VISIT & explore

May-June 2017 Events and Programs at The Morton Arboretum

Origami in the Garden will debut at The Morton Arboretum on May 19.
March 6, 2017

This May and June, The Morton Arboretum offers a fun-filled line-up of special events, programs for children and families, and adult classes. On May 5, celebrate the holiday with our lively Cinco de Mayo Celebration. The month also marks the return of Tails on the Trails, one of the few days dogs can enjoy the Arboretum.  Visitors can bring their pups for a day of hiking, pet demonstrations, and a pet expo, May 6.

In May, the Arboretum welcomes Origami in the Garden. From May 19 – October 22, see 25 awe-inspiring displays inspired by the Japanese art form of paper folding, woven seamlessly through the Arboretum’s grounds. Visitors can look for the new Arboretum-inspired piece “Seed Sower,” featuring a squirrel and acorn, as well as the exhibit’s capstone sculpture, “Master Peace,” which soars 24 feet in the air and represents the Japanese tradition of folding a thousand cranes as a meditation and prayer for peace.  

Starting in June, enjoy the outdoors with live music in our courtyard during Wednesdays, Woods and Wine, or bring the family to listen to live music and explore the Children’s Garden in the evening hours during Thursday Family Nights.  Also in June, adults have the chance to be carefree children again during the Grown-Up Play Date. On June 9, explore the Children’s Garden and enjoy drinks and food inspired by favorite kid-snacks.

A list of May and June Arboretum events and details is below. For more information, visit All prices listed are for the general public and information is accurate as of the date of this release, but we encourage media to check the website as times and dates may change.


May-June Highlights

NEW! Origami in the Garden
Daily, Friday, May 19 through Sunday, October 22, 7 a.m.-sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Visitors will be awed by 25 displays of metal sculptures based on the traditional Japanese art of paper folding as they walk paths through the Arboretum’s spectacular landscape. Created by Santa Fe-based artists Kevin and Jennifer Box, the Origami in the Garden exhibit features installations, gallery works, and the Boxes' own compositions, as well as collaborative works with some of the world’s top origami artists.

NEW! Origami in the Garden Opening Weekend
Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Celebrate the arrival of the exhibit Origami in the Garden with live performances and activities inspired by Japanese culture. Activities will include origami folding and crafts in the Children’s Garden, performances by traditional Japanese Taiko drummers, the opportunity to try on kimonos, and demonstrations of ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement. Visitors can also take part in an origami-themed presentation.  

Tails on the Trails
Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
$5 per dog, Arboretum admission applies
Enjoy a day out with your pup as you meander down the Arboretum's 16 miles of hiking trails. Shop from local businesses and organizations in the pet expo, test out the agility course, and join us for guided hikes. Meet dogs available for adoption and inquire about volunteering with local pet shelters. Sign your pooch up for dog-friendly games, including the crowd-favorite peanut butter licking contest. Don't forget to pick up your free pet bandana at the vendor expo. Events and programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but dogs are allowed at the Arboretum all day, from 7 a.m. to sunset.

Wine Tasting
Thursday, May 25, 6 p.m.
Savor seasonal wines among the beautiful spring blooms of The Morton Arboretum at its first wine tasting event. This event is reserved for those 21 and older.

Wednesdays, Woods and Wine
Wednesdays throughout June, 5:30-8 p.m.
Wednesday is the new Friday. Unwind with live music and drinks on warm summer evenings in the Arboretum’s courtyard.

Thursday Family Nights
Thursdays throughout June, 5-8 p.m.
Enjoy live music, kid-friendly fare, and entertainment after-hours in the Children’s Garden. 

