Certificate in Native Plant Studies

TrilliumIn response to the increasing interest in native plants and the environment, the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens has partnered with the NC Native Plant Society and the Habitat and Wildlife Keepers to offer a series of in-depth courses combining lecture and hands-on learning, leading to a Certificate in Native Plant Studies.

What can be gained from pursuing the Certificate?

  • A solid foundation of knowledge and appreciation of the Piedmont flora and its ecology – for personal or professional benefit.
  • Training in identification, plant selection, planning and maintenance of gardens and landscapes that primarily utilize native plants, and other specialized skills (depending on electives chosen).

Who should pursue a Certificate?

  • Home gardeners
  • Naturalists
  • Habitat stewards
  • Landscapers & land developers
  • Environmentalists, conservationists
  • Environmental educators

What benefit will this certificate hold to employers and potential employees?

All courses in this certificate are taught by area college and university professors or degreed professionals in particular areas of expertise. So although the certificate does not provide university credit, the courses in the program are taught at as a high a level as possible for the amount of time allotted to each. Certificate holders will have completed at least 100 hours of class time and will have a solid foundation from which to build additional, specialized skills. They will have gained knowledge in plant identification, understanding of needs of many native plants and how to properly plant and take care of them, knowledge of habitats of the Carolinas and representative plant species, and terminology used by botanists and environmentalists.

Who are the partners endorsing the certificate program?

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, North Carolina Native Plant Society, Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK), Wing Haven Gardens, Mecklenburg County Solid Waste, Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation District, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, and HARP (Habitat Assessment and Restoration Program, Inc.)

How do I sign up for and complete the program?

To complete the program and receive the certificate, participants take 6 required core courses, plus 4 electives. There is no time-frame requirement to complete the program, and anyone may take these courses even if he or she does not wish to pursue the certificate. To begin, you would sign-up for the core course, Basic Botany, which is offered 1-2 times each year. To check on availability and to register for courses contact Esther Carrasco at ecarras1@uncc.edu.

Cancellation Policy: Once you register for a class, payment must be submitted on or prior to 21 days before the starting date; if payment is not in by then, we will assume that you are forfeiting your spot in a class and we will proceed to open it to participants on the waiting list.

In the event that a cancellation must be made, it needs to be 14 days prior to the starting date of class for a full credit towards a future course. Otherwise, we will deduct a 20% cancellation fee, and the rest will be applied as credit towards the next class for which you may be registered.  Cancellations made during 48 hours prior to the starting date will not receive credit.

Depending on the timing of when you begin the program, it could take 1.5 – 2 years to complete the entire certificate, due to the particular scheduling of course offerings.

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