September-October Events, Programs and Classes at The Morton Arboretum

The Fall Color 5K Run kicks off a month-long celebration of fall.
June 20, 2017

As summer gives way to fall, the Arboretum welcomes back new events as well as returning favorites to celebrate its signature season. This September brings Tails on the Trails, a fun dog-friendly day complete with canine contests and games. Our Passport Europe Festival is back as well with dance performances, demonstrations and old world cuisine. Through October 22, visitors can also take in the amazing sculptures of Origami in the Garden. The Japanese art of folding paper is recast as awe-inspiring metal sculptures in this exhibition’s 25 monumental displays.

In October, nature steals the spotlight with brilliant hues of red, gold, plum, and orange in the treetops, and a slate of Fall Color Festival events proves the perfect complement to the beauty of the season.  Kicking off the month-long celebration is the Fall Color 5K Run and Walk.  An Arboretum favorite, the Glass Pumpkin Patch will take place mid-month followed by Mystery Dinner at Thornhill Mansion and Halloween-themed offerings like the family-oriented Boo Breakfast.

A complete list of September and October events is below. 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 prior to publication as times and dates may change.

September-October Highlights 

Origami in the Garden
Daily in September and October 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 Box's own compositions, as well as collaborative works with some of the world’s top origami artists.

Tails on the Trails
Saturday, September 9, 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 meet dogs available for adoption. 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.

Theatre-Hikes® at The Morton Arboretum
Weekends in September through September 24, 1 p.m.
Weekends in October and Monday, October 16, 3 p.m.
$20 for adults, $15 for children
In September, experience “The Complete History of America (abridged).”  This piece begins with ancient ancestors crossing the Bering Strait and finishes with an appearance of Barack Obama.  As with their other works, this piece incorporates audience participation, physical jokes and intellectual humor for an entertaining afternoon. “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe” in October tells the four tales that Poe himself thought were his most spooky—“The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”.  Poe is the lead character through each tale, sometimes observing, but mostly experiencing these stories along with the audience. 

Full Moon Tram Tour
Wednesday, September 6 or Thursday, September 7, 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 hikes, we will discuss night ecology, share stories of moon lore, and enjoy the magic of nature at night.

Passport Europe Festival
Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Travel to Europe with culinary delights, authentic musical performances, impressive dancing demonstrations, and more during this third annual cultural festival featuring the dynamic cultures of Europe. Hike the trails and explore the Arboretum's collections of trees and plants native to central and northern Europe. 

NEW! Witness Tree with Author Lynda Mapes
Saturday, October 7, 1-2:30 p.m.
What can one tree tell us about climate change? To find out, Lynda Mapes, author of “Witness Tree: Seasons of Change in a Century-old Oak,” spent a year living in the Harvard Forest, studying a single, 100-year-old oak.  In a year in the life of this one grand tree, season by season, from its roots to its canopy, Lynda witnessed firsthand the wonder of oaks, their cultural and historic importance, and their role in the forest. She also found a record of one hundred years of environmental change, with shifting seasons impacting carbon cycles, growth rate, leaf physiology, and more.  The author will recount with her year in the forest and her intimate portrait of climate change, and how our lives and communities are intertwined with the trees around us.

Fall Color Festival
The Arboretum will celebrate fall all October long with returning favorites and many new events.

Scarecrow Trail
Daily in October, 7 a.m.-sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Gaze upon the nature-themed scarecrow trail created by local Scout troops while walking along a scenic one-mile paved path around Meadow Lake.

Fall Color 5K Run and Walk
Sunday, October 1, 8 a.m.          
Early Bird Registration (through August 19): $40
Race Week Registration (August 20-September 23): $45
Race Day Registration: $55
Experience the challenging newly recertified USATF course that follows the East Side Main Route through rolling terrain and a beautiful canopy of trees Runners will receive a technical T-shirt and entrance to a new post-race party featuring live music with a complimentary beer for runners ages 21+. A Kid’s Dash will also take place beginning at 9 a.m.Children 2 to 4 years old will run 50 yards, 5 to 6 years old will run a quarter of a mile and 7 to 10 years old will run a half mile.  After the race, participants are invited to spend the day exploring the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres.

Glass Pumpkin Patch
Wednesday, October 11 to Sunday, October 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Delight in colorful hand-blown glass sculptures, watch the artists in action, and shop for one-of-a-kind works of art.  Live glass blowing demonstrations, art exhibition, and opportunities to meet the artists take place every day during the event.  Glass art goes on sale beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, October 13 and runs through October 15.                               

