I’ve always had an interest in Knoxville native plants for their many positive impacts such as the benefit to the local ecosystem, low water requirements and a role in curbing the spread of invasive, non-native species. To grow that interest and become a better landscape designer, I enrolled in the Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP), which is a course designed for people interested in the natural history and environment of Tennessee.
During my coursework with the program, I’ve explored ferns, flowers, fungi, aquatic life, geology, trees, and more. I’ve learned to observe small details in nature that can help in my everyday work as a Knoxville landscape designer.
I’ve also honed a skill for identifying tress through bark texture and color as well as leaf arrangement and type — a talent that has already helped me in surveying and analyzing sites for Carex Design Group clients. I’m excited to learn more about insects and birds and their relationships with plants to help me make thoughtful plant selections that encourage pollination and bird activity.
To become a certified naturalist, I’ll complete 40 hours of instructional coursework and 40 hours of volunteer service.
With my coursework completed, I’m also getting more involved in my community by volunteering as part of the program. So far I’ve removed invasive plants at Ijams Nature Center, Mary Vestal Park and Seven Islands State Birding Park, and I plan on continuing to volunteer at these and other local parks. I’ve even started removing invasive plants in my own backyard.
If you’ve driven anywhere in the Knoxville area, you’ve seen the negative impact of invasive plants such as Kudzu and others. East Tennessee has a long list of invasive plant species, including English Ivy, Bush Honeysuckle, Chinese Privet, Wintercreeper, Mimosa, and on and on and on. Removing these invasive plants from our natural areas will encourage growth from our native plants and allow native insects and wildlife to thrive.
For the average homeowner, hiring a landscape designer with solid knowledge in plant selection is a great way to ensure you’re choosing non-invasive species to help protect the natural environment. To discuss plant selection and your next Knoxville landscaping project, fill out our online form or call 865-765-5550.