Heron Brae Botanical Services

Consulting & Teaching

 Class Offerings


Heron currently teaches at

the Columbines School of Botanical Studies

in Eugene, OR




Columbines School of Botanical Studies 3rd year core curriculum class:

Wild Food Tending

2018 Class Description

The local ecology, distribution, and abundance of wild food plants has been intimately shaped by the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Indigenous people and their historical life ways of walking and tending the land in a seasonally migratory pathway. This class investigates our current potential relationship to these ancient, sustaining wild foods and landscapes. We will explore multiple regions of Oregon, studying the First Peoples, the seasonal patterns and diversity of plant foods and the complex diets of cultures that co-evolved with these places. We will be identifying, watching, locating, harvesting, processing, cooking, eating, and tending these foods. We will put into practice our ecological knowledge to expand our definitions and techniques of wildcrafting to consider what role we may play in actively tending plant communities with strategic human-caused disturbance regimes. In this way, we begin to help replenish and sustain plant populations through our harvest and tending.

Students are expected to partake in the processing of wild foods (as their physical ability allows), which in some circumstances is significant labor (like digging cooking pits) and time (such as watching a cooking fire). 

Curriculum elements:

●      Seasonal migratory rounds of Pacific Northwest Indigenous peoples

●      Advanced keying using multiple sources

●      In depth Apiaceae (carrot family) taxonomy

●      Ancient wild garden locating and ecosystem identification

●      Planting and collecting wild native seeds

●      Fire ecology and prescribed fire

●      Regenerative forestry

●      Long term wild food storage techniques

●      Manual processing methods

●      Hands on pit baking techniques

●      Traditionally inspired and modern wild plant meal preparation

●      Special focus seasonal foods:

o      Spring greens

o      Roots (including camas, biscuit root, yampah)

o      Seeds

o      Berries

o      Acorns

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Columbines Second Year Field Apprenticeship


Themes of Additional Classes Offered:


Botany &  Plant Identification

    *  Practical field-friendly techniques

       *  Plant family characteristics emphasis

       *  Use of a technical identification key, or just how to use

          your field guides effectively

       *  Plant biology

* Plant evolution and ecology

 Wild Plant Uses

       *  How to begin foraging wild plants!

       *  Plant uses for fiber and crafts

       *  Native plants and weeds

       *  Local medicinal herbs

* Identify poisonous plants to avoid

       *  Create delicious dishes with wild food


       *  How to make your own tinctures, salves and herbal teas

       *  Learn easy herb-use categories like astringents, demulcents,

               calming herbs, etc.

           Common kitchen spices as medicines

       *  Herbal first aid

 Ethical Wildcrafting

     *  Introduction to ethical wildcrafting 

       *  Practice gathering plants in the field

  *  Process plants into medicines 

Natural History and

Rekindling Connection with Place

       *  Open senses using Nature Awareness exercises

       *  Honing observation skills

       *  Investigate your personal relationship to plants

   *  Keeping a nature journal

       *  Games to open your deeper awareness

Nature Meditations

      *  Creating sacred space and earth-based ceremony in nature

      *  Learn easy ways to sense energy and communicate with


      *  Recreate worldviews based on interconnection with nature

      *  Western civilization and our thinking: why it matters

More Botany Classes:

      *   Herbarium Collection and Plant Pressing

          Gather and press plant samples for archives and research,

               identification aids, or for crafts

      *  Plant walks with a theme:

           Seasonal wildflowers; Winter Twig ID; Northwest trees;

               Moss and liverwort biology; and more!

      *   Plant Biology for Artists

          Cellular structures are a fascinating point to dive into the

               forms of nature

      *   Plant Biology

          Explore plant form and terminology, evolution and

               systematics, life cycles of major plant groups

      *   Vegetation Mapping

          Describe plant communities and learn larger patterns that

              can help explain plant distributions

Contact Heron to Schedule One of These Engaging Programs near You!
Contact Heron to Schedule One of These Engaging Programs near You!

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