Mystery Dinner
Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 6:30 p.m.
Step back in time to the 1950s and help detectives solve a crime. Experience an exciting show set in the 1950s at The Morton Arboretum, overlooking a beautiful view of Meadow Lake. Costumes encouraged, but not required. 

Cider and Ale Festival
Saturday, October 21, 1-5 p.m.
Sample ciders and seasonal beers in the midst of rich fall color at the second annual Cider and Ale Festival. Sip on local favorites and explore new craft ciders and beers while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Guest restaurants and Arboretum concessions will be available on-site for purchase. Bring a chair or lie down on a blanket in the crisp autumn air while listening to live music by Cadillac Groove. This event is rain or shine. Visit for details about price.

Boo Breakfast
Sunday, October 29, 9-11 a.m.
Join us for BOO Breakfast on the morning of October 29 to jump start your Halloween. Treat yourself to a breakfast complete with visits from favorite characters. Costumes encouraged.

Trick or Trees
Weekends in October and Monday, October 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Play tricky games, fashion fun fall crafts and plant a tree seed to take home as your treat.  Small pumpkins to paint will also be available for purchase.

The Arboretum Store

Annual Bulb Sale
Opens Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Head to the Arboretum Store to purchase bulbs that will make your spring garden pop with color. Shop dozens of varieties of beautiful Dutch bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, iris, alliums, crocus, fritillaria, and many more. The sale continues through October, while supplies last.

Wellness Programs

Aerial Tree Yoga Series
Tuesdays, September 5 through September 26, 6-7:30 p.m. or Wednesdays, September 6 through September 27, 9-10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Stretch, strengthen, and release stress while having fun, cocooned in a hammock suspended from the trees!  Aerial yoga offers wonderful benefits to the mind, body and soul, and is suitable for beginners as well as experienced yogis.  The session that takes place from 9-10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays is low impact.

Nature Rx: Forest Therapy Walks (3 hour)
Mondays, September 11, September 25, October 2, October 16, or October 30
Saturdays, September 9, September 23, October 7 or October 21
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
$25 per class
Experience the healing and wellness promoting effects of Shinrin-Yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest. Take a 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 awareness-raising exercises. The walks will conclude with tea made from edible plants foraged along the trail. 

Arboretum Yoga 
Wednesdays, September 13 through October 11, 6-7 p.m. or Thursdays, September 14 through October 12, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
$19 per class
Improve your health and well-being with yoga. We will practice poses, breathing and meditation in the tranquil setting of the Morton Arboretum.

NEW! Restorative Aerial Tree Yoga 
Sunday, October 8 or October 22, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Experience the many restorative and therapeutic benefits of aerial yoga while you relax, release, and deepen into yoga poses supported by a hammock. This class will soothe the nervous system and restore energy. Move slowly from one supportive pose to another with the use of aromatherapy. 

Children’s Garden Programs

Forest Explorers: Happy Harvest (18–35 months)
Tuesdays, September 5 through 26, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Each day we will hike, read stories, and play in this four-week sensory-based outdoor adventure.  Adults will also receive tips to continue exploration at home.

Forest Explorers: Happy Harvest (3–5 years)  
Thursdays, September 7 through September 28, 9:30-11 a.m.
Each day we will hike, read stories, and play in this four-week sensory-based outdoor adventure.  Adults will also receive tips to continue exploration at home.

Buggy for Bats (18-35 months)
Wednesday, October 4 or Thursday, October 12, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Discover how bats and bugs are connected, and become a bat for a day.  We will hike, play games and make a bat-tacular craft in this sensory-based program.    

Buggy for Bats (3-5 years)
Thursday, October 5, Tuesday, October 10, or Wednesday, October 11, 9:30-11 a.m.
Discover how bats and bugs are connected, and become a bat for a day. We will hike, play games and make a bat-tacular craft in this sensory-based program.    

Youth and Family Programs

Acorn Express Adventures – Homeschool Journey
Wednesday, September 6 or October 4, 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.  The fee for Acorn Express Adventures does not include Arboretum admission.  

Family Twilight Adventures
Friday, September 8 or Saturday, September 16, 7-9 p.m.
Join us for a fun–filled adventure after hours at the Arboretum.  We’ll hike, do activities and roast marshmallows before going on a silent tram ride through the woods.  Come see what happens at the Arboretum at night. Children must be accompanied by adult registrant.

