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Certificate in Native Plant Studies

last modified January 10, 2014

Programs in the identification, cultivation, ecology, and conservation of New England native plants

Field Botany StudentsStudents enrolled in the Certificate in Native Plant Studies program at New England Wild Flower Society gain a greater appreciation and understanding of native plant habitats, common and rare species, conservation issues, and uses of native plants in horticulture and design. 


Emphasizing participatory learning, this comprehensive series of courses provides a supportive and challenging learning atmosphere. While there are no exams, there are opportunities for self-assessment. Participants proceed through the program at their own pace. Certificate students engage in ongoing public and private efforts to preserve and restore native New England flora, and gain skills to aid them in these efforts.

Students may earn Basic and Advanced certificates in Field Botany and Native Plant Horticulture and Design. 

Field Botany

New England Wild Flower Society is unique in offering of a Field Botany Certificate unaffiliated with a university. Students for Field Botany certificates focus on native plants, plant communities, field ID techniques, and regional conservation issues.  The courses speak to varying levels of experience, applicable to either the Field Botany Certificate or the Advanced Field Botany Certificate. Please see Field Botany for a detailed description of the course of study and links to relevant classes.


Native Plant Horticulture and Design

The Native Plant Horticulture and Design Certificate courses encourages students to consider the value of native plants, and to promote their use in horticulture and design projects. We hope that Certificate students will continue to advance widespread and responsible use of native plants.


Students enrolled in the Native Plant Horticulture and Design studies program focus on the use and value of native plants, ecological horticultural techniques, and sustainable landscape design. Visit Native Plant Horticulture and Design for more information.


Where are our Certificate Graduates now?

  • Deb Lievens earned her Advanced Certificate in Field Botany in 2002.  She parlayed her studies and commitment into serving on the Conservation Commission of Londonderry, NH, her hometown, and on the NH Invasive Species Committee. "I have been able to take the work I did for the Certificate and convert it to a lifestyle that includes vocational and avocational work with plants."


  • Bruce Patterson received his Advanced Certificate in Field Botany in 2006. As part of his final project, he discoveredSabatia kennedyana and studied the most inland site of the endangered Sabatia kennedyana in MA and developed a management plan, including invasive species removal. Bruce continues to work with endangered plants as a PCV volunteer in MA and ME. "The Certificate Program at the Society provided me a useful framework and the needed encouragement for pursuing interest in native plants and conservation. The exposure to native plants through a wide range of courses, field trips, experts, and enthusiasts was invaluable and personally rewarding." 


  • Bridget McManus earned her Advanced Certificate in Native Plant Horticulture and Design in 2008. Her Plant Community Service Project resulted in a sustainable landscape design for the Framingham Civic League property in Framingham, MA, part of the city's urban landscape. Bridget continues to apply "green" landscaping techniques in her own landscape design business. "The certificate program] advanced my knowledge in native plants and fits well with my sustainable philosophy and residential design practices."


Click here to download our brochure on the Certificate Program and an application to enroll.


For more information, please contact Jessica Pederson, Director of Public Programs, at (508) 877-7630 x3302 or email