Certificate Program

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

In this program, participants discover the beauty and complexity of South Carolina's rich botanical heritage. Through hands-on, field-based classes, students learn about the native plants of the state. In the core classes, we study the native plant communities that define South Carolina by exploring the Garden's Natural Heritage Garden. Participants also learned about the significant benefits of native plants to enhance biodiversity, and to improve soil, water, and air quality. Our hope is that of this certificate program, graduates become more aware of environmental issues and become active stewards of the natural world.

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

Classes are taught by qualified professionals. The certificate program is composed of 7 core classes each plus 4 electives. Students are not required to pursue a Certificate in order to enroll.

This is a fieldwork-based program and classes can be demanding. Please ensure you are in good health before enrolling.

Friends and SCNPS members - please contact Sue Watts for the appropriate discount code:  watts9@clemson.edu

Class size is limited. 

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations made at least 5 business days prior to the class will be subject to a 20% processing fee.

Class registration can not be transferred to other classes.

Cancellations made before 5 business days before the class will be refunded to the discretion of the SCBG.

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 that Basic Botany is a prerequisite for any other classes.

Contact Sue Watts at 864-656-2836 or  watts9@clemson.edu  for more details.

Core Classes

Saturday, September 14
BASIC BOTANY (Clemson)
This introductory course develops a foundation of knowledge and a working vocabulary for all other courses by exploring the basics of plants - their classification, structure, functions, lifecycle, reproduction strategies, and communities through classroom readings hands-on activities . Basic botany is required for all other courses.

Thursday, September 19
FALL HERBACEOUS PLANT IDENTIFICATION 
In this field-identification course learn about the foliage and flowers of mostly herbaceous plants. Join Allison Kelly, Natural Heritage Trail Manager, to explore the many habitats along the Natural Heritage Trail. Learn how to use a key to help plant identification. For certification, both spring and fall classes are required. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany

Thursday, September 26 
FALL HERBACEOUS PLANT IDENTIFICATION 
In this field-identification course learn about the foliage and flowers of mostly herbaceous plants. Join Allison Kelly, Natural Heritage Trail Manager, to explore the many habitats along the Natural Heritage Trail. Learn how to use a key to help plant identification. For certification, both spring and fall classes are required. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany

Saturday, September 28
BASIC HORTICULTURE (Clemson)
Discover how and why native plants have the potential to transform traditional horticultural practices with Jon Fritz, owner of Bluestem Landscape Design. Subjects include what is native, the importance of soil, the basics of plant health, the methods of planting and maintaining native plants, and the eco-friendly horticulture practices. Learn how to attract beneficial wildlife like birds, bees, and butterflies while balancing elements of design. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, October 5
NATURAL PLANT COMMUNITIES
 
Join expert naturalist, Tim Lee, 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 various South Carolina habitats. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Saturday, October 12
BASIC HORTICULTURE (BEAUFORT)
Beaufort County Clemson Horticulture Extension Agent, Laura Lee Rose has been teaching over 30 Master Gardener classes in Beaufort, Jasper, and Colleton Counties in the past 13 years. A 20+ year member of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, charter member and past president of the South Coast Chapter of the Society, she has led walks and given presentations across the Lowcountry. Topics for this all-day class would include soils, botany, plant health, integrated pest management, plant breeding, sustainable landscape practices, and simple propagation methods. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.
Location: Beaufort Extension Office Classroom

Saturday, October 19
PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING (Clemson)
Join Rick Huffman, landscape architect, and founder and past president of the South Carolina Plant Society, to learn how to grow native to the world. A sustainable landscape is in balance with the local climate, soils and plants and wildlife. Native plants can be used to reduce the risk of getting into your garden, such as fertilizer, pesticides, gasoline, time and water. In this class, we put it together: planning and design, site and plant selection, soil conditions, irrigation and water efficiency, and maintenance. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Tuesday, October 22
TR EE IDENTIFICATION
Enter the forest to explore the 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 drilling for humans and other animals. Prerequisite: Basic Botany