Tree Pose Yoga  
Mondays, September 11, September 18 or September 25, 10-11 a.m.
$17 per child
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. Adults must accompany participating children. The recommended age for Tree Pose Yoga is 3 to 6, but is open to all ages.

FIT4MOM Stroller Strides®       
Thursdays in September and October, 10-11 a.m.
$21 per class
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 young children. 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.

Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in October, 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.  The fee for Acorn Express Adventures does not include Arboretum admission.  

Family Jack O’ Lantern Hikes 
Saturdays, October 14 or 21, or Sundays, October 15 or 22, Select times
Join us on a family-friendly jack o’ lantern lit hike to explore the night-life of owls, bats and spiders at The Morton Arboretum.  We’ll also decorate pumpkins and roast marshmallows over a fire. Children must be accompanied by adult. Visit for hike times.

Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in September and October, 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.

Adult Classes and Programs

Bird Walks

Summer Bird Walks
September 16, 8-10:30 a.m.
Enjoy summer at The Morton Arboretum by searching the woods, fields, and edges for summertime birds. Learn about the summer resident birds, their preferred haunts, foraging needs, and nesting behavior with an expert guide. This program fee does not include admission to the Arboretum.

Sparrows of DuPage County 
Tuesday, September 26, 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, September 30, 8 a.m.-noon
Learn how to identify the sparrows found along woodland edges, wetlands, and grasslands. Some of the more difficult to find species such as Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow, LeConte's sparrow and Harris' sparrow will be sought as you learn about habitat preferences and timing of migration.

Fall Bird Walk
Saturday, October 21, 8-10:30 a.m.
Search the woods, fields, and edges of the Arboretum for fall birds. Join us to learn about fall migrants and year-round resident birds with an expert guide. Please be prepared to spend most of the class outdoors; no prior experience in birding is necessary. This program fee does not include admission to the Arboretum.

Botanical Art

Begin to Draw Nature
Thursdays, September 7 through September 28, 6:30-9:30 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.

Creative Effects Nature Photography Workshop
Saturday, September 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Add artistry to your nature photography with creative effects. Creative effects lenses put a new spin on nature photography. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to try a variety of creative effects lenses to produce artistic shots of landscapes and up-close nature photography. Whether you have an iPhone or a DSLR, this workshop provides the chance to see nature through a different lens.

Field Sketching
Sunday, September 10 or Sunday, September 17, 12:30-4 p.m.
Create field sketches of late summer landscapes. With little more than a pencil and sketch pad, artists use field sketching to observe and capture the features of a scene they wish to use as a basis for later pieces. Field sketching develops the artist’s eye and perspective through the practice of drawing a high volume and variety of subject matter in a sitting. Field sketching is also a useful skill for landscape architects and researchers who wish to record and notate natural settings. Learn techniques under the guidance of freelance artist and educator and take home a stack of inspirational landscape sketches for your portfolio.

Basic Nature Photography
Thursdays, September 21 and September 28, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, September 23, 8-11 a.m.
Become a nature photographer. Move beyond shooting in automatic; 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.

Out of the Box: You and Your New Camera
Saturday, September 30, 8-11 a.m.
Learn the basics of how to use your new camera. Whether a point & shoot or a digital SLR you will be introduced to focus, exposure, histograms, and how to take a picture in the field.

Under the Microscope: Drawing Dragonflies
Thursdays, October 5 and October 12, or Saturdays, October 7 and October 14, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Explore the world of dragonflies and other insects under the microscope.  Enjoy this unique opportunity to see up close the intricacies of their wings and the beauty of their coloration. Take notes and make sketches in your sketchbook so that you can accurately draw them later if you like. We will be using specimens from the Arboretum’s and the instructor’s collections.

Golden Hour Photography
Sunday, October 8, 4-7 p.m.
Join an expert photographer for golden hour, that magical moment just before sunset when the soft light gives the Arboretum a special, warm glow. Working under the guidance of your instructor, learn how to use the settings on your camera and how to compose your shot to best capture the scene. Experiment with front-lighting, backlighting, rim lighting, and flare. Go home with new knowledge to practice and apply on your own.

Glass Pumpkin Workshops
Monday, October 9 through Friday, October 13, 8 a.m.-noon
Work with molten glass to create your own glass pumpkin paperweight. Learn how to safely heat, shape, and add color to make a piece of glass art. Then work one-on-one with a skilled artist to design and create your own. Meet at the demonstration area of the Glass Pumpkin Patch. Enjoy a cup of coffee and spend time with the glass pumpkin artists, and go home with a special Arboretum memento.

