2021 Classes

All Certificate in Native Plants classes are open to the public.
You do not need to be working toward your Certificate in Native Plants to attend any of these classes.

Landscape Design

Instructor: Caleb Melchior, RLA, ASLA
Saturday, January 9, 2021, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm (Eastern time)
Online via Zoom
Elective Class: 4 hours credit for Certificate in Native Plants

Interested in using native plants in landscapes but unsure how to go about creating a useful design? Learn from an experienced landscape architect who’s made and managed gardens across the southeast. Caleb Melchior will teach you how to understand your site conditions, identify parallel ecosystems, choose plants for your landscape, and combine those plants into beautiful easy-care communities. He’ll explain what designers look for – and how to bring that approach to your own sites. Your pre-class homework assignment will include finding your own site and selecting plants to work with.



Exotic Invasives

Instructor: Byron Brooks, Invasive Species Specialist
Saturday, February 13, 2021, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm (Eastern time)
Online via Zoom
Elective Class: 4 hours credit for Certificate in Native Plants

How did these exotic invasive plants get here from their native habitat, continent, or bioregion?  Why are the exotic invasives, for the most part, from Asia and other similar biomes?  Why do they become invasive?  What reproductive advantages do they have that allows their invasion?  Find out why and how these plants are detrimental to native plant communities and what we can do about them.



Native Trees in a Time of Climate Change
Instructor: Tom Kimmerer, Ph.D.

Friday, March 19, 2021, 9:00am – 12:00pm (Eastern time)
Online via Zoom
Elective Class: 4 hours credit for Certificate in Native Plants

Trees grow within narrow ecological limits. Cottonwoods don’t grow on mountain tops and spruce trees don’t grow in Tennessee river bottoms. The complex topography, geology, soils, and climate of Tennessee has resulted in highly diverse forests. But we know climate has changed in the past and is changing right now. A list of native trees of Tennessee 15,000 years ago would be completely different from the list of native trees now. Trees migrate as a result of changes in climate, not by picking up their roots and walking over a mountain, but due to changes in where seeds of various species can become established and grow. In a time of very rapid climate change, it is reasonable to consider what the future forests of Tennessee might be like, and what trees we might consider native.

This discussion will be divided into three parts. We will describe the trees of the past and present in Tennessee, then see how the current climate crisis might favor some trees and cause the loss of others, and we will finish by examining what we, as native tree enthusiasts should do in the face of the climate crisis. We will focus on trees, even though these changes affect all plant species, because we collect huge amounts of data about the health and growth of trees, but do not do the same for herbaceous plants. There will be plenty of time for discussion following each of these three segments.


Spring Wildflower Hike
April 2021




Native Medicinals
May 8, 2021




June 12, 2021




Summer Tree Community Identification
July 10, 2021




Close Encounters of the Pollinating Kind
August 14, 2021



Botany 1
September 11, 2021



Botany 2
October 9, 2021




Sedges and Rushes
November 13, 2021




Micorrhizae and Fungi
December 11, 2021