Plants of Concern

Citizen Science Rare Plant Monitoring Program

2017 Plant ID workshops, walks, and classes

Interested in opportunities to hone your plant identification skills?  Check out the many opportunities in northeast Illinois and farther afield!


Chicago Botanic Garden

Botany 1

o   Date: 5 Mondays and 5 Wednesdays, March 6 - April 17

o   Cost: $279 for members

A Walk in the Wildflowers at Reed Turner Woodland

o   Date: May 13, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $29, 20% discount for Chicago Botanic Garden Members

o   Leader: Sarah Shultz, steward of Reed-Turner Woodland

Learn about native wildflowers while enjoying the beauty of Reed-Turner Woodland in Long Grove.  

Morton Arboretum

Identify Woodland Wildflowers

o   Dates: April 28, & May 6

o   Cost: $45.00  members, $55.00 non-members

o   Leader: Chris Benda, botanist

Learn the names and ecology of the wildflowers that cover the woodland floor in spring. 

Spring Wildflower Walk

o   Date: April 22, 26, or May 6, 9:30 a.m.-noon

o   Cost: $16.00 members, $25.00 non-members (includes entry fee)

o   Leader: Cindy Crosby

Wander through the ever-changing array of blooms in our woodlands to learn how to identify wildflowers such as trillium, mayapple, and dog-tooth violet and hear about their folklore. Bring a friend and enjoy this fleeting spring pleasure.

New Invaders Watch Training Program

o   Dates: May 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

o   Cost: FREE

o   Leader: Tricia Bethke, forest pest outreach coordinator at the Morton Arboretum

Learn about the New Invaders Watch Program and how to get involved in monitoring and reporting invasive plants that are new to our region.  

Advanced Prairie Plant ID

o   Dates: May 13, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $35.00  members, $44.00 non-members

o   Leader: Scott Kobal, Ecologist with DuPage County Forest Preserves

Learn to identify prairie plants in their early stages of seasonal development. Plant identification is a challenge in the spring, as many plants are only just beginning to emerge. In this afternoon workshop, we will head out onto the prairie to look at species that are in bloom in the spring as well as the early vegetative states of later blooming plants.

Basic Plant ID (Online and in-person)

o   Dates: Online portion begins May 4. In person component: Saturday May 13, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

o   Cost: $25.00  members, $34.00 non-members

o   Leader: Sharon Yiesla

Get the botany basics you need to identify plants. Class offers a new, self-paced online learning module to learn about plant identification, to help you learn the vocabulary to name plants and describe their structures and life histories. Then attend a one-day, 2 hour session at the Arboretum to apply these skills in the field while learning how to use a variety of field guides and tools.

Wetland Plant ID

o   Dates: May 24, 9:00-4:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $55.00  members, $65.00 non-members

o   Leader: Scott Kobal, Ecologist with DuPage County Forest Preserves

Learn the names and ecology of the wildflowers, sedges, rushes, and other plants that inhabit wetlands. Explore the beauty and diversity of wetland plants, and discover their identification and biology. You'll gain a deeper appreciation the role and importance of plants in a functioning wetland ecosystem.

Basic Tree ID

o   Dates: June 16, 9:00-11:30 a.m. or June 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

o   Cost: $25.00  members, $34.00 non-members

o   Leader: Kelly Burns

Learn to identify the common trees you see in local preserves or in your neighborhood. Use characteristics such as leaves, bar, branches, flowers and fruit to ID a tree. Learn to use keys and field guides.

Lake in the Hills Fen

Botany for beginners

o   Dates: May 13, June 24, July 15, August 20, September 2

o   Cost: FREE

o   Leader: Barbara Wilson

Basics of Identifying sedges at Lake in the Hills Fen

o   Dates: May 7, June 17

o   Cost: FREE

o   Leader: Barbara Wilson

Workshops are led by steward Barbara Wilson, plant monitor for 15+ years.  The Botany for Beginners class will take you to her favorite places to see and learn to identify a wide selection of over 400 plant species.  The Basics of identifying sedges class builds on Botany for beginners.  Registration for these free classes is preferred.  

Illinois Native Plant Society

Native Plant Walks

o   Date: Multiple

o   Cost: FREE

o   Leader: Site stewards or INPS members

Visit botanically interesting sites in northeastern Illinois with the Illinois Native Plant Society’s northeast chapter!  Walks are held throughout the season.  

Forest Preserve District of Kane County

Trek with a Naturalist

o   Dates: March 16, April 27, May 18

o   Cost: FREE

o   Leader: A naturalist from Kane County FPD

Each month we'll take an invigorating two-hour hike at a different forest preserve. This program is designed for those who like active hiking. The naturalist will interpret the ecology of the preserve as we hike. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email to register. 

Spring Flora

o   Date: April 30, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $10

o   Leader: Jack Shouba

The woodlands are carpeted in magnificent wildflowers this time of year. Botanist Jack Shouba will teach methods of identifying these ephemeral beauties. You'll learn the key characteristics of major plant families represented from our live flora. Bring a hands lens if you have one. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email to register. 

Cook County Forest Preserves

Wildflower Hikes

o   Dates: April 16, April 22, April 23April 28, April 30, April 30 May 14, May 21

o   Cost: FREE

Enjoy spring wildflowers on these guided hikes at differing FPCC preserves.  Visit hyperlinks above for more information about each date.

Lake County Forest Preserves

Wildflower Wonders

o   Dates: April 29, May 27

o   Cost: $5 for residents, $7 non-residents

Just like us, wildflowers have a history and a variety of uses, some of them quite extraordinary. Enjoy a leisurely walk to learn about the colorful flora that thrive in your Forest Preserves.  Visit hyperlinks above for more information about each date.

Walk with a Naturalist

o   Dates: April 1, May 6

o   Cost: $1 residents, $2 non-residents

Get outside and enjoy a guided nature hike at a different preserve each month.  Visit hyperlinks above for more information about each date.

McHenry County Conservation District

Spring Wildflower Walk

o   Date: April 17

o   Cost: FREE

Facts and folklore are shared as we hike through the woods enjoying the beauty of our favorite spring wildflowers.

Woodland Wildflower Walk

o   Date: April 23

o   Cost: FREE

April is a time when the forest floor springs to life with the colorful beauty of its woodland wildflowers. Come dressed for a 1.5 mile hike and enjoy stories and folklore about the beautiful native flowers. 

Will County Forest Preserve District

March into Spring Hike

o   Date: April 9

o   Cost: FREE

Shed off winter and enjoy a march into the woods to look for signs of springtime.


Opportunities farther afield

Institute of Botanical Training

Multiple workshops available

o   