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November Events, Programs and Classes at The Morton Arboretum

Purple lights illuminate trees
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns November 23.
October 3, 2019

The Morton Arboretum will host a slate of festive events, classes and programs for all ages this November. Visitors will be awed by the colorful and interactive display of lights  intricately infused among the trees when Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum opens on November 23. The  popular beer sampling event,  IllumiBrew, returns this year on  November 22.

This time of year also provides a multitude of opportunities to take part in classes or activities such as fall-themed photography, gardening, walking tours and art classes.


November Highlights

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Saturday, November 23, 2019, through Sunday, January 5, 2020
Tickets on sale Tuesday, October 1
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum features a one-mile paved path amid immersive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Visitors can enjoy seasonal music, marvel at ever-changing, interactive lighting designs, and warm up by a crackling fire with a cozy drink or roast marshmallows for s’mores. Illumination will highlight the many gifts of trees: natural beauty, increased feelings of peace and calm, homes for wildlife, and the air we breathe. This year’s event will debut a new route with a more spacious pathway as well as new experiences such as Tree Fascination, which mixes art and science to showcase the color and pattern of trees with video projection.

Friday, November 22
Tickets on sale Tuesday, October 1.
Visitors 21 and older will be among the first to see Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum while sampling beer from popular breweries stationed along the Illumination trail.

Dog Admission Day
Saturday, November 2, 7 a.m. to sunset
Visitors can hit the Arboretum trails with their furry friends.

Chamber Concert
Sunday, November 3, 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
In this intimate concert, music lovers will hear violin pieces by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert performed by fortepianist Trevor Stephenson, director of the Madison Bach Musicians.

Holiday Favorites

Holiday Sip and Shop
Friday, November 8, 5 to 9 p.m.
Toast the start of the holiday season with a wine and spirits tasting and holiday shopping event. Browse art from local artisans, get inspiration for holiday hosting and gifting, savor seasonal bites perfectly paired with more than 60 wines and spirits, and shop The Arboretum Store. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a Patricia Locke trunk show, watch demonstrations featuring mixology and holiday decorating, as well as spectacular holiday tablescapes created by the Arboretum's botanical designers.

Thanksgiving Table Arrangement
Saturday, November 23, 1 to 3 p.m, orTuesday, November 26, 7 to 9 p.m.
Create a seasonal centerpiece for the holiday table while learning the principles of floral design. With a base of evergreens, this autumnal table arrangement will easily transition to winter with a few simple swaps.

Hand-Painted Wood Ornaments
Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Create a nature-themed hand-painted ornament in time for the holidays. Learn techniques for painting on a wooden surface using acrylics and create a hand-painted ornament.

Nature Artists’ Guild Holiday Exhibit
Saturday, November 9, and Sunday, November 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Included with Arboretum admission.
Peruse 150 pieces of art from 50 artists at the Nature Artists' Guild 2019 Holiday Exhibit and watch demonstrations.

DIY Holiday Notecards
Saturday, November 23
Watercolor 9 a.m. to noon or
Gelatin prints 1 to 4 p.m.
Make personalized notecards using watercolor or gelatin prints. Beginners will be able to create 10 beautiful cards for any occasion in this hands-on workshop.

Family Holiday Programs

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Family Workshop
Saturday, November 16, 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 17, 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 2 to 3:30 p.m.
$13 per person
$7 per centerpiece
Fee includes Arboretum admission.
Learn to use natural materials to craft a centerpiece for a Thanksgiving feast. Learn how people preserved the bounty for the winter.

Black Friday Family Hike
Friday, November 29, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
$14 per person
Fee includes Arboretum admission.
Opt outside and explore what happens to the trees, animals and insects in the fall on this fun-filled, guided family hike. Families will end the adventure with roasting marshmallows over a fire.

The Arboretum Store


Fall Clearance Sale
Saturday, October 26, to Thursday, October 31, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, November 1, to Sunday, November 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors enjoy discounts of 20 to 40 percent off select fall-themed merchandise.

Members' Extra Discount Days
Friday, November 15,  to Sunday, November 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Members receive a 15 percent discount on purchases for current merchandise. Some exclusions apply.

Art By Rozanne Trunk Show
Saturday, November 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Visit with favorite local artist Rozanne Preibe, as she debuts beautiful new fall images. Pillows, canvases, painted boards, cards and more will be available for purchase.

Children’s Garden Programs


Winter Play
Daily in November, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Included in Arboretum admission.
This self-guided hands-on discovery activity may include painting snow or building a fort, weather permitting. Visitors will find all the tools needed to have some frosty fun.

Gnome Hunt
Daily in November, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Included in Arboretum admission.
The animals may be hibernating, but gnomes can be discovered throughout the Children’s Garden. Visitors can join the hunt!

