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Ecosystem Concepts (Online and In-person)

Schedule and location

Summer 2020

  • Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020, 11:59 p.m.: Registration closes 
  • Thursday, Aug 20, 2020, 12:00 p.m.: Online materials become available
  • Sunday, Aug 30, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.: In person session meets at Thornhill Education Center

Fees and Registration

$30.00 member
$37.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 (or to be waitlisted, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

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 which 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.

The online component of this class is self-guided and can be completed wherever you have access to a computer, at your own pace. Online assignments are due before the session.


Program participants must comply with current public health guidelines as required by the Governor of Illinois, which include social distancing and the use of face masks when indoors and when social distancing is not possible outdoors. For more information on the Arboretum’s guidelines, please watch the video at https://www.mortonarb.org/visit-explore/plan-visit/know-you-go-visit-information.

Course number



Greg Rajsky

Greg Rajsky has been engaged in ecological restoration since 1990 and has been teaching classes for the Morton Arboretum since 1996. An avid field botanist and ecologist, he consults with local property owners to help them understand, conserve, and maintain natural habitats. He stewards several sites in the region.

Course details


  • This class includes both online and in-person sessions. Online assignments must be completed before the in-person class.
  • The online materials will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
  • Registration closes five hours before online materials are available. Participants will have access to the online materials for 60 days after the course start date.
  • Please dress for the weather during the in-person session, with long sleeves and long pants/sturdy footwear.
  • Bring water and a snack. 
  • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen. 
  • Limit 8


  • Participants must have access to the internet via a computer or mobile device.
  • A unique email address for each participant is required at registration.

Continuing education: This class fulfills a requirement for the Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program. (Learn more about N-ACT.) 5 Continuing Education Credits are available from the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).  

Arboretum class weather, cancellation and refund policies