Drawing Nature II 
Wednesdays, October 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Grow your nature drawing skills under the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor.  Build on basic techniques and refine your composition skills using botanical specimens from the Arboretum’s grounds. Learn to achieve depth or distance in your drawing using atmospheric perspective. Use shading and shadows as you learn to use light creatively. Practice contouring and achieving a continuous tone. Continue to develop eye/hand coordination.

Nature Photography: Beyond the Basics
Thursdays, October 19, 26, November 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturdays, October 21 and October 28, 8-11 a.m.
Be intentional about the photographs you take by gaining control of your camera settings and developing your eye for photography. If you have the basics down but want to grow your skills as a nature photographer, this intermediate course will help you take the guesswork out of your shots through classroom instruction, hands-on practice, field sessions, and personal feedback from an expert nature photographer.

Jewelry Making: Autumn Leaf
Thursdays, October 19 and 26, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Learn to sculpt and create a delicate leaf pendant you can wear this fall. Class participants will work with polymer clay, a versatile medium with endless possibilities. Learn to condition and layer the clay with colors and inclusions and sculpt a three-dimensional piece of art. Pieces will be cured off site and then finished in the second class meeting. A brass chain is included.

Photographing Intimate Landscapes in Fall Color
Saturday, October 21, 1-7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 22, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Photograph the autumn season in a bold and impactful way through the art of the simplicity in this weekend workshop. The Morton Arboretum is an incredible place throughout the year, but never is it more photogenic than when its trees take on their autumn attire. Learn to capture the essence of the season through intimate landscapes in both evening and morning light. Our study will emphasize composition, as we learn to distill the landscape down to its most basic graphic elements. Learn how to creatively use textures, patterns, repetition, lines, and colors to create stunning nature photographs.

Fall Photography Walking Tour
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 8-11 a.m.
See the Arboretum through the eyes of an expert photographer. Learn how to notice your surroundings with attention to light, angle, subject, and creative interpretation. Begin with a brief classroom session and see examples of these fundamental elements of photography. Then head out onto the grounds for a walking tour. Learn what catches the attention of a professional photographer and how to capture it with a camera.

Mosaic Pumpkins for Fall
Sunday, October 22, 10 a.m.-2  p.m.
Create a three-dimensional pumpkin or plaque, perfect for either the Halloween or Thanksgiving holiday. This piece will be an indoor or outdoor decoration. Students are encouraged to bring any of their own additions to add to their mosaic such as beads, vintage jewelry or buttons.  A wide variety of fall shards will be available to cover the pumpkin. You will complete your project including grouting.

Fall Botanical Art and Framing Workshop
Thursdays, October 26 through November 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Create a ready-to-hang, personal piece of Arboretum art you can display in your home or give as a gift. Over the course of four weeks, develop a botanical drawing from seasonal specimens found on the Arboretum grounds and embellish it with watercolor. In the final class, learn to mat and frame your work for a professional, finished look with the help of the instructor. This class is a great opportunity for budding and experienced artists alike to work with a skilled instructor and learn tricks of the trade for framing your art.

Green Living

Beginning Home Composting
Thursday, September 14 or Thursday, October 12, 7-9 p.m.
Discover the basics of backyard composting and composting with worms. Compost is that dark crumbly material—the result of decomposed organic materials—that improves the structure and texture of the soil enabling it to better retain nutrients, moisture, and air around plant roots.  You can buy it in bags, but it’s easy to make your own. Learn how to turn yard waste and kitchen scraps into wonderfully rich, free compost.


Fermented Food Series
The series will include demonstrations, tastings, and hands-on learning. Fermented foods are delicious and have many health benefits. Learn about the process of fermentation and why this ancient practice has found new life in today’s health and culinary circles. Then watch demonstrations, enjoys tastings, and assemble your own fermented recipes in our hands-on workshops.

Hard Cider
Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m.-noon
Learn to make your own hard cider. Get equipment lists and a step-by-step guide to making cider at home.  Learn what types of apples to use to get the best results. Understand how the process works and variables you can control to get the results you want. Enjoy samples from local cider-makers.

Yogurt and Kefir
Saturday, October 28, 10 a.m.-noon
Make your own yogurt and kefir. Kefir is a drinkable yogurt packed with probiotics that can be flavored with fruit, much like yogurt. Begin with a lesson about the process of fermentation. Then use starters to make your own yogurt and kefir.  Get recipes and variations so you can continue to ferment at home.