Little Acorns (18 to 35 months)
Tuesday, November 5; Wednesday, November 13;  Thursday, November 14; 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Little Sprouts (3 to 5 years)
Wednesday, November 6; Thursday, November 7; Tuesday, November 12; 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Young explorers will hike, play, listen to stories, and engage in science and art in these hands-on, sensory-based programs. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Arbor Reading Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in November, 11 to 11:45 a.m.
This interactive story time held in the Sterling Morton Library will include a craft before participants head out to the grounds for an adventure walk. This program is best suited for children ages 3 to 5. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Adult Classes and Programs


Botanical Art

Beginner’s Nature Art Workshop: Fall Leaves in Watercolor
Saturday, November 9, or Sunday, November 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Participants will mix and blend colors to create a watercolor painting of a delicate fall leaf in this expert-led class.

Visiting Artist Sasha Viazmensky: Mushrooms in Watercolor
Friday, November 15, Saturday, November 16, and Sunday, November 17, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m
Join Russian watercolor artist Sasha Viazmensky for an enlightening three-day study on botanical mushroom portraits. Participants will work on a life-size portrait that accurately captures the characteristics of the species and includes elements from the natural environment.

Autumn Textures in Graphite
Thursdays, October 31, November 7, November 14, and November  21, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
This intermediate class will build upon foundational skills in graphite, focusing on the textures found in late fall, such as curled leaves and seed pods, perfect textures for graphite.


Learn about Nature

Ecosystem Concepts (Online and In-Person)
Online component begins: Tuesday, October 29
In-Person component: November 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This class explores the interactions that drive ecosystem function. Participants will learn to identify plants, animals, and fungi in relation to ecological habitats, develop knowledge of ecological food webs and species interdependence, and gain a better understanding of how to manage natural areas to support biodiversity.

Fall Foliage Walking Tour
Saturday, November 2, 9 to 11 a.m.
Enjoy a brisk autumn walk and take in the changing colors of The Morton Arboretum’s trees with the Arboretum’s forest ecologist, Christine Rollinson. View fall color while learning about the science behind  the seasonal changes that trees go through each year.

Structural Pruning
Saturday, November 2, and Thursday, November 14, 9 a.m. to noon
This workshop will teach structural pruning techniques for specimen shrubs, small ornamental trees and young trees. Learn to maintain the plant's natural character and create a strong branch structure, eliminating future problems.

Glacial History Bike Tour
Sunday, November 3, 9 to 11 a.m.
Learn the geologic history of the Midwest while cycling the roads of the Arboretum. The rolling terrain of hills, valleys and meadows reveal a story of glaciers and erosion over the past fifteen thousand years. 

Food Evolution: Film Screening and Discussion
Tuesday, November 5, 7 to 9 p.m.
The debates surrounding food and the role science will play in navigating global food challenges have been notable for the polarizing perceptions and misperceptions that have surrounded the conversation.  From Academy Award® nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, this film explores the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms and food. A panel discussion will follow the screening. The film is presented in partnership with the College of DuPage Horticulture Department.

Garden Design for a Changing Climate
Tuesdays, November 5, 12, and 19, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
The Midwest is experiencing more weather extremes, from an increase in intense storms, severe cold snaps, hotter summers, prolonged periods of rain and then long stretches with no rain at all. These conditions are tough on plants and wildlife. Learn about  plants and design techniques that can withstand changing conditions.

Botanical Names Demystified (Online Only)
Online component: Tuesday, November 12
In this online class, botanist Chris Benda will demystify the scientific naming of plants, explain why these naming conventions are useful and important, share tips and tricks for pronunciation, and teach botanical names for 40 common plant species that are native to Illinois.

Late Fall Migration: Waterfowl and Raptors
Saturdays, November 9, 16, and 23, 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Search local waterways for some of the more unusual waterfowl that migrate through the area this time of year and scan the sky for migrating raptors.

Emily Dickinson: Poet and Gardener with Author Marta McDowell
Wednesday, November 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Discover another side of poet Emily Dickinson, who was also an avid gardener.  Dickinson grew flowers as well as exotic plants.  Join author Marta McDowell as she explores Dickinson's gardens through excerpts of her letters and poems, and enjoy historic and modern images of her garden.

Living with Urban Wildlife
Thursday, November 14, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Wildlife populations are rebounding across the Chicago suburbs. Sharing space with wild animals comes with challenges as well as benefits. Explore the human-wildlife dynamic and learn how to take action to support local wildlife.

Bird Walks
Saturday, November 16, 8 to 10:30 a.m.
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.

Black Friday Guided Hike
Friday, November 29, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Opt for the outdoors on Black Friday with a peaceful hike along the Arboretum’s quietest trails. Join this naturalist-led trek to learn a bit about the history of the grounds and discover what the plants and animals are up to as winter approaches. Participants will end the morning with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a light snack.


Nature Photography


Basic Nature Photography
Sundays, October 27, November 3, November 10, and November 17, noon to 3 p.m.
Move beyond shooting in automatic and learn basic composition and editing techniques using a camera’s manual settings. The course includes classroom instruction, in-field shooting and a critique session.

Nature Photography: In the Footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson
Five days: Wednesdays, October 23, October 30, and November 6, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturdays, October 26 and November 2, 8 to 11 a.m.
Learn to apply photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” concepts to nature photography. Train the eye and brain to anticipate the evolving scene. Students will spend time in the classroom learning the concepts, have two field sessions to apply them, and participate in a critique session.

