Practical Plant I.D. for Professionals


Practical Plant ID for Professionals (PPP) is a two-day (bootcamp style) workshop in native plant identification for natural resource professionals who have no formal training in plant taxonomy or vegetation ecology or need to brush up on their skills.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enroll once - come back anytime.

The PPP program is delivered as a scheduled course delivery or as a contract to organizations and groups.



Course participants learn the fundamental skills used by professional plant ecologists to efficiently and accurately identify plant species in the field. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will:

  • Access and apply relevant resources available for plant identification in their region.

  • Identify tree species by site using scientific nomenclature.

  • Apply the mechanics of using plant community type and plant identification resources to identify shrubs, herbs, and common grasses in the field.

  • Identify plant morphology and characteristics for regionally important or specific major plant families.

  • Catalogue and photograph to facilitate specimen verification by a plant taxonomist.

  • Apply the mechanics and ethics of collecting voucher specimens for future identification by a plant taxonomist.

Course format:

Practical Plant ID for Professionals is a workshop consisting of two, eight-hour days, typically 8:30 to 4:30. Practical Plant ID for Professionals can be held on weekdays or over the weekend.

Course Customization:

This course can be customized for an organization and/or community based on their needs. Please contact us with your ideas and needs, and we'll work with you to design and deliver a specialized training program that meets your needs.

Potential Students: 

Practical Plant ID for Professionals is geared toward natural resource professionals who work on plant-related projects but have not received formal training in plant taxonomy and vegetation ecology or those who do but need to brush up on their skills. This may include foresters, archaeologists, anthropologists, land managers, soil scientists, reclamation scientists, wildlife biologists, aquatic biologists, and surveyors.


This course is applicable for practitioners or students with a degree or diploma in environmental studies and related fields.

Personal Equipment Requirements:

Courses run rain or shine and are mainly field-based. Students are required to come prepared to work and learn outside all day in all weather conditions. Proper clothing layers, rubber boots, lunch and snacks, water, field backpack, local vegetation field guides, write-in-the-rain notebook or clipboard and paper, writing utensils, mosquito net, sunscreen, bug repellent, toilet paper, personal safety equipment, rain pants and rain jacket are recommended.

A plant ID field guide relevant to local region will be required. For further information, or for further assistance, please contact NRTG.  

Course Fees:

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please contact us

How do I Attend?

The PPP program is available for contract delivery. If you or your group would like to arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this course, please contact us for further information and consider the following: 

  1. Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date

  2. If applicable, secure program funding

  3. Recruit course participants (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 10 participants)

  4. Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

Note: see Course Customization above for other options to bring this training to your organization and/or community. 

Instructor Profile:

Nanette Richards, PBiol., RPBio., is a registered professional biologist, educator and mentor, and owner of Silverberry. With 21 years experience as a practicing biologist in western Canada, Ms Richards has a passion for sharing her knowledge and upholding a deep personal and professional commitment to responsible and realistic land stewardship.  

Nanette is most happy practising her craft outside, as a field ecologist, collecting vegetation data and mentoring young biologists in the field. Her areas of expertise include vegetation ecology, particularly terrestrial and wetland community classification in western Canada.  Her focus is usually on vegetation identification, as well as being conversant in rare plant surveys, vegetation monitoring and inventory work. 

Ms. Richards has extensive experience working on a wide variety of research and development projects in Alberta and BC for industry, government, First Nations, private landowners, university researchers, and environmental consultants. This varied and comprehensive background has provided her with a unique set of skills and perspectives, which she brings to the classroom and shares with students. 

Related Training: