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Goals and activities

The Center for Tree Science–Undergraduate Research Fellowship (CTS-URF) is designed to develop the next generation of tree scientists and ecologists, while contributing to the body of ecological research on trees and on-going research at The Morton Arboretum. Watch the 2016 Fellows describe their research experiences here.



The five broad goals of the CTS-URF are:

  1. Help develop a much-needed cohort of young tree scientists and ecologists
  2. Teach undergraduate students tree ecological research through a rigorous and unique 10-week summer program
  3. Foster intellectual development, critical thinking, independence, self-confidence, perseverance, and group skills in these students
  4. Contribute to the body of tree ecological research while enhancing on-going research at The Morton Arboretum
  5. Facilitate collaboration among students, teachers, professionals, and scientists in tree science.



During the ten weeks, students will work with their mentors to identify a research question, develop a proposal, conduct their research, and prepare a scientific report. Students in the program participate in weekly activities, such as seminars, field trips, social events, and more. The students also interact with peers in similar programs based at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Field Museum. At the end of the program, students will give presentations of their work in a student research symposium at The Morton Arboretum. Mentors may work with students to publish their results in scientific journals and present at conferences.