Caitlin Gilson


Caitlin Gilson Headshot

School of Natural Health Arts and Sciences



Herbal Sciences

Caitlin is a director and core faculty in the Holistic Landscape Design Department at Bastyr University.  She is also an associate professor in the Herbal Sciences Department. 


Caitlin is a permaculture designer who strives to help connect humans to the environment.  Prior to her work at Bastyr, she directed the educational programming for the 176 community gardens in Boston, MA through the Trustees of Reservations. She also created school gardening and horticultural therapy-related programs within public schools and designed garden training courses for educators. Caitlin’s research interests involve the development of propagation protocols for at-risk medicinal plants, studying the pedagogy of service-learning, and the therapeutic aspects of human interaction with nature. Caitlin has presented at the World Environmental Education Congress, the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference, Tilth Alliance Conference, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Her teaching and practice centers on permaculture design with an emphasis on medicinal and edible plant cultivation. Through her teaching she explores the pedagogy of service and project-based learning. She believes it is crucial for students to take what they learn in a classroom setting and engage actively with the community in their field of study. Through the CHLD program students practice the Permaculture ethics of human care and earth care through service learning projects that allow them to build connections in the community and utilize a wide range of design, communication and implementation skills in a real-world context. From work study on the medicinal and edible gardens on campus to participating in the NW Flower and Garden Show to partnering with non-profits such as the International Rescue Committee's New Roots program to provide design and garden mentoring, the students are exposed to a range of opportunities that await them in the field of Holistic Landscape Design.


  • MA Environmental Education from the University of New Hampshire in 2009
  • Masters Program in Natural Resources and the Environment from the University of Michigan in 2007
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Fine and Studio Arts, St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2005
  • Certificate in Horticultural Therapy from the Horticultural Therapy Institute/Colorado College in 2018




Professional affiliations

  • Permaculture Institute of North America
  • Washington State Nursery and Landscaping Association