Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

Close Icon
Arapahoe County Extension provides trusted, practical education to help you solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

Foothills to Plains Native Plant Master Program   arrow

plains landscape photo

Are you interested in enhancing your outdoor experience with environmental education at local open spaces?

The Foothills to Plains Native Plant Master Group offers different ways to engage and learn about local ecosystems and natural resources.

Take a class in our Explore Native Plants Series. These introductory classes provide an overview of plants “in the field,” “in the garden,” and “in conversation.” These classes will be offered at different locations in Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert Counties.

The Explore Native Plants Series for Youth is a group of classes specifically for ages 10-12. The classes will provide young students with an overview of the importance of native plants in our ecosystems and in our gardens. Students will have the opportunity to explore various open spaces while on a guided walk. Classes will be offered at different locations in Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert Counties.

Take a Nature Walk class. These monthly classes provide an introduction to nature journaling while observing native plants, birds and insects in the field. Registration information will be available by the end of March 2021.

Dive in and take a Focus class. Topics include an introduction to native plants, a class on weeds, a class on grasses, and a class on impacts to the watershed.

Training and Certification in Native Plants

Interested in expanding your knowledge and expertise? Take a Native Plant Master course

Native Plant Master (NPM) courses are offered at various open space parks, State parks and other public open spaces. A pre-requisite course on Botany and Plant Families is strongly recommended. Each 12-hour NPM course is made up of three, four-hour sessions that meet weekly. Native Plant Master courses are taught in the field using living examples of the native flora in Colorado. Topics for each of the sessions in each course include:

  • Session 1: Plant identification with an emphasis on scientific names, families and use of a botanical key.
  • Session 2: Ecological relationships, including non-native plants.
  • Session 3: Landscape, food and other human uses.

2021 NPM courses are now open for registration.


Native Plant Master Volunteer
To become certified as a Native Plant Master volunteer, you must complete 36 hours of field training in 3 NPM courses. Classes may be taken in any county. After completing your final training class, educate at least 60 people about Colorado plants within twenty-four months. Upon successfully completing 3 NPM courses and providing education to 60 citizens, participants are awarded the Native Plant Master certification. Certification may be maintained by teaching at least 60 people every two years about native plants and reporting contacts annually. Please click on the button below to apply as a volunteer.

Colorado Flora Certificate

Students who wish to take the Native Plant Master classes but do not want to participate as a volunteer educator will receive a Colorado Flora Certificate after completion of the 36 hours of field training in 3 NPM courses.

Class Enrollment

Already a Native Plant Master volunteer and need to report contacts?

If you have any questions, please contact Lucinda Greene: or 303-730-1920

Keeping ahead of COVID-19

This rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) has imposed an unsettling, fluid situation upon our community and its businesses. While the team here still aims to maintain a “business as usual” approach, we are making a number of significant changes to our operations to account for a situation that is far from normal.