Native Plant Master Program – Foothills to Plains
Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso Counties
Anyone 16 years or older is eligible to apply to take Native Plant Master courses and special classes.
- Learn fascinating plant facts including landscape uses of Colorado natives and other human uses.
- Discover how noxious weeds threaten native plants and wildlife.
- Learn how to use a key and botanical field guide to identify wild plants.
- Interact with others who share your love of Colorado’s native flora.
Training And Certification
Native Plant Master credit courses and special classes are offered at various open space parks, State parks and other public lands. A few courses have pre-requisites. Each 12-hour NPM credit course is made up of three, four-hour sessions taught on mornings in May through September. Non-credit classes on a variety of special topics are also offered and some of these classes are held indoors.
Native Plant Master credit courses are taught in the field using living examples of the native flora in Colorado. Credit course topics for the three sessions 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.
Special classes focus on topics such as basic botany, grasses or invasive weeds. If participants can’t take all three courses in one year, they may apply in future years to take courses still needed for certification.
To become certified as a Native Plant Master, you must complete 36 hours of field training in 3 NPM courses in different life zones. Classes may be taken in any county. Additionally, you must talk to at least 20 people about Colorado plants within twelve months of completing your final training class. You must report the number of public educational contacts made to the program coordinator. Students who wish to take the classes but not participate as a volunteer educator will receive a Colorado Flora Certificate after completion of the 36 hours of field training in 3 NPM courses.
After successfully completing three courses and the educational contact requirement, participants are awarded the Native Plant Master certification. Certification may be maintained by teaching at least 60 people per year about native plants and reporting at least annually on those contacts.