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Summer 2020 in-person and online classes at The Morton Arboretum

Woman browses the Arboretum's online resources from a laptop
June 29, 2020


Lisle, Ill (June 24, 2020) -- Beginning in July, The Morton Arboretum will offer in-person summer programming and continue to offer online classes for all ages as part of the next phase of its reopening. Summer programming through August includes ecology, horticulture, plant identification, wellness and green living, as well as guided family hikes on-site.

All in-person classes will consist of 10 people or less (including Arboretum staff) and follow the Restore Illinois Plan for public gatherings. Program participants must comply with current public health guidelines as required by the state, which include social distancing and the use of face masks when indoors and when social distancing is not possible outdoors.

All prices listed are for the general public and information is accurate as of the date of this release. Fees include parking and admission to the Arboretum. Media is encouraged to check the website prior to publication as times and dates may change. For more programming information, visit mortonarb.org.


IN-PERSON EVENTS: Adult Programming


Garden Walk: Perennial Care

Thursday, July 16

4 to 6 p.m.


Stroll the Arboretum's perennial beds, where visitors will learn about plant placement, dividing, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, mulching and more. Knowing what to do and when to do it will help keep your perennial gardens looking good throughout the season. 

Gardening with Blues 

Tuesday, Aug. 11

9 a.m. to noon


Pantone’s color of the year is classic blue, but true blue is an elusive color in the garden. In this class, we’ll take a look at a wide range of blue flowering perennials and annuals in the garden beds of The Morton Arboretum. Discover how to bring blue blossoms to the garden whether sunny or shady, wet or dry.

Health and Wellness

Aerial Tree Yoga

Tuesdays, July 7, 14, 21 and 28, and Aug. 11 and 18

6 to 7:15 p.m.

Fridays, July 10 and 24, and Aug. 14 and 21

9:30 to 10:45 a.m.

$27 per class

Stretch, strengthen and release stress while cocooned in a hammock suspended from the trees. Aerial yoga offers benefits to the mind, body and soul. It is suitable for beginners as well as experienced yogis.


Forest Therapy Walk (two hours)

Thursdays, July 23 or Aug. 6

 1 to 3 p.m.


Forest Therapy Walk (three hours)

Saturdays, Aug. 15 or 22

9 a.m. to noon

Mondays, July 13 or  Aug. 17

1 to 4 p.m.


Participants will experience the healing and wellness-promoting effects of shinrin-yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest, while taking a mindful walk along a woodland trail with a certified Forest Therapy guide. Walks will visit different locations at the Arboretum and will include a variety of awareness-raising exercises. 



Drawing the Prairie

Thursday, July 23 (The Prairie Landscape) or Aug. 20 (Plants of the Prairie)

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Learn more about this important native habitat while practicing drawing skills under the guidance of a professional artist. Each session will focus on drawing a different aspect of the prairie, including the landscape and individual plants. Participants should bring their own drawing supplies and join the challenge in depicting the prairie in art.


Tree Care


Woodland Trees 

(Online materials become available Wednesday, Aug. 5, noon) and class meets Friday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arboretum. 


(Online materials become available Thursday, Aug. 6, noon) and class meets Saturday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arboretum.


Learn to identify the everyday trees in the woodlands and neighborhoods of the Chicago region. Explore the ecology of various tree species and find out why they grow in each habitat.




Save the Bats

Thursday, Aug. 27

7 to 10 p.m.


The evening class will introduce participants to the Chicago area’s seven bat species and examine simple ways to bolster bat conservation efforts. The class will explore the grounds of the Arboretum with special microphones used to hear bats’ echolocations as they fly overhead. 


Field Study: Birds of Fall

Five Saturdays, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26

8 to 11:30 a.m.


Learn to identify the migratory birds of autumn in two flyways, including the longest migration route in the Western Hemisphere. Learn about fall migrants and newly arriving winter residents. Field work will focus on identification skills, including how molt, feather wear and age vary a bird's fall plumage.


IN-PERSON EVENTS: Youth and Family Programs 

Little Acorns (18–35 months)

Select Mondays and Tuesdays, July and August, 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Little Sprouts (3–5 years)

Select Wednesdays and Thursdays, July and August, 9:30 to 11 a.m.

$23 per class

Young explorers will hike, play, listen to stories, and engage in science and art in these hands-on sensory-based programs. A child must be accompanied by an adult. Children are encouraged to wear shoes and clothes that can get dirty.  


