Alain Belliveau, Irving Biodiversity Collections Manager for the E.C. Smith Herbarium and Acadia Seed Bank, is offering an exciting new course this fall semester about Native Flora in the Wapna’ki/Acadian Forest Region. Students can expect to learn about the ecology of the Wapna’ki/Acadian Forest Region and how to identify commonly occurring families, species, and ecosystems in the region.

This course will include both a lecture and lab/fieldwork components. Students will be going on field trips and completing field work in various locations including the Acadia Woodland Trails.

Course Description

Students will explore the vascular plant species of the province, and by extension the Wapna’ki/Acadian Forest Region. Students will learn how to identification species and ecosystems using technical keys; they’ll learn about the most common plant families occurring in the region; they’ll learn to recognize many common species and their habitat in the field; and they’ll learn about data and specimen collecting methods. Lectures and field visits will include many guest speakers who are experts on topics that relate to the flora of this region.

Students will learn about the importance of herbaria and biological collections, and they’ll learn hands-on the plant collection and preservation process. They’ll gain valuable skills in applying the scientific method by using guidebooks, manuals, and online resources including artificial intelligence citizen science apps like iNaturalist. They’ll spend time with some of our region’s >1200 native vascular plant species, and they’ll get to see how diverse and sensitive our region’s biodiversity can be.

More and more career paths and community involvement efforts benefit from an understanding of the natural world around us and how our actions impact species, ecosystems, and ultimately ourselves.

Our natural world supports every aspect of our lives, and it currently faces many daunting challenges and one of the best ways to help students understand those is to provide them with hands-on experiences with this region’s species, ecosystems, and overall biodiversity. By learning about native species and observing those directly, a stronger connection is made, a sense of stewardship arises in students, and they come out of it understanding the importance and incredible value of a healthy biosphere.

Alain Belliveau, Collections Manager, E.C. Smith Herbarium

There’s already a waitlist for this course, so mark your calendars for next year if you want to learn about the native flora and biodiversity of this incredible region from one of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre’s experts!

Interested in learning more about the native flora of the Wapna’ki/Acadian Forest Region but can’t take the course? Sign-up to volunteer at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre by contacting Alain Belliveau (