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: 

Community Trees Program

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   


Global Trees Conservation Program

The Morton Arboretum is forming global collaborations and developing conservation strategies that combine the botanical expertise and well-curated tree collections of arboreta with on-the-ground habitat protection and conservation of natural populations of threatened trees. 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


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   


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