Adult Opportunities

ACCA: Woody Plants of the Great Lakes Region (online and in person)

Explore the ecology of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants found in the western Great Lakes region in this class for undergraduate learners.

Content Detail

Woody Plants of the Great Lakes Region is an introduction to the trees, shrubs, and other plants that make up the woody flora of the western Great Lakes region. In this course for upper division undergraduate students from the colleges and universities participating in the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA) consortium, learn the identification and ecology of the plants you see most often in our woodlands and landscapes, including native plants, naturalized plants, and important woody landscape plants of the area.

This course will take place both online and in person. In-person experiences will include field trips to the grounds of the Arboretum to become familiar with field identification characteristics of trees and provide opportunities to apply learned taxonomic principles by examining fresh cut specimens and dried herbarium plant materials. Field trips to regional natural areas rich in woody plants will provide further opportunity to practice identification and to learn the habitat preferences of plants studied.

The course will include hiking, both on trails and off trails, occasionally over uneven and hilly ground. Online learning will include live presentations and discussions with your instructor via Zoom web conferencing and readings and assignments through a course website at

Prerequisites: This course is open to upper division students from colleges or universities that are members of the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA). General Biology and one of the following: Botany, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Physiology, or Zoology are required prerequisites for this class. If you don’t have these prerequisites, please contact to request permission from the Arboretum before enrolling in this class.

Credit: 4 semester hours (or equivalent), upper division undergraduate


What to Know


Prospective students from the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA) must register both through the Arboretum and through the Registrar’s Office at their college or university. Tuition is determined and assessed by the college or university through which registration takes place. All of the Title IX, accessibility, and academic integrity policies of the college and university through which registration takes place apply to ACCA courses offered at the Arboretum.

There are no additional student fees and no required textbooks. A list of required readings and recommended references will be provided to enrolled students; we will recommend purchasing a field guide to trees of the region after discussing recommendations for those guides in class. Students are expected to provide their own transportation and cover their own expenses on field trips.

If you are not a student currently enrolled at a school participating in the ACCA consortium and are interested in auditing the class, the audit fee is $600 for guests or $510 for members. Please note that there is no university credit associated with auditing the class.

Questions about registration? Email or call 630-719-2468.

Program Schedule

Course Dates

Thursdays and Saturdays, September 9 through December 2, 2023

In-person lab and field work: Saturdays, September 9 through December 2,  9:00 a.m. to noon

Online sessions: Thursdays, September 14 through November 30, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Field trips: Two daylong trips to natural areas rich in woody plants.


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