Woodland Family Hikes

Saturdays, July 18 and July 25

11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m.

$17 per session

Explore seasonal themes on guided, family-paced hikes through the Arboretum’s diverse tree collections. The theme for July is Trolls and Forest Creatures. Hikes are a half-mile or 1 mile in length. This program is for families with children ages 4 and older.


ONLINE COURSES: Adult Programming



Make the Switch to Sustainable Gardening (Online)

Wednesday, July 8

7:30 to 9 p.m.


During this online course, learn how to make a difference in your own backyard with gardening principles and practices that have a big impact on the planet. 


Nature Knowledge

Beginning Dragonfly and Damselfly ID 

Wednesday, July 8, and Friday, July 10

10 a.m. to noon


Explore the fascinating world of dragonflies and damselflies in this online class. Join dragonfly monitor Cindy Crosby for two interactive, live sessions, with an independent field study in between. The first session is an introduction to the natural history of the dragonfly, with recommended tools and techniques for identification of species commonly found in northern and central Illinois, followed by field work at a local preserve, park or in your backyard. The second session will help with field questions and offer more advanced ID skills, as well as an overview of the cultural history of the dragonfly.


iNaturalist Workshop

Thursday, July 9

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.


Learn about iNaturalist, a community science platform and global network of people making observations about nature in their area. See how amateurs and professionals alike are sharing their observations of flora and fauna, getting help with species identification, and using iNaturalist data for conservation planning, nature education, monitoring and research. The live online workshop is for anyone new to using iNaturalist, such as educators, stewards, professionals or the general public. Participants will learn how to most effectively use the mobile app and website, and the session will include indoor and outdoor classroom instruction.


Basic Tree ID 

Online materials become available Tuesday, July 14, or Tuesday, Aug. 11, noon 


Learn to identify the common trees in local preserves or in your neighborhood in this online-only class. Use characteristics such as leaves, bark, branches, flowers and fruit to identify a tree. See and understand your natural surroundings in a new way, from the comfort of your home or office.


Plants of the Prairie

Three Tuesdays, July 14 through July 28

6 to 8 p.m.


In this three-part series, learn the identification skills to manage, restore and enjoy prairie habitats. Prairies in summer are at the peak of their bloom and color, with diverse wildflowers and grasses showing their distinctive beauty. In live webinar sessions with your instructor, learn to identify plants important for prairie restoration during the growing season. Then explore the outdoors to practice your identification skills in the field. 


Invasive Species

Online course becomes available Wednesday, July 15, noon 

Live discussion via Zoom, Tuesday, Aug. 4, noon to 1 p.m. 


Learn to identify and manage the most common invasive plants in the Great Lakes region. Managing invasive plants is one of the most common restoration tasks. In this online class, the self-guided material can be completed at your own pace, and includes e-learning modules with interactive reading, images, videos and knowledge checks. A live discussion with your instructor and other participants via Zoom video conferencing is also included in the course.


Botanical Names DeMystified
Online materials become available Wednesday, July  22, noon 


Learn botanical names for 40 common plant species that are native to Illinois, as well as why these naming conventions are useful and important. The course will take approximately 90 minutes to complete and can be completed at your own pace.


Basic Plant ID
Online materials become available Tuesday, July 28, noon 


Get the botany basics you need to identify plants. Whether you are a natural resources volunteer, specialist,  gardener, naturalist or artist, this class provides the fundamentals of botany to get you started. From the comfort of your home or office, use self-paced online learning modules to learn about plant identification.


Prairie Ethnobotany

Two Fridays, July 31 and Aug. 7, 9 to 11 a.m.


Learn how humans have used prairie plants as an outdoor pharmacy, grocery store, fuel source, fortune teller, purveyor of love charms and more. Over the course of two live online sessions, participants will investigate the historical and traditional uses of many vibrant summer blooms and grasses.


Health and Wellness

Arboretum Yoga Online

Mondays, July and August, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Wednesdays, July and August, 6 to 7 p.m.

$17 per class

Join the Arboretum for live yoga online sessions. Improve your health and well-being through practicing yoga from the comfort of your own home. Students will receive a link to join instructor Natalie Schilke for a live webcast. During each one-hour class, yogis will practice poses, breathing and meditation. 



Smartphone Photography for iPhone 

Saturday, Aug. 1

9 a.m. to noon


Learn how to take great nature photos with a smartphone in this online class. Whether you are new to photography or new to smartphones, discover techniques for capturing the season.