Grown-Up Play Date
Friday, June 9, 6-9 p.m.
Get in touch with your inner child and celebrate at our Grown-Up Play Date in the Children’s Garden. Join us to explore all the wonders our four-acre garden has to offer while enjoying kid treat-inspired cocktails and snack buffet. For pricing details, please visit

Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 24, 1-5 p.m.  or 12-5 p.m. for VIP ticketholders
Toast to the trees with our fourth-annual Craft Beer Festival. Sip on local favorites and explore new beers from more than 40 breweries while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of The Morton Arboretum. Guest restaurants and Arboretum concessions will be available on-site for purchase. Bring a chair or lie down on a blanket to soak in the summer sun while listening to live music. VIP ticket allows for early admission at noon and early access to limited release and specialty cask beers.  Visit us at for ticket prices.


Wellness Programs

Tree Pose Yoga   
Mondays in May and June, 10-11 a.m.
Experience nature from a new angle through fun animal and tree yoga poses. Young students will learn about the environment while stretching, moving, and breathing like the creatures around them. We’ll practice outdoors if the weather allows.  

Adult Yoga    
Wednesdays, May 3 through May 31, 6-7 p.m. or Thursdays, May 4 through June 1, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
$19 per class, $85 for the series
Improve your health and well-being with yoga. We will practice poses, breathing and meditation in the tranquil setting of the Morton Arboretum.

FIT4MOM Stroller Strides®        
Saturdays, May 6 through July 8, 10-11 a.m.
$21 per class, $135 for the series
Experience the Arboretum’s beauty as you get fit with your little ones along for the ride.  Stroller Strides® is a stroller-based fitness program designed for moms with little ones. Each 60-minute, total body workout incorporates power walking/jogging, strength, toning, songs and activities. Certified FIT4MOM fitness instructors will help you become as strong, flexible, and enduring as the Arboretum trees.  No umbrella strollers please.  The fee is per adult plus one child in a stroller.

Arboretum Running Tour  
Saturday, May 13, 8-10 a.m. or June 3, 8-9:30 a.m.
Strap on your running shoes for an informative running tour of the Arboretum. Learn about the natural surroundings with an experienced guide. The tour will include stops along the way to learn about the Arboretum and the plants and animals that call it home. Suitable for all levels of runners, with two guides to accommodate varying paces. In May, runners will head into the woods for this 8k route on the East Side. In June, check out a 5k route on the East Side.

Aerial Tree Yoga
Wednesdays, June 7 through June 28, 9-10:30 a.m., or 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., or Tuesdays, 6- 7:30 p.m.
Experience aerial yoga at The Morton Arboretum - exercise, stretch, relax, and even meditate while cocooned in your own colorful hammock suspended from a tree.  Aerial yoga offers wonderful benefits to the body such as inversion therapy, myofascial release, lymphatic massage, core strengthening, and muscle lengthening.  The practice is entirely safe and easily accessible for a broad range of fitness levels.

Nature Rx: Forest Therapy Walks (1 hour)
Select Wednesdays, June 14 through July 26, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
$7 per class, $24 for the series
Experience the healing and wellness promoting effects of Shinrin-Yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest. Take a slow and mindful walk with a certified Forest Therapy guide on a trail at the Morton Arboretum as you awaken your senses and reconnect with nature. The walks will visit different locations at the Arboretum and will include a variety of sensory awareness exercises. The walks will conclude with tea made from edible plants foraged along the trail.  


Dining Events

Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Friday, May 5, 6 p.m.
Spice up your Cinco de Mayo at The Morton Arboretum. Dine on south-of-the-border flavors and dance to live music in the beautiful Ginkgo Restaurant during this event.

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 14, Seatings at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.
$59 for adults, $34 for children
Celebrate Mom with a fabulous brunch against the blooming backdrop of Meadow Lake. Adults 21 and older will also receive a complimentary glass of champagne or a mimosa at each seating.


The Arboretum Store

Garden Art Sale
Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Find new and unique items to enhance your yard and garden, including lawn furniture, wall decor, wind chimes, and art. Purchases made at the Garden Art Sale help support The Morton Arboretum to work toward a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world by planting and protecting trees.


Children’s Garden Programs

Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in May and June, 11-11:45 a.m.
Join us on the Acorn Express for a family friendly tram-ride adventure through the Arboretum. We’ll seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft, and explore new topics each week.  

