Nature & Garden

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


Introduction to Winter Birds
Learn to identify winter birds using GISS (General Impression of Size and Shape). This in class presentation will focus on resident winter birds and those birds who migrate from the north to spend the winter in Westchester, and their strategies for surviving the winter
CE-SCI 2018VA, 1 Sat., Jan. 23, 10:00-11:30 am, KNC-5, $30. W Chadwick. #12644

Westchester Wildlife
Join us for an introduction to Westchester wildlife. Learn to identify our local wildlife, their adaptations, habitats and where to find them. We will discuss birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles through classroom presentations and discussions.
CE-SCI 2020VA, 2 Sat., Mar. 12 & 19, 10:00-11:30 am, Room TBD, $30. W Chadwick. #12645

Introduction to Birds
Learn to identify birds using the GISS (General Impression of Size and Shape), their adaptations, habitats, and where to find them locally. First meeting will consist of classroom presentation, followed by a field session at the Rockefeller State Park (entrance on Route 117).
CE-SCI 2013VA, 2 Sat., Apr. 23 & 30, 9:30-11:00 am, Room TBD, $30 (+ $6 parking fee at Park). W Chadwick. #12646

NEW! Grow “Ugly” Heirloom Tomatoes
Take the first steps towards an August harvest of your own crop of “ugly” tomatoes, those old-fashioned heirlooms with funny names like Mortgage Lifter. You’ll plant 6 varieties of hard to find tomato seeds to take home, plus learn the history and importance of heirlooms and techniques for successfully transplanting and growing them into a spectacular crop of multicolored and unusually shaped luscious tomatoes. If you don’t have a place to germinate and grow the seedlings, your instructor can provide greenhouse space for a nominal, additional fee. Class is held in the greenhouse at the Hart’s Brook Nature Preserve, 156 Ridge Road, Greenburgh. Contact instructor at or call 914-419-3382 for directions.
CE-GRDN 2077, 1 Sat., Apr. 16, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, Room TBD, $20 (+ $15 materials fee, payable in cash to instructor). A Kish. #13228

NEW! Grow Your Own
Eat healthy, save money, and reduce stress. Learn everything you need to know about starting a vegetable garden. Site selection, soil preparation, deciding what to grow, and when and how to plant it will all be explained and demonstrated. Seedlings may be available for purchase. Class is held in the greenhouse and vegetable garden at the Hart’s Brook Nature Preserve, 156 Ridge Road, Greenburgh. Contact instructor at or call 914-419-3382 for directions.
CE-GRDN 2076, 1 Sat., May 14, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, Room TBD, $20 (+ $5 materials fee, payable in cash to instructor). A Kish. #13227

Native Plants

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.

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.

To register for these courses, please call 914-606-6830 and press 1 or register online at

This program is offered through the college’s Native Plant Center, located on the Valhalla campus. All classes are held in the Classroom Building, Room 100, unless otherwise noted.

Core Classes:

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. 19, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, Room TBD, $55. B Fischer. #13027

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 Sat., Apr. 2, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, Room TBD, $55. K Eierman. #13028

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.
CE-GRDN 2023, 1 Sat., May 14, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, LIB-101, $55. J Schuler. #13029

Elective Classes:

Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Bees
While some creatures can utilize the same native plants and similar habitats, others have specific requirements. Discover how you can attract and support birds, butterflies and bees in your own garden.
CE-GRDN 2069, 3 Wed., Feb. 3-17, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, CLA-200, $130. K Eierman. #13030

NEW! 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 Thurs., Feb. 18, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. C Summers. #13139

Proper Pruning Practices
Learn the proper techniques and methods for pruning deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees. Topics include correct timing, renewal pruning, and recommended tools. Dress for weather and bring your pruners for hands-on work in the garden.
CE-GRDN 2062, 1 Sat., Mar. 5, 10:00 am-2:30 pm, KNC-5, $115. A Perkowski. #13031

Identifying Ferns of the Northeast
Learn the distinguishing characteristics of the 30 most common ferns native to the region. Examine the shape of the fronds, the spore bearing leaves, the leaf veins, and the margins. Ferns will be illustrated by use of a herbarium, which allows for up-close views.
CE-GRDN 2053, 1 Wed., Apr. 6, 7:00-9:30 pm, $70 (+ $5 materials fee, payable to instructor). M Penziner. #12769

NEW! Inspirations from the Great Smoky Mountains
The natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains give us clues about how to garden more ecologically. Discover the many plants found in the Smokies that can be used in our own landscapes, along with tips on ecological design.
CE-GRDN 2075, 1 Sat., Apr. 9, 10:00 am -12:00 noon, Room TBD, $55. K Eierman. #13271

NEW! Great Native Plants for Containers
Even if you don’t have room for a perennial garden, you can still invite nature to your yard, patio, or balcony with container plantings. Learn which native plants grow successfully in containers and attract butterflies, beneficial insects, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.
CE-GRDN 2057, 1 Wed., May 4, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $55. K Eierman. #13033

NEW! 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 7, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, LIB-101, $80. J Squillante. #13270

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 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 Sat., May 14, 12:30-2:30 pm, LIB-101, $55. J Schuler. #13032