Outdoor Spaces and Nature-based Programming in Public Gardens: Building the Evidence Base for Early STEM learning

Join The Morton Arboretum and NORC at the University of Chicago at a summit for nature-based education practitioners, early childhood researchers, and evaluators to examine how outdoor spaces and nature play support young children’s science learning. Participants will share insights from their experience and their understanding of the scientific evidence about children’s learning outdoors. We will collaboratively identify research priorities and success factors for early childhood learning through nature-based education and shape a new collaborative network for outdoor learning research and practice.

This initial working group will be held May 2-3, 2018, at The Morton Arboretum, located just outside of Chicago, IL. We are looking for insights and innovations about:

  • Children’s gardens and nature play spaces
  • Nature preschools and forest kindergartens
  • Environmental education programming
  • Research on learning in early childhood

Participants will work to create common evaluation tools and resources and to set the direction for a new professional learning network.

Hotel and Travel Information

The summit hotel is:

3003 Corporate West Drive
Lisle, IL 60532
Phone: +1 630-505-0900 
Please click here or mention the group name Morton Outdoor Spaces Summit to reserve a room in the event block. 

Notes: Held entirely indoors. 



Course number


Schedule and Location

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and  Thursday, May 3, 2018, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532



Fees and Admission

Nonmembers: Fees include admission to the Arboretum.

$55.00 member
$55.00 nonmember

Registration Information

BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 (or to be waitlisted, M-F, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
IN PERSON: Stop by Visitor Center during open hours.

Weather Cancellation Hotline
Classes run rain or shine unless there is a threat of server weather. If severe weather is forecast please call 630-719-7979 for updates on weather related cancellations.