Email from Barbara Fischer about a great new program at WCC:
“Hi Bill – Now that I have retired from The Children’s Village Greenhouse (Claire Cornish is still there and doing a fabulous job), I am more active with The Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College.
Last year Carolyn Summer, myself and Sarah Fowler-Rogers at WCC started a Certificate Program in Sustainable Gardening with Northeast Flora. We are now heading into our second Spring semester starting in January! We have even had our first graduate!
The full description of the upcoming classes is on line at the WCC website if you click the Spring brochure and go to pages 39 and 40. If you want, I can send the information separately. Some classes have LA-CES approved credit hours and all the classes are lots of fun! The certificate program is headed by local author Carolyn Summers (she is our “Dean”) and I am the “assistant administrative dean” although those are just fun titles. There are required classes, elective classes and required field work to get the certificate, although of course anyone can take any class just for the great learning experience. We are well along with adding new electives for the Fall 2012 session including Deer Resistant Natives with Ruth Rogers Clausen.
We would love it if you could blog about the upcoming Spring semester, and I will send you updated for each semester going forward if that would be helpful.
Thanks so much.
And if you want to learn more about the program, here’s a press release from August, after the jump:
“Westchester Resident Graduates by Going Native!
Jeanne A. Waful of Katonah, New York is making local history as the first graduate of Go Native U at Westchester Community College: a Certificate Program in Sustainable Gardening with Northeast Flora. This certificate program, held at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York, is a collaborative effort between The Native Plant Center and Westchester Community College Department of Continuing Education. Launched in September 2010, it is modeled on a successful program begun by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Completion of the Certificate requires 35 hours of classroom instruction and a 15-hour practical internship working under the guidance of The NPC. Core classes essential to the completion of the certificate include: identification of woody and herbaceous native plants, regional floral ecology and sustainable design. Electives range from classes on stormwater management, native ferns, native conifers, landscape and wildflower photography, and organic gardening practices. For those who are interested in taking individual classes, completion of the certificate is not required to participate, but is highly encouraged.
Darrin Duling, past Director of The NPC, teamed up with NPC Steering Committee members Barbara Fischer and Carolyn Summers to become the driving force behind the program. They first garnered permission from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (LBJWC) to create a counterpart Go Native U program and then presented the idea to Westchester Community College Department of Continuing Education. A partnership was set up where The NPC formulates the course curriculum, secures instructors and sets the schedule while WCC Continuing Ed. handles the registration and room booking. In exchange for its contribution to the program, a percentage of the tuition taken in by the college goes directly to The NPC. It is a very happy marriage; Sarah Fowler-Rogers, Director of WCC Continuing Ed., says: “Continuing Education is thrilled to partner with The Native Plant Center to bring Go Native U to the area residents. The program has been very successful during its first year! More than 225 students have enrolled in the program and have taken, on average, 3-4 classes per semester. Our students are interested in this program both personally (to enhance home gardens and become community advocates for sustainability) and professionally (to add to their landscape design business or nursery, or for their own professional development). They all have in common the desire to incorporate sustainable gardening with regional flora into our environment. Students report that they are impressed with the quality of the instruction and the relevance and practicality of the content. We anticipate that the program will continue to expand as more people become interested in this area of sustainability and strive to enhance their own knowledge of regional ecology.