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 Trees (Online and In-person)
Registration closes: Wednesday, September 13
Online component begins: Thursday, September 14
In-person component: Saturday, September 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Learn to identify the trees you see every day in the woodlands and neighborhoods of the Chicago region as you enjoy their brilliant fall colors. Explore the ecology of the various tree species and find out why they grow in each habitat.

Natural Areas Management
Thursday, September 21, 6-9 p.m., Sunday, September 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday, September 30, 9a.m.-2 p.m.
Learn principles and practices for managing critical habitats. Remnant and restored natural areas act as reservoirs for plant, animal, and insect diversity. Join us as we visit a variety of managed ecosystems to discuss current conservation challenges and strategies with site managers and volunteer stewards. This class can be taken as a component of the Woodland Stewardship Program in natural areas management.

Ecosystem Concepts (Online and in-person)
Registration closes: Thursday, October 5
Online component begins: Friday, October 6
In-person component: Saturday, October 14, 1-5 p.m.
Explore the interactions that drive ecosystem function and learn to identify plants, animals, and fungi in relation to ecological habitats. By developing knowledge of ecological food webs and species interdependence you will have a better understanding of how to manage natural areas to support biodiversity. We will discuss influential variables that determine habitat quality and shape an ecosystem, such as light, water, fire, and herbivory. An emphasis on the cyclical nature of the seasons and life history of native species will allow insights for short-term and long-term natural areas management.

Woodland Stewardship Program Orientation (Online or in-person)
In-person: Tuesday, October 17, 6:30-8 p.m.
Online only. Visit to access the online orientation
Join us for a free orientation program on the Woodland Stewardship Program, including classes with online and in-person components.  Discuss the education and volunteer aspects of the training program with a panel of Arboretum staff and volunteers 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)
Registration closes: October 19
Online component begins: October 20
In person component: Saturday, October 28, 1:30-3:30 p.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.

Native Seed and Plant Propagation
Sunday, October 22, 9 a.m.-noon
Learn how and when to collect seeds from your favorite native plants. We will explore different methods of collecting and cleaning seed, while learning how to mix and sow or propagate the seed for growing healthy native plants.

Learn about Nature

Grasses for Fall  
Saturday, September 9, 9 a.m.-noon
Ornamental grasses add color, texture and movement to the garden. These easy-to-care-for perennials add interest to any space throughout the gardening year.  This class will help you to find the ones most suited to your garden's style and growing conditions.  Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather, as we will be walking the Arboretum’s grounds viewing the grasses in their place in the gardens.

Neat Natives for a Manicured Landscape 
Thursday, September 13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Introduce native plants that maintain a neat, manicured look to your landscape. Learn the difference between true natives and native cultivars that are bred to “behave” well in landscapes. Get ideas for dwarf and medium shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and a few grasses that look great and can be shaped to create a controlled, uniform look.

Walk with a Naturalist: Life on the Prairie 
Friday, September 15, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Explore the colorful landscape of the fall prairie and discover the amazing relationships between the plants and animals that call it home. View late blooming flowers, find out how the plants and animals of the prairie prepare for the shorter, cold days ahead, and immerse yourself in the colors and scents of tall grasses and the sounds of birds and insects that populate this fascinating habitat. 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.

Nature at Night Hike    
Thursday, September 21, 7-9 p.m.
Discover what happens at the Arboretum at night when no one is around. During our hike, we will discuss night ecology, listen to a symphony of sounds, explore mysterious spaces, and hopefully view wildlife on the move. Learn more about our nocturnal animals and enjoy the magic of nature at night.

Putting the Garden to Bed: Walking Tour 
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 6-7:30 p.m.
Take a walk through the display gardens at the Arboretum with horticulturist Samantha Peckham as she discusses the best ways to prepare your garden for the winter. From clean-up, to dividing, to tool use, and more, you’ll get plenty of valuable time-saving tips and sustainable techniques to put your garden to bed and lay the groundwork for a successful spring. Bring your gardening questions, and dress for the weather.

Fall Ikebana: Japanese Flower Arranging
Saturday, September 23, 2017, 1-3:30 p.m.
Capture the graceful curve of fall leaves and boughs, the delightful color of berries, 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 of a seasonal fall arrangement. All plant materials will be collected fresh from the Arboretum grounds. Each student will create an arrangement to take home.

