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Native Plant Master Course at Plains Conservation Center

The Denver Botanic Gardens and CSU Extension's Native Plant Master Program are cosponsoring a Native Plant Master® course at the Plains Conservation Center for the second time in several years. Come experience the wide open prairies of Colorado while learning about native and alien plants that live there. During three outdoor field sessions, you will learn common and scientific names, ecological relationships and human uses of 40 - 50 plants. You will also develop skills in using family features and a botanical key to identify plants. Course includes special emphasis on natives useful for landscaping and alien invasives that threaten native ecosystems.


This program is jointly sponsored by Denver Botanic Gardens and the Native Plant Master® Program. Please visit https://npm.eventbrite.com to explore other Native Plant Master offerings or sign up to get class announcements.


Price: $95 public



Lisa Mason - Horticulture Agent in Arapahoe County

Lucinda Greene -Assistant Horticulturist and Native Plant Master Coordinator in Arapahoe County


Special instructions, requests or notes:


Prerequisite: Basic Botany class. (For those with a botany background that have not completed a Native Plant Master course, this prerequisite may be waived. Contact lgreene@arapahoegov.com to request a waiver.)




Native Plant Master: All participants who pass three NPM courses will receive a Colorado Flora Certificate. For accepted volunteers, this course counts toward certification as a Native Plant Master. For more information on the volunteer program, see www.nativeplantmaster.org. To reduce overlap, take courses in different months and/or lifezones

Lifezone: Plains


When and where to meet: Plains Conservation Center - 21901 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80018. (303) 693-3621. (See map.) Meet at the center of the main lot. Please park in the lot to the east of the picnic shelter, not directly in front of the Front Range Building. Please arrive at 8:15 AM the first day to receive course materials. Course begins 8:30 AM sharp.


What to wear: Layered clothing for changing and/or severe weather conditions, hat, sturdy closed-toe footwear (suitable for cactus country), etc. Please come prepared for moderately strenuous walking on hot, cold, windy, rainy or snowy days.

What to bring: Textbook, pencil, hand lens (10x), daypack, water, sack lunch, rain gear, sun and wind protection, personal items you will need, etc.


Required Textbook: Flora of Colorado by Jennifer Ackerfield available through Colorado Native Plant Society bookstore (https://conps.org/conps-store), local and online retail outlets and the publisher (800-621-2736)


Carpooling: Carpooling is encouraged. Contact lgreene@arapahoegov.com if you would like to carpool and your contact information will be shared with others interested in carpooling.


Please visit https://npm.eventbrite.com to explore other Native Plant Master offerings or sign up to get class announcements. This program is jointly sponsored by Denver Botanic Gardens and the Native Plant Master® Program

For more information on the volunteer program, see www.nativeplantmaster.org


Natural Blood Sugar Balance with Plenty of Sweetness

Blood sugar and insulin balance are important factors in achieving optimal health and can be maintained through many plants and herbs. Learn about the nutritional science and practices that support the use of plants, both from land and sea, to nourish and create internal equilibrium. 


Price: $46, $41 member

Instructor: Cynthia Farris designs personalized nutrition & lifestyle programs for nature lovers wanting to heal digestive & immune issues naturally. Many of these approaches honor the simple, close-to-the-earth approaches of our ancestors. She believes that good health begins with a joyful gut, which is created through gentle and easy-to-incorporate daily practices. Trained as a functional nutritionist, she focuses on root cause resolution of symptoms resulting in happy bellies, vibrant energy, uplifted mood and sustainable wellness. Cynthia holds certifications in functional nutrition and lifestyle practices, fermentation, transformational coaching, is a board certified holistic health coach and certified gluten practitioner. 



Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady: Edith Holden

It was common that Edwardian ladies kept journals filled with observational notes, learned to sketch flowers and paint their sketches in delicate glazes of watercolor. Edith Holden, a trained illustrator in the era of William Morris, recorded in her diaries impressions of flora and fauna throughout the British countryside. Work in graphite and watercolor pencil sketch on location, then complete a botanical plate from observational sketches of your own ‘”nature notes.”


Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Color Pencil I, Botanical Illustration in Watercolor Pencil I


Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.



