Nature & the Environment

To register please call 914-606-6830 and press option 1

Environmental Education and Conservation
A Partnership between the College and Westmoreland Sanctuary

Westmoreland Sanctuary is a nature center and wildlife preserve located in Mt. Kisco, serving the Westchester community and beyond. Founded almost 60 years ago, Westmoreland Sanctuary’s ever expanding tracts of land now consist of 640 acres of year-round beauty and 7.5 miles of the finest hiking trails in Westchester. It’s a place where wild bird and animal life flourish; a place where native flowers, shrubs, plants and trees are cherished, protected and preserved. It’s also a place to simply come, enjoy and reconnect with nature, and maybe even yourself.

The health of our environment and natural world depends on a committed generation of today to pass the torch of appreciation, understanding, and respect of the natural world to future generations. Central to Westmoreland Sanctuary’s mission is offering environmental education and conservation programs to all. While touching the lives of 12,000 young students each year with certified environmental programming, Westmorland staff also conducts programs for adults that are both wide and varied. To learn more, please visit:

All classes below are held onsite at Westmoreland Sanctuary,
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco

Wilderness Survival: Shelter
Come out to Westmoreland Sanctuary and learn some basic skills for wilderness survival. This course will teach the basics of survival shelter building including: things to look for in a shelter site, which materials to use for your shelter and which ones to avoid, prioritizing shelter construction, and what types of shelters are best given the situation. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2038, 1 Sat., Jan. 28, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Sciame. #13394

Guided Hike: Animal Tracks and Signs
One of the easiest ways to know what is going on in the woods and your neighborhood is to take advantage of the tracks left in snow or mud and other signs animals leave behind. Learn to tell a rabbit track from that of a squirrel, and a coyote from a dog. Everyone will also get the opportunity to make a plaster cast of a local animal’s tracks. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2036, 1 Sat., Feb. 25, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25 (+ $2 plaster track fee, payable to instructor). S Sciame. #13391

Bird Banding
A unique learning activity in our bird banding program. Participate as staff use mist nets and other techniques to safely capture wild birds, then assist as they identify each bird, record its age and sex, and carefully place a numbered band on the bird before it is released. Allows participants to see what scientists do to study birds. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2035, 1 Sat., Apr. 15, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Ricker. #13392

Wilderness Survival: Cooking
Not all outdoor cooking is done at a barbecue. Come learn how to make something more than s’mores over an open fire. We’ll explore different wilderness cooking methods, depending on available resources, and how to best prepare foods without pots and pans. We’ll also be making lunch, so no need to bring your own. Email the instructor at with any allergies/ food requirements. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2040, 1 Sat., May 6, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, $25 (+ $7 for food supplies, payable to instructor). S Sciame. #13393

NEW! Vegetable Gardening Made Easy
Get introduced to a system that will simplify the art of vegetable gardening through practical demonstrations, visuals, and lecture. We’ll cover advance planning and starting indoors, soil preparation, crop selection, pest exclusion, and tips to make things easier based on the instructor’s many years of experience as a professional gardener.
CE-GRDN 2086VA, 3 Sat., Feb. 25-Mar. 11, 10:00-11:30 am, Room TBD, $45. A Gorkin. #13738

Introduction to Landscape Design
Learn the essential terminology, concepts and principles to turn any residential property into a coherently designed landscape. Learn how to conduct a site inventory and analysis, develop design concepts and schematics and create a final landscape plan. Particular attention will be paid to integrating native plants and utilizing sustainable design best practices.
CE-GRDN 2078, 3 Tues., Mar. 14-28, 7:00-10:00 pm, GTW-219, $95. L Becker. #13304

NEW! Basic Beekeeping Skills: An Introduction to the Craft of Beekeeping
With the recent die-off of honey bees worldwide over the past few years, there has been a renewed interest in the craft of beekeeping. Spend an afternoon learning just what is involved in tending these most amazing of creatures. To be successful at beekeeping requires developing some basic knowledge and skills. We’ll be going over what you need to know to get started. Come and see if beekeeping is right for you!
CE-SCI 2044, 1 Sat., Mar. 11, 2:00-4:00 pm, KNC-4, $25. D Haverkamp. #14140

NEW! Bee-Friendly Gardening
Many people are aware honey bees and other pollinators have been dying in large numbers recently.  One of the best things that can be done to support them is to provide plantings which offer great nutritional support. We’ll spend the afternoon discussing what bees need in the way of nutrition and which plants to incorporate into your garden to support them. Some great take home handouts will be provided.
CE GRDN 2091, 1 Sun., Apr. 30, 2:00-4:00 pm, KNC-4, $25. D Haverkamp. #14139

NEW! Maple Sugaring Basics
Step back in time as we discover how maple sap is turned into maple syrup. Learn the techniques of maple sugaring. Enjoy the unique combination of history, plant science, and culinary arts during this workshop.
CE-SCI 2042, 1 Sat., Mar. 18, 2:00-4:00 pm, KNC-4, $25. S Ricker. #13690

NEW! Winter Tree Identification
Learn how to identify trees without leaves using habitat, bark, branching, and more. We’ll join the instructor for a hike on trails to practice identifying techniques. The benefits of each species will be explored, and the pros and cons of different field guides will be discussed. Please dress for the outdoors; binoculars are helpful, but not required.
CE-SCI 2043, 1 Sat., Jan. 21, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, KNC-5, $25. S Ricker. #13695

Introduction to Birds
How to identify and attract colorful birds to your backyard. Over 300 species have been seen in Westchester. One classroom session focuses on birding basics, ID techniques for learning the common birds and the best places to go birding. The second session will be a field trip to a local nature center for first-hand practice.
CE-SCI 2013VA, 2 Sat., Apr. 22 & 29, 9:30-11:00 am, KNC-2 (first class), $30 (+ $6 parking fee at nature center). H Weber. #13233

Native Plant

Certificate Program in Sustainable Gardening with Native Plants

GO NATIVE U at Westchester Community College

Discover how to plant and grow a beautiful and beneficial landscape using plants native to the Northeast in this program designed for industry professionals and home gardeners alike.

