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March-April 2019 Events, Programs and Classes at The Morton Arboretum

The Arbor Day Plant Sale is open to the public April 28.
January 7, 2019

The Morton Arboretum welcomes spring and the beginning of the growing season with events, programs and classes for all ages.

In March, take a hike, your pup leading the way, during Dog Admission Day. Enjoy the fresh green of spring with April’s The Champion of Trees 10K. Also in April, celebrate Easter with our kid-friendly Breakfast with the Bunny and a delectable Easter Brunch

In late April, the Arboretum celebrates trees and their importance to our lives, communities and environment with its signature holiday, Arbor Day. The Arboretum’s annual Arbor Day Plant Sale, one of the largest plant sales in the Chicago area with more than 100,000 expertly chosen plants and trees, is open to the public April 28.

The Arboretum’s Edible Gardening Workshop series prepares gardeners for the growing season ahead. Workshops will showcase tips and techniques on growing food, maximizing yard space and introducing less common edible plants to the local landscape.

 

MarchApril Highlights

Troll Hunt
Daily in March and April, 7 a.m.–sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Troll sightings have been reported in the woods of The Morton Arboretum! Six colossal creatures and a hideout have all been spotted, but why have these giant trolls made their home at the Arboretum and what do they want to know about us?  The work of noted Danish artist Thomas Dambo, Troll Hunt marks the first exhibition of its kind in the United States. Visitors can seek out these enormous trolls—one troll reclining on his back measures a monumental 60 feet long—created from reclaimed wood. Find them in and around our Visitor Center and hidden away in the forests.

Dog Admission Day
Saturday, March 2, 7 a.m.–sunset
$5 per dog and Arboretum admission
Visitors can bring their dogs with them to hike the Arboretum’s 16 miles of trails. Dogs are not allowed in any of the Arboretum’s buildings, the Children’s Garden or Maze Garden.

Howl at the Moon at The Morton Arboretum
Friday, March 8, 6–10 p.m.
Howl at the Moon at The Morton Arboretum is a high-energy live music show centered around dance hits and party anthems. Tickets include seating at shared tables and one complimentary beverage. Additional food and beverage will be available for purchase. Visit mortonarb.org for further details.

Cocoa in the Conifers
Saturday, March 9, 1–3 p.m.
$20
Join an Arboretum expert for a cup of hot cocoa and a winter stroll through the Conifer Collection. Observe the variety of textures and colors and learn interesting facts about the members of this incredibly diverse collection.

Trolls After Dark Night Hike
Thursday, April 11, 8–9:30 p.m.
$20
Grab a flashlight and hit the trails for a night of troll hunting. The Arboretum closes at dusk, so enjoy this special after-hours opportunity to see the mysterious forest protectors, six giant trolls made from reclaimed wood, under the light of the moon. A guide will enlighten participants with stories about the trolls’ origins, their message of conservation, and what the trees and wildlife are up to during the long dark nights when no one else is around.

The Champion of Trees 10K
Sunday, April 14, 8 a.m. start time
Visit mortonarb.org for registration information
Unleash your inner champion as you run during a springtime morning surrounded by trees from around the world. The challenging USATF-certified course follows the Arboretum's East Side Main Route through rolling terrain. Runners can enjoy a post-race party with other tree champions, including live music, recovery food and a complimentary beer for those 21 and older.

Easter Events

Breakfast with the Bunny
Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 9–11 a.m.
Visitors are encouraged to hop on over for a tasty springtime buffet featuring a visit from the Easter Bunny. Families can take a photo with the Easter Bunny and kids will receive an Easter treat. Visit mortonarb.org for additional details.

Easter Brunch
Sunday, April  21, seatings at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.
Celebrate Easter while savoring a delicious meal and the breathtaking view of Meadow Lake. The Easter Bunny will visit tables during brunch. Delight in the early spring blooms that are popping up all around the Arboretum. Visitmortonarb.org for additional details.