Walk with a Naturalist: Life in the Woods 
Saturday, September 23, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Get a “behind the scenes” look at life in the woods on this guided walk with an Arboretum naturalist. Discover the complex community that exists among the trees and the fascinating relationships between plants, animals, and the habitat they call home. Everything has a role, from the prowling coyote to the rocks beneath your feet. Explore the delicate balance and enjoy this walk through the Arboretum’s woods.

Beginning Beekeeping 
Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Curious about honey bees?  Interested in starting your own hive and harvesting your own honey? Already have a hive and want to learn more about managing it? Explore the history of beekeeping, bee anatomy, starting up a colony and managing it through the year in this class. We’ll also cover equipment basics, honey bee pests and diseases, and harvesting honey.

Seed Saving Workshop
Saturday, September 30, 9:30 a.m.-noon
Learn how and why to save your own seeds. Watch demonstrations and get hands-on practice saving seeds from both ornamental and edible plants. Learn how to store seeds for future use and how to test the viability of seeds before planting.

Shrubs for the Illinois Garden
Thursday, October 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Design using shrubs that thrive in the upper Midwest. This class will include a list of the best shrubs and multi-stem trees for the Chicagoland region, including natives. Discover shrubs that offer fragrance and continuous bloom. Learn planting and maintenance to promote shrub health, such as creating healthy soil and basic pruning tips.

Full Moon Tram Tour  
Thursday, October 5, or Friday, October 6, 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 hikes, we will discuss night ecology, share stories of moon lore, and enjoy the magic of nature at night.

Grow Herbs Indoors
Saturday, October 7, 9-11 a.m.
Have fresh herbs on hand all winter long, and take home a cutting to get your garden started. Many herbs can transition to an indoor environment. Learn which herbs you can bring indoors for the winter and how to do it safely and successfully so they continue to thrive and produce. Other herbs are good candidates for starting indoors; find out which ones. Discuss propagating new herbs from old. Understand the conditions that different herbs require, such as light, watering, and feeding, to keep your plants happy and healthy through the long, cold months of winter.

Inside the Collections: Oaks
Saturday, October 7, 9-11 a.m.
Oaks are widely regarded for their longevity, strength, importance to wildlife, and economic value. This Oaktober, learn the eventful history of the magnificent oak and why this special tree is the backbone of many forests.

Trees of Illinois II
Saturday, October 7, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Learn to identify the trees you see every day in the woodlands and neighborhoods of the Chicago region. Stroll under the leafy canopy, examine 20 to 30 of our most common trees, learn the skills to identify them and discuss their biology and ecology.

Tree ID Workshop: Learn to Use Identification Keys
Sunday, October 8, noon-4 p.m.
Whether you need tree ID skills for professional purposes or for personal enjoyment, this workshop will build your skills so you can use it confidently to identify unknown trees on your own Work with an experienced botanist to learn the characteristics of trees you can use to identify them. Learn the terminology you’ll need to navigate through the choices presented in a key, and discuss strategies for difficult or subjective decisions. Much of the time will be spent in the field practicing with the support of the instructor.

Nature at Night Hike
Thursday, October 12, 7-8:30 p.m.
Discover what happens at the Arboretum at night when no one is around. With the moon shining through the trees, a fall evening reveals a captivating symphony of sounds and mysterious spaces as we hope to spot wildlife darting through the darkness. During our hike we will find out how animals are adapted for the night and enjoy the magic of hiking through the silent woods.

Basic Tree ID 
Saturday, October 14, 9-11:30 a.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.
Fire by Friction: Build Your Own Bow Drill
Saturday, October 14, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Gain the ultimate wilderness survival skill—starting a fire with nothing but the materials around you. Build your own bow drill from rough materials and start a fire with it.

Meet the Author

The Pen and the Trowel with Author Marta McDowell
Wednesday, September 13, 7-8:30 p.m.
Explore the ways that writing and gardening intertwine with author and speaker, Marta McDowell. For years, McDowell has been occupied with writers who garden, and how their horticultural interests have changed her planting beds as well as her bookshelves. Starting with Mark Twain, and connecting to authors ranging from Henry David Thoreau to Louisa May Alcott, this lecture explores that rich, writing-gardening connection.

“Flora of the Chicago Region” with Authors Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha
Thursday, October 19, 7-8:30 p.m.
Join authors Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha for an evening talk about their much anticipated new book, “Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis.” This book is the latest publication in a long tradition of research and documentation of the plants of the Chicago area. The book will be available for purchase at the event. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your copy signed by the authors.