Instructor Biographies

spencer blackieSpencer Blackie, BS, MA, MS, OTR, PT, DPT, NMD, MTC, DHIr, Cert DN, CNC, CTN, etc.

Following 50 years in the fields of Physical and Occupational Therapies (B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University, M.A. in Occupational Therapy from USC, M.S. in Physical Therapy from Boston University, Doctorate in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy from University of St. Augustine), I completed an additional Doctorate in Natural Medicine and opened my own practice, Natural Therapeutics, in 2004, combining my skills in OT/PT with natural modalities. I am currently enrolled in Dr Christopher’s School of Natural Healing, pursuing my Master Herbalist degree, and when time permits try to spend time studying with Matthew Wood, and others.

My wife and I are presently empty nesters, but manage to stay busy with work and family, often babysitting three of our grandchildren who live in Minnesota (three more live in Vermont).

Sonia caseySonia Casey

Sonia Casey is a Traditional Western Herbalist, Wellness Coach, and Educator based in the west metro of the Twin Cities. She takes a heart-centered, whole-body, and whole-life approach that is centered around empowering people along their healing journey. Sonia is available for private consultations and provides her herbal clients with handcrafted herbal products from plants she has sustainably harvested for her herbal apothecary.

Sonia put her busy accounting career aside in 2011 to focus on the health and well-being of herself and her two boys. Inspired by the profound healing experienced by her family through various natural healing modalities, Sonia made the transition to herbalism and wellness coaching. She loves teaching interactive herbal and wellness classes that integrate all of the senses.

Sonia received her training in herbalism from Twin Cities herbalists Lise Wolff and Erin Piorier and her wellness coaching certificate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She studied flower essences with Martin Bulgerin. Sonia is also a Reiki Master and a volunteer for Herbalists Without Borders (HWB). She is actively involved in promoting earth friendly practices in her community. You can learn more about Sonia and her work at

allenaAllena Catchings

Allena was introduced to herbal remedies through her father, who kept an aloe vera plant in the window of his classroom for cuts and bruises. She was also influenced by her great-aunt Katie who nursed her back to health from pneumonia with goose grease and warm flannel. Seeing that she could be healed with natural homemade remedies, Allena began a love for the land and a desire to help people heal with plant medicine. It was this desire that led her to pursue a degree in Holistic Healing. She graduated from St. Catherine University in 2014 with a graduate certificate in Holistic Health Studies with a focus on Energy Work and Herbal Studies. After graduating, Allena continued herbal education and studied under Lise Wolff where she learned about plant medicine through the seasons.  She continues to seek and share plant knowledge through herb classes in School District 728 and plant walks around the Apple Valley and St. louis Park areas.  Allena is also a Reiki Practitioner and values energy work as it enhances her practice.

Lloey colebeckoey Colebeck

Loey Colebeck taught movement to women during 9 years in Spain. She is an accredited clinical Flower Essence Therapist (SEDIBAC #402), Constellations facilitator, minister, Jade Egg practitioner, and English translator Pablo Noriega’s book, Bach Flower Essences and Chinese Medicine.   Loey is dedicated to providing high-quality training such as she received in Spain, and teaches an in-depth Flower Essence Therapy course to integrative therapists and laypeople. Loey’s complete bio:  

Betsy Nelson

Betsy is a native Minnesotan and has always been ‘herb curious’, finding and tasting plants, flowers and herbs. She has degrees in Psychology and Studio Arts, and then went on to a carreer as a restaurant chef, her last restaurant gig being the Head Chef at the Aveda Spa and Retreat Center. Currently, Betsy works as a freelance food stylist and recipe developer, and has authored a cookbook ‘Tasting Minnesota’ as well as writing recipes for local magazines and food clients. Thinking about food as medicine has led her to study Western Herbalism and Ayurveda, and incorporates this knowledge into her cooking. Betsy has completed an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor program with James Bailey and an Ayurvedic Chef Training at Hale Pule in Kauiai with Myra Lewin, ‘Herbalism for Women’s Health’ with Erin Poirier and is nearly complete with Lise Wolff’s “Thee Seasons of Herbal Wisdom” course.


headshot 3Erin Piorier, Registered Herbalist, AHG, CPM

Erin Piorier is a Traditional Western Herbalist who has been serving the Twin Cities community with plant-based medicine for over ten years.   Erin is available for private consultation and provides her clients with handmade wildcrafted herbal products gathered from the fields and forest of the upper Midwest or grown in her organic garden.  She is committed to safe, collaborative, natural health care that treats the whole person.

Erin teaches extensively. She enjoys  both introducing beginners to the world of plant id and medicine making and digging into the big questions of herbal medicine and helping advanced students take their herbal work to the next level.  Erin is also a traditional midwife who offers homebirth services. She integrates her herbal practice into the care she provides childbearing women. She also offers classes and consultations focusing on health for women, babies, children and the whole family.

Erin is a mother of two children and lives with her family in St. Paul.  You can find her writing about plants on the web where she blogs about plants at and in the pages of the Plant Healer Magazine.

LuAnn RaadtLuAnn Raadt

LuAnn Raadt was raised on a farm in southern Minnesota and grew up with a love of plants and growing things.  She now happily gathers many of the “weeds” her family once tried to eradicate, and uses them in remedies for common physical ailments and imbalances.  Trained under Lise Wolff and other local herbalists, this farmer’s daughter enjoys growing a wide variety medicinal herbs that are not readily available or are considered
at-risk in the wild.  She also creates herbal remedies, teas and other beverages,
with the curiosity and inventiveness of a mad scientist.


carolyn smithCarolyn Smith

Carolyn has been a student of herbal medicine since 2008.  Brought up in St. Paul, MN, in a relatively conventional midwestern family, she began developing an awareness of plants and their medicinal value through classes with herbalist, Lise Wolff.  She completed Lise’s Three Seasons Herbal Intensive in 2010, and has been Lise’s apprentice since fall of 2012. Working closely with Lise, Carolyn has learned: the power of subtle small doses of plants for healing; the use of local abundant plants for medicine; the value of carefully listening to people and their pulse to hear what they need; and listening to plants to learn what they do.  Through Lise’s mentorship she has established her own herbal consultation practice modeled closely from Lise’s.

Over the summer of 2017 Carolyn worked as the full time intern at Red Clover Herbal Apothecary in Amery Wisconsin, founded and run by herbalist and herb farmer Nancy Graden.  Carolyn has also worked several years in retail with natural health care products at Whole Foods and Mastel’s Health Foods in St. Paul.  She completed a 10 week intensive internship at HerbPharm during the summer of 2013, working on their organic farm in Williams, Oregon, cultivating medicinal plants and studying with a variety of herbalists, naturopaths, and herb farmers while there.  She has studied with Martin Bulgerin (of BioPsciences Institute) on Flower Essences, taken classes with Matthew Wood, and studied ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, and traditional plant usage in Hawaii with Kathleen Harrison and Dennis McKenna.  She earned a Masters of Liberal Studies in Spring 2013 through the University of MN, incorporating classes from the Center for Spirituality and Healing into a thesis which focused on changing paradigms of body and healing metaphors through looking at alternative medicine.

You can learn more on her website:  

aszani stoddardAszani Stoddard, APRN, CNM, MSN, IBCLC

Aszani is a nurse-midwife by training and a wise-woman by avocation. She has studied and used plant-based medicine for her entire 30+ year career. Two years ago, she trained with Dr. Laurie Radovsky to become a “Lyme Literate” practitioner and stopped attending births. She sees clients affected by tick-borne diseases in the clinic she owns with Dr Radovsky, Birch Tree Healing Arts, located in St Paul.

Samuel Thayer

Samuel Thayer is an author, educator, researcher, and forager who lives in northwestern Wisconsin with his wife and three children. His areas of expertise/interest are edible plants, sustainable food systems, and plant ecology. Sam has an organic orchard, sugarbush, and nut grove and manages his land to be a paradise for human foragers and wildlife. His books include The Forager’s Harvest, Nature’s Garden, and Incredible Wild Edibles.



Lise WolffLise Wolff, Registered Herbalist, AHG

Lise Wolff has studied herbalism for twenty-eight years, with herbalists from Susun Weed to Matthew Wood with whom she apprenticed in 1995.  She is a professional member of The American Herbalist Guild and received her MSc in Scotland.   An active practitioner, Lise supplies her apothecary primarily with herbs she gathers and prepares.  She maintains a private practice in South Minneapolis and is available for private consultations.  For the past eighteen years she has taught beginning and advanced herb classes in the Midwest based on actual case histories. Lise’s primary focus is on the most prolific plants available commonly called weeds, that insistently volunteer their nutrition and healing powers everywhere we walk.

In 2010 and 2011 Lise taught at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing as a part of the School of Nursing curriculum for the Doctor of Nursing Practice.  Fall 2010 Lise was appointed to the academic faculty of St. Katherine University. As adjunct professor, she teaches the Herbology course for the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies.  Beyond herbalism, her other great loves include her husband and her son Nick, without whom a photo just isn’t worth taking.









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