Columbines School

Columbines Instructors:

Howie Brounstein is the owner of Columbines and Wizardry Herbs, Inc. and primary instructor of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. He has taught botany, herbalism, and wildcrafting extensively for decades, including such herbal establishments as the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. Howie has a clinical practice in Eugene, Oregon.

Steven Yeager has been studying our local flora and ecology since 1995, both wildcrafting and preparing herbal preparations for himself and the community. He enjoys botanizing and exploring Oregon’s wild places. He was the manager of the Columbines and Wizardry herbal business and has been a teacher in the Apprenticeship Program since 1997. He is laboratory and quality control manager at Mountain Rose Herbs. In 2011 Steven became an elected trustee of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and is currently participating with many of the AHPA’s committees.

Heron Brae is a Northwest born botanist, herbalist, and wildcrafter loyal to her bioregion and passionate about teaching and learning. She has studied with Columbines School of Botanical Studies, Blue Iris Botanicals, Wilderness Awareness Community School, Rocky Mountain Biological School, and Evergreen State College, where she earned a BS in botany and ecology. She has enjoyed researching plants in the Puget prairies and the sagebrush steppes of eastern Washington. She presents guest workshops at Evergreen State College and numerous regional freeschools. She leads plant walks, workshops, and consultations through her business Wild Rose Botanical Studies in Olympia, Washington.


What is the Columbines School?

Low Elevation Meadow

The Columbines School of Botanical Studies offers a unique educational program ranging from entry level lectures in community herbalism to a three year program including botany, ecology, wildcrafting, plant pharmacy, physiology, pathophysiology, and clinical herbalism. Operating for nearly three decades, we specialize in field programs where the majority of the classes are outside with the plants for a truly ‘hands on’ experience.

Here is a downloadable pdf version of our most current Course Descriptions. Right click on link, and choose "save link as" to download.


2015 First Year Field Apprenticeship

We are now accepting applications for the 2015 Field Apprenticeship Program. The interview process for 2015 begins in September, 2014. This class fills up quickly and spaces are limited this year, as we accepting only 12 apprentices. The best way to assure a space in the 2015 Field Program is to fill out an interview request form and send it to us.

The 2014 Field Apprenticeship is comprised of a field program and a lecture series. The field trips are the backbone of our educational curriculum in which you will experientially learn field botany, ecology and wildcrafting techniques, as well as defining your relationship with nature. The lecture series provides the inside classroom environment required for note taking and lecture-based learning.

Upon completion of the Apprenticeship, you will be able to identify, locate, harvest, process, and use unfamiliar plants outside of the class setting. This skill will apply throughout the world beyond the Pacific Northwest.

Physiology for the Herbalist

This 36 hour, six class series is designed to have you remember the basic physiology concepts. Students who have had one year of herbal training with another herbalist may participate in this class. This introduction will focus on membrane physiology, and the nervous and digestive systems. This same class was taught at Michael Mooret’s Southwest School of Botanical Medicine for seven years, and is ideal for those wishing to study with physiology oriented herbalists such as Adam Seller. It will run on Sundays, October 5, 12, 26, and November 2, 9, 23, 2014. The cost is $450; a $50 deposit is required. The required text is The Physiology Coloring Book by Kapit, Macey, and Meisami.

Contact 541-687-7114 for more information or to reserve a spot. .

Bioregional Herbalism of the Oregon Cascades

This 2 hour online webinar is available through the Sylvan Institute of Botanical Medicine. Cost:$20.

After an overview of the ecology of Oregon, Howie will focus on bioregional plants found in the marshes, meadows, old growth forests, partial cuts, and clear cuts of the western Oregon Cascades.

These plants will be viewed through the lens of the basic concepts of Western herbalism, including astringents, demulcents, aromatics, alteratives, diaphoretics, diuretics, and nervines.

Plants discussed will range from the well-known Ligusticum grayi, Ceanothus velutinus, Valeriana sitchensis, and Pedicularis sp., to the lesser known local herbs.

Click here to register.

Columbines Online Distance Learning Program

The Columbines School of Botanical Studies is releasing our online distance learning program in the December 2013! Click here to be put on our mailing list and notified when the exciting event occurs.

HerbTV Video

An HerbTV video clip, Calm Down: Listen to Howie as he talks about the nervine tonics oats, skullcap and St. John’s wort!

Check out our Video Page.

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What is Botany?

Botany is the science of plants: their life, structure, growth, classification, as well as the study of the plant life in a specific area. In this section you will find plant lists of the western United States, original articles and links pertaining to the science of plant identification, as well as other aspects of the scientific study of plant life.

View 2014 Plant Lists as the Season Unfolds!

Plant Lists of the Pacific Northwest: These plant lists, field trip highlights, and lecture topics are from the Columbines School of Botanical Studies 2014 Apprenticeship Program in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and the surrounding areas. New material will be added regularly. Read and enjoy as the season unfolds.

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What is Wildcrafting?

trees: berberis nervosa habitat

Wildcrafting is gathering plant material from its native "wild" environment. Wildcrafting is stewardship. This means we take care of the land and our plant populations or stands. We harvest in a way that insures the health of the stand for our children. We should be able to return to this stand year after year. It will teach us many secrets about ecology and population dynamics. It is not a one-night stand.

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What is Herbalism?

The art and science of herbalism is a practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts promoting health, and preventing and modifying illness. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, and herbal medicine.

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