Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

ONLINE Course: Audubon at Home: Native Tree Identification

Longleaf pine in fall colors. Credit: Michelle Blackwood

October 19, 2021 , 6:00 pm 7:00 pm


Pre-registration is required by 12 p.m. CDT Monday, October 18th, and space is limited.

Registration is now closed. Check out our 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.*

Fall is an excellent time to learn to identify native trees by their leaves, fall color, buds, fruits, branch and bark patterns, and site and soil preferences. In this class, you will be introduced to the common and Latin names and identifying characters of over sixty prevalent native tree species from original photographs taken in the last year by the instructors, Henry Hughes and Michelle Blackwood.

Osage orange fruits at Red Mountain Park. Credit: Michelle Blackwood

The approximate class schedule will be:

  • Day 1: Gymnosperm Families: Cypress (juniper, bald-cypress) and Pine (pines, hemlock)
  • Day 2: Angiosperm Families: Sweetgum, Custard-Apple, Holly, Ginseng, Birch, Catalpa, Hop, Dogwood, Ebony, Heath, and Pea
  • Day 3: Angiosperm Families: Beech (chestnut, beech, oaks) and Walnut (hickory, walnut)
  • Day 4: Angiosperm Families: Laurel, Magnolia, Hibiscus, Fig, Olive, Sycamore, Rose, Willow, Soapberry, and Elm
  • Day 5: Exotic and invasive species, such as paulownia, tree-of-heaven, and mimosa

Where and when do we meet? This online course meets on five consecutive Tuesdays (10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, and 11/16), 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 $50 covers all five meetings.* (While you are not required to attend each class, do note that we cannot refund individuals for partial attendance.) We will be recording the webinar and making it available to participants for a week after the class.

Sourwood in fall color at Cahaba River Park. Credit: Michelle Blackwood

Textbook: The class will be organized around the beautifully illustrated new book, Trees of Alabama, by Lisa J. Samuelson with photographs by Michael E. Hogan—part of the Gosse Nature Series of the University of Alabama Press, published in 2020 and as such, supported by Alabama Audubon. This book is recommended but not necessary. It can be ordered locally from Thank You Books, from your favorite bookseller, or at UA Press here. The 16-page user-friendly A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama (ANR-0509, 2014), with basic leaf line drawings, can also be useful. It can be accessed, downloaded and printed easily from the Alabama Extension System website here.

Participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the references prior to the first class—especially the illustrated characteristics of leaf types, shapes, margins, and arrangements on twigs and the basic organization of the dichotomous keys leading to identification. The references will be instrumental for participants in identifying trees in the field on their own between classes. Participants may send questions and observations to the instructors during the week which may be shared in the Tuesday classes.

Basswood leaves and fruit bracts. Credit: Henry Hughes

Registration: To register, click on the button above. If you’re new to our online system 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!

American beech bark and lichen patterns at Oak Mountain State Park. Credit: Henry Hughes

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 it 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.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Through more than seventy-five years of conservation work in one of our nation’s most ecologically rich states, Alabama Audubon has seen firsthand how diversity strengthens natural communities. We believe that the same principle applies to human communities, which is why our organization is committed to providing equitable opportunities for all Alabamians to learn about and enjoy wild birds, their habitats, and the natural world. One of the best ways to support that belief is by valuing and actively seeking to strengthen diversity among our staff, our board, and our membership. To that end, Alabama Audubon welcomes the whole of our community to our work, and strives to make our programs, classes, and events open and accessible to all.