Landscape architects, designers, and gardening enthusiasts will learn from experienced instructors about regional ecology and the sustainable practices that can be used to enhance home and community environments.

Students can enroll in single classes or pursue a certificate, which consists of 50 contact hours (18 hours/core courses, 17 hours/electives, and 15 hours/community service) plus a final exam. Most classes offer LA-CES approved credit hours; some offer ISA-approved credit.

To register for these courses, please call 914-606-6830 and press 1 or register online at
All classes are held in the Classroom Building, Room 100, unless otherwise noted.

Core Classes:

Introduction to Native Plant Communities

Examine the groups of native plants that grow together in the wild, and the ecological reasons for gardening with this approach. Learn about common plant communities, why they are important, and how to emulate them in your landscape.
CE-GRDN 2013, 1 Fri., Jan. 27, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. K Eierman. #13328
Native Perennials: Spring/Summer
Learn about the many herbaceous native plants that will enhance your garden and also provide food and shelter for native bees, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
CE-GRDN 2016, 1 Sat., Mar. 25, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. B Fischer. #13330

Plant Identification in the Field
Move outside the classroom to learn how to identify plants using a taxonomic key. Try your skills in the field by exploring the demonstration gardens of The Native Plant Center and the grounds of the college campus. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide is required. Note: Advanced Plant ID is offered later on the same day. We recommend signing up for both courses (see below). Bring lunch.
CE-GRDN 2023, 1 Thurs., May 11, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. J Schuler. #13335

Elective Classes:

NEW! Native Plant Center:
Pre-sale Discounts!
The Native Plant Center’s annual pre-sale catalog is filled with wonderful native plants for area gardens. Get help in choosing the right plants for your site by learning more about the plants for sale, having your questions answered, and deciding what to order. Receive a $25 coupon for pre-sale orders of $50 or more.
CE-GRDN 2087, 1 Sat., Jan. 21, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $30. B Fischer. #14193

Invasive Species and Management
Learn to identify the invasive species—plants, pests, and diseases—that are negatively impacting native ecosystems in the region. Find out the recommended best management practices for monitoring and controlling these invasives as well as relevant regulations.
CE-GRDN 2037, 2 Thurs., Jan. 26 & Feb. 2, 5:30-7:30 pm, $90. J Schuler. #13337

NEW! Growing Native Plants from Seed
Some native plants are hard to find and others require special germination procedures. Demystify the process of growing native plants from seed and find out how to collect, store, and sow seed from both easy and challenging species.
CE-GRDN 2090, 1 Sat., Feb. 4, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. M Hagen. #14152

Best Practices for Garden Maintenance
Learn how to maintain a chemical-free, thriving native plant garden with best practices for weeding and invasive plant control, basic plant identification, and suggestions for equipment that will make the job easier.
CE-GRDN 2074, 1 Wed., Feb. 8, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. C Summers. #13332

Meadowscaping at Home: How to Make a Native Meadow
From pocket meadows to large landscapes, explore different techniques to create a meadow or meadow-like landscape that is not only beautiful, but low maintenance, deer resistant, and ecologically beneficial.
CE-GRDN 2041, 1 Thurs., Feb. 9, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. K Eierman. #13331

NEW! Gardening with Deer
The impact of deer browsing is a chief concern when considering plants for garden design. The recurring question “Do the deer eat it?” is fraught with frustration. Discover a selection of easy-to-grow native plants less favorable to deer that will allow you to enjoy gardening again.
CE-GRDN 2089, 1 Sat., Mar. 4, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. M Hagen. #13588

NEW! The Pollinator Victory Garden

Populations of many pollinator species are in decline, which poses a serious problem as 80% of all flowering plants and 30% of food plants are dependent on them. Help win the war on pollinator decline by learning which native plants provide the appropriate habitat and forage to attract and support a wide variety of pollinator to your landscape.
CE-GRDN 2088 ,1 Sat., Apr. 1, 10:00 am-1:00 pm, $80. K Eierman. #13587

Identifying Ferns of the Northeast
Learn the distinguishing characteristics of the 30 most common ferns native to the region. Examine the shape of fronds, spore-bearing leaves, leaf veins, and margins. Ferns will be illustrated by use of a herbarium, which allows for up-close views.
CE-GRDN 2053, 1 Wed., Apr. 5, 7:00-9:30 pm, $70 (+ $5 materials fee, payable to instructor). M Penziner. #13327

Advanced Plant Identification in the Field
Spend the class outdoors practicing the use of field guides and taxonomic plant identification keys. Prerequisite: Plant Identification in the Field (held earlier the same day) or equivalent coursework in botany. Meet in the Cottage Garden on the college campus. Dress appropriately for the weather. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide required.
CE-GRDN 2050, 1 Thurs., May 11, 12:30-2:30 pm, $55. J Schuler. #13336

Photographing Nature
Learn camera basics, awareness of light, and composition along with a few creative tools to make better photographs of our natural world. Class will move outdoors. Bring a camera (no smart phones), an extra battery, and a memory card or film. A circular polarizing filter and tripod are recommended.
CE-PHOTO 2018, 1 Sat., May 13, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, $80. J Squillante. #13390

The Go Native U Certificate Program is a collaborative effort between Westchester Community College and The Native Plant Center. A percentage of tuition supports the work of The Native Plant Center.