Tue, March 26, April 2, 16, 23, 30, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen


Nature Observed

Personal drawing books that belonged to old masters such as Georg Dionysius Ehret and the Bauer brothers are now preserved in the Natural History Museum in London. They include a wealth of striking, well-preserved studies of the form and nature of plants. These journals, with their informative handwritten notes, allow us to experience the moment the art was made as if it were today.


This class combines field sketching and scientific documentation. You’ll learn techniques to accurately portray both distant subjects and close-up botanicals within the scene. Different field sketching techniques will help you to see and simplify landscape elements and create compositions with dynamic depth. You will learn the process of quickly capturing accurate renderings of any object. Individual help and group critique guides you to see and record correctly while simplifying complex subject matter. You will work with graphite and/or water-soluble pencils and a water brush if outside the classroom. No matter what media you use, your personal sketchbook will be filled with pages of valuable information for future remembrance and record.


No prerequisites.

Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.


Fri-Sun, May 17-19, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

Nature Writing Along the Platte

*Tickets will be available January 2, 2019*

Explore nature writing and nature journaling along the South Platte River Trail.Learn more about the ecology and hydrology of this important U.S. tributary as well as the challenges the South Platte and those that live along it face as Denver and the surrounding areas expand.We will explore how the South Platte s health has been affected by human activity as it flows through urban and agricultural areas.Appropriate for K-12 Teachers


Nervines: Calming the Nervous System with Nervine Herbs

In this 2 part class we look at herbal strategies that address the nervous system with a focus on stress, anxiety, sleep and depression. Learn about herbal nervines and adaptogens that soothe and support the nervous system and how to combine herbs with meditation and movement to reduce daily stress levels.


Price: $104 public

Instructors: Kimberly Thompson, Raven Rose

Kimberly has spent the last 19 years cultivating her love and passion for the natural world and sharing it with others. In addition to being a clinical herbalist, Kim is also a certified massage therapist, aromatherapist and licensed esthetician. She practices many different modalities including Mayan abdominal massage, Mayan tradition spiritual healing, Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, lymph drainage massage, neuromuscular massage, cupping, Gua sha, cranial sacral therapy, Thai massage for the table, Ashi-atsu barefoot massage, and Ashi Thai are among the many bodywork methods that she practices. Kimberly adds a spiritual healing style to each of her treatments.  She uses an intuitive approach to help gently unwind the tissue and bring the body into balance. She loves beauty and skincare and offers facials, dermaplane, microdermabrasion and waxing. She also offers herbal consultations to assist clients in their herbal healing journey. Kimberly has worked for 18 years teaching classes in herbal medicine and aromatherapy and working in the clinic. Her practice at Apothecary Tinctura and her own private practice has an emphasis on womens holistic health. She has been teaching classes for the last four years for The Denver Integrative Massage School and Herbalism Roots. She loves time in nature teaching people about wildcrafting, medicine making and plant identification. She also loves teaching and sharing her love of body work.


Raven is a menstrual health herbalist who intertwines Western herbalism with traditional healing practices. At her practice, Moon Medicine, she addresses menstrual and hormonal issues, from fibroids to hot flashes. Raven has studied herbalism, nutrition and spiritual healing in the United States, Mexico and Peru. Her teachings are focused on natural healing through the integration of herbalism with emotional and spiritual healing. Catch her in a class on herbs for hormonal balance or connecting with plant spirits.


Never Fail Perennials

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

Learn to choose and plant a wide variety of easy-to-grow plants for years of low-maintenance enjoyment.

Shalene will demonstrate how to plan your perennial garden for a continuous succession of bloom. The final class will be a walk in the Gardens to view examples of perennials discussed in class, as well as a time for additional questions and discussion.


Instructor: Shalene Hiller

Price: $145, $122 members

North American Crop Wild Relatives: An Agricultural Family Tree

As wolves are to dogs, crop wild relatives (CWR) are to agriculture. These wild and weedy plant partners are a valuable genetic resource used to breed new crop cultivars and improve existing crops to fight crop diseases, pests and climate change challenges. Learn about these fascinating botanical ties and develop a visual “family tree” of your chosen crop wild relative and its relationship to a familiar food crop. Your research will illustrate a compelling story of the plant’s history and its challenges and benefits. Put the pieces together to create a captivating and educational botanical composition in mixed media.


Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II, Botanical illustration in Pen and Ink I.


Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.



Mon, June 3, 10, 17, 24, July 1, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi


North American Rock Garden Society Show and Sale

The Plant Hunters Market is the world’s greatest event to shop for plants. Find unusual plants from around the globe including plants that are native to the great state of Colorado. There are vendors that sell troughs as well as a fantastic collection of books. All sales go to support programs and efforts of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, the Colorado Native Plant Society, and the Denver Botanic Gardens. Included with admission.


Off The Clock Admission

Forget happy hour; come to the 2019 Off the Clock series on the first Friday of February through April! Enjoy live music and themed activities, learn from Gardens scientists, and explore the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory after dark. Offshoots Café and cash bars will offer themed specials at each unique event. Great for singles, couples and friends! For details on each month's theme, visit our events page.



Last entry is at 8:30 p.m.

*Ticket prices will increase beginning at 6 p.m. on the night of the event*

Non-Member Advance $21

Non-Member Door $27

Member Advance $18

Member Door $24


Open Studio

Open Studio is for anyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace. A tutor is available for help and advice (10 a.m.-noon), but there will be no formal teaching. The tutor will help you get started on a project or advise how to add the finishing touches. Attending the Open Studio is ideal for anyone who wants to advance his/her personal projects (or ideas) or needs to refresh his/her knowledge of any media.


Fee: $35/session member, $45/session non-member.


Pre-registration required.



Mon, Jan. 14, 5-8 p.m. (Constance Sayas)

Mon, Jan. 21, 5-8 p.m. (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, Jan. 28, 5-8 p.m. (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, Feb. 4, 5-8 p.m. (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, Feb. 11, 5-8 p.m. (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, March 11, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, March 18, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan Rubin)

Mon, April 1, 5-8 p.m. (Charlotte Ricker)

Mon, April 15, 5-8 p.m. (Charlotte Ricker)

Mon, April 22, 5-8 p.m. (Marjorie Leggitt)

Mon, April 29, 5-8 p.m. (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, May 20, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, June 3, 5-8 p.m. (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, June 17, 5-8 p.m. (Susan Rubin)

Mon, July 1, 5-8 p.m. (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, July 8, 9 a.m. – noon (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, July 15, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)



Outdoor Winter Containers

Tired of looking at dried, dead foliage from last summer's containers all through the winter? There are inexpensive and creative ways to fill outdoor containers from fall to early spring Betty Cahill, garden  Punch List  writer for the Denver Post, reveals how easy it is to assemble and create decorative pots to chase away the fall and winter blahs. Cahill shares seasonal decorating ideas, too!


Instructor: Betty Cahill

Price: $41, $36 member

Pelargoniums in Watercolor

Pelargonium is the second largest genus, containing probably the most well-known members of the family Geraniaceae, native to South Africa. Pelargonium can be found as annuals and shrubs. They often have colorful, aromatic leaves. During this class, you’ll learn about Pelargonium’s 200-plus species and cultivars, and how to paint the intricate flowers and drought-tolerant leaves. You’ll improve your brush-handling skills and develop increased control with guided exercises. Practice paint layering techniques to create vibrant color surfaces and sharp, clear details. Create a finished portrait of your favorite pelargonium with gorgeous leaves.


Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.



Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.



Thu, May 9, 16, 30, June 6, 13,

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

Pen Nib and Ink: Refined Hatching Technique for Scientific Illustrations

Pen Nib and Ink: Refined Hatching Technique for Scientific Illustrations

Start with a thorough review of pen nibs and the physical aspects involved in their performance. Learn methods for preserving the pen, avoiding corrosion and damage, and improving its function by sanding and always keeping it as clean as new.


You will study different pen and ink techniques but mainly concentrate on and refine the method of hatching. Explore how to render various shapes and forms in nature by using hatching and discover the existing technical choices available to render pen nib shading, with some previous graphite shading experience as your basis. Learn new skills through demonstrations, practical exercises and step-by-step individual instruction to finish an elegant final plate.


Prerequisite: Intermediate skills in pen and ink.


Fee: $360 member, $410 non-member.


Session I

Mon-Wed, April 8-10, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Session II (identical with Session I)

Fri-Sun, April 12-14, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.



Instructor: Rogério Lupo

Rogério Lupo is one of the finest contemporary scientific illustrators in the world, with many top awards from prestigious institutions. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and has been teaching biological illustration since 1998. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of São Paulo and has studied art at Escola Clássica de Arte (Classical School of Art), São Paulo. He works in a variety of media, always aiming to share his experience with didactical material available for free on the Internet. He was awarded the first prize in the Margaret Mee National Contest (Brazil) in 2002 and 2003, black-and-white category, and the first prize in the 2010 and 2013 Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in Scientific Botanical Illustration (Australia).


Perfecting Perspective

Do you shy away from complicated plants? Even experienced illustrators sometimes struggle with foreshortening and simplify their subjects to eliminate difficult elements. Work with botanical subjects that demonstrate each aspect of perspective and learn techniques for seeing and depicting perspective accurately. The class will work entirely in graphite pencil, but the principles apply to all art media. Gain confidence in your drafting skills and improve your drawings from this class forward.

Prerequisite: Light on Form.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.



Tue, Feb. 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt


Fri-Sun, April 26-28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt


Perspective Drawing in the Gardens


How can we reproduce correctly the position and effect of distance on objects? Linear perspective attempts to do this. Learn the basics of finding horizon, object placement, and one two and three point perspective. Also, learn about elliptical and aerial perspective. This is a must foundation for drawing well. After classroom instruction, students move outdoors and practice the techniques by drawing and sketching the 2019 art exhibit in the Gardens.


Price: $44, $36 members

Instructor: Mitch Caster teaches drawing at the Art Students League of Denver, and before that, at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. He started his career as a news artist and courtroom illustrator. Mitch now works as a fine artist and shows his paintings in galleries in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.


Petrified Wood Tour and Investigation - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle


Join members of the Cherokee Ranch Science Institute on a tour of one of the oldest petrified wood sites in North America. Large trees were deposited along the meandering river 55 million years ago. This petrified wood preserved cell structure allows scientists to identify several different families of deciduous trees and to make assumptions about the climate during the Paleocene Epoch.


Price: $45, $40 member

Tour Guides: John McKinney and Peter Brown

Special Instructions: The hike is off trail and of moderate difficulty. Please wear appropriate clothing. Closed-toe hiking shoes and long pants are highly recommended. Please also bring plenty of water, your lunch, sunscreen and a hat.



Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135


Photographing Art in the Garden


Join DBG Official Photographer Scott Dressel-Martin to explore the photographic possibilities in photographing the sculptures and Art around the Gardens. We’ll talk about the technical and creative challenges of shooting Art in-situ, learn special techniques to get the most out of photographing 3D Art and pay special attention to how the light affects the dimensionality of the piece and the resulting photographs.


Price: $47, $42 member

Instructor: Scott Dressel-Martin, official photographer of Denver Botanic Gardens

Special Instructions: This is an intermediate class that requires basic knowledge of photographic skills and functions. Bring your gear as this is both a lecture and shooting class. Dress for outdoor weather.


Photographing the Not-So-Plain Plains!

What could there possibly be to photograph on the wide open expanse that is the Plains? Not so fast my friend! Join DBG Official Photographer Scott Dressel-Martin to photograph the places, spaces, plants, people (and maybe an animal or two) that are the Plains Conservation Center. Scott will offer great photographic tips and tricks while we traverse the Plains and find great locations for compelling images!

Price: $39, $34 member

Instructor: Scott Dressel-Martin, DBG's official photographer

Special Instructions: This class requires basic knowledge of photographic skills and functions. Bring your gear as this is a shooting class and is held exclusively outdoors. Dress for outdoor weather.

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013



Photography Expeditions at Plains Conservation Center


Photography expeditions to the Plains Conservation Center offer opportunities to capture the life and the seasonal characteristics of the prairie in the best light possible. Dates and times are set to coordinate with sunsets, sunrises, moonsets and moonrises with one exception in May to focus on spring flowers. Each expedition is led by David Winger, a renowned garden and nature photographer.


Open to all skill levels. Participants are encourage to bring a tripod and a telephoto lens and dress appropriately for the weather as the class takes place outdoors.



Price: $26, $28 member

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013




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