Arbor Day Events

Arbor Day Tree Planting and Story Time
Friday, April 26, 11 a.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Celebrate Arbor Day with a visit from Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat at the Arboretum. Enjoy a group reading of Curious George Plants a Tree, and join in to plant a tree in the Children’s Garden.

Arbor Weekend Celebration in the Children’s Garden
Friday, April 26–Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission

Celebrate Arbor Day in the Children's Garden all weekend long. Plant tree seeds, investigate tree cookies and go on a hunt for five unique trees throughout the garden. These are self-guided hands-on discovery activities.

Arbor Day Plant Sale
Open to the public Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Shop an exciting variety of plants chosen by our experts for success in Chicago-area gardens. The Arbor Day Plant Sale is one of the largest seasonal plant sales in the Chicago region. It offers more than 100,000 plants, including hundreds of species and varieties of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ferns, vegetables and herbs. The plants are specially chosen by the Arboretum’s expert staff and many are grown at the Arboretum. Plant Geniuses, a team of Arboretum tree and plant experts, are available throughout the sale to answer questions, suggest plants and help shoppers narrow their choices. Arboretum members will be admitted into the sale beginning Friday, April 26.

Wellness Programs

Forest Therapy Walks (1 hour 45 min)
Monday, March 11 or Saturday, March 23, 9:30 –11 a.m.
Saturday, April 13 or Monday, April 22, 9:30–11:15 a.m.
$20
Forest Therapy Walks (3 hour)
Monday, April 8 or Saturday, April 27, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
$33
Experience healing and promote wellness with 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 to awaken senses and reconnect with nature. The walks will visit different locations at the Arboretum and will include a variety of awareness-raising exercises. The morning will conclude with tea made from edible plants foraged along the trail.

Arboretum Yoga
Mondays, March 11 through April 8, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
$80 for the series, $18 per session
Improve your health and well-being with yoga. The class will focus on practice poses, breathing and meditation in the tranquil setting of The Morton Arboretum.

Winter Hike and Yoga  
Wednesday, March 13, 6–7:30 p.m. or Thursday, March 21, 9:30–11 a.m.
$20
Feel your best and focus on total body health and well-being with a short hike outdoors, followed by a warming indoor yoga class.

Candlelight Yoga
Thursday, March 14, 7–9 p.m.
$18
End your day with a peaceful candlelit yoga class that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. Melt away any tension through poses, breathing, and meditation.

Meditation with Essential Oils
Wednesday, April 24, 6–7 p.m.
$20
Explore meditative and self-nurturing yoga poses with the use of plant- based essential oils to restore and rebalance the mind and body.

Children’s Garden Programs
All of these programs are self-guided, hands-on activities available in the Children’s Garden. The activities are free with Arboretum admission and take place weather permitting.

Winter Play
Daily in March, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
The Children’s Garden is open for wintertime fun. Discover activities to complement the day such as painting snow or building a fort.

Gnome Hunt
Daily in March, 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
The animals may be hibernating, but the Children’s Garden still has gnomes. Children and families are encouraged to find all of the hidden gnomes.

Last Call for Winter
Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Celebrate the arrival of spring with themed games, art and play.

Trash to Treasure
Free with Arboretum admission

Daily in April, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Discover the world of recycling through fun games and make a recycled craft to take home.

Youth and Family Programs

Arbor Reading Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in March, 11–11:45 a.m.
$5 per child
This popular and interactive drop-in story time includes nature-based stories, crafts and an adventure walk in the Sterling Morton Library and throughout the grounds of The Morton Arboretum. Arboretum admission applies.

Cloudy with a Chance of Trees! (18–35 months)
Wednesday, March 13, Tuesday, March 19 or Thursday, March 21, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
$22
Cloudy with a Chance of Trees! (3–5 years)
Tuesday, March 12, Thursday, March 14 or Wednesday, March 20, 9:30–11 a.m.
$25
Explore clouds, sunshine, rain and trees in this sensory-based program all about weather. Children will hike, listen to stories and create their own weather-related craft.

