Faculty

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.

Kelsey Barrett


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.

Francisca Santibanez

Student Services

Francisca Santibanez is an herbalist, visual artist and educator. In addition to her training in Western Clinical Herbalism, she has spent more than a decade integrating cross-cultural healing modalities that include Amazonian Vegetalista Practice, Ayurveda, and Holistic Nutrition, among others.

Raised in Brazil and Chile, Francisca has been deeply connected with medicinal plant practices since early childhood, participating in a long family tradition of Chilean folk kitchen medicine passed down through the inspirations of her mother and grandmother.

Francisca is currently a lecturer on a wide variety of plant-based wisdom and healing programs at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, California, where she also completed her training. Her artistic endeavors, including photography, mixed media and jewelry making, reinforce her direct work with the plants, invoking the cosmology that we are all an integral expression of the earth and her creative intelligence. For more information about Francisca, please visit

Mariah McDonald

Assistant Medicine Maker

Mariah has spent an extensive part of her life exploring earth’s 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 the 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 ethnobotanical healer’s format, Mariah furthered her herbal education at the Ohlone Herbal Center.

Tanya Stiller


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 Herbal Center 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.

Sarah Bearden


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.

Visiting Teachers

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:

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:

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 (

Consider Donating

Ohlone Herbal Center is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax deductible. Tax ID #14-1975183

If you would like to donate by check or cash, please send an envelope addressed to:

Ohlone Herbal Center
1250 Addison St. #113
Berkeley, CA 94702