Acorn Express Adventures-- Homeschool Journey
Wednesday, May 3 or Wednesday, June 7, 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Join us on the Acorn Express for a family friendly tram ride adventure through the Arboretum. We’ll seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft, and explore nature topics.  Gather with homeschool families from the Chicago area and bring snacks to enjoy in the Children’s Garden picnic area after the program.  

Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in May and June, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Looking for a unique experience in the Children’s Garden? Check out a  self-guided family backpack and enhance your visit. Backpack rental includes science tools, guides and fun props to explore nature as a family.

Garden Explorers (18–35 months)
Tuesdays, May 2 through May 23, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Join us for this four-week outdoor adventure in the garden.  Each day we will play, hike, read stories, and make a nature-related craft.  Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home.

Garden Explorers (3–5 years)
Thursdays, May 4 through May 25, 9:30-11 a.m.
Join us for this four-week outdoor adventure in the garden.   Each day we will play, hike, read stories, and make a nature-related craft.  Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home. 

Mudpies and Dandelion Soup (18–35 months)
Thursday, June 8, Tuesday, June 13 or Wednesday, June 14, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, sensory-based program.      

Mudpies and Dandelion Soup (3–5 years)  
Tuesday, June 6, Wednesday, June 7 or Thursday, June 15, 9:30-11 a.m.
Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, sensory-based program.   


Youth and Family Programs

Family Twilight Adventures
Fridays, May 5 or June 2, or Saturdays, May 20 or June 24, 7-9 p.m.
Join us for a fun-filled adventure after hours at the Arboretum to explore the night's theme with a tram ride, activities, and a hike. We'll relax and roast marshmallows at the end of the evening. Children must be accompanied by adult registrant; please plan to have at least one adult per five children and dress for the weather.

Summer Science Camp
Beginning June 5, Times vary
See website for pricing details
The Morton Arboretum’s Summer Science Camp promotes active learning and outdoor exploration all summer long. This season features more than 100 camps for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. From June 6 through August 12, each week-long camp will immerse kids in the world of nature as they play the part of environmental avenger, build a forest fort or even wade through wetlands in search of critters that live underwater. For additional information and to register, visit

Children’s Garden Campout
Friday, June 16 through Saturday June 17, 6:30 p.m.-9 a.m.
Join us for a campout designed especially for families. Pitch your tent on the lawn inside the Children’s Garden and get ready for a night filled with fun. Visit hands-on activity stations and enjoy snacks, night hikes, and bedtime stories. Campers can retire to a cozy tent and snooze the night away. In the morning, wake to the sound of birds singing before a light breakfast and a chance to explore the Children’s Garden before it opens to the general public.


Adult Classes and Programs



Spring Bird Walk
Saturdays, May 20 or June 17, 8-10:30 a.m.
Celebrate spring by searching the Arboretum grounds for nature’s brightly colored pageant of spring birds. Eastern bluebirds, rufous-sided towhees, and eastern meadowlarks are among the many birds that return to or pass through Illinois on their way north. Join us to follow the spring migration through the season with an expert guide. If you've always wanted to learn about birds and weren't sure where to start, this is the program for you. The fee does not include Arboretum admission.

Spring Warbler Workshop
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 7, 8 a.m.-noon
In this intensive workshop, enjoy the spring warbler migration while learning about identification, arrival dates, migration patterns, habitat preferences, and daily feeding techniques. Brightly colored warblers are one of the highlights of spring.

Wading Birds at Lake Renwick
Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m.- noon
View the variety of wading birds that nest at Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, located just east of the town of Plainfield in northern Will County. The Illinois Audubon Society has called Lake Renwick "a site of outstanding statewide significance." The lake complex draws Black-crowned Night-Heron, Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Double-crested Cormorant. Nesting activities reach their peak in June, as the wading birds teach their young to catch fish. Structures have been built on islands within the lake to provide nesting platforms for the birds. Access to the nature preserve is limited on a seasonal basis to protect the nesting activities.

