Wilderness Herbal First Responder with Sam Coffman 2016

Sam Coffman with prickly pear cactus pad.

Sam demonstrates how to clean the spines and glochids off of a prickly pear cactus pad at his school in San Antonio.

We’re thrilled to have Sam Coffman, founder of The Human Path and Herbal Medics, back in the Boston area for another Wilderness First Responder certification course – this time taught in Royalston, MA at the school property just 90 minutes out of Boston.

Sam will be offering the Wilderness Herbal First Responder course. This includes a W(H)FR certification (WFR plus the extra herbal medicine component) through The Human Path, as well as an additional WFA certification through ECSI.

One of the things that excites us most about Sam’s teaching is that he teaches from the perspective of “what if there is NO higher definitive care?” – not just, what if it’s far, far away, but what if it doesn’t exist? This philosophy is so important to us because, at whatever level we practice, learning to rely on ourselves without backup is tremendously empowering. When it’s possible, it’s great to get someone to an ER, but if a time comes and that’s not possible, we want to know what we can do with confidence.

location and schedule

The program will be based at our school retreat property in Royalston, MA. Camping is available free of charge.

The program will take place Monday, August 15th – Wednesday, August 24th, 2016, from 9 – 5 each day, inclusive of the weekend. Most materials will be provided, though a list of things you might like to have, such as notebook, camera, fixed-blade knife, etc, as well as your camping gear, will be sent out closer to the time. Meals are not provided, though there is an outdoor kitchen available for your use and there will likely be some pre-workshop food coordination among the participants. Please note, our space is strictly gluten and dairy free, please do not bring gluten and dairy items into our kitchen or eating areas.


The WHFR is taught both from the perspective of pure wilderness first aid techniques as well as being able to successfully rely on and work with plant medicine – both in the local ecosystem and using self-prepared herbs from elsewhere around the world. The WHFR covers the following subjects and more – all subjects contain orthodox, wilderness first responder treatment as well as the use of botanical medicine (internally and externally). Exercises and scenarios put every subject to the test for all students.

Unlike other WFR programs, this program will include an online video component to be studied before the program starts to familiarize you with many of the ideas and techniques that will be taught in the program – this will give you a head start! The more times you see a skill and practice it, the easier it will be for you: we recommend that you spend some time with these videos both before the program for familiarity and after the program for skill drill practice. These are provided with no extra charge.

  • Field and urban hygiene and sanitation
  • Sports medicine injury testing and care, short-term and long-term: Dislocations, partial and complete connective tissue tears, fractures
  • Immediate and long-term wound care in the field, including assessing and managing trauma from head to toe and wound and infection management
  • Bandaging and splinting using minimal equipment
  • Environmental injuries
  • Bone and soft-tissue trauma
  • Moving and transporting injured, including long-range evacuation and survival basics and considerations: stretchers, travois, carries, water rescue
  • Setting up a post-disaster clinic in remote and urban environments
  • Shock
  • Burns
  • Acute infectious diseases – viral, bacterial, protozoan and helminthic, including gastrointestinal, urinary tract, respiratory tract, and skin
  • Chronic illnesses in the field, including type 1 and 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular-related illness, arthritis, digestive issues (GERD, Uulcers, IBS, etc.), depression and emotional issues, and COPD
  • Medical Emergencies in the field, such as cardiac events, etc.
  • Herbal medicine making and appropriate use
  • Scenario activities to practice the skills learned


The cost for the program is $800, plus an $80 fee for the ECSI book, certificate, and filing for WFA certification through ECSI. There is not a separate fee for the W(H)FR registration, as that goes through Sam’s own school. Together, that’s a total of $880. Materials (except your knife and personal items) will be covered in the cost, but meals are not provided.

Also included in the price is a copy of William Forgey’s book Wilderness Medicine, as well as a copy of Sam Coffman’s book The Herbal Medic.

A deposit of $300 is required to hold your space in the program; after March 1, the deposit is non-refundable. Because there will be a waiting list for this program, we will require the remainder be paid in full by July 15; this way we will have time to let folks on the waiting list know if there are any spots that become available.

refund policy

Because there will be a waiting list for this program, and in order to give people on the waiting list the opportunity to make arrangements to join the program if any spots become available:

  • After March 1, the $300 deposit is non-refundable.
  • The remainder, $580, must be paid by July 15. This allows us time to offer your spot to folks on the waiting list, in the event that you cannot attend.
  • If you are unable to attend the program, your fee, minus the $300 deposit, can be refunded if a person on the waiting list is able to take your spot. If no one is able to take your spot, your fee is not refundable.

discount policy

All proceeds will go to Sam. We are offering this program at the same cost that Sam offers it in Texas, despite that costs are higher in Boston, in an effort to make it as accessible as possible. Because of this, our usual discount policies will not apply to this program.

We will cap this program at 22 participants.

how to register

If you have questions or you’d like to register for this program, please use our contact form, or email us at info@commonwealthherbs.com.

This course is complete for the year! We look forward to hosting Sam again. In the meantime, check out his work at The Human Path and Herbal Medics.

1 Comment

  1. Post-Disaster & Emergency Response Training on 6 December, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    […] The 10-Day Wilderness Herbal First Responder, offered in various locations across the […]


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