Openlands TreeKeepers® at The Morton Arboretum

Since 1991, more than 1,600 trained volunteers have worked to improve the health of our urban forest by being the “eyes and ears on the ground” year round in neighborhoods all over Chicago. TreeKeepers spot opportunities to ‘green-up’ neighborhoods and communities by assisting in proper planting, reducing vandalism, diagnosing insect infestation, and monitoring other problems that may impact the urban forest.

Openlands TreeKeepers® learn how to help keep trees green and growing. TreeKeepers volunteer in a variety of ways within the community: from street tree care and tree planting to woodland stewardship. TreeKeepers are passionate ambassadors who help educate their neighbors as well as their public officials about the importance of trees for the greater good.

The TreeKeepers program at The Morton Arboretum is an 8-day course with class and field components. Classes taught by regional experts focus on managing and reducing the threats to forest health. Topics covered include tree biology, soils, tree identification, pruning, tree selection, planting and mulching, invasive species, and more. Two graduate credit hours are also available through Aurora University for an additional fee.

In order to become certified, participants are required to:

  • Attend all 8 classes (missed classes may be made up)
  • Pass a written exam
  • Complete practical exams on tree planting, mulching, and pruning
  • Pledge 24 volunteer hours within the year following graduation
  • Have fun while learning about the urban forest!


Spring Openlands TreeKeepers®- CANCELED
8 Saturdays, March 8-April 12 and April 26-May 3, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
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