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ONLINE Course: Audubon at Home: Native Tree Identification

Bud break and emerging leaves of hickory by Henry Hughes.

April 6, 2021 , 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

Pre-registration is required by 12 p.m. CDT Monday, April 5th, and space is limited.

Registration is now closed. Check out our other upcoming events here.

*We understand there are economic barriers that many are facing during this time. If you live in Alabama and would like to request financial assistance, please email us.*

Spring is an excellent time to learn to identify native trees by their leaves and flowers, branch and bark patterns, and site and soil preferences. Join Henry Hughes and Michelle Blackwood for this spring-focused class on native tree identification! Our class will begin just as leaves have fully emerged for the 2021 growing season. We will visit native forests in rural and urban settings through photographs taken by the instructors and will learn the common and scientific names of over sixty prevalent native tree species. An easy to use identification key with verbal descriptions and line drawings will be provided. The class will be organized around the beautiful new book Trees of Alabama by Lisa J. Samuelson and photographs by Michael E. Hogan, a 2020 University of Alabama Press Gosse Nature Guide.  

Early leaves and male flowers of the extremely rare Boynton oak by Michelle Blackwood.

Each class meeting covers a different aspect of tree ID for the beginner:

  • Day 1: Botanical names (families, genera, species); tree ID by leaves, buds, twigs, flowers, bark and branch patterns and habitat.
  • Day 2: Gymnosperms:  Pine family (pines and hemlock) and cypress family (juniper and bald-cypress)
  • Day 3: Angiosperms: Sweetgum, cashew, ginseng, birch, hop, dogwood, ebony, heath, and pea families
  • Day 4: Angiosperms: Beech family (chestnut, beech, red oaks, and white oaks)
  • Day 5: Angiosperms: Walnut family (walnut and hickories)
  • Day 6: Angiosperms: Laurel, magnolia, fig, olive, sycamore, buckthorn, rose, and willow families

Where and when do we meet? This online course meets on six consecutive Tuesdays (4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, and 5/11), from 6–7 p.m. CDT. It will be a one-hour online class with some time at the end for questions.

Cost: Your one-time registration fee of $60 covers all six meetings.* (While you are not required to attend each class, do note that we cannot refund individuals for partial attendance.)

Textbook: The user-friendly “A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama” (ANR-0509, 2014) will be our in-class reference, easily accessed, downloaded, and printed from the Alabama Extension System here. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the reference prior to the first class. The class will be organized around Trees of Alabama by Lisa J. Samuelson and photographs by Michael E. Hogan, a 2020 University of Alabama Press Gosse Nature Guide. It is recommended but not necessary. It can be found at your favorite bookseller or at UA Press here.

Registration: Space is limited. To register, click on the button above. If you’re not an Alabama Audubon member and don’t yet have a username and password, simply click the “X” on the pop up and fill out the basic form. If you do have a login, please use it as this helps us tremendously on our end! You should receive an automated email upon registering.

Please note, you will receive a separate email with the Zoom webinar instructions before the first class (once registration closes). You’ll need the link or webinar ID and password from this email to join the meeting. In the event the link does not work for you, you may need to go to the Zoom website and manually enter the webinar ID and password. Please double check your email and make sure it’s a valid email address prior to completing your registration. We’ve had several kick-backs when sending the Zoom meeting instructions out to registrants, and you won’t be able to join the webinar without this information. Thanks!

Questions? Email the Programs Assistant.

About the instructors: Henry Hughes and Michelle Blackwood share a lifelong interest in the natural environment and have been instructors at Audubon Mountain Workshop for many years, most recently co-teaching “Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds” and “Rivers, Floodplains, and Watersheds,” with versions for both children and adults. They have worked together for twenty-three years on protection of the Cahaba River and Shades Creek watersheds through Friends of Shades Creek. Both currently serve on the board and stewardship committee of the Cahaba River Society. “Audubon at Home: Native Tree Identification” came about from weekly hikes throughout the Cahaba-Shades Creek Watershed during 2020 and 2021. They shared in locating, researching, and photographing the native trees of Alabama’s forests and teaching the course for the first time in October 2020.


I did not receive the email with the Zoom meeting instructions. Please double-check the email address you enter when registering for the online event as that is where the instructions will be sent (once registration closes). You may need to add us to your email provider’s safe sender list in the event it goes to spam. Also, please contact us by the morning of the event so that we have time to address your issue as generally you should have received the email right after registration closes.

The link doesn’t appear to be working. You may need to go to the Zoom website (https://zoom.us) and manually enter the webinar ID and password. Also, wait until just a couple of minutes before the meeting is supposed to begin to try to enter the meeting. It will not work if you try to join the meeting half an hour before it’s scheduled to begin, for instance. You can also check to make sure your computer meets the system requirements by clicking here.

Will this be recorded, and will I have the ability to view them later? We are recording our online courses and offering the recordings to registrants for a week after class night.

Is there a waiting list? We do not have waiting lists for our online events at this time.