The Morton Arboretum has been a leader in conservation for decades. Its efforts include international partnerships to conserve endangered species of trees in Arboretum and public garden collections; restoring more than half its 1,700 acres as natural woodlands, prairies and wetlands; and outreach programs that help municipalities, tree professionals, and homeowners care for the urban forest. Its heritage includes the pioneering restoration of the Schulenberg Prairie more than 50 years ago and Plants of the Chicago Region by Arboretum staff members Floyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm, a major work in conservation biology and restoration ecology.

Here are some of the Arboretum’s major current conservation initiatives: 

Saving endangered trees

The Morton Arboretum works to conserve trees and their habitats worldwide, at a time when It is estimated that 10 percent of all tree species are threatened with extinction and 1,000 species are considered critically endangered. The Arboretum works on the Global Trees Campaign, which is focused on the threats to trees around the world and the need to take urgent action to address their conservation. Numerous specimens of endangered and threatened trees are preserved in the Arboretum’s collections. And its traveling exhibit Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat is a compelling look at threatened and endangered trees and the importance of taking action to save them. LEARN MORE    

Community Trees

The Morton Arboretum’s Community Trees Program helps communities, public and private landowners, land managers, tree professionals, and groups interested in trees effectively manage and care for our urban and community forest—from nature preserves to parks and office parks, along streets, in homeowners associations,along streets, and in private yards. LEARN MORE   

Mapping soil drainage for better care of the landscape and collections

The Morton Arboretum is conducting a comprehensive survey of underground drainage pipes in its landscape in order to manage the flow of water to the soil of its collections and natural areas. learn more


Restoration efforts

More than half of The Morton Arboretum’s 1,700 acres are managed as natural areas, including woodlands, prairie, and wetlands. Extensive restoration efforts are underway on this land, which was used for farming, cattle grazing, timber, wood lots, and other activities for decades before it became part of the Arboretum. The restoration efforts are undertaken in collaboration with the Arboretum’s science staff and with the help of many volunteers. Lessons from the Arboretum’s restoration efforts can inform the studies of conservation biology and ecology as well as efforts elsewhere to preserve and restore native plants, animals and ecosystems. LEARN MORE   

Conservation education

The Morton Arboretum offers a wealth of educational opportunities in natural history and conservation, drawing on the work of its researchers and natural areas managers and on its woodlands, prairies and living collections. LEARN MORE