Native Plant Trust

Certificate Programs

Boost Your Career with a Certificate

Learn to identify, cultivate, and conserve native New England plants


Special announcement about COVID-19 and our Public Programs 

Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students, Native Plant Trust is moving educational programs to an online format beginning March 16. Programs scheduled to take place in person at Garden in the Woods and Nasami Farm will instead be offered as live webinars. We will notify registrants of the changes via email and also update information on program registration pages. The online format will continue for all classroom programs for the duration of the COVID-19 threat. Thank you for your commitment to botanical and horticultural learning in this format.

  • We will evaluate spring events, field studies, and programs at partner locations on a case-by-case basis and reschedule as needed. Again, we will inform all program registrants and post updates on the registration pages. 
  • During the COVID-19 threat, we are also modifying our one-week cancellation policy so that registrants may receive a full refund at any time when cancelling due to illness. 
  • Native Plant Trust is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will announce any changes to the scheduled opening of Garden in the Woods and our April events as conditions warrant.     


Since 1987, Native Plant Trust has cultivated one of the most comprehensive Native Plant Studies programs in the country. Our new, updated curriculum sets a clear path for students to build on the fundamentals of the field in interactive ways, while maintaining program flexibility and increasing the frequency of our offerings. The new curriculum also guides students to create products over the course of the certificate, so that they can complete final portfolios to demonstrate their proficiency in their subjects. And, for the first time, we are offering the Basic Certificate Foundations core courses online. (See our Online Learning section). 

Whether you are interested in taking classes for fun, to add breadth and depth to your existing knowledge and skills, or to advance your career, our self-paced certificate programs in Native Plant Studies offer a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s flora. Students enrolled in our certificate programs learn to identify, cultivate, and conserve native New England plants while gaining a greater appreciation for their ecological importance. Students also actively participate in public and private efforts to preserve and restore native New England plants. 

Although our certificate core courses are designed for the level of certificate students, enrollment in the Certificate Program is not required to take a certificate core course. 

For best results with our registration links, we recommend using the Google Chrome browser.


Basic Certificate

The Basic Certificate track familiarizes students with the plants of New England, emphasizing structures, skills, and processes. We highly recommend beginning with the Foundations courses, which introduce students to native plant vocabulary, morphology, physiology, ecological context, evolution, and relationships. This knowledge is applied to following courses.

All Basic Certificate core courses are now offered every semester.

  • Requirements - Enroll now

    Foundations

    • Plant Form and Function
    • Plant Ecology
    • Plant Families
    Plants and Their Habitats
    • Wildflowers of New England
    • Native New England Shrubs
    • Framework Trees of New England
    Specialty

    • Understanding and Managing Soils
    • Two electives (one Botany, one Horticulture). (Note: Three webinars may count as one elective.)
    Application 

    • Two studies (one Field, one Landscape)
    • Community service: 15 hours*
    • Final portfolio

    *You may volunteer with us or another native plant or plant conservation organization to fulfill the community service requirement.

  • Track Your Credits - Enroll Now

    Please download this form to track your credits as you complete your courses. When you've completed your requirements and filled in this credit form, please email the completed form to education@NativePlantTrust.org

  • Plant List - -

    Students in the certificate programs should gain a working familiarity with the plants listed in this spreadsheet, which has one tab for basic certificate students and one tab for advanced. 

  • Past Program Catalogs - -


Advanced Certificates

The Advanced Certificate tracks encourage students to apply their plant knowledge in a Botany + Conservation specialty or a Horticulture + Design specialty. To enter an Advanced track, students must complete the Basic Certificate or have enough experience to qualify for a Basic Certificate. We recommend beginning with the Foundations courses, which provide context for the field or landscape application. All Advanced core courses are offered every year.

  • Advanced Botany and Conservation - Enroll now

    Foundations

    • Conservation Biology
    • New England Plant Communities
    • Plant Systematics
    Field Conservation

    • Field Identification Techniques
    • Botanical Inventory Methods and Techniques
    • Wetland Identification and Delineation
    • Seed Conservation
    Specialty

    • Invasive Plants: Identification, Documentation, and Control
    • Two Botany electives
      (Note: Three webinars may count as one elective.)

    Application

    • Two Field Studies
    • Community Service Leadership Project: 25 hours*
    • Final portfolio

    *Students must apply their newly learned skills in the field by completing a Native Plant Community Service Leadership Project. Projects must benefit the community and further our mission. Past projects have focused on design and installation of native plant gardens, landscape restorations, and native plant program development. You may volunteer with us or another native plant or plant conservation organization to fulfill the community service requirement.

  • Advanced Horticulture & Design - Enroll now

    Foundations

    • Landscape for Life
    • History and Principles of Landscape Design
    • Horticultural Techniques
    • Building Your Plant Palette
    • Residential Landscape Design
    • Native Herbaceous Plant Materials: Early Season
    • Native Herbaceous Plant Materials: Late Season
    • Native Woody Plant Materials
    • Invasive Plants: Identification, Documentation, and Control
    • Two Botany electives (Note: Three webinars may count as one elective.)

    Specialty

    • Propagation
    • Two Horticulture electives (Note: Three webinars may count as one elective.)

    Application

    • Two Landscape Studies
    • Community Service Leadership Project: 25 hours*
    • Final portfolio

    *Students must apply their newly learned skills in the field by completing a Native Plant Community Service Leadership Project. Projects must benefit the community and further our mission. Past projects have focused on design and installation of native plant gardens, landscape restorations, and native plant program development. You may volunteer with us or another native plant or plant conservation organization to fulfill the community service requirement.

  • Track Your Credits

    Advanced Botany and Conservation students, please download this form to track your credits as you complete your courses.

    Advanced Horticulture students, please download this form to track your credits as you complete your courses.

    All students: When you've completed your requirements and filled in your credit form, please email the completed form to education@NativePlantTrust.org

  • Plant List - -

    Students in both the basic and advanced certificate programs should gain a working familiarity with the plants listed in this spreadsheet.

  • Past Program Catalogs - -

Nasami_seedlings_CMcDonough.jpg

Support Our Programs

Your generous support makes them possible. Please give now to sustain and expand our offerings. Thank you!

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“The certificate program provided me a useful framework and the needed encouragement for pursuing interest in native plants and conservation.”

—Bruce Patterson, Advanced Certificate, Field Botany

“The program advanced my knowledge in native plants and fits well with my sustainable philosophy and residential design practices.”

—Bridget McManus, Advanced Certificate, Native Plant Horticulture and Design
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