ELECTIVES

Friday, October 11
The Congaree Through a Botanist's Eye
Come to South Carolina’s only national park, The Congaree National Park, to learn about its fascinating history, ecology, and, of course, the plants of the park with botanist, Kate Farrah. From majestic trees that often reach champion heights to small rare beauties of the herbaceous layer, Congaree National Park has it all. Additionally, you'll learn about some of the Park's common pollinators and identify them outside. Part of the day will be spent indoors in a classroom setting, but most of the day will be spent outdoors walking while noting the flora and observing the fauna we come across. Be prepared to walk for up to 3 miles on the boardwalk and trails. Wear comfortable clothing in layers with long sleeves and pants and closed-toe shoes. Prerequisite: Basic Botany. Location: Congaree National Park Visitor Center

Thursday, 24 October
SCNPC Elective Class: INTRODUCTION TO SOILS
This workshop with Dr. Dara Park Soils Expert, Clemson University, introduces participants to soil fundamentals. Topics covered are texture, structure, soil biology and water movement. We will review the different methods in South Carolina, and how to plant communities and soils influence each other. Participants will learn how to use the web. Learn how water resources influence soil structure and plant health. We will examine a few soil samples to determine soil texture, pH, and electrical conductivity. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

Friday, October 25
SCNPC Elective Class: 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 which allow water runoff and allow it to infiltrate, reduce erosion and flooding. These low maintenance native plant gardens can be constructed at 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 garden at 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. Basic botany required.

Friday, November 1 
SCNPC 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. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.


*** Core Classes not scheduled at this time. ***

SPRING HERBACEOUS PLANT IDENTIFICATION
In this field-identification course learn about the foliage and flowers of mostly herbaceous plants. Join Allison Kelly, Natural Heritage Trail Manager, to explore the many habitats along the Natural Heritage Trail. Learn how to use a key to help plant identification. For certification, both spring and fall classes are required. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany


PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING
Join Kim Morganello, Clemson Cooperative Water Resources Extension Agent, & Mary Martinich, Professional Landscape Architect with SeamonWhiteside, to learn how to design a sustainable landscape. This course will be discussed in the following pages: Participants will take a holistic approach to site planning and consider the needs of the resident balanced environment. By creating a sustainable landscape, inputs can be minimized, potentially saving the resident time and money. This class will cover a range of topics including water-wise gardening practices, plant breeding and healthy soils, Prerequisite: Basic Botany.


*** Elective Classes not scheduled at this time. *


SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: Opening Your World Through Nature Journaling with Gale McKinley
A nature journal is a place to record our observations of the natural world and to reflect on them. Sketching allows us to slow down to a new nature, to improve our power of observation, and to stimulate curiosity. By improving our skits with a few simple methods, you will be more attentive naturalist and improve your ability to capture the beauty of the seasons. Gale McKinley is a winner of the South Carolina Arts Commission's Jean Laney Harris award for her and his career. She draws on her time in the world, but also her longtime hobbies as an herbalist, naturalist, and nature journal writer.Bring your favorite color pencils or water color supplies. 

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE:  NATIVE PLANTS AND BIRDS OF THE BEIDLER FOREST
Native plants are immensely important to a diversity of wildlife, especially our native birds. Audubon South Carolina (ASC) owns and manages 22,000 acres in South Carolina for the benefit of birds, and is one of the best-known property of Francis Beidler Forest. This sanctuary features 1,800 acres of virgin, cypress-tupelo swamp; while historically abundant, this habitat type is now restricted to only two locations in South Carolina. Identification of the dominant plant species in this ecosystem will be discussed.Audubon South Carolina is also working to restore native ecosystems, and will have the opportunity to explore this demonstration - a longleaf pine savannah and a native warm-season grassland. In addition,

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: PLANT COMMUNITIES OF THE JOCASSEE GORGES VIA LAKE JOCASSEE
Plant communities can be a big aid to learning local plant species. Factors such as elevation, aspect, slope, rainfall and temperature affect the locations and plants of plants. Lake Jocassee provides easy access to many of the plant communities found in the Jocassee Gorges. Join Brooks and Kay Wade to learn about these communities, and explore them on the lake. Prerequisite: Basic Botany. 

SCNP ELECTIVE CERTIFICATE: ELECTIVE VASCULAR PLANTS OF THE LOW COUNTRY
This group of vascular plants (mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms) includes their characteristics, origins, and classification. Most of the day will be spent in the field focused on ferns, palms, trees, and the most common wildflower families. Dr. Chris Marsh and Dr. Kristen Marshall Mattson, co-instructors of the Low Country Masters Naturalist class, will be teaching the natural history of lowcountry flora and token. Prerequisite Basic Botany.