Simply Sweet Family Hike
Saturday, March 16 or Sunday, March 17, Select times between 1:00 and 3:30 p.m.
$19
Join us on a family-friendly syrup stroll through the woods to explore the history of maple tapping. Sample sweets from maple trees, craft a syrup-inspired snow globe next to a toasty fire, and even make maple-flavored ice cream.

Garden Story Time
Fridays in April, 11 a.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Gather in the Children’s Garden amphitheater for story time and fun.

Magic in the Forest Family Event
Saturday, April 6, Select times between 1:00 and 3:30 p.m.
$19
Join us for a family-friendly adventure inspired by Harry Potter. This program will explore the connections between the forest and the magical world of Hogwarts through experiments, crafts and more.

Little Acorns (18–35 months)
Wednesday, April 10, Thursday, April 16 or Tuesday, April 18, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
$22

Little Sprouts (3–5 years)
Tuesday, April 9, Thursday, April 11 or Wednesday, April 17, 9:30–11 a.m.
$25
Young explorers will hike, play, listen to stories and engage in science and art in these hands-on sensory-based programs.

Adult Classes and Programs

Birds

Bird Walks
Saturday, March 16 or Saturday, April 20, 8–10:30 a.m.
$14
Search the woods, fields, and edges of the Arboretum for birds. Walk with an expert guide, who will help locate and identify species spotted along the way. No prior experience is necessary.

Beginning Birdwatching   
Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
$34
In this workshop for beginners, learn how to find birds, discuss birding equipment, what to wear for an outing, how to track observations and more. Class participants will stroll around the Arboretum to observe birds that inhabit Illinois all year and learn key bird features for identification and how to match birds to their preferred food or habitat.

Field Study: Birds of Spring
Saturdays, April 27 through June 1, 8–11:30 a.m.
$209
Learn how to identify Illinois' spring resident and migratory birds by sight and call and meet other birders. The class will meet primarily outdoors and visit different habitats around the area to learn calls and identification of various species. The course will also cover behavioral clues that help in identification, feather arrangement and physical topography. Class does not take place June 1.

Learn about Nature

Edible Gardening Workshop Series 2019
This spring’s Edible Gardening Workshop Series will bring top gardening experts to The Morton Arboretum. Four workshops will highlight practical tips on growing your own food and inspire attendees with new ways to create beautiful, productive edible gardens.

Vegetables 2.0: Lesser Known, Lesser Grown, Tasty Vegetables for Your Home Garden with William Moss
Saturday, March 16, 9:30 a.m.–noon
$46
Hear about vegetables that are not commonly planted in the Chicago area, but can be grown and harvested in the region. All are nutritious, delicious, and easy to grow. The expert instructor will also cover horticultural techniques for sowing, planting, placement, soil care, maintenance, harvesting, and storage. Participants will leave with ideas on how to prepare the vegetables and create delectable dishes.

Grow a Tea Garden with Marcy Lautenen-Raleigh
Saturday, March 23, 9:30 a.m.–noon
$46
Learn to grow tea with the help  of an herb expert. Class attendees will discover the many types of herbs that can be used for tea, and learn how to turn their backyards into their own, private tea shop. The morning will begin with a tea sampling, and the course will cover how to choose tea herb plants, including their uses and the most popular flavors for tea, as well as how to grow, care and harvest these plants and ways to blend herbs into a flavorful tea. Participants will go home with recipes, tips and seeds to help them get started.

Bountiful Gardens for People with Limited Time, Space, and Budget with Melinda Myers
Saturday, March 30, 9:30 a.m.–noon
$46
Learn tips and strategies to get the most produce out of a garden. The class will explore products and plant varieties as well as planting and harvesting techniques to help improve vegetable gardening success.

