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 2023

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.

Dates: Saturday, September 9, through Saturday, December 2, 2023

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

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

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 2024

Forest Ecology in a Changing World

Learn about forests in Illinois and Costa Rica, explore what they are, how they function, and why they are so important for our future. This course includes learning in person at the Arboretum, online learning, and an eight day field study trip to Costa Rica in May.

Dates: February 10 through May 29, 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: May 22 through 29, 2024

Credit: Four credits

Registration is now open:

A $1800 course fee is required for students participating in this course/

Students traveling to Costa Rica will be responsible for arranging their own airfare (not included in the course fee) and 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