Morton Cooperative College Botany Program

The Morton Arboretum is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the planting and conservation of trees, with 1,700 acres of managed tree and shrub collections, gardens, and natural areas to explore. We welcome college and university students and professionals interested in learning with the Arboretum. Learn more about the Arboretum on our website:

Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area Courses

Since 1983, The Morton Arboretum has partnered with the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA) to offer cooperative college classes in botany and environmental science. Currently, we offer two classes a year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. Our current course offerings are:

Fall 2024

Woody Plants of the Great Lakes Region

Explore the ecology of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants found in the western Great Lakes region in this class for undergraduate learners.

Instructor: Trinity Pierce, Chicago Region Trees Initiative stewardship manager, The Morton Arboretum

Dates: September 7 – November 23, 2024

In-person lab and field work: Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to noon

Online sessions: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Field trips: In addition to regular meetings at the Arboretum, two daylong Saturday trips are planned to natural areas rich in woody plants.

Credit: Four credits

More information and registration

Students are expected to provide their own transportation to and defray their own expenses for in-person sessions.

Spring 2025

Forest Ecology in a Changing World

This course includes learning in person at the Arboretum, online learning, and a one week field study trip to Costa Rica in May.

Instructor: Spencer Campbell, plant clinic manager, The Morton Arboretum

Dates: TBA February-May, 2024

In person sessions: Six Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Central Time

Online sessions: Six Thursdays  6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Central Time

Field Study in Costa Rica: One week in May 2024

Credit: Four credits

Registration opens October 1, 2024. Link to 2024  information

Financial support for participation in this program is available, and the application for financial support for the 2025 class is open now.

Students are responsible for acquiring a current passport that will allow them to travel to Costa Rica.

Field Trips to the Arboretum

Interested in field study or career exploration on the grounds of the Arboretum? The Arboretum welcomes college and university learners interested in visiting the Arboretum as a self-guided group. Learn more or click here to request a visit.

Research Experiences and Career Opportunities

The Arboretum is home to many career opportunities for the ACCA community. 

The Integrated Mentorship Program at the Center for Tree Science supports students and professionals at every stage in their career. Students in high school and beyond can earn one of four Center for Tree Science Fellowships. Professionals can also collaborate with the Center for Tree Science in advancing the Center’s mission and vision and to discover their own path to success through project-based activities. Learn more about the Integrated Mentorship Program

The Arboretum has many seasonal and year round employment and volunteer opportunities. Individuals interested in exploring environmental careers may also be interested in listening to the Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers Podcast or in exploring the online graphic novel, the Canopy Career Chronicles.

Contact: Megan Dunning