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 Botany (core)
Instructor: Tom Diggs Ph.D., Asst. Professor, University of North Georgia
Saturday, August 8 | 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

This class will introduce participants to the fundamental concepts of botany, including plant tissues, anatomy of the major vegetative and reproductive structures of the plant body, global plant habitats, basic botanical terminology through the use of a key, and a discussion of Alabama plant diversity. After the classroom portion of this class, we will walk out into The Gardens to explore the physiology and diversity of the plants around us.

_________________________________________________________

Introduction to Native Plant Conservation (core)
Instructor: Bob Boyd Ph.D., Professor, Auburn University
Saturday, August 22 | 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

The flora of Alabama is one of the richest in the country, which underscores the importance of conserving our plants and their habitats. 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, conservation legislation and conservation methods such as safeguarding. Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance projects will be emphasized as examples.

_________________________________________________________

Plant-Soil Relationships (core)
Instructor: Henry Hughes, Director of Education, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, August 29 | 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

Explore the physical, chemical, and biological properties of natural soils and the characteristics of the native plant communities growing in them. Plant growth reciprocally modifies soil properties. This class will explore the ways that natural soils and native plants together form unique systems with interdependent living and non-living characteristics. Methods for amending compromised soils to improve plant growth, and the technique for obtaining a soil sample for testing will be demonstrated. This class will include some field work.

_________________________________________________________

The World of Carnivorous Plants and Bog-in-a-Bowl (elective)
Instructor: Kevin Tarner, Research Technician, University of Georgia - Plant Biology Dept.
Saturday, September 5 | 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Garden
$50 Members | $60 Non-Members

The southeastern United States is a hotspot of diversity for carnivorous plants, which obtain their nutrients by attracting, capturing, and digesting living animals. They inhabit some of our most unique and imperiled wetland habitats. This course will examine their life history and explore some of the plant communities that support them. Our instructor will cover the identification, cultivation, and propagation of several species of carnivorous plants. He will also profile conservation efforts being taken to conserve many of these species, as well as their endangered and species-rich habitats. In addition to visiting the bog in the Kaul Wildflower Garden, each participant will have the opportunity to create a “bog in a bowl” to take home.

_________________________________________________________

Introduction to Plant Taxonomy/Classification (core)
Instructor: Tom Diggs Ph.D., Asst. Professor, University of North Georgia
Saturday, September 12 | 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$80 Members | $90 Non-Members

Plant taxonomy is the science of recognizing, classifying and naming plant species. This fascinating field of study gives insights into evolution, natural history and ecology. Participants in this class will learn about the history of modern taxonomy, the basics of naming plants, the fundamentals of phylogenetics (plant family trees), the plant classification hierarchy and the use of keys in plant identification. Participants will engage in hand-on activities.

_________________________________________________________

Native Grasses and Grass-like Plants (elective)
Instructor: Dan Spaulding, Curator, Anniston Museum of Natural History
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, September 19 | 8:30-12:30 p.m.
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members

Native grasses and grass-like plants dominate the earth, yet their identification presents a challenge to beginner and experienced botanists alike. This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of grass identification and is appropriate for both beginners and those more advanced in their identification skills who want a refresher. The course will consist of hands-on experience with time spent in the classroom and in The Gardens. Participants will learn identification features of grasses and how to distinguish them from sedges and rushes.

_________________________________________________________

Alabama’s Ecology (core)
Instructor: Scot Duncan, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor, Birmingham-Southern College
Saturday, September 26 | 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$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.

_________________________________________________________

Growing Native Trees from Seed – Oaks, Hickories and Others – Part I (new elective)
Instructor: Henry Hughes, Director of Education, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, October 10 | 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$40 Members | $45 Non-Members
Where do you get a blackjack oak or shagbark hickory when you really need one; or how about a longleaf pine or a black gum? Using classroom instruction and field observation, this class will provide information about parent tree selection, seed collection, storage and germination of local native trees. The class is aimed at both home gardeners and small-scale nursery production. We will discuss the importance of locally-sourced native trees from the standpoints of history, ecology and landscape aesthetics. Part II of this class will be in spring, 2016, and will involve planting spring-germinating stratified seed, transplanting small seedlings into larger containers and observing seedling field establishment.

_________________________________________________________

Autumn Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)
Instructor: Fred Spicer, Director, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Saturday, October 24 | 8:30-12:30 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$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. Participants will examine and learn to identify about 20 trees, shrubs and vines, 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 observe some good autumn color and learn about the dynamics that cause it.

_________________________________________________________

 

 

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.