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Certificate in Native Plant Studies

Sample of Previous Classes offered in Certificate in Native Plant Studies

- Introduction to the Study of Native Plants (core)

- Non-Native Invasive Plants Workshop (elective)

- Native Woody Plants in Summer (elective)

- Introduction to Botany (core)

- Native Ferns and Their Relatives (elective)

- Introduction to Soil Science (elective)

- Introduction to Plant Taxonomy/Plant Classification (core)

- Native Plants for Pollinators (elective)

- Medicinal and Edible Plants (elective)

- Ecology of Alabama Native Plants (core)

- Nighttime on the Cahaba – by Canoe! (field trip): What better way to escape the heat of summer than participating in a leisurely moonlight paddle on the Cahaba River? This unique and relaxing way of enjoying a flat water portion of the Cahaba River will allow us to experience the Cahaba in a different light; we will see some familiar plants not normally viewed at night, as well as see and hear a variety of wildlife (imagine: beaver tails slapping water and the calls of night birds.), including hundreds of glowing firefly larvae. (The majority of proceeds will benefit the Cahaba River Society.) 

- Bats and Plants (field trip): After visiting some distinctive botanical sites en route to our destination, we will gather at the 264 acre Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge, whose cave is home to federally endangered gray and Indiana bats. After a briefing on bats – we will witness what may be the most significant evening bat flights in the Southeast. Recent estimates of bats emerging were 300,000-400,000! After viewing this spectacle, we hope to conclude the evening by observing a resident colony of glow worms. Participants are invited to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the cave’s observation just before dark.

- Movable Plants: Creating Beautiful Container Gardens with Native Plants: Gardening in various types of containers can offer many advantages, especially for those who live in apartments, condominiums, or for those who don’t have space to garden in the ground. Gardening in movable vessels also enables one to use containers as accents in varied locations. This class will show you how to plant a variety of themed containers: for sun, shade, bog, winter, butterflies, hummingbirds and other forms of wildlife. Lists of recommended plants for each type of planting will be distributed.

- Spring Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective): 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; please dress appropriately for the weather.

- What’s That Plant? A Workshop for Learning How to Identify Plants (elective): 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): 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.

- The Fascinating World of Carnivorous Plants (elective): 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.

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