Get Started with Backyard Permaculture with Jodi Trendler
Saturday, April 6, 9:30 a.m.–noon
$46
Learn to grow an edible, sustainable home garden using permaculture principles with this information-packed, how-to workshop. Learn how “guilds”—a grouping of plants and other components that work together as a mini-ecosystem—improve the health and productivity of an edible garden. Fruit tree guilds are an easy way for homeowners to apply the principles of permaculture in their own backyard as it minimizes maintenance, increases nutrition, and manages diseases and pests naturally. Learn which companion plants to grow with fruit to produce a successful harvest.

Winter Plant ID
Saturday, March 2, 2019, 8 a.m.–noon
$46
Learn to identify plants without leaves or flowers. Explore the Schulenberg Prairie and adjacent woodlands to practice identifying native perennials and grasses in winter with a local expert.

Build Your Own Musical Instrument
Saturday, March 2, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
$76
Learn to make wood sing in this build-your-own musical instrument class. Wood is an integral part of many musical instruments. It’s the foundation of string instruments such as guitars, violins, and pianos, as well as struck instruments such as xylophones and marimbas. This class will explore how science principles and wood craftsmanship are used to create musical instruments from a variety of softwoods and hardwoods. Each student will build and take home one functioning xylophone or dulcimer-like instrument.

Design a Vibrant Shade Garden
Thursdays, March 7 through March 21, 9 a.m.–noon (Informational  Session and workshop)
$46 for informational session
$99 for three-week course
Bring life and interest to the shadiest parts of a home landscape with plant lists, design ideas and maintenance tips from a practicing landscape designer. The class will cover plants and their preferred lighting as well as design principles such as layering and creating variety in a garden setting. Following the informational session on March 7, the optional workshop sessions in the following weeks will provide professional guidance to participants who wish to design their own shade garden.

Tool-Sharpening Workshop
Saturday, March 30, 8:30–10 a.m. or 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
$20
Learn the ins and outs of sharpening garden tools and bring a tool to sharpen. An expert instructor will explain how properly maintained tools make a significant difference for your plants as participants learn safe and proper techniques for sharpening and maintenance.

Backyard Conservation
Thursday, March 14, 7–9:30 p.m.
$34
Class attendees can learn to make a difference in their own backyards with simple ideas that have a big impact on the planet. This class will highlight different ways to contribute to a healthy environment, from managing and capturing water with rain barrels, rain gardens and bioswales to the best methods for attracting butterflies and birds.

Nature at Night Hike
Thursday, March 14, 7–8:30 p.m.
$20
Gain a new perspective on familiar settings with the chance to see what happens in the Arboretum at night when no one is around. Whether the moon is peeking through the clouds or the stars are shining, a winter evening reveals a captivating symphony of sounds and mysterious spaces. Hikers will discover how animals are adapted for the night and how they prepare for winter.

Navigating with a Map and Compass
Saturday, March 16, noon–4 p.m.
$46
Be prepared for the next wilderness outing. In this program, participants will learn  how to read a topographic map, understand the parts of a compass and their purpose, and stay on track. The program will also familiarize participants with a compass to orient their map and cover the basics of GPS.

Force of Nature: One Man’s Mission to Save Every Inch of Illinois Nature
Thursday, March 21, 7–9 p.m.
$20
Join Arthur Pearson, the author of the new biography, Force of Nature: George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement, and come away inspired by the story of this Illinois conservation visionary. A native of Rockford, Fell protected more natural land in Illinois than anyone before or since and was the driving force in the founding of The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, the Natural Land Institute and the Natural Areas Association.  

Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts
Thursday, March 28, 9 a.m.–noon
$46
In this practical class for homeowners, participants will get straightforward advice from an expert landscape designer and garden manager on how to avoid common landscaping mistakes. Attendees will walk away with tips on designing, purchasing, planting, as well as the maintenance of plants and trees. This class is great for homeowners looking to make landscaping improvements on their own.

