Adult Opportunities

Science and Stewardship of the Prairie

Visit two prairie sites to explore how both science and stewardship play roles in prairie conservation.

Content Detail

Conserving and restoring biodiversity requires thoughtful science to understand ecosystems and deliberate management decisions to translate science into ecosystem care. The Morton Arboretum is proud to practice both for the benefit of preserving North America’s tallgrass prairies.

In this program, the class will visit two of the Arboretum’s prairies,an experimental prairie and a prairie restoration project, to explore how both science and stewardship are applied in conservation efforts. Participants will first visit Ware Field, an experimental prairie designed to help scientists understand how evolutionary history informs the assembly of plant communities and how those plant communities influence soil microbes and ecosystem stability. Students will take a look at the beautifully complicated nature of studying an ecosystem as dense and rich as the tallgrass prairie.

Then the class will continue on to the Schulenberg Prairie, a prairie restoration project, to understand how the science we learn has been applied in the stewardship of remnant prairies and the restoration of prairies.

Whether you are a practitioner, volunteer, or prairie aficionado, you will come away with a deeper sense of how science and stewardship are two equally necessary tools for conservation, as well as a few skills for practicing either—or both!

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.

Instructor: Emma Leavens, tree conservation biology program manager, The Morton Arboretum

Age: 16 and older

Course number: N215


Emma Leavens, tree conservation biology program manager, The Morton Arboretum

Emma Leavens cares for The Morton Arboretum’s Ware Field Experimental Prairie, conducts research on prairie soil ecology, and enjoys learning and teaching about biodiversity. She has an MS in plant biology and conservation from Northwestern University and a good deal of enthusiasm for learning about organisms and their interactions with each other.

What to Know

This program meets outdoors. Check the forecast and dress for the weather.

Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes and plan to walk more than a mile on uneven terrain.

Bring sunscreen and insect repellent.

Wear long pants and expect to walk off trail.

Participants will meet at Ware Field on the Arboretum’s West Side. Directions to Ware Field will be provided upon registration.

Program Schedule

Saturday, July 20, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Ware Field, Parking Lot 21, West Side


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