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.


Autumn at Moss Rock Preserve (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Arnie Rutkis & John Manion
Location: Homewood, AL
Saturday, September 27 | 8 - 1 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members

With the golden light and plants revealing their fall color, autumn is a beautiful time of the year to visit Moss Rock Preserve. One of the most fascinating natural areas in the Birmingham region, this preserve is a distinctive ecosystem that is home to some of Alabama's rare plants. The walk to the glades will take us through boulder fields, across streams and into forests and meadows. This is a moderate walking experience with uneven and rocky terrain.


Village Creek Canyon (field trip)
Trip Leaders: Zac Napier & John Manion
Location: Jefferson County, AL
Saturday, October 4 | 8 - 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?


Introduction to Native Plant Conservation (core)
Instructor: Bob Boyd, Ph.D.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, October 11 | 8:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

This course is a general introduction to plant conservation, focusing particularly on Alabama plants. We will cover a broad set of topics, including rarity ranking systems, invasive species, restoration ecology, conservation ethics, plant conservation legislation, and conservation techniques such as safeguarding. Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance projects will be emphasized as examples where possible and time will be spent in The Gardens.


Autumn Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)
Instructor: Fred Spicer
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, October 25 | 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 autumn, as well as learn which of these plants make good sense to use in your landscapes. We will have the opportunity to see some good autumn color. This is largely a walking class, held outdoors; please dress appropriately for the weather.


The Dynamic Autumn Forest (elective)
Instructor: Henry Hughes
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, November 15 | 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members

During this class, which includes a field trip, we will explore the fascinating transition of a forest from summer to winter. Topics to be covered range from seed dispersal and conditions necessary for germination, to the mechanisms of fall foliage color change. Participants will learn how all these processes lead to the onset of winter dormancy - and ultimately to forest regeneration in spring.


Alabama’s Amazing Ecology (core)
Instructor: Scot Duncan, Ph.D.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, November 22 | 8:30 - 4:30 p.m.
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

With sixty-four types of terrestrial ecosystems shaped by an unusual climate and rich geological history, Alabama's native plants number nearly 3,000 species. They are an important part of our state's biodiversity, which ranks fifth in the nation overall. This class explains how ecosystems work, reviews how they are classified and mapped, and gives an overview of the state’s ecological diversity. An easy hike through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens – with a focus on Alabama’s endemic plants – will illustrate many of the in-class concepts.