Certificate in Native Plants


The Certificate in Native Plants program is designed to expand students’ knowledge of botany, ecology, conservation, and uses of native flora in the southeastern United States. Students will get both classroom education and hands-on application to increase knowledge and skills that can be applied at home, in the community, and at work. The course setting will provide a common ground for native plant enthusiasts to meet and connect with others who share their interests. The program is designed to benefit both home gardeners and landscaping professionals alike.


This program represents a partnership between three native plant education and conservation non-profit organizations: Wild Ones Tennessee Valley Chapter, Tennessee Native Plant Society, and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. Members of these organizations will receive discounts on class fees, but participation in the CNP is not limited to these organizations’ members.


  • Foster greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of native plant communities;
  • Appeal to beginners, as well as landscape professionals;
  • Improve plant identification skills, including recognition of exotic pest plants;
  • Provide an opportunity to meet and connect with other conservation-minded individuals


The CNP offers a blend of classroom instruction, hands-on learning and guided hikes. Educational objectives include:

  • Involve the students by recommending preparation work and list of supplies needed before class, interaction during class, and recommended assignment after the course.
  • The bigger function of native plants including ecological connections is included in each course.
  • Each course will include an active hands-on component involving the senses to get the “wow” factor combined with classroom instruction.
  • Each course will give practical application of the knowledge taught.
  • Teach the why (purpose).


  • Four core courses (24 credits)
  • Eight electives (32 credits)
  • 40 hours of volunteering

Students should be able to complete the program in 3 years but there is no requirement to do so.


Core Courses (6 credits each):

  • Botany I
  • Botany II
  • Plant Communities
  • Soils and Water

Elective Courses (4 credits each)

  • Liverworts, Ferns & Mosses
  • Landscape Design
  • Native Plant Propagation – Seeds
  • Native Plant Propagation – Woody & Clonal Plants
  • Native Edible and Medicinal Plants
  • Spring & Summer Wildflowers
  • Bird & Butterfly Gardens
  • Nature Sketching and Journaling
  • Pollinators
  • Native Warm Season Grasses
  • Winter Tree Identification
  • Summer Tree Identification
  • Rain Gardens and More
  • Mycorrhizae, Mushrooms & Native Plants
  • Invasive Plant Management
  • Understanding Botanical Names
  • Sustainable Landscaping Practices
  • Identifying Plants with Taxonomy
  • Pressing Plants
  • Ecology of Wetlands
  • And more!


Core Courses

  • $65 Members (Wild Ones, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, TNPS)
  • $75 Non-Members


  • $40 Members
  • $50 Non-Members

Some classes may have additional supply fees.


Class size for all Certificate in Native Plants classes is limited.  To give everyone the best opportunity to participate, there is a non-refundable cancellation fee of $10, with the balance refunded if you cancel at least 7 calendar days before the class will be held.  If the class is cancelled by the instructor or the CNP program, registrants will get a full refund.  



For questions, please contact us at tnvalleycnp@gmail.com