Grow Great Tomatoes
Saturday, March 30, 1–3:30 p.m.
$34
Improve your tomato success with expert guidance. Learn what tomato plants need to thrive and get tips on selecting varieties, choosing healthy seedlings, planting, feeding and harvesting. This class is great for the beginning gardener who wants to increase  their tomato skills.

Wild Child: Creative Outdoor Spaces for Kids
Thursday, April 4, 7–9 p.m.
$20
Give kids the freedom and space to explore nature and indulge in free play with inspirational ideas. Discover creative, low-cost and easy ways to turn a backyard into a nature-based play place that connects kids with the outdoors and taps into their imaginations.

Spring Ikebana: Japanese Floral Arranging
Saturday, April 6, 1–3:30 p.m.
$46
Capture the graceful curve of an unfolding bud, the surprise of new leaves, or the lightness of a cloud through Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. The instructors will demonstrate several techniques and then help participants create their favorite version. All plant materials will be collected fresh from the Arboretum grounds. Each student will create an arrangement to take home.

Floral Design 101
Wednesdays, April 10 through May 1, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
$210
Learn to make your own bouquets and arrangements in this four-week floral design class. Working under the guidance of a professional florist, participants will make four floral designs to take home, including corsages, a centerpiece, a hand-tied bouquet, and a stunning high-style design. Participants will practice wiring, taping, gluing, and arranging as they create these take-home pieces.

Design a Spring Container
Wednesday, April 10, 7–9 p.m. or Saturday, April 13, 1–3 p.m.
$57
Design an attractive spring container with hardy plants that will bring color to any outdoor space. Learn optimal plant combinations, secrets of color and texture, successful planting techniques, how to prune and edit and more. This hands-on workshop is great for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

Beginning Home Composting
Wednesday, April 10, 7–9 p.m.
$34
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. Learn how to turn yard waste and kitchen scraps into wonderfully rich, free compost.

Powering Your Home with Solar Energy
Thursday, April 11, 7–8:30 p.m.
$14
Attendees will learn how to tap into solar energy at home, even if they have large shade trees. The program will focus on how solar energy works, and the benefits and challenges of residential solar energy as well as the upfront costs and long-term savings. The course will include a discussion of current financial incentives in Illinois.

Backyard Boot Camp: Yard Care Basics for Homeowners
Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m.–noon
$46
This workshop is designed especially  for new homeowners short on time. Get easy-to-follow tree and shrub care instructions such as how and when to water, prune, fertilize and mulch. Find out what equipment is important to own and what to skip.

Design a Small Garden Space
Tuesdays, April 16 and April 23, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
$64
In this workshop, participants will create a design for a small garden space under the guidance of a landscape designer. Learn how to use vertical and horizontal space, which plants are best for small gardens, how to use color effectively and how to incorporate containers. Attendees will leave with a sketch for their garden and a plant list to guide shopping.

Spring Wildflower Walk
Thursday, April 18 or Saturday, April 27, 8:30–11 a.m.
$20
Wander through the ever-changing array of blooms in the Arboretum’s woodlands and prairies to learn how to identify wildflowers such as trillium, mayapple, and dogtooth violet and hear about their folklore. Bring a friend and enjoy this fleeting spring pleasure, with new flowers revealing themselves each week.

Perennials 101
Thursday, April 18, 7–9 p.m.
$34
Perennials come back year after year. Learn about the incredible variety of perennial plants that thrive in the Chicago area as well as how to choose perennials that suit the needs of a given space and desired aesthetic. Find out how to care for plants, including tips on fertilizing, deadheading and dividing.

Nature at Night Tram Tour
Wednesday, April 24 or Thursday, April 25, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
$20
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 the tram ride and short hikes, a guide will discuss night ecology and share stories of moon lore.