Field Study: Birds of Summer
Sundays, June 4 through July 2, 8-11:30 a.m.
Become acquainted with the host of birds that nest and breed in our region. We will observe breeding, foraging, and nesting behavior; discuss food choices and nesting habits; and learn bird songs and calls.



Deer-Resistant Plants for your Garden
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Learn the best plants and new ideas to help keep deer from munching your garden.  Feel like your garden is a salad bar for deer?  Get great new ideas for plants that are less appealing to deer, as well as ideas for managing deer behavior.  We’ll discuss deer resistant plants in the classroom and then go for a walk to look at examples on the Arboretum grounds.

Body-Smart Gardening
Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m.-noon
Protect your body from wear and tear so you can stay active in the garden for years to come. Learn ergonomic gardening techniques and how to select and use the right tools to help prevent injury and make gardening easy. Learn tips about personal care, including hydration and nutrition, which can lead to greater strength and stamina outside. Learn to stretch and bend properly to avoid muscle strain.

Beneficial Bugs
Tuesday, May 9, 7-9 p.m.
Not all bugs are bad. Learn to identify common beneficial organisms and how they benefit gardeners. Get tips for getting the good guys into your garden and keeping them there.

Gardening Tips for the Cash-Strapped and Over-Committed
Thursday, May 11, 7-9 p.m.
Who has time to garden? You do! Learn to garden on the cheap using low-cost or free materials. Find out how to spend as little time as possible working but still reap the benefits of a fruitful garden. Get hands-on with simple garden projects you can use to get your garden started in no time at all.

Spring Pruning
Saturday, May 13, 2017, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Get the most out of your shrubs with proper spring pruning.  Flowering shrubs often require pruning in the spring.  Find out which shrubs should be pruned before or after flowering, learn the methods for ‘renewal’ and ‘rejuvenation’ pruning and when to use them, and participate in live demonstrations with an Arboretum expert.

Perennials for Continuous Summer Color
Wednesday, May 17, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Get continuous color in your garden all summer long. Learn about long-lasting perennials that bloom in June, July, and August.

Grow Great Tomatoes
Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m.-noon
Improve your success with tomatoes by learning what tomato plants need to thrive. Get tips on selecting varieties, choosing healthy seedlings, planting, feeding, and harvesting.


Learn about Nature

Full Moon Tram Tour   
Wednesday, May 10, Thursday, May 11, Friday, June 9, or Saturday, June 10, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Discover what happens at the Arboretum at night when no one is around. With the moon shining through the trees, a tram ride reveals a captivating symphony of sounds, mysterious spaces, and wildlife on the move. During our ride and short hike, we will discuss night ecology, share stories of moon lore, and enjoy the magic of nature at night.

Advanced Prairie Plant ID  
Saturday, May 13, 2017, 1-4 p.m.
Learn to identify prairie plants in their early stages of seasonal development. Plant identification is a challenge in the spring, as many plants are just beginning to emerge. In this afternoon workshop, we will head out onto the prairie to look at species that are in bloom in the spring as well as the early vegetative states of later blooming plants.

Spring Twilight Hike
Friday, May 19 or Saturday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m.
Enjoy the unique sights and sounds of a spring evening. Walk through Arboretum woodlands and wetlands, feeling and hearing the differences between night and day. Listen for sounds of western chorus frogs and spring peepers, and be alert for signs of nocturnal animals.

Observing Spring Seasonal Changes  
Saturdays, May 20 through June 3, 9 a.m.-noon
Study the sights and signs of spring as they emerge. The study of seasonal changes—the emergence of flowers, leaves, and insects, the migration and behavior of birds, and more—is called phenology. Learn techniques to observe and record spring phenology and gain a new appreciation of the Arboretum in spring. Great for naturalists, teachers, artists, photographers, and anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of spring ecology. 

Treasured Trees of the Arboretum
Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m.-noon and Thursday, June 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Hear the stories behind some of the Arboretum’s most treasured trees on this walking tour of the west side grounds.

