Learning is a lifelong creative endeavor. Adult & Continuing Education Programs at The North Carolina Arboretum invites you to grow in mind and grow in place through our certificate and continuing education programs. A University of North Carolina System affiliate, the Arboretum offers immersive learning opportunities with the Blue Ridge Naturalist and the Blue Ridge Eco Gardener Certificates of Merit.

Scroll down for information on each certificate program with links to course overviews. 

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Start a quest to deepen your knowledge of one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Join a community of adult learners who are dedicated to understanding the natural sciences, ecology and culture of the Southern Appalachian region through the Blue Ridge Naturalist (BRN) Certificate of Merit program. Classes meet year round online, onsite and in the field.

Students complete core and elective courses on ecology, botany, geology and plant identification, animals, lichens, insects and more. New courses are offered for certificate credit every month and in every season. Click here for the 2023 Curriculum Overview.

All students complete and present a final project prior to graduation. Projects often take the form of service learning, empowering students to tackle needs in their own communities, including establishing pollinator gardens for public enjoyment or researching the effects of stream sedimentation.

All current courses are listed on the Adult Education Classes page and in the Arboretum’s Learn & Grow monthly newsletter. Further information on the program can be found in Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment will open for our Blue Ridge Naturalist Certificate of Merit programs beginning December 16 and extending through January for our upcoming Spring session. Enrollment will stay open until January 31, with program onboarding in early February and classes beginning mid-February.

For more information on enrolling, please contact Adult Education Programs at AdultEducation@ncarboretum.org.

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A garden is far more than just a collection of flowers and foliage, but a living community of organisms interacting as a dynamic system, from the tiniest soil bacterium to the tallest tree. The Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Eco Gardener (BREG) Certificate of Merit program is designed to empower you with an understanding of the complex ecological principles underpinning healthy, self-sustaining landscapes and how to apply them in your garden. Participants complete core and elective courses in ecology, botany, permaculture, landscape design and more. Click here for the Curriculum Overview.

Classes are ongoing year round and are offered online and onsite, with new courses added every month. Current courses being offered for certificate credit are listed on Adult Education Classes and in the Arboretum’s Learn & Grow monthly newsletter. Further information on the program can be found in Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment will open for our Blue Ridge EcoGardening Certificate of Merit programs beginning December 16 and extending through January for our upcoming Spring session. Enrollment will stay open until January 31, with program onboarding in early February and classes beginning mid-February.

For more information on enrolling, please contact Adult Education Programs at AdultEducation@ncarboretum.org.