ELECTIVE SCNP: LONGLEAF PINE SAVANNA
Join Lisa Lord and Carol Denhof, of the Longleaf Alliance to Explore the Ecology and Management of the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem and then dig deeper into one of the most beautiful and diverse longleaf habitats, the longleaf savanna. We will discuss plant diversity, explore the relationship between prescribed fire and longleaf savannas, and learn about the wildlife species that uses habitat. After the morning workshop, we will take a closer look at longleaf savanna in the Francis Marion National Forest and identify characteristic plant species. Basic Botany is a prerequisite for this class.

SCNP ELECTIVE CERTIFICATE: FERNS
Spend the day delving into the world of ferns ranging from Mosquito Fern to the wide 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 reading and exploring the state's various habitats as illustrated on the Garden's Natural Heritage Trail. Full race. Prerequisite: Basic Botany

SCNP Elective Class: 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 perennial grasses and warm-season vs. cool-season grasses. Prerequisite: 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 natural and allied, and discover some of their traditional and current uses. Participants will learn proper harvesting methods then harvest plants and create a fresh plant, create a tincture of 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.

SCNPC Elective Class: Sandhills Exploration with Bruce Sorrie
Join Bruce Sorrie as Botanical Botanist 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.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: Making a Plan to Manage Invasive Plants
Colette DeGarady will begin to discuss common invasives in South Carolina including: identification, treatment, available resources, and management. We'll review how to make a management plan for any size yard or property. We'll take a short walk through the Botanical Garden to some common invasive plants before lunch. After lunch, we'll travel to Nine Times Preserve (via carpool). We'll go to the trillium trail and discuss common vectors for invasive plants. Basic Botany required.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE:  NATIVE PLANTS AND BIRDS OF THE BEIDLER FOREST
Native plants are immensely important to a diversity of wildlife, especially our native birds. Audubon South Carolina (ASC) owns and manages 22,000 acres in South Carolina for the benefit of birds, and is one of the best-known property of Francis Beidler Forest. This sanctuary features 1,800 acres of virgin, cypress-tupelo swamp; while historically abundant, this habitat type is now restricted to only two locations in South Carolina. Identification of the dominant plant species in this ecosystem will be discussed.Audubon South Carolina is also working to restore native ecosystems, and will have the opportunity to explore this demonstration - a longleaf pine savannah and a native warm-season grassland. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: FERNS
Spend the day delving into the world of ferns ranging from Mosquito Fern to the wide 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 reading and exploring the state's various habitats as illustrated on the Garden's Natural Heritage Trail. Full race. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.


SCNP Elective Class: Piedmont Plant Communities
The Piedmont Physiological Region of South Carolina covers a third of the state and is composed of rolling hills. Natural habitats range from dry upland communities and granite outcrops through mesic slopes to seasonally wet floodplains. Plant species present greatly with soil composition and moisture; thus, allowing for a high diversity of species. Visiting areas in the Piedmont region with Newberry College educator Dr. Charles N. Horn. Piedmont Communities is an elective race. Prerequisite: Basic Botany.


SCNPC Elective Class: Natives at Home with Julie Hill's Southern Wild Landscape Design
Native plants are not just for the wild! Spend the day exploring the world of plants and gardens 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. Learn how to start your plants, optimal planting times, and cutting techniques. With walks through the garden to inspire your designs, you'll leave this class on your fall gardening projects! Prerequisite: Basic Botany.

SCNPC Elective Class: Coastal Ecology with Patrick McMillan
Visit carnivorous plants, orchids, and a myriad of wildflowers in their native habitats on this exciting new breed for native plant certification. In this two-day class, we will explore the ecosystem, composition, and management of major coastal habitats including salt marshes, maritime forest, marl forests, flatwoods, blackwater swamp forests, 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.

SCNP CERTIFICATE ELECTIVE: NATIVE PLANT PROPAGATION
In this workshop, explore the botanical world of plant propagation with staff members Allison Kelly, Natural Heritage Trail Manager, and Trenton Miller, Collections Manager. The adventure begins with class time 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 view of 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. Plant communities tend to be found in similar habitats 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 growth of plants living plants. Pre-requisite: Basic Botany .