Athens, Ga. – The State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia has released the fall schedule for the Certificate in Coastal Native Plants Program. Classes on coastal plants, barrier island ecology and native plant conservation will be offered in Savannah, Brunswick and Darien beginning Sept. 21. An optional orientation for new participants also will be provided on Sept. 21 at the Bamboo Farm in Savannah.
The fall schedule is available at http://botgarden.uga.edu/pdfs/costalcert.pdf.
The program offers Georgia coastal residents who are enthusiasts of native plants to learn about Georgia’s unique coastal habitats and the plants that grow there. The fall curriculum includes excursions to St. Catherine’s Island, Little Simon’s Island and state wildlife management lands to view butterflies and fall-blooming wildflowers.
The Certificate in Coastal Native Plants Program is now in its second year and has attracted students from throughout the coastal region. Participants gain basic knowledge about plants and their habitats as well as the tools to identify and protect Georgia’s native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. In addition to taking classes, students earn their certificates through a combination of volunteer hours and field trips.
Ten students are expected to graduate with their certificates in October, including Chris Arthur of Richmond Hill.
“I love the Coastal Native Plant Certificate program,” said Arthur. “The instructors are very knowledgeable and seem to enjoy sharing their wealth of information. The field trips are great, because you get to apply what you learned in the classroom and there is always something new to see.”
Classes also will be offered in the coming winter and spring quarters, including plant propagation classes at Jekyll Island, summer and winter tree identification courses at the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Preserve and ecology of a pitcher plant bog in nearby Evans County. Basic core courses in botany and natural history also are scheduled for the winter.
“The Certificate Program attracts a variety of students, including native plant gardeners, landscape designers, wildlife managers and citizens who love the outdoors and plants,” Anne Shenk, education director at the State Botanical Garden. “Our graduates see the natural world in a new way and are prepared to be better naturalists, gardeners and conservationists.”
Certificate classes are offered year-round except for July and August, usually on Fridays or Saturdays. Classes emphasize hands-on learning with a lab or field component included in each class. The participants select volunteer opportunities based on their interests and abilities. Student projects have included seed collecting, invasive species removal and native plant landscaping.
All certificate classes are offered in association with Coastal Wildscapes, a Darien-based environmental education organization, and UGA’s Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens and Historic Bamboo Farm. Instructors include experts in botany, plant ecology and conservation, including university professors, conservation professionals and field researchers. Professional participants may earn eight continuing education units by completing the certificate.
For more information or to register, call Cora Keber at the State Botanical Garden at 706/542-6156.
About the State Botanical Garden of Georgia
A Public Service and Outreach unit of the University of Georgia, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia provides the public and UGA faculty, staff and students opportunities for recreation, events, research and learning through its natural areas, display gardens and building spaces. For more information, see http://botgarden.uga.edu/.