Forest Communities: Basic Dendrology Course

Dendrology is a branch of botany that focuses on the identification and taxonomy of woody plants, including trees, shrubs, and vines. Our Forest Communities courses extend this information to include geographic location and habitat type.

Join Phinizy Center Education staff and invited field trip leaders as we offer
Forest Communities courses throughout the year! Each class consists of field lecture time, field study, discussion, and home-reading suggestions to help students become more comfortable with skills necessary for basic tree identification in the field. All field trips require long periods of walking and hiking through forest terrain, so have your walking sticks (and sometimes your galoshes) ready!

The courses introduce participants to the fascinating world of Eastern Forest Communities. Each week we visit a different forest community within the CSRA such as Bottomland Hardwood Forest, Cypress/Tupelo Swamp Forest, Mixed Hardwood Forest, Riverine Forest, Deciduous Forest, and Oak-Hickory Forest.

Participants gain a better understanding of these irreplaceable habitats as we explore basic plant diversity and morphology, nomenclature, indicator species, succession, and much more. Participants are required to meet at different forest locations each week and are encouraged to carpool if possible. Registration fees include a reference book, a class notebook with handouts, and an automatic enrollment to become a Friend of Phinizy!  

Please email Ruth.Mead@phinizycenter.org if you are interested in a course that is not open for registration.


Forest Communities: Basic Dendrology Course focuses on basic tree identification by looking at geographic location, tree structure, tree bark, leaf structure and seed type.

Six-week Program; Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; October to November

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Forest Communities: Winter Dendrology Course focuses on tree identification generally without leaves present on the trees. Through exploring community type, geographic location, tree structure, tree bark, twig shape, leaf scars, bud shape, and more, participants learn to use their investigative skills to identify trees in the winter!

Six-week Program; Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; January to February 

2023: January 11th to February 15th 

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Forest Communities: Flowers of the Forest continues with basic tree identification but also adds identification of understory wildflowers that exist within each habitat through focusing on flower parts, symmetry, and fruit types! Note: This course does not occur every year.

Six-Week Program; Wednesdays 9 AM – 3 PM; March to April . No class during Masters week.

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