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Howie Brounstein

"I did a lot of hitchhiking as a teenager," says Howie Brounstein, who lived in the Hollywood Hills at the time. "Oregon was the friendliest place I found." After high school, Brounstein hitchhiked back to study botany and agronomy at OSU. Though he didn't finish a degree, he got a job doing research in the botany department and he continued to take classes: "People thought I was a grad student." Though he still works on occasion as a professional botanist, particularly in surveys of theatened plants, Brounstein's major interests are herbalism and wildcrafting. As the founder and primary instructor of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies, he has offered classes in wild plant identification, location, harvesting, and processing for 23 years. "We're known for our wildcrafting ethics," he stresses. "We won't let people harvest any plants in class unless they get the OK. If everyone took something, there wouldn't be anything left." You can find Brounstein at booth 84 of the Oregon Country Fair in July. Learn more about Columbines' academic offerings at botanicalstudies.net.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 3 May 2007

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