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How Trees Can Help the World: Re-treeing Communities and Making the World a Cooler Place to Live

Schedule and location

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Ginkgo Restaurant, Visitor Center

Fees and Registration

$20.00 member
$25.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

Grab a drink and join us at The Morton Arboretum for a conversation about promising new research and current initiatives that demonstrate the incredible potential trees have to make the world a better place to live.

Moderator Mike Nowak will chat with leading experts from The Morton Arboretum and across the United States about how cities and suburbs are leading the effort to combat global change, turning to trees to ensure their communities are healthier, cooler, and more sustainable places to live. Find out ways that you can get involved and influence your communities.

Whether influencing the climate, protecting our water, improving public health, or preserving habitats, trees might just be the superheroes we need.

Admission to the program includes one drink and popcorn.

Moderator Mike Nowak, host of The Mike Nowak Show, has been talking about gardening, the environment and green living on Chicago radio for over two decades. He writes an award-winning column for Chicagoland Gardening Magazine and is the author of the book Attack of the Killer Asparagus and Other Lessons Not Learned in the Garden. Mike co-founded the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance (MELA) and served as MELA’s president for four years. He is an Illinois Master Gardener and Openlands TreeKeeper. He is a former board member of the Illinois Recycling Association and past president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition.


  • Bill Schlesinger, PhD, is a biogeochemist and president emeritus at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. With a focus on environmental chemistry and global change, Schlesinger has authored or coauthored more than 200 scientific papers, among them research on human impacts on forests and soil. Past work has taken him to diverse habitats, from the Mojave Desert of California to Antarctica. His research has been highlighted by CNN, NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic.

  • Jeff Walk, PhD, is the director of conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Chicago, where he leads a team of scientists in on-the-ground conservation initiatives, many of which address the challenges of climate change with nature-based solutions. These include protecting water quality in the Illinois River and other tributaries of the Mississippi River and expanding a monitoring program at Nachusa Grasslands, a tallgrass prairie conservancy in Franklin Grove, Ill., to better understand the impact of bison on prairie habitats.

  • Chuck Cannon, PhD, serves as the director of the Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum. Cannon leads scientists and researchers at the Arboretum, connecting a large network of global collaborators to shape and expand knowledge of trees and forests around the world, and has long focused on the evolution and conservation of tree diversity. Ongoing projects include creating advanced and effective technologies for tree science as well as the development and implementation of a tree observatory platform for the collection of data on tree behavior, growth and status.

  • Colleen Murphy-Dunning directs both the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Urban Resources Initiative at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in New Haven, Conn. In her role, Murphy-Dunning partners with university faculty to lead field-based instruction on urban ecology for all incoming graduate students in the forestry and environmental studies program. Prior to her work at Yale, she taught agroforestry at the Kenya Forestry College and reviewed natural resource operations in Papua New Guinea for the Rainforest Action Network.

  • Lydia Scott is the director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), a collaboration between The Morton Arboretum and approximately 165 partner organizations across the region. In leading the organization, Scott furthers CRTI’s mission to build a healthier and more diverse urban forest by 2050 as informed by findings from “Urban Trees and Forests of the Chicago Region,” a regional tree census conducted by The Morton Arboretum and the U.S. Forest Service. CRTI provides education, outreach and resources to more than 150 communities across the seven-county Chicago region to improve the health, diversity and canopy cover of the area’s urban forest.


This program is presented in partnership with the Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).

Course number

How Trees Can Help the World: Re-treeing Communities and Making the World a Cooler Place to Live