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Ecosystem Concepts (Online and In-person)

Schedule and location

Please note: Early online registration is open Nov 24-30 exclusively for Ginkgo Circle, Oak Circle, Hawthorn Circle, Elm Circle, and Thornhill Circle members. Registration opens to all members December 1. 

Register now
Monday, March 8, 2021, 12:00 p.m. (Central time): Access self-paced materials online. (available for 60 days)
Saturday, March 20, 2021, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (Central time): In person session meets at Thornhill Picnic Shelter, P-21

Fees and registration

(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

$30.00 member
$37.00 guest

BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 or to be waitlisted (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

Explore the interactions that drive ecosystem function and learn to identify the plants, animals, and organisms whose interactions form the ecological communities that shape habitats.

By developing knowledge of ecological food webs and species interdependence you will have a better understanding of how to manage natural areas to support biodiversity. We will discuss influential variables which determine habitat quality and shape an ecosystem, such as light, water, fire, and herbivory. An emphasis on the cyclical nature of the seasons and life history of native species will allow insights for short-term and long-term natural areas management.

Updated: The online component of this class includes self-guided portions that can be completed wherever you have access to a computer, at your own pace and (New) a live online session with the instructor from 1-2:30 on November 22. Online assignments are due before the in-person session.


Course number



Greg Rajsky

Greg Rajsky has been engaged in ecological restoration since 1990 and has been teaching classes for the Morton Arboretum since 1996. An avid field botanist and ecologist, he consults with local property owners to help them understand, conserve, and maintain natural habitats. He stewards several sites in the region.

Course details


  • Registration closes at 7:00 a.m. (Central time) on the day the online materials are released.
  • This class includes both self paced online and New a live online meeting with the instructor using Zoom. Online assignments must be completed before the in-person class.
  • The online materials will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
  • Participants will have access to online materials for 60 days after the course start date.
  • Limit 10.


  • Participants must have access to the internet and know how to use a web browser (ex: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer)
  • A unique email address for each participant is required at registration.
  • Participants must know how to send and receive email.

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

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