Wild Edibles  
Sunday, May 21, 1-3 p.m. or Thursday, May 25, 6-8 p.m.
Come nibble the new shoots of wild edible plants and taste how good spring can be. Many plants we consider weeds are actually nutritious edibles that were brought here as a food source. Learn the stories behind wild edible plants. Find out how to identify what you can eat and how to eat it. Watch a demonstration and taste a wild edible plant recipe, such as sumac tea or dandelion pesto. Then take a short hike with the instructor to identify some wild edibles in the field. Participants will leave with a few recipes to try at home.

Mushroom ID Workshop  
Saturday, June 3, 2017, 9 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Study the ecology of mushrooms and other fungi with Patrick Leacock, mycologist and adjunct curator at the Field Museum. Learn about the biology and ecology of fungi and walk the trails at the Arboretum to search for mushrooms.

From East to West: History and Horticulture in the Asia Collections
Friday, June 9, or Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m.-noon
Have you ever wondered why many of the trees you see at The Morton Arboretum are native to Asia? Learn why the Asian collections have long been at the core of the Arboretum’s mission on this walking tour. The China and Japan collections at The Morton Arboretum represent two of the most floristically diverse areas on the planet. China and Japan have more in common with the United States than you might imagine, sharing a broad range of climatic zones and floral diversity across vast geographic footprints. These commonalities have fostered partnerships in international tree conservation efforts. In fact, some of our earliest and oldest living trees are from China, dating back as far as 1922, when Joy Morton founded the Arboretum.

Garden Tour: Verdant Variety in the Suburbs
Saturday, June 10, 2017, 10 a.m.-noon
Visit a two-acre suburban garden featuring an impressive variety of landscapes. See how the homeowners have integrated native and nonnative prairie, woodlands, bogs, ponds, creeks, and waterfalls, plus a compact but highly productive vegetable garden into a cohesive and picturesque outdoor space that they share with the local wildlife. Participants will meet at the site, located in Lemont.

Summer Prairie Walk  
Saturday, June 10, 2017, 8-10 a.m.
Explore the ever-changing colorful flowers and swaying grasses of the Arboretum’s Schulenberg Prairie alongside an expert. Take a morning hike with an expert and enjoy hearing birds and insects, seeing the wildflower highlights in each month and learn about the complex interactions that support this diversity of life. A plant list will be provided but feel free to bring your own field guide and hand lens.

Landscape Workshop: Trees and Shrubs  
Fridays, June 16 and June 23, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Identify top performing shrubs, ornamental trees, and shade trees for a variety of conditions. This workshop is great for landscape and gardening professionals as well as the avid home gardener interested in elevating their understanding of the woody plants that give structure to a landscape. Come for one session or both and leave with a list of the best trees and shrubs for our area.

Basic Tree ID  
Friday, June 16, 2017, 9-11:30 a.m. or Thursday, June 22, 6:30-9 p.m.
Learn to identify the common trees you see in local preserves or in your neighborhood.  Use characteristics such as leaves, bark, branches, flowers, and fruit to ID a tree. Learn to use keys and field guides. Walk the grounds of the Arboretum with an expert, who will point out key identifiers of common trees. See and understand your natural surroundings in a new way.

River Habitats and their Wildlife
Thursday, June 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Learn identification and ecology of the fish, turtles, and crayfish found in the rivers of northern Illinois. Get out into the waterways at the Arboretum to observe and pull river-dwelling species. Learn about factors that impact habitats, such as dams and invasive species, and what restoration of a river habitat looks like.

Perennial Maintenance Walking Tour
Tuesday, June 27, 6- 8 p.m.
Stroll the Arboretum's stunning perennial beds where you’ll learn about plant placement, dividing, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, mulching and more. Knowing what to do and when to do it will help keep your perennial gardens looking good from spring through fall.


