Our Founder - Benjamin Scott Clark
Benjamin Scott Clark Founder/ CEO of American Wilderness Botanicals
Benjamin Scott Clark Founder/CEO of American Wilderness Botanicals
Ben Scott was born and raised in Wilson, Wyoming in the beautiful valley of Jackson Hole.
“My father’s family has been in the valley since my great grandparents settled the old Elk Ranch (now part of Grand Teton National Park) in the early 1900s. My mother awakened my love for the beautiful botanicals of the valley when I was a child. She taught me the common names of many of the plants and trees that grow wild here. When we went on horseback rides she would quiz me on the common names of the wonderful flora that grew everywhere. I could soon identify many of them even if I were hiking in the dark—every botanical has its own special and unique scent and energy.
“When I moved to Southern California and later to New York City I longed for and missed my home. Every time I would come home for a visit it felt as though the trees and plants were welcoming me. I always have felt at home with them. After graduating in international studies and environmental issues from New York University I moved to Utah where I studied anatomy and physiology at the Utah College of Massage Therapy.
“When I returned to Jackson Hole I was hired as the director of an amazing ranch spa where guests from all over the world would enjoy the beauty of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. It was during this time that I took careful notice of all ingredients in any products the spa therapists used on our clients. I began to understand that synthetic preservatives and additives were not only offensive to us and pure botanical chemistry but are also not needed if products are used and cared for properly.
“I also had the great opportunity to be taught by Elizabeth Van Buren (a leading spa aromatherapist) about the amazing world of essential oils. From that time I have expanded my knowledge of native botanicals. Most botanicals used in high-end spa formulas contain botanicals from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, and Australia. It is rare to see native North American botanicals used in personal care products. Through this education on wild and cultivated botanicals I have met some of the most wonderful people, including some of the founding mothers of an amazing native botanical herbal company now called Wind River Herbs.
“In 2011 I studied under the wonderful mentorship of Ann Barker Harman, one of the few top U.S. artisan distillers of hydrosols and essential oils using handmade copper Alembic stills. I eventually founded American Wilderness Botanicals. In 2013 we purchased two beautiful Copper Alembic stills, which we use to distill products throughout harvest season (from May through October). We have clients all over the world.”
It’s our mission to bring people closer to the healing power of the American Wilderness. That power rests in the botanical heritage enjoyed by Native Americans for thousands of years. The indigenous people of North America were one with indigenous botanicals. They understood plant language and used these incredible plants in every aspect of their lives. One cannot learn about these amazing botanicals without connecting with the Native tribes who know them well. American Wilderness Botanicals and the Healing Barn have been working hand in hand with local Native tribes in educating people about plant medicine and culture. With workshops, wonderful drumming ceremonies, celebrations, and other events we connect people to the plants and to the earth keepers who have known them for thousands of years.
Hydrosols/Plant Distillates – A rediscovered and growing trend in botanical use for personal care and wellness .
American Wilderness Botanicals also has some of the purest and most potent hydrosols and essential oils in the business. Virtually all of our hydrosols and essential oils are produced from wild harvested (wildcrafted) botanicals in Wyoming; the vast majority are harvested in Jackson Hole and the Wind River Basin. Random samples of our hydrosols are tested at the Sagescript Institute in Longmont, Colorado. We make sure our customers know they are getting pure hydrosols that are microbe and fungus free. This is why we ask customers to not open the atomizers (sprayers) that are screwed onto bottles, as this can introduce microbes and fungus to the botanical waters in the bottle. We use pure grain alcohol to sterilize atomizers and virtually all containers and passageways that the hydrosol touches in the copper alembic still during distillation, the glass funnel, and gallon bottles where the hydrosols are stored. Our essential oils and hydrosols are unadulterated without any chemical preservatives or additives. No exceptions and no compromises.
American Wilderness Botanicals plans to expand our product line to include a growing list of desert botanicals like Pinion Pine, Utah Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Chaparral. These desert botanicals are harvested in Southwestern Utah by a wonderful couple who began their distillation journey at the Healing Barn. We also plan to offer wonderful incense sticks, which include essential oils from locally wildcrafted botanicals like Big Basin Sagebrush, Wyoming Sagebrush, and Wild Goldenrod. We use the science of ethnobotany to explore new products, respecting indigenous peoples and practices while researching plants and their efficacy in healing and wellness.
Our mission includes expanding our North American wildcrafted plant sources to include the Pacific Northwest and Southwest; Western Deserts; the Mid-Western States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arkansas; New England; and the Southern States. “You can throw a dart at a map of North America and wherever it lands there’s going to be culture, history, food, people, and flavor to play with right there and so many stories to tell. You can write a book.” - Chef Sean Sherman
The Food Sovereignty Movement – We are striving to educate the public about this deeply important movement as it relates to indigenous plants and heritage.
“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” - Declaration of Nyéléni, at the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007
Our Move To Wyoming's Wind River Basin
In 2022 American Wilderness Botanicals moved from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to the Wind River Basin of Wyoming. We are now located near the historic town of Lander. We will harvest in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming region as well as the Wind River Basin.