VISIT & explore

Certifiably fun and educational

Love nature but wish you knew more about what you're looking at? Nature enthusiasts are encouraged to consider applying for one of the Arboretum’s certificate programs. These highly-regarded programs offer six types of certificates available for completion.
“All of our certificates offer the chance to increase your skills and expertise,” said Megan Dunning, manager of community education and outreach. “They allow you to see nature in a new way, while connecting with others who share your passion for the outdoors.”
Classes are enrolling now. Check out the varied offerings below to see which program is right for you:
Home Landscape Gardening
Landscape aficionados, this one’s for you. Learn how to select the best trees and plants for your landscape. You will also learn sustainable approaches to caring for your yard, with the help of Arboretum and local horticulture experts.
Wildlife and plant admirers, we want you! In this program, you will learn how to become a skilled naturalist who can identify the plants and animals of northern Illinois ecosystems.
Bird lovers, tweet on over. In this program, you will study bird biology, behavior, identification, and conservation. You will also receive birding advice from expert instructors and learn to identify more than 100 migrant and resident birds common to northern Illinois.
Botanical Art & Illustration
Artists, your masterpiece awaits. In this program, you will develop the knowledge and skills needed to portray plants accurately for artistic and scientific objectives. You will be able to expand your creativity and develop your ability to observe and capture the natural world in pencil, ink, watercolor, and a variety of other media.
Nature Photography
Photographers, take a shot at this. In this program, you will use light, composition, and an array of specialized techniques to capture the natural world with your camera. Work with nature photography experts to hone your artistic skill and technique to create nature photographs worthy of framing.
Woodland Stewardship Training
Interested in all natural habitats? So are we! In this program, take action to conserve the natural wonders of Illinois. Plan, carry out, and lead natural areas conservation efforts in woodland, wetlands, and prairie.
Openlands TreeKeepers ™
New this fall! Want to help care for trees in your neighborhood? Become a certified TreeKeeper™ volunteer. Learn to identify, plant, care for, and prune trees in hands-on workshops with regional professionals. Then put those skills into action through volunteer work in your community.
Ready to dig deeper into your area of interest? Check out our certification courses.