Green Living

DIY Organic Body Care
Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m.
Learn the basics of creating natural skincare remedies. Identify where your own skin could use a boost, then indulge in an oat clay rosemary masque and scrub to smooth and detoxify your skin.  Then, learn how to create a lemon and apple cider toner to brighten and balance your skin’s pH, before mixing up basic products like coconut coffee cinnamon scrub and a refreshing minty foot balm.

From the Garden to the Kitchen: Make the Most of Seasonal Foods 
Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Turn your garden bounty or farmer’s market haul into delicious seasonal meals. Learn the benefits of eating foods in season as well as how to store and prepare them to maintain their optimal nutrition and flavor. Get ideas for the entire gardening season, from early-season veggies such as asparagus and radishes to the root veggies and winter squash. Watch demos, enjoy samples, and go home armed with easy-to-prepare recipes for healthy and tasty dishes.


Botanical Art

Drawing Birds
Saturday, May 6, or Monday, June 5, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Learn the fundamentals of bird anatomy and tips for sketching from photos, specimens as well as live birds. We will practice blocking in basic body shapes and feather patterns, discuss species specific anatomical indicators, and learn how to capture personality in our bird drawings.

Arboretum Uncorked: Spring Arrangement
Thursday, May 18, 7-9 p.m.
Enjoy a glass of wine and create an arrangement that celebrates spring color made with seasonally appropriate botanicals. Work step-by-step with a skilled instructor to create a round bouquet that makes a perfect handheld gift or can be set into a vase to display at home.

Arboretum Uncorked: A Tribute to Trees
Thursday, May 18, 7-9 p.m.
Enjoy a glass of wine and create a vibrant spring painting. Choose from one of the three images offered.  Work step-by-step with a skilled instructor, and leave with a visual memory of The Morton Arboretum.

Spring Ikebana: Japanese Floral Arranging
Saturday, May 20 or June 10, 1-3:30 p.m.
Capture the graceful curve of an unfolding bud, the surprise of new leaves, or the lightness of a cloud through Ikebana -- the art of Japanese flower arranging. The instructors will demonstrate several techniques and then help you create your favorite version. All plant materials will be collected fresh from the Arboretum grounds. Each student will create an arrangement to take home.

Intro to Acrylics
Thursdays, May 25 through June 15, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that can be used in layers like watercolor or in thick strokes like oil.  It has very different properties than any of those media however. Come explore and learn a new medium and its exciting characteristics with Karen, a natural science illustrator, as she walks you through how she uses acrylics in her work.

Build Your Own Salvage-Style Planter  
Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Construct a salvage-style planter box using mid-century lumber reclaimed from Chicago buildings. In this DIY workshop, in partnership with Chicago’s Rebuilding Exchange, you will learn how materials are reclaimed from demolition sites and about the positive impact of reclamation. Under the guidance of a skilled instructor, you’ll measure and cut wood to size and assemble the pieces to create a one-of-a-kind, rustic planter for your home.  Bring a little piece of historic Chicago home, and give new life to old materials.


Nature Photography

Landscape Photography
Thursdays, May 4 and May 11, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, 8-11 a.m.
Learn how to capture the natural landscape with your camera. Discuss compositional techniques and how they apply to grand vistas. Head out into the field to apply what you’ve learned, and get personalized feedback and coaching from your instructor.

Visiting Photographer Series: The Art of Seeing Nature with Bryan Peterson
Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. -4 p.m.
Join award-winning nature photographer Bryan Peterson for an engaging, full-day seminar on nature photography. Learn to create stunning nature images that tell a story by applying the principles shared in this class. Leave inspired and armed with new tools and techniques that will build your photography skills and improve your results in the field. Peterson has been a successful commercial photographer for over 35 years. His enthusiasm and expertise has inspired students around the world, and he has received the prestigious New York Art Director’s Gold Award and multiple awards from the Communication Arts Photography Annual and Print Magazine. He has been a contributing editor at Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazine and is the founder of the world’s number one online photography school,

Morning Outing with Bryan Peterson
Sunday, May 14, 5 a.m.-noon
Join this small-group photography outing to capture early morning light on the Arboretum grounds with award-winning photographer Bryan Peterson, who will provide one-on-one coaching to improve your photography skills.

