By Lucinda Greene, CMG Program Coordinator and Assistant Horticulturist
The Foothills to Plains Native Plant Master program is expanding rapidly in 2021. In addition to the 3-part Native Plant Master track, many new classes designed to meet a variety of age groups and knowledge levels will be offered in Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert counties.
Native Plant Master (NPM) volunteers are educators who present information to the public about native plants and their role in local ecosystems through nature hikes, meetings at open spaces and online presentations. Persons interested in becoming a volunteer educator with the Native Plant Master program should complete the application on the Native Plant Master program page. To become a Native Plant Master, students complete three 12-hour classes in various life zones, and then complete 60 public contacts. Students who want to take the NPM classes but do not wish to serve as a volunteer educator will earn a Colorado Flora certificate upon completion of 36 hours in the 3-part NPM courses.
If you are newer to the topic of native plants and their role in local ecosystems, consider taking classes in our Explore Native Plants series. These classes will provide an overview of native plants “in the field,” “in the garden,” and “in conversation.” In the first class in the series, identify and discuss native plants on a guided walk alongside a trained educator. Learn how to add native plants to your local landscape in the second class. In the third class, learn how to advocate for the use of native plants as part of a sustainable landscape. This curriculum will also be offered to youth aged ten to twelve.
The Nature Walk series will teach nature journaling through observation of local plants, birds and insects. These monthly classes will be held at various open space locations.
Focus classes will meet once and discuss a specific topic. An introduction to native plants, a class on grasses, a class on watershed health and a class on weeds will be offered. The Explore Native Plants series, Nature Walk series, and Focus classes do not count toward the Native Plant Master designation.
Many classes will be open for registration by the end of March. Please visit the Foothills to Plains Native Plant Master program page to learn more about class registration, and how to apply to become a volunteer educator in the Native Plant Master program. We look forward to seeing you and learning with you outdoors in 2021!