The study of native plants, the ecosystems of South Carolina, and sustainable landscaping practices form the focus of the South Carolina Native Plant Certificate Program. A partnership between the South Carolina Native Plant Society and the South Carolina Botanical Garden, this program gives participants insight into South Carolina’s rich and complex botanical heritage, and offers ways to bolster the states’ biodiversity. This program began in July 2015, and to-date over 300 participants from all over the state, from all walks of life, and of all different ages, have enrolled in the program.
The certificate is comprised of seven core classes and four electives. Basic botany is required to enter the program, and the subsequent classes are: tree identification, spring and fall herbaceous plants (2 classes), natural plant communities, basic horticulture and sustainable landscaping. In the core classes, students study the native plants and plant communities that define South Carolina by exploring the South Carolina Botanical Garden’s Natural Heritage Garden. Participants also learn about the significant benefits of native plants to enhance biodiversity, and to improve soil, water, and air quality. All classes are taught by professionals with years of experience, and a deep commitment to, and passion for, native plants.
Elective classes enable participants to visit other areas of the state or to delve more deeply into a subject. Elective field trips have included a day on Lake Jocassee, an exploration of the Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, and an upcoming trip to Steven’s Creek Heritage Preserve in McCormick County. Other in-depth classes include plant propagation, soil chemistry, or installing a rain garden in the landscape. These electives enable the participants to develop specialized knowledge and skills.
Our hope is that by participating in this certificate program, graduates become more aware of environmental issues and become more active stewards of the natural world. We are currently setting up the next group of classes, with basic botany to be scheduled in mid- February. If you are interested in this program, please contact Sue Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the certificate website https://www.clemson.edu/public/scbg/education/certificate-program.html