Fall Photography Walking Tour
Saturday, November 2, 8 to 11 a.m.
See the Arboretum through the eyes of an expert photographer and learn to notice the surroundings with attention to light, angle, subject and creative interpretation. Begin with a brief classroom session and see examples of these fundamental elements of photography. Then head out onto the grounds for a walking tour. Learn what catches the attention of a professional photographer.

Beginning Smartphone Photography
Saturday, November 16, and Saturday, December 7, 9 a.m. to noon
Remember, “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” Whether new to photography or new to smartphones, discover techniques for getting great nature images with a smartphone. This class will cover the basics of using a smartphone to capture attractive images, provide tips and tricks and recommend a selection of good starter apps for basic photo editing. 

Outdoor Skills


Wilderness Survival
Saturday, November 2, noon to 3 p.m.
Be prepared for the unexpected.Participants will learn to create a plan and be prepared with some essential survival skills. This class is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast who is looking to build confidence and develop wilderness skills.

Wellness Programs


Arboretum Yoga
Wednesdays, October 16 through November 13 (5 weeks) 6 to 7 p.m.
Wednesdays, November 20 through December 18 (5 weeks) 6 to 7 p.m.
Mondays, October 21 through November 18 (5 weeks) 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Mondays, November 25 through December 23 (5 weeks) 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
$18 per class, $80 for a series
Practice yoga poses, breathing, and meditation in the tranquil setting of the Arboretum.

Fall Food Series: Plant-Based Eating
In this four-week series, nutrition experts will explore the benefits of focusing on plant-based diets, share nutritious recipes that are satisfyingly delicious and teach attendees easy ways to incorporate plant-based meals into their diet.

Plant-Based Nutrition 101
Saturday, October 19, 10 a.m. to noon
Attendees will learn how food choices affect health, and how a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse common health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. 

The Power of Plant Protein
Saturday, October 26, 10 a.m. to noon
In this hands-on workshop, discover how a plant-centered diet can contribute to heart health, weight control and diabetes risk reduction. Participants will taste samples, prepare a salad to take home and learn easy ways to incorporate vegetable protein into weekly meals.

Plant-Based Eating for People on the Go
Saturday, November 2, 10 a.m. to noon
In this evidence-based, hands-on workshop, learn how to survive and thrive on a plant-based diet, no matter how busy life gets. Wellness consultant and Food for Life instructor Betsy Bruns will share meal-planning  tips and simple but satisfying recipes to easily incorporate plant-based meals into a daily routine. Prepare a simple recipe to take home.

Meatless Mondays: The Difference a Day Can Make
Saturday, November 9, 10 a.m. to noon
Evey Schweig, health coach, will discuss the health and environmental benefits that a few simple meal changes can make, even if just once a week. Sample delicious vegetarian dishes with simple recipes to try at home.

Forest Therapy Walks
Experience the healing and wellness-promoting effects of shinrin-yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest.
3-hour Walks
Monday, November 18, or Saturday, November 23, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1-hour-45-minutes Walks
Monday, November 4, or Saturday, November 9, 9:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Soap-Making Workshop
Saturday, November 9, 1 to 3 p.m.
Make naturally scented soaps using the cold-press process. Discuss how to formulate recipes, properly use and store lye, and mix lye and water. Participants will learn about oils for soap making and take home two pounds of soap that will yield six bars.

Meditation with Essential Oils
Thursday, November 14, 6 to 7 p.m.
Explore meditative and self-nurturing yoga poses with the use of plant-based essential oils to restore and rebalance the mind and body in the tranquil setting of The Morton Arboretum.  

Arboretum Yoga with Live Soundscape
Thursday, November 21, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Practice yoga aided by the powerful resonance of a gong.

Natural Areas Conservation Training

The Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program provides 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.

Volunteer Leadership (Online and In-Person)
Online component begins: Thursday, November 7
In-person component: Thursday, November 14, 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Build skills in leading volunteers in natural areas management with this interactive primer for volunteer stewardship activity planning, group dynamics, safety and volunteer empowerment. Learn how to plan and run a productive volunteer workday for activities such as invasive brush removal and seed collection that inspire volunteers to keep coming back.

Invasive Species (Online Only)
Online component begins: Wednesday, November 13
Learn to identify and manage the most common invasive plants in the Great Lakes region. Identify the characteristics of common invasive plants and describe their impacts on the landscape; discuss invasive plant ecology and learn which control methods are best suited to each plant.

Tools for Management - Online and In-person
Online component begins: Tuesday, October 15
In-person component: Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Learn to effectively and efficiently use the tools of the trade to tackle different restoration jobs. Learn to pick the right tool for the task, and learn to use the different tools safely. Discuss how to plan and run safe workdays, meet site safety guidelines and how to care for equipment.

Woodland Ecology - Online
Online component begins: Thursday, November 21
Participants will learn the essentials of woodland ecology and the woodland management techniques necessary to maintain threatened woodland ecosystems. 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.