2018 Ethnobotany & Traditional Skills Course

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This program is designed for those with a love of plants who want to go deeper into the skills and knowledge of traditional plant knowledge of the Pacific Northwest. This is a focused mentorship program following the seasonal rounds of the People of Cascadia. We will gain and share skills, harvest our own materials, work on group and individual projects, visit museums and cultural centers, invite traditional knowledge guests to share knowledge, while exploring Cascadia and working on projects.

Heidi Bohan, instructor and organizer, has been working in tribal communities and teaching to the public for the past 22 years, as a professional woodworker for 15, and with plants personally and professionally for all of her life as an organic gardener, back to the lander in the 70’s, and in propagation nurseries since the 80’s. She is the author of ‘The People of Cascadia’, ‘Starflower Native Plant ID Cards’, and ‘Journey Plant Medicines Cards’, along with numerous other related writings. She teaches Ethnobotany as adjunct faculty for Bastyr University (8 years), Alderleaf Wilderness School (5 years), Bullock Brothers Homestead (5 years), and numerous other organizations around the Pacific Northwest. To learn more please go to www.heidibohan.com

When? The course runs January- September on alternating Saturday and Sundays on two weekends per month, with a combination of workshops and ecosystem explorations. Each month there will also be Project Work days and evenings, along with impromptu expeditions for additional learning and skills building time.

Dates for 2018: Coming soon!

Saturday will generally be Excursion days to explore plant communities and cultural sites around the region, harvesting and visits to other experts. Sundays will generally be focused on hands-on projects for skills and knowledge building.  Followup project work evenings will be scheduled at least once per month, and the studio made available  to work on incomplete projects.

In keeping with a mentorship experience and as an added bonus for this program, optional ‘impromptu’ gathering expeditions and cultural opportunities will be offered throughout the course as opportunities arise with Heidi Bohan.

Where? Workshops will take place at the historic Hjertoos House Studio in the Snoqualmie Valley, and various other locations within 30-40 minutes of Seattle.

What can you expect?

You will learn about native plants and their ethnobotanical uses of the plants of the Pacific Northwest

  • Plant identification with a focus on important traditional plants
  • Traditional and contemporary uses of plants for food, medicine, fiber and ceremony
  • Traditional land management techniques,
  • Elements of traditional ecological knowledge
  • Phenology (seasonal sequence of flowering, ripening) and Seasonal indicators
  • Mushrooms, lichens, mosses for food, medicine and dyes
  • Plant communities around the Cascadia region from seashore to sagebrush steppe,
  • Historical lay of the land,
  • Rare and at risk plants and habitats, with a focus culturally important plants and landscapes

You will gain skills and knowledge about:

  • Wild harvest of plants following the seasonal round
  • Traditional foods preparation and preservation techniques
  • Plant medicines- traditional and contemporary
  • Wood working and tool-making
  • Plant fiber and weaving
  • Basketry and mats
  • Pigments and natural dyes
  • Cultural elements of food, shelter, clothing

You will make some cool stuff! Example of potential projects:

  • Pack harvest baskets from a variety of materials
  • Traditional foods meal with camas, fern, biscuit root, acorn, wild greens and more
  • Cedar bark processing for clothing, containers and more
  • Carved platters, harvesting tools or other woodworking projects
  • Nets and net bags from nettle, dogbane and other plant fibers
  • Plant presses and pressings, herbarium sheets and journals
  • Journey plant medicine kits from traditional plants

You will journey to important cultural landscapes:

  • Vestige and historic camas prairies and oak savannahs
  • Seashore and estuarine island habitats
  • Old growth forests and bogs
  • Sagebrush steppe and ponderosa pine forests
  • Montane meadows, bogs and forests
  • Columbia River Gorge and Eastside
  • Cultural centers and museum archives

Who is this designed for? This course is geared for people with some plant knowledge and designed for a wide array of skill levels from novice to higher skill and knowledge. Current registrants are running towards higher plant knowledge levels and a combination of novice to advanced skills level, so you will be in good company.

Program Fee:

$1600 for 10 months, Max group size 10
$250 Deposit holds your spot followed by a personal interview

Buy Now Button $250 Deposit


Willow at studioweb Studio september 2Classroom 1web






Classes are based out of Carnation, Washington in the heart of the Snoqualmie Valley, at the historic Hjertoos House with a studio and outdoor classroom spaces and lots of nearby trails, natural and cultural areas.  There are possible overnight accommodations available at Carnation Tree Farm Barn Loft, Tolt McDonald Park yurts, local AirBnB’s, and others by arrangement.

Image file of some past ethnobotany projects:

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