Spring into Gardening Walking Tour
Thursday, April 25, 6–8 p.m.
$34
Take a walk through the display gardens at the Arboretum  with a guide to learn the best ways to “wake up” a garden for the season. From clean-up to dividing to tool use and more, participants will get plenty of valuable time-saving tips and sustainable techniques to start their gardens on the path to success this spring.

Botanical Art

Linoleum Block Printing Workshop
Saturdays, March 2 and March 23, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
$123
This workshop will explore how to create a unique collection of linoleum block prints using specimens collected from the grounds of The Morton Arboretum as inspiration. Participants will create one or two original designs using traditional linoleum and will make prints using several inks and papers.

Nature in Graphite
Wednesdays, March 6 through March 27, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
$162
Learn to capture early spring with graphite, the perfect tool for drawing leaves, stems and flowers. This course will focus on pencil drawing techniques through in-class work as well as daily drawing exercises, weekly home assignments and constructive critiques.

Painting Lifelike Insects
Thursdays, March 7 through March 28, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
$162
Discover how to bring insects to life through art by working side-by-side with an artist and insect aficionado. View insects under the microscope and study their intricate anatomy. Photographs as well as specimens from Arboretum collections will be used to insure lifelike renderings.

Mosaic Flowers for the Garden
Sunday, March 10, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
$103
Create a one-of-a-kind garden art piece using reclaimed materials like glass and porcelain. The piece will take the shape of a 12-inch mosaic flower mounted on an iron stem.

Nature in Colored Pencil
Tuesdays, April 2 through April 23, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
$162
Capture nature in colored pencil and explore how colors impact each other and the viewer. Learn how to see color in a specimen and recreate it on paper.

Beginner’s Nature Art Workshop: Spring Flowers in Colored Pencil
Saturday, April 6 or Sunday, April 7, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
$46
Enjoy light refreshments while learning the basics of capturing the curves and color of a spring flower under the encouraging guidance of an instructor. After class, stroll through the Nature Artists’ Guild Spring Exhibit for inspiration to continue honing your new skills.

Nature Artists’ Guild Spring Exhibit
Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Celebrate spring with this exhibition of nature art from the Nature Artists’ Guild featuring  a juried selection of art from local artists. Attendees can enjoy free demonstrations throughout the weekend and shop for art. Many of the displayed works are for sale.

Nature Photography

Beginning Smartphone Photography
Saturday, March 2, 12–3 p.m., or Saturday, April 13, 8–11 a.m.
$46
Novice as well as more experienced photographers will discover techniques for taking great nature images with their smartphones. This class will cover the basics of using a smartphone to capture attractive images, provide tips and tricks and introduce class participants to a selection of starter apps for basic photo editing. No prior experience is required.

Nature Photography: Introduction to Light and Exposure
Thursdays, March 7 through March 21, 6:30–9:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 9, 8–11 a.m.
$162
Learn to creatively use light in photography. An expert instructor will discuss the various qualities of light that photographers encounter when shooting the natural landscape. Through practice in the field and classroom reviews, participants will explore how to use different natural lighting creatively and effectively, what filters to use, and how to get correct exposures in each light quality.

Photographing Orchids
Thursday, March 28, 7–9 p.m. and Saturday, March 30, 10–1 p.m.
$76
Create photographic portraits of exotic orchids in this artistic photography workshop. Under the guidance of an instructor, participants will develop an artistic vision and learn to capture stunning portraits using the vast collection of orchids at Orchids by Hausermann, Inc., the oldest and largest orchid grower in the Midwest.

Photography Walking Tour: Spring
Saturday, April 13, 1–4 p.m.
$46
See the Arboretum through the eyes of an expert photographer. Learn how to notice natural surroundings with attention to light, angle, subject and creative interpretation during this photography course. Participants will first learn the fundamental elements of photography before heading out onto the grounds for a walking tour.

Morton Arboretum Photographic Society Exhibit
Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Celebrate spring with this exhibition of nature photography. This free show features a juried selection of photographs from local nature photographers. Many works are available for sale.

