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.

Steven Yeager has been studying Oregon’s flora and ecology since 1995, He enjoys botanizing, wildcrafting, and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Steven is 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.

Heron Brae was born and raised here in the southern Willamette Valley. She is a botanist, herbalist, rewilder, and community organizer. She earned her BS from The Evergreen State College in Botany and Ecology, and since 1997 has studied through diverse venues such the Wilderness Awareness School, Colette Gardiner’s Blue Iris Herbal Apprenticeship, Siskiyou Permaculture, and more. She graduated from Columbines School of Botanical Studies in 2005, and has been teaching at Columbines since 2010. She lives in Eugene and travels throughout Oregon, spending her time working towards interdependent ways of living with wild plants and liberatory societal change through restoration forestry, crafty plant projects, community building, listening, and independent ethnobotanical research.

Alex Queathem is a graduate of the Columbines School and has been an administrator for the last four years and a teacher for the last two. She also is the owner and teacher at The Tend and Flourish School of Botanicals in the confluence of Missouri and Illinois rivers.


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 in July 2021

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.

Thursday, July 1,2021
6 PM to 9 PM (Pacific Time)

Online on Zoom
Limited Seats Available

$45 payment in full required

Click here to register through facebook. Alternatively, you can email us at or call 541-687-7114 for an invoice from our payment portal.

37th Annual 2021 First Year Field Apprenticeship Program

Taught by Howie Brounstein, Heron Brae, Alex Queathem, and a possible guest appearance from Steven Yeager

We are now accepting applications for the 2021 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 2021 Field Program is to fill out an interview request form and send it to us as soon as possible.

The 2021 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.

Herbal Concepts and Northwest Materia Medica on Zoom

Taught by Howie Brounstein, Heron Brae, and Alex Queathem with a possible guest appearance of Steven Yeager

We designed this 56 hour lecture series to illustrate herbal fundamental principles using northwestern medicinal plants. These native herbs were intentionally selected to serve as an accessible medicine chest and an herbal basis for further learning. Herbal preparations and medicine making labs are included throughout term. No pre-requisite required.

Spring term runs April 2021 to June 2021 on Thursdays and some Mondays. The total cost for the spring term is $390.00 for 10 weekly evening lectures and 3 Herbal Preparation labs (32.5 hours). A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place.

Summer term will run from mid-July 2021 to the first week in September 2021, and consists of 8 evening lectures (24 hours). The cost is $290.00. A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. Completion of spring term required.

For more information or to reserve your spot, contact the Columbines School of Botanical Studies at 541-687-7114.

A Clinical Herbalism Series on Zoom

Chronic Illness in a Clinical Setting

Spaces are available in our Second Year Lecture Series with Howie Brounstein.

Topics may include:

  • local materia medica
  • common nutritional deficiencies
  • handling and using drop dosage herbs safely
  • clinical intake
  • case history review
  • understanding lab work
  • GI tract protocols for chronic illness

This class helps the student of herbalism understand chronic illness in a clinical setting. Students completing this course may be eligible for our Eugene Clinic Roundtables and Clinic Internships.

This 54 hour lecture series consists of eighteen three hour lectures from April 2021 to October or November 2021. The cost is $675.00. A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. Financing is available. The prerequisite is successful completion of 1st Year Apprenticeship, 1st Year Lecture-Only Program, or one year of herbal study from another institution with approval. Call 541-687-7114 or email for more information or to reserve a spot.

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 2021 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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