Education Program Guide
What is your favorite season at the Arboretum and why?
Emily’s favorite season at the Arboretum is whatever the current season may be. Part of what Emily enjoys about working at the Arboretum is the ability to walk the areas in all seasons, seeing the changes from each walk or hike, and from season to season.
What is the best part of your job?
Emily hears often from the students she teaches that the day they spent at the Arboretum was the best day of their school year. Being able to introduce kids to nature, trees, and the outdoors is the best part of her job.
Do you have a favorite location on the grounds or a favorite tree?
There are two trees that Emily is fond of. A Freeman’s maple at Lake Marmo provides an idyllic setting to sit and reflect, and it provides a good spot for turtle sightings as well. There is a bur oak on Joy Path where the Thornhill Trail crosses over that is equally as beautiful. Emily is also a fan of Crowley Marsh, as she spends time there performing her volunteer role as a dragonfly monitor. Finally, Emily is a frequent hiker and spends a lot of time on the trails even when she is not working. The Schulenberg Prairie is one of her favorite destinations, with so much to see and so much history to learn. (Be sure to see Emily’s insider tip below!)
What do you want guests to know about The Morton Arboretum and its mission?
Emily often speaks to kids about how the Morton family motto was “Plant Trees,” and that’s exactly what we do at the Arboretum. But we do more than just plant them; the Arboretum works to protect and care for them. Caring for trees involves so many people, from the grounds staff to the scientists. Emily wants guests to know that we can all find a way to protect and care for trees no matter what our roles are in the world.
When thinking of the Arboretum’s Employee Core Values, which one resonates with you and why?
For Emily, the Employee Core Value to Keep Learning is top of mind. As a part of the Education staff, one can see why that is especially important to her. But, it’s not just about helping kids to keep learning; every time Emily leads a group of students, she recognizes that there is always learning that can happen if your eyes are open and you are paying attention to what is going on around you in the natural world. One of Emily’s favorite benefits as an employee is that she is encouraged to take classes and can do so with her employee discount through the Education Department. There are unlimited opportunities to Keep Learning as an employee, which in turn helps Emily in her role leading and educating kids.
What’s an insider tip that you’d like to share with guests?
The most fun programs are the Arboretum night hikes. In an urban, densely populated area, there are not a lot of places where you can be in the woods at night safely or legally! The night hikes allow participants to experience the Arboretum at a different time of day that they wouldn’t normally visit. And another important tip from one who spends a lot of time outdoors: No matter how hot it is, long pants in the Schulenberg Prairie are a must as protection from bugs and briars.
Share an interesting fun fact about you:
Emily used to be a middle school science teacher before she began working for The Morton Arboretum in 2017. When Emily is not at the Arboretum, teaching, volunteering, or just visiting, she is usually busy planning a backpacking trip. She has been to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in northern Michigan, Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, and is headed to Isle Royale in Lake Superior in August, which is the least visited national park to her knowledge. Emily travels with a friend from junior high, and they plan three to four trips per year to satisfy their collective need for adventure.