Adult Opportunities

Natural Areas Management (online and in person)

Learn principles and practices for managing critical habitats.

Content Detail

Remnant and restored natural areas such as woodlands, prairies, and wetlands act as reservoirs for plant, animal, and insect diversity. This class will visit a variety of managed ecosystems in the Chicago area and discuss current conservation challenges and strategies. Participants in this class at The Morton Arboretum will learn how site managers plan for restoring and managing these critical habitats.

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

Instructor: Spencer Campbell, plant clinic manager, The Morton Arboretum

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: W400

Spencer Campbell, Plant Clinic manager, The Morton Arboretum

Spencer Campbell is dedicated to inspiring people to develop a deeper connection with the natural world. His horticultural and natural areas management experience guides his work in The Morton Arboretum’s Plant Clinic, a service to educate homeowners and green professionals about how to select, care for, and protect plants. He leads workshops, seminars, public talks, and college level courses about gardening techniques, ecological restoration, climate change, and wilderness preservation. He likes to think that he can communicate to dogs telepathically, his best thoughts occur when he is in close proximity to trees, and his all time favorite smell is pale purple coneflower when its seed is ripe and ready to collect.

What to Know

This program includes an online component you will complete on your own, and two scheduled in-person field sessions 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 90 minutes.

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

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

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

Program Schedule

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

Thursday, October 26, 2023, noon: Self-paced materials are available online.

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 9:00 a.m. to noon: Meet in person at the Arboretum’s Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13).

Saturday, November 11, 2023, 9:00 a.m. to noon: Meet in person at a local natural area; directions will be provided in class.


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