W.K. Kellogg Biological Station W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary with image of Barred Owl.

Who should attend: Anyone who wants or needs to improve their native plant identification knowledge and/or skills: professional and student botanists, biologists, arborists, ecologists and native plant enthusiasts!

The Field Botany course will expose participants to basic botanical taxonomy and ecology. We will get a close-up look at plant parts, discover botanical terminology, and basic identifying characteristics. In two classroom sessions, we will learn about Michigan’s diverse natural vegetation, emphasizing basic ecological principles of plant distribution, historic and contemporary influences on Michigan’s major vegetation types.

During field sessions, you will develop skills in using plant family characteristics and dichotomous keys to identify plants. We will learn common and scientific names and the ecological relationships of 40 to 50 plants in three main habitats including wetlands, forests, and prairie-like clearings.
Class Size:
20 students


Basic Botanical Terminology (Class Session)

Enjoy an interactive, fun and fact-filled class designed to prepare you for success in your study of Michigan’s flora. Participants will be exposed to basic botanical taxonomy and plant ecology as we get a close-up look at plant parts, discover botanical terminology, and learn basic identifying characteristics to set you up for success in the field!

Trees of Michigan's Forest (Field Trip)

We will learn common species along geographic and soil gradients, from oak-hickory forests to beech-maple forests and the common understory plants to be found there. We will also discuss how land management affects forest communities.

The History and Distribution of Michigan's Native Plant Communities (Class Session)
Have you ever wondered what "primeval" Michigan looked like? Well, you're in luck, the clues are everywhere in the landscape...You will be armed with the knowledge to decode the clues - soils, landforms, hydrology, dominant species - to understanding Michigan's native plant communities and the species that are found in them.

Wetland Plants of the Midwest (Field Trip)
Come explore Michigan’s wetlands! We will hike through a local natural area to see examples of the diverse wetland types that occur in Michigan and learn some of the common and more unique plants that are adapted to life in wet soils.

Prairies and Savannas of Michigan (Field Trip)
Let's walk through the idyllic, flowery fields! We will learn to identify some common wildflowers and grasses (yes you can!) that are well-suited to life in the sun, as well as the difference between Michigan's rare native prairie and savanna habitats and the more mundane 'oldfields'.

Invasive Species (Field Trip)
What is the difference between invasive, exotic, non-native, introduced  or even alien plant species. During this class we will find out what makes a plant species invasive and identify some of the species that are moving into our Michigan landscape.


  • $180.00 Non-member
  • $160.00 Member 
Fees will increase by $15 after registration closes should openings be available.

Duration: 6 Weeks

Class Time: Wednesdays, 6 to 8 p.m.

Class Location: The first class will be held at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Stack Building room 145, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, MI 49060. 

Class Dates: August 9, 16, 23, 30, and September 6, 13

Materials Provided: Handouts, selected identification keys, and technical references.

Master Gardner Credits: This class has been approved for master gardener credits. Students receive one credit for every hour spent in class or field section.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information contact the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary at 269-671-2510 or birdsanctuary@kbs.msu.edu or Misty Klotz, Program Coordinator at 269-671-2263 or klotzmis@msu.edu.