Natural Areas Conservation Training Program
Formerly known as the Woodland Stewardship Program, the Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) 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 program is open to anyone involved or interested in the stewardship of our natural heritage, regardless of prior experience.

Spring Native Plant Propagation
Sunday, March 10, 8:30 a.m–noon or 1–4:30 p.m.
$46
Learn spring methods for propagating native plants, including how to bring seeds out of stratification, plant in seed trays and transplant seedlings. Participants will practice making hardwood cuttings, dividing plants and starting new plants from suckers, which are various types of shoots that grow from a bud at the base of a tree or shrub.

Ecosystem Concepts (Online and In-person)
Online component begins: Wednesday, March 13
In person component meets: Sunday, March 24, 1–5 p.m.
$34
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, participants will have a better understanding of how to manage natural areas to support biodiversity. Class discussion will center on 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 produce insights for short-term and long-term natural areas management.

Applying Herbicides in Natural Areas
Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m.–noon
$34
Learn how to safely use herbicides to benefit natural areas management. Careful herbicide applications can be an important tool for managing and restoring natural areas. The course will focus on basic herbicide methods and results, including woody plant control, invasive grass control and broadleaf herb control, among others.

Prairie Ecology (Online Only)
Online component begins: Thursday, March 28
$46
Digitally explore the intricacies of the prairie landscape and learn how to restore these signature American ecosystems. Look at the history of this unique type of grassland from the descent of glaciers over the Midwest millions of years ago to where we are today. The online course will examine different types of prairie, explore the plant and animal communities of the prairie and discuss strategies specific to restoring prairies.

Intro to Ecological Restoration (Online and In-person)
Online component begins: Thursday, March 28
In-person component meets: Saturdays, April 6 and April 13, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
$46
Discover the principles and practice of ecosystem restoration. Ecological restoration is a process for recovering forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems that have been degraded. Engage with experts in natural resource conservation and fellow participants and volunteers to challenge your assumptions and have conversations about ecological restoration. Explore what is meant by ecological restoration, including examples in concept and practice, and discuss the implications of this work.

Natural Areas Conservation Training Orientation (Online or In-person)  
Thursday, April 4, 6:30–8 p.m.
Free
The Morton Arboretum is hosting a free orientation to the Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program in ecological restoration. Attendees can learn about volunteer opportunities to help make a difference in the woodlands, prairies and wetlands in their communities and at the Arboretum. Those interested can also learn more about the program with a free online orientation. Learn more at mortonarb.org/conservation-training.

Woodland Ecology (Online Only)
Online component begins: Wednesday, April 4
$46
Learn the essentials of woodland ecology and the woodland management techniques necessary to maintain threatened woodland ecosystems. Woodlands and savannas once covered vast stretches of the Great Lakes region. Today, these ecosystems are threatened by encroaching development, invasive species, and pollution. Discuss the principles of woodland ecology underlying restoration practice, learn about sites that represent different stages of restoration, and explore the controversies surrounding management of these systems in an engaging online course.

Tool Use for Natural Areas Management (Online and In-person)
Online component begins: Tuesday, April 9
In-person component meets: Tuesday, April 16, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
$20
Learn to effectively and efficiently use the tools of the trade to tackle different restoration jobs. Get to know your tools, pick the right tools for the right tasks, and learn to use the different tools safely. The course will cover how to plan and run safe workdays, meet site safety guidelines and care for equipment.

Identify Woodland Wildflowers (Online and In-Person)
Online component begins: Thursday, April 25
In-person component meets: Friday, May 3, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
$55
Learn the names and habitats of the wildflowers that cover the woodland floor in spring. In this intermediate workshop, learn to identify these plants and  discover where they grow. Get information on how their life cycles work and what plants they most often grow with. Through study online, in the classroom and in our spring woods, participants will gain a deeper appreciation of the beauty and diversity of woodland plants and their role and importance in a functioning woodland ecosystem.