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Adult Opportunities

Ecosystem Concepts (online and in person)

Explore the interactions between the living plants, animals, insects and environmental factors such as soil, water, and fire that characterize the function of an ecosystem.

Content Detail

By developing knowledge of ecological food webs and species interdependence students will have a better understanding of how to manage natural areas to support biodiversity. In this class at The Morton Arboretum, we will discuss 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 provide 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.

This program includes self-paced online components and an in-person session.

Instructor: Dave Hodge, environmental scientist and owner, Turning Leaf Conservation

Continuing Education: This class fulfills a requirement for the Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program. Learn more about N-ACT.

Age: 16 and older

Course number: W040

Dave Hodge, environmental scientist and owner, Turning Leaf Conservation

David Hodge’s love of wild things started with his upbringing in the Piney Woods of East Texas. His interest in nature eventually led to a BS in wildlife fishery science from Texas A&M University and an MS in environmental science from Indiana University. He moved to the Chicago area and worked in the restoration field at St. Charles Park District, McHenry County Conservation District, and The Nature Conservancy. Since 2002 he has run his own company, Turning Leaf Conservation, doing ecological restoration throughout the Chicago area.


What to Know

This program includes an online component you will complete on your own, and a scheduled in-person field session at The Morton Arboretum.

Please provide a unique email address for each registrant at registration.

Registrants will receive an email with instructions on how to access Treelearning, the Arboretum’s online learning portal.

Access begins at noon on the class start date, and lasts for 60 days.

Complete self-paced activities, such as e-learning modules, reading material, short videos, interactive activities, and quizzes to check your understanding.

The self-paced activities do not need to be completed in one sitting. Your instructor will not be online with you.

Complete the online component before the in-person session. It should take about 30 minutes.

The in-person session will meet outdoors. Dress for the weather, with long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy footwear.

Bring a snack and water to the in-person session. Sunscreen and insect repellent may come in handy.

Program Schedule

Both self-paced online materials and an in-person session are part of this program:

Thursday, September 14, 2023, noon Central time: Self-paced materials are available online.

Saturday, September 23, 2023, 9:00 a.m. to noon: Meet in person at the Thornhill Education Center.


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