Columbines School

News & Events:

Our Instructors and Staff:

Howie Brounstein has taught botany, herbalism, and wildcrafting extensively for decades, including at such herbal establishments as the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. He is the co-owner and a primary instructor of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has a clinical practice in Eugene, Oregon. He is well known for his brilliant in depth teaching style and his passionate love of plants.

Alex Queathem Payne Alex is an administrator since 2016, an instructor since 2018, and a graduate of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, OR. Alex works as a production team member and events coordinator for Cheryl’s Herb Shop in Maplewood, MO. She is passionate to inspire others to be Earth Stewards and to live naturally. She is the co-founder with The Tend and Flourish School of Botanicals in the confluence of Missouri and Illinois rivers.

Steven Yeager is a guest teacher and has been studying Oregon’s flora and ecology since 1995, He enjoys botanizing, wildcrafting, and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Steven was a co-owner of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has been an instructor at the school since 1997.He believes cultivating a relationship with plants and the natural world is vital for a healthy existence on this planet. Steven also works at Mountain Rose Herbs as the Director of Quality. He serves on the following board of directors including the American Herbal Products Association, AHPA’s Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals, United Plant Savers, and the Native Plant Society of Oregon.


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 over 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.


Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop

Back by Popular Demand on Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop taught by Howie Brounstein of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and author of Herbal Smoking Mixtures, a groundbreaking Etext released over 20 years ago!

This 3 hour online workshop includes reasons why people smoke, herbs to quit smoking, herbs for body and flavor, preparing mixtures, and ceremonial, recreational, and medicinal uses of herbal smokes. We will explore the intricacies of developing your own mixture. Please note we will not be discussing vaping or cannabis.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022
6 PM to 9 PM (Pacific Time)

Online on Zoom
Limited Seats Available

$45 payment in full required

To register, you can email us at or call 541-687-7114 for an invoice from our payment portal.

39th Annual 2023 First Year Field Apprenticeship Program

Taught by Howie Brounstein, Leah Kays, Alex Queathem, and a possible guest appearance from Steven Yeager

We are now accepting applications for the 2023 Field Apprenticeship Program. We are conducting interviews now. It fills up quickly and spaces are limited, as we accept only 18 apprentices per year. The best way to assure an interview for the 2022 Field Program is to fill out an interview request form and send it to us as soon as possible.

The 2023 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.

Columbines Online Distance Learning Program

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

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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 2022 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 2021 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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