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.



Introduction to the Study of Native Plants (core)
Instructor: John Manion
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, March 7 | 8:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members
This full-day introduction to the study of native plants will begin in the classroom and later move outside into The Gardens and greenhouses, where we will correlate much of what we have learned. The class will be a broad overview of several topics relevant to native plants, including: terminology and definitions, why natives, plant conservation, recommended references and historical and contemporary uses in our landscapes. Other topics to be discussed will be plant identification, designing with natives and propagation. This class will benefit those whom have already taken CNPS classes, as well as anyone interested in the topic.


Solon Dixon & Splinter Hill (fieldtrip)
Leaders: Curtis Hansen, Fred Nation, Fred Spicer, John Manion
Location: Andalusia, AL
Friday - Sunday, March 27- 29
$250 Members | $275 Non-Members

Due to its astounding biodiversity, Solon Dixon Center remains one of our favorite locations to go on field trips. On its 5,300 acres there are spring-fed lakes and streams that appear turquoise in color, pitcher plant bogs, cypress ponds, longleaf pine habitats, fascinating rock formations and sand hills. This time we will include a visit to Splinter Hill Bog, The Nature Conservancy in Alabama’s preserve, where grows the largest population of Sarracenia spp. (pitcher plants) in the world! The event fee includes the cost of your room and six meals; transportation to and from the site is not included. Details will be provided once participants have registered. Limit: 14 participants.


Spring-flowering Native Plants (elective)
Instructor: John Manion
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Tuesday, April 14 | 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members

One of the most exciting annual events in the southeast is the flowering of our native spring wildflowers, many of them ephemeral. This class will examine what makes a plant an ephemeral and some of the special characteristics they possess. The classroom portion will address numerous aspects of these special plants, as well as other spring blooming native plants, which will be followed by ample time in The Gardens to view and discuss them. This is collaboration with participants in the Certificate in Native Plants program at the State Botanic Garden of Georgia.


Village Creek Canyon (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Zac Napier & John Manion
Location: Jefferson County, AL
Wednesday, April 15 | 8:30 - 2 p.m.
$45 Members | $50 Non-Members

Village Creek Canyon, a little-known Freshwater Land Trust property to the west of Birmingham, is distinctive in several ways, not least of which is being the southernmost population of Tsuga canadensis, Canadian hemlock. In this scenic and botanically rich 300 acre parcel of land, a microclimate exists (due to high north-facing bluffs) which supports a variety of plant species normally found farther north. The parcel offers a wide variety of habitats from cool and wet bottomland floodplains to high and dry south facing shale ridge tops. Visits to the site this year have revealed three species of plants never-before documented for Jefferson County; who knows what other treasures exist therein? This is collaboration with participants in the Certificate in Native Plants program at the State Botanic Garden of Georgia.


Spring Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)
Instructor: Fred Spicer
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, April 18 | 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 spring, as well as learn which of these plants make good sense to use in your landscapes. This is largely a walking class, held outdoors.


Almond Rock - A Piedmont Granite Dome (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Tom Diggs & John Manion
Saturday, May 16 | 9 - 3 p.m.
Location: Randolph County, AL
$50 Members | $60 Non-Members

Almond Granite Outcrop in Randolph County, AL, one of our state’s most distinctive landscapes, where soil types range from basic to acidic, is inhabited by an array of contrasting unusual plant species – some rare. Situated in the Piedmont physiographic region, this outcrop, which brings to mind the surface of the moon, is home to many fascinating ecotones, due to its geology and hydrology. We will examine a range of diverse habitats ranging in character from xeric to boggy seeps. Participants will see colonies of some very special plants, including one which grows only here and one other location - and even a carnivorous species!


Disclaimer: We appreciate your interest in Birmingham Botanical Gardens' classes for adults and children. Some of our classes may cover the edible, medicinal, cosmetic and aromatic uses of plants. The information presented in our classes, whether delivered by Gardens' staff, volunteers or instructors, is derived from numerous sources which include folklore as well as more authoritative sources. This information is intended solely for educational purposes. We believe this information to be accurate, interesting and useful within an educational context, but any information we may provide about the various uses of plants is not intended to advocate any specific use. Due to the very personal nature of individual chemical tolerances, allergies and other possible negative reactions, you accept full responsibility for any use you may choose to undertake of the plants covered in our classes.