Branching Out: An Ethnobotanical Garden in Community

Spring Open
Class Standing
Marja Eloheimo

Spring is a time of action. This hybrid program is part of a yearlong mission to revitalize the ethnobotanical garden at the Longhouse and tell the garden’s 25-year storyThrough both online and in-person class sessions, s. tudents adopt an area in the garden and learn to care for it. We observe and identify plants present, learn skills to appropriately harvest, cook, and make “kitchen medicine,” and finish projects with an eye to the garden’s future. The program culminates with a community educational event that shares what we have accomplished and learned; the garden “branches out.” Importantly, we pursue our studies with recognition that the land we occupy was stolen by European-Americans from the First People of this place and we commit to learn these difficult historical truths, support Indigenous leadership, and respect Indigenous sovereignty. In this spirit, we contribute our service-based learning to a living legacy that fosters environmental justice and helps the garden “branch out.” Students from fall and winter quarters are encouraged to complete the year in this spring program, and new students are invited to join.

12-credit enrollment is availablebased on a plan for additional independent study. Submit a detailed letter of interest to faculty. Signature is required.

Background:The Evergreen State College is located on the traditional territory of the Squaxin Island Tribe. These and other Coast Salish Peoples have lived since Time Immemorial on the shores of Puget Sound –– now known as part of the Salish Sea –– and have traditionally spoken dialects of the Lushootseed language. In 1994, the Evergreen Longhouse, s’gʷigʷiʔaltxʷ -- “House of Welcome” -– the first Longhouse on a State college campus –- was constructed; the mission of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center is to promote Indigenous arts and cultures. Also, in 1994, an ethnobotanical garden was established around the Longhouse. In the intervening years, challenges, including Covid, have interrupted the garden’s development and care.


Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (12): 30015
So - Sr (8): 30016

Academic Details

community development, community-based herbalism, ecology, education, environmental justice, garden interpretation, horticulture, sustainability, Tribal relations


$65 garden and workshop tools/supplies


Hybrid (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Evening and Weekend
Schedule Details
Organic Farmhouse