Download Adobe Reader

Certificate Program

The South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), in partnership with the South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS), is excited to announce a Certificate in Native Plant Studies.

This program is based on South Carolina's rich botanical heritage. Through hands-on field-based classes, students learn about native plants and their vast diversity, plant communities and the habitats that define South Carolina from the mountains to the sea, all within the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Participants also learn about the significant benefits of native plants in ensuring biodiversity, and improving soil, water, and air quality, as well as discover the importance of sustainable and appropriate development, become aware of conservation issues facing native plants and plant communities, and become educated environmental stewards.

Where possible these classes take place in the field.

Students will also have the opportunity to travel to and learn about other ecosystems in South Carolina by taking elective classes.

Classes are all taught by qualified professionals. The certificate program is comprised of 88 hours of coursework (7 core classes @ $80 each plus 32 hours electives). Students are not required to pursue a Certificate in order to enroll.

10% discount applies to Garden Friends and SCNPS members - contact Sue Watts at 864-656-2836 or watts9@clemson.edu for details.

Class size is limited! 

To register, go to the Events Calendar or click on the links below for a specific program.

To download a brochure, click here.

Please Note: Basic Botany is a prerequisite for all other courses.

Saturday, August 26
BASIC BOTANY
In this introductory botany course develop a foundation of knowledge and a working vocabulary for all other courses in the Certificate of Native Plants. Through classroom lectures and fun hands-on activities explore the basics of plants — their classification, structure, functions, lifecycles, and reproductive strategies. Basic botany is required for all other courses.

Saturday, September 16
FALL HERBACEOUS PLANT IDENTIFICATION
In this field identification course, learn about the foliage and flowers of primarily herbaceous plants, although some shrubs will surely sneak in.  Join Patrick McMillan as you explore the many habitats along the Natural Heritage Trail. Learn how to use a key to aid plant identification. For certification, both spring and fall classes are required. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
TREE IDENTIFICATION
Enter the forest to explore the giants of the plant world with Dan Whitten, President of the Upstate Chapter of the SCNPS. Become familiar with our native trees, shrubs and woody vines by learning to recognize their bark, leaves, twigs, fruit, and form. Deepen your knowledge through the use of a dichotomous key and by learning to recognize plant communities. Participants will also learn how woody plants are useful as tools, medicines, shelter, and as forage for humans and other animals. Prerequisite: Basic Botany

Saturday, June 24, 2017 
NATURAL PLANT COMMUNITIES
 
Join Garden Director, Patrick McMillan, to build your knowledge base of major conceptual issues and areas of current research in plant ecology. Explore the biotic and abiotic factors that affect the distribution and abundance of plant species in South Carolina. Explore the SCBG's Natural Heritage Trail to discover the basic ecology of diverse South Carolina habitats. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING
Join Rick Huffman, landscape architect, and founder and past president of the South Carolina Plant Society, to learn how native plants are the key to developing a sustainable landscape, and an important way to conserve nature resources. A sustainable landscape is in balance with the local climate, soil and plants and wildlife. Native plants enable you to potentially minimize the resource inputs into your garden, such as fertilizer, pesticides, gasoline, time and water. In this class, we put it all together: planning and design, site and plant selection, soil conditions, irrigation and water efficiency, and maintenance. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

BASIC HORTICULTURE
Discover how and why native plants have the potential to transform traditional horticultural practices with Jeanne Briggs, Nursery Manager, South Carolina Botanical Garden.  Subjects include what is native, the importance of soil, basics of plant health, methods of planting and maintaining native plants, and eco-friendly horticulture practices. Learn how to attract beneficial wildlife like birds, bees, and butterflies while balancing elements of design. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

SPRING HERBACEOUS PLANT IDENTIFICATION
In this field-identification course learn about the foliage and flowers of primarily herbaceous plants, although some shrubs will surely sneak in. Join Patrick McMillan as you explore the many habitats along the Natural Heritage Trail. Learn how to use a key to aid plant identification. For certification, both spring and fall classes are required. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany.

