Wisconsin Native Plant Certification Program

Click here to see our list of 2024 native plant courses

2024 Program Flyer

We have scholarships for college students to receive 75% off of courses. Inquire if you are interested.


This 50-hour certificate in Wisconsin native plants is by the Wild Ones Fox Valley Area.  It is designed to expand knowledge of botany, ecology, conservation, and uses of native flora in Wisconsin. Participants will get both classroom education and hands-on application to increase knowledge and skills that can be applied at home, in the community, or at work. The course setting will provide a common ground for native plant enthusiasts to meet and connect with others who share their interests. The program is designed to benefit home gardeners, landscapers, teachers, and other professionals.


The mission of the Wisconsin Native Plant Certification program is to provide learning opportunities to empower people to develop, maintain, and advocate for ecological health through the development of native landscapes. Our classes focus on how native vegetation improves water quality, soil fertility, and carbon storage, and provides essential habitat necessary to restore biodiversity and beauty on our home fronts. By gaining appreciation of the connection between native plants and human and ecosystem health, we aim to make native landscapes the norm rather than the exception.


  1. Foster greater understanding of the importance of native plant communities and how they function;
  2. Improve plant identification skills; 
  3. Improve recognition and management of exotic, invasive, and aggressive species;
  4. Engage in the practical application of cultivating healthy natural communities using program content;
  5. Provide opportunities to meet and connect with other conservation-minded individuals;
  6. Provide credentialing in the field of native plant management.


This program is designed to take a minimum of two years to complete.  Our classes offer a blend of classroom and virtual instruction, hands-on learning and field study. Each course will have an assessment of learning at the end.


  1. Three core courses (18 hours)
  2. Elective courses (may include field study) (22 hours)
  3. Capstone project (10 hours minimum)

The courses do not need to be taken in any particular order.

Your capstone project is a demonstration of practical application integrated with program content meeting the following criteria:

  • It must be current (i.e., not a past project) constituting a minimum of 10 hours.
    • Previous, completed projects don’t qualify. However, ongoing restoration projects may be accepted. Please inquire.
  • It may be a personal or volunteer project.
    • if volunteering, you are encouraged to work with our many partners
    • if personal, you are encouraged to work with others and incorporate an outreach component.
  • It may be hands on or intellectual in nature.
    • an example of a “hands on” project includes documentation of success of a restored or new planting that you developed or were integral in developing
    • examples of intellectual projects include methods to influence others to embark on native projects, attempting to affect municipal regulations to accept native landscapes, or working on a project committee directly with Wild Ones
  • It will be summarized in a well-written, concise article submitted for publication in our newsletter containing a description of your project, how it incorporated program content, and include photos or other images that represent your work.

Your article summarizing your capstone project will be reviewed by the committee and approved based upon providing appropriate evidence of integration of program materials with your project. 

Your certification will be awarded upon:

  • completion of 40 hours of courses
  • completion of 10 hours for your capstone project
  • submission and approval of your capstone project article (400-500 words)
  • submission of the Application for Certification documenting the completion of your work


All courses are geared toward Wisconsin native ecosystems.  Depending on instructor choice, courses may be in person, virtual, or hybrid. Up to 1/3 of class time may be spent in the field. All courses will include an evaluation of learning.

Core Courses (18 hours – required courses):

  • Native Plant Form and Function
  • Native Plant Ecology and Identification
  • Establishing and Managing Native Plant Communities

Elective Courses (1-6 hours each; 22 hours) 

  • Identifying Bugs in the Wild (6 hrs)
  • Terrestrial Invasive Species Management (4 hrs)
  • Moths: The Unknown Pollinators (6 hrs)
  • Protecting Our Waters (4 hrs)
  • Wisconsin Forests (5 hrs)
  • Identifying Native Trees and Shrubs in Winter (4 hrs)
  • Creating a Native Plant Oasis Design Plan (6 hrs)
  • Exploring the Fungal World (4 hrs)
  • Finding Your Connection with Nature (4 hrs)
  • The Ultimate Hummingbird Garden (4 hrs)

Course Fees

Core Courses (each)

  • $60 (15% discount for members – $51)


  •  $12/hour (15% discount for members – $10.20/hour)

Some courses may have additional fees for supplies, lodging, ect.

Click here for the list of classes and to register
About the Instructors


At this time, registration for courses can only be done through Eventbrite.   

Class sizes are limited.  If you cancel two full days before the class begins, there is a non-refundable cancellation fee of $10, with the remaining balance refunded.  There is no refund for student cancellations less than a week before class starts.  If the class is cancelled by Wild Ones or the instructor, registrants will get a full refund.  


Be the first to know about new classes!

    For questions about this program, please contact us at [email protected].  If you would like to apply to teach a class, download the application to teach a native plant class.


    This program represents a partnership among several non-profit organizations.  Students and paying members of these organizations receive discounts on class fees, but participation in our classes is not limited to these organizations.  Current program partners include: