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! Our 6-week programs run weekly on Fridays, with all day field trips from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 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!  

We offer three courses throughout the year. Each of our courses has a minimum number of participants required for the course to take place, so we encourage you to bring a friend along if you are truly interested in taking the course. Come be a part of an exciting adventure as we take on the trees!


Forest Communities: Basic Dendrology Course focuses on basic tree identification by looking at geographic location, tree structure, tree bark, leaf structure and seed type. Takes place from late September until early November.


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! Takes place in January and February.


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!

Take place in March and April (no class Masters Week).