ELECTIVES

NATIVE PLANT PROPAGATION
In this workshop, explore the botanical world of plant propagation with staff members Allison Kelley, Natural Heritage Trail Manager, and Trenton Miller, Collections Manager. The adventure begins with classroom time pertaining to the many wonderful ways to multiply our beloved natives. We will cover the steps involved in propagation by seeds, cuttings, and divisions. The class will then participate in some hands-on experience practicing some of these techniques. The afternoon will be finished with a hike through the gardens, discussing which methods of propagation are appropriate for each of the wonderful natives we encounter. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: MOUNTAIN PLANT COMMUNITIES
Learning to recognize mountain plant communities can increase your ability to spot their resident plant species. Plant communities tend to be found in similar habitats depending on the local and broader environmental conditions. Join naturalist Tim Lee to explore mountain plant communities in the Jocassee Gorges area and along Hwy 11 corridor to explore how factors like elevation, aspect, slope, rainfall and temperature affect the locations and types of mountain plant communities as well as identifying plants living within them. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: IDENTIFYING AND USING MEDICINAL PLANTS WITH ROBIN MCGEE
From Blue Vervain and Dandelion to Poke and Wild Lettuce, Nature provides us with an abundance of medicinal plants that are commonly looked upon as nuisance weeds. In this class, we will take a walkabout where you will learn to identify some of these native or naturalized green allies, and discover some of their traditional and current uses. Participants will learn proper harvesting methods then harvest plants and create a fresh plant tincture, create a tincture from dried plant material, a healing salve, and a moisturizing cream to take home. Bring your lunch, water, snacks, pen & notebook, camera, sunscreen and a natural bug repellent (optional). Dress for the weather and wear comfy walking shoes. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, June 17
FERNS
Spend the day delving into the rich world of ferns ranging from the small Mosquito Fern to the large Royal Fern. Discover which species to expect where: mountains? coastal plain? moist woodland? dryish hillside? Join naturalist Tim Lee to learn about the basic ecology, natural history and identification of ferns through classroom lecture and time exploring the state's diverse habitats as illustrated on the Garden's Natural Heritage Trail. Course full. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, September 30
SCNPC Elective Class: Natives at Home with Julie Hill of Southern Wild Landscape Design
Native plants aren't just for the wild! Spend the day exploring the use of native plants to create beautiful containers and garden beds for your home. Join garden designer, Julie Hill, in discovering the secrets to planting containers that will thrill your senses, fill your patios, and spill over with natural beauty. Learn how to design your own garden beds from start to finish with flowers for cutting and for attracting birds and butterflies. Learn economical ways to start your plants, optimal planting times, and cutting techniques. With walks through the Garden to inspire your designs, you'll leave this class eager to get started on your fall gardening projects! Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, October 7
SCNPC Elective Class: Sandhills Exploration with Bruce Sorrie
Join eminent botanist Bruce Sorrie for a field trip to the Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. Bruce spent many years inventorying and surveying habitats in North Carolina, predominantly within the longleaf pine ecosystem. He is the author of “A field guide to the wildflowers of the Sandhills Region: North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.” Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, October 14
SCNPC Elective Class: Native South Carolina Grasses with Bill Stringer
In this elective class, join Bill Stringer emeritus faculty of Clemson’s Department of Plant and Environment Sciences to learn more about South Carolina’s 326 species of native grasses.  Explore the structure of a typical grass shoot. Discover how grass plants develop and reproduce, and the differences between the vegetative and reproductive stages of grasses Explore the diversity of grasses: annual vs. perennial grasses and warm-season vs. cool-season grasses. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday and Sunday, October 21 & 22
SCNP Certificate Elective Class: Coastal Ecology with Patrick McMillan
Visit carnivorous plants, orchids, and a myriad of wildflowers in their native habitats on this exciting new elective course for the native plant certification. In this two day class we will explore the ecosystem processes, composition and management of major coastal habitats including salt marshes, maritime forest, marl forests, longleaf pine wetland savannas, flatwoods, blackwater swamp forests, pond cypress savannas and pocosins. Our class will focus on natural areas in Georgetown, Charleston and Berkeley counties. (Some basic accommodations available at Baruch Institute for extra cost – contact Sue Watts for details). Prerequisite: Basic Botany. This counts as two electives.

Friday, October 27
Backyard Rain Gardens
Join us for a hands-on elective workshop for all those interested in rain garden design, installation, and native plant selection.  Rain gardens are landscaped depressions that collect water runoff and allow it to infiltrate, thereby reducing erosion and flooding.  These low maintenance native plant gardens can be constructed at nearly any home site.
The workshop will focus on these topics:

• Benefits of rain gardens

• Rain garden design, construction, and maintenance

• Native plant selection

The workshop will include the installation of a rain garden at the SC Botanical Garden, so be prepared to plant and get dirty!  We will also learn some bog gardening basics.  Taught by Dr. Sarah White, Clemson U., Kathy Bridges, SCBG, and Cathy Reas Foster, SCNPS.

 

 

 

 

 

Future courses include:

Pests & Diseases

Invasives & Exotics

Propagation of Native Plants

Native Grasses

Rain Gardens

Soil Basics

Native Plant Container Gardens

Shoreline Buffers

Ferns and Fern Allies

Coastal Plain Plant Communities

Sandhills Plant Communities

Mountain Plant Communities

Piedmont Plant Communities