Basic Nature Photography
Thursdays, June 8 and 15, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 10, 8-11 a.m.
Move beyond shooting in automatic and learn how to adjust your camera’s manual settings to get the shot you want. Learn basic composition and editing techniques. Apply your new skills on the grounds of The Arboretum, where there’s no shortage of natural beauty to capture. The course includes classroom instruction, in-field shooting, and a critique session.

Begin to Draw Nature
Saturdays, June 10 through June 24, and July 8, 1-4 p.m.
Learn the basics of drawing nature in this course designed for true beginners. We will discuss everything from how to hold your pencil to what kind of paper to use. You will have time to work on drawing skills in a no-pressure setting.

Sketching the Arboretum’s Rare Trees
Saturdays, June 10, June 17 and June 24, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
$48 per class, $123 for the series
The Arboretum is home to many wonderful species of rare and endangered trees. Join this class to study and sketch a different rare tree in this workshop. Sign up for one week, or dig deeper and sign up for all three.

Sumi-e Brush Painting Workshop: Flowers
Sunday, June 11, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Learn to simplify a specimen into a few well placed strokes with the minimalist approach of brush painting. We will view examples of this minimalist art form and then try your hand at a simple brush painting using photographs of flowers as inspiration.

Woodland Stewardship Program
The Woodland Stewardship Program is an in-depth training and certification program in natural areas restoration. Classes are easy to fit into a busy lifestyle, and include online, classroom, and field components.  The Woodland Stewardship Program is open to anyone involved or interested in the stewardship of our natural heritage, regardless of prior experience.

Woodland Stewardship Program Orientation (Online)
Online session begins: Friday, June 2
Join us for a free orientation program on the new format for the Woodland Stewardship Program, which includes classes with online and in-person components.  Discuss the education and volunteer aspects of the training program, explore how to navigate online resources, and get information on how you can volunteer to help make a difference in the woodlands, prairies, and wetlands in your community and at the Arboretum.

Basic Plant ID (Online and In-Person)
Online component begins: Thursday, May 4
In-Person component: Saturday, May 13, 9-11 a.m.
Get the botany basics you need to identify plants. From the comfort of your home or office, use new, self-paced online learning modules to learn about plant identification. These narrated slides and interactive, no-pressure quizzes will help you learn the vocabulary to name plants and describe their structures and life histories. Then attend a one-day, two-hour session at the Arboretum to apply these skills in the field while learning how to use a variety of field guides and tools with the guidance of an Arboretum plant expert. Whether you are a gardener, naturalist, artist, or natural resources specialist or volunteer, this class provides the fundamentals you need to get started.

New Invaders Watch Training
Wednesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Learn about the New Invaders Watch Program and how to get involved in monitoring and reporting invasive plants that are new to our region. Participants will learn how to identify 34 target species that threaten our natural areas. Trainers will review how participants can get involved in monitoring, how to report new population on the New Invaders Watch Program website,, and how this program results in on-the-ground control of many early detection plant populations.  

Invasive Species I (Online and In-Person)
Online component begins: Thursday, May 18
In-Person component:   Thursday, May 25, 6-9 p.m.
Learn to identify and manage the most common invasive plants in the Great Lakes region.  This course introduces participants to restoration practices in invasive plant management. Learn to identify the characteristics of invasive plants and describe their impacts on the landscape; discuss invasive plant ecology, describe invasive plant vectors and pathways; and learn to use invasive control methods. The program will include both online learning modules and in-person sessions. This class can be taken as a component of the Woodland Stewardship Program in natural areas management.

Wetland Plant ID
Saturday, June 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Learn the names and ecology of the wildflowers, sedges, rushes, and other plants that inhabit wetlands. Explore the beauty and diversity of wetland plants, and discover their identification and biology. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation the role and importance of plants in a functioning wetland ecosystem. This class can be taken as a component of the Woodland Stewardship Program in natural areas management.