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College of Extended Learning

UNB Offers Experiential Course Exploring New Brunswick Plants 

Students and lifelong learners will have a chance to participate in a unique, hands-on course that explores the floristic diversity of New Brunswick this Summer.

The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is offering an intensive seven-day course entitled New Brunswick Plants and Their Habitats during the 2018 summer term. Students in any faculty can participate and earn elective credit (four credit hours) toward their program. The course is also open to the public and in past years has attracted a diverse range of participants from various backgrounds looking to explore the topic as a special interest.

The course is co-taught by Botanical Consultant and Writer, Gart Bishop, and retired Forestry Instructor and Researcher, Rick Fournier, who collectively bring a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience in the botanical profession, as well as a touch of passion to the program.

“The objectives of this course are to explore different habitats and gain an appreciation for floristic diversity within New Brunswick,” says Fournier.

"We try to examine as many habitats as possible. Daily field trips take us to seashores, lake shores, bogs, and different hardwood ridges around the Fredericton region plus some softwood forests,” he explains.

Students will learn how to identify some of the common plant species in New Brunswick and will gain the skills and the tools to identify other species beyond what the course covers. They will become familiar with resources used by botanists such as the Flora of New Brunswick and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide.

"Learning how to make use of botanical resources is a key objective of the course,” explains Bishop. “Even if students forget the specifics of the plants in years to come, they will still have the methodology to research and relearn."

“People have an interest in being outside. When they go for a walk in a park, they want to know the plants they see. During the course, they learn about plants and gain the skills to do so throughout the rest of their lives,” says Bishop.

Each day the course consists of morning lectures and lab work, afternoons in the field, and evenings with more lectures and lab work. The last day wraps up early with a final exam.

Fournier admits that while the course is intensive, the students are committed and very serious about their outcomes. “They tend to work hard to be the best they can be.”

“One of the things that we do is have fun”, says Bishop. He went on to say that the group tends to become very close-knit over the weeklong course.

NB Plants and Their Habitats runs August 25 to 31, 2018. For more information or to register visit go.unb.ca/NBPlants or contact the UNB College of Extended Learning at 506-451-6824 or email unbcel@unb.ca.