Certificate in Native Plant Studies Program

Adult & Family Classes | Discovery Field Trips | Children's Summer Camps

The Certificate in Native Plant Studies program has as its goal, to raise awareness of the importance of native plants and their value to our environment. Its curriculum consists of core classes, electives, field trips and volunteer service, which together provide a well-rounded education balanced among botany, taxonomy, ecology, conservation and uses of our native Southeastern flora. Classes are held at The Gardens and at other appropriate locations

Program events will be offered throughout the year. Students may begin their earning their certificate at any time, with any course. Certificates will be awarded to those who fulfill requirements within three years, however – anyone is welcome to register for any of the classes.


Click here for a PDF of brochure.

Click here to view some of the past class offerings in the program.

For more information about registration:

Contact 205.414.3950

For more information about the program:
Contact Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion at 205.414.3985 or jmanion@bbgardens.org.

Current Students: Volunteer Service Hours Form


Upcoming Classes, Field Trips and Volunteer Opportunities


NOTE: If you are unable to register using one of the Register Online buttons below, the class may be full,

contact Rona Walters at 205.414.3950 or rwalters@bbgardens.org.

Due to high call and email volume you should expect a response within 24-48 hours.


Making New Plants: All about Plant Propagation (elective)
Instructor: Henry Hughes
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, May 17 | 8:30 - 12:30 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members

Plant propagation is the study of plant structures and plant growth and development relating to reproduction by the germination of spores and seed - or by the initiation of adventitious roots and shoots from vegetative structures. Collection, storage, preparation and treatment methods for successful propagation of woody and herbaceous plants will be discussed. In addition to traditional “greenhouse propagation” an introduction to laboratory tissue culture will be included.


Almond Granite Outcrop (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Arnie Rutkis & John Manion
Saturday, May 17 | 9 - 4 p.m.
Location: Randolph County, AL
$60 Members | $70 Non-Members

Almond Granite Outcrop in Randolph County, is one of our state’s most distinctive landscapes, where soil types range from basic to acidic, thereby supporting an array of contrasting plant species – some quite rare. This outcrop is situated in the Piedmont physiographic region, and its character brings to mind the surface of the moon. Due to its geology and hydrology, it is home to a wide variety of habitats and flora, ranging in character from xeric outcrops to boggy seeps. Participants will see colonies of some very special plants, including one which grows only there and one other location – and even a carnivorous species!


Prairie Grove Glades (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Tom Diggs, Ph.D. & John Manion
Saturday, May 24 | 9 - 4 p.m.
Location: Lawrence County, AL
$60 Members | $70 Non-Members

Prairie Grove Glades, in Lawrence County, is one of Alabama’s natural wonders. It is a large, sprawling complex of limestone glades associated with the Highland Rim of northern Alabama, and is our state’s largest intact cedar glade complex. These types of limestone outcrops are commonly found within the Central Basin of Tennessee region and are home to many species of highly adapted plants – some of which are globally rare. We hope to see several of the twelve species of rare plants that grow there.


Introduction to Mycology (elective)
Instructor: Juan Luis Mata, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 31 | 8:30-12:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Garden
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members
The study of fungi is an immense field. This class will focus on the macrofungi, which include any type of fungal reproductive structure that is evident to the naked eye. Recognition of the major groups of macrofungi will be taught, and after an introductory lecture - participants will collect specimens in The Gardens for detailed examination and hands-on learning. Final remarks on macrofungal ecology, diversity and importance, and useful tips - will conclude the class.


The Bibb County Glades (field trip)
Trip leaders: Tom Diggs, Ph.D., Fred Spicer & John Manion
Location: Bibb County Glades
Saturday, June 7 | 8:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$60 Members | $70 Non-Members
Called “a botanical lost world,” partly due to eight new species of plants having been discovered there, this unique relict landscape contains a number of Alabama endemic plant species and others rare, unusual and particularly adapted to life in this distinctive Ketona limestone glade. This is a moderate walking trip on natural, uneven and rocky terrain. Depending on their flowering period this year, we hope to follow our trip to the glades with a visit the Cahaba lilies.


What’s That Plant? A Workshop for Learning How to Identify Plants (elective)
Instructor: Tom Diggs, Ph.D.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, June 14 | 8:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members
Identifying plants can be challenging and perplexing, but is an important skill to possess. This full-day workshop will begin at a very basic level and progress to the use of more complex methods and tools used for learning a plant’s identity. Basic terminology will be presented, followed by instruction on the use of a variety of tools, primarily taxonomic keys used as “roadmaps” that lead to plant identification. Ample time will be spent doing hands-on exercises and corroborating material learned while examining plants in The Gardens. Recommended reference: Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris (Jan 1, 2001)


Summer Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)
Instructor: Fred Spicer
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, August 9 | 8:30 - 12:30 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members
Using The Gardens' extensive living collections as a hands-on resource, we will focus on attributes and identification features of species found naturally or in cultivation in Alabama. Attendees will examine and learn to identify ~20 plants whose key traits are evident in summer, as well as learn which of these plants make good sense to use in your landscapes. This is largely a walking class, held outdoors; please dress appropriately for the weather.