Adult Programs

Natural Areas Management (online and in person)

Learn principles and practices for managing critical habitats. Remnant and restored natural areas act as reservoirs for plant, animal, and insect diversity.

Content Detail

Learn principles and practices for managing critical habitats. Remnant and restored natural areas act as reservoirs for plant, animal, and insect diversity.  Join us as we visit a variety of managed ecosystems in the Chicago area to discuss current conservation challenges and strategies with site managers and volunteer stewards.

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 in-person session. 


In-person sessions will take place outdoors. 

COVID-19 Precautions: Program participants must abide by the Arboretum’s safety guidelines.


  • This class includes both online and in-person sessions. Online assignments must be completed before the in-person class. 
  • The online materials will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. 
  • Registration closes five hours before online materials become available. Participants will have access to online materials for 60 days after the course start date.
  • Please dress for the weather during the in-person session, with long sleeves and long pants/sturdy footwear.
  • Bring a snack and water to the in-person sessions. 
  • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen. 
  • In-person classes meet at regional natural areas; driving directions will be provided in your online classroom.
  • Limit 20


  • Participants must have access to the internet via a computer or mobile device.
  • A unique email address for each participant is required at registration.

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

Spencer Campbell, program coordinator, collections volunteers, The Morton Arboretum (Spring)

Spencer Campbell has over a decade of experience in ecological restoration and environmental education. A self-professed “plant geek” who is eager to share his knowledge of the native flora and fauna of the Midwest. His classes will cover a range of topics about natural resource management, while also creating a space for participants in his classes to explore their own relationship with the natural world.  As the Collections Volunteer Program Coordinator at the Morton Arboretum, his current focus is providing opportunities for the public to participate in land stewardship and equipping them with the skills to lead natural resource management projects in their own communities.

Greg Rajsky, True Nature Consulting (Summer)

Greg Rajsky completed the Naturalist Certificate Program through The Morton Arboretum in 1996 and has been teaching courses here ever since. He has been engaged in restoration and management projects across northern Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin, and—more recently—on the Ozark Plateau in Arkansas’ White River Hills Ecoregion. He served as naturalist/educator at Severson Dells Nature Center in Rockford and as executive director of the Kettle Moraine Land Trust in Wisconsin. In 2013 he established True Nature Consulting to aid landowners in understanding and managing their natural areas. An avid field botanist, he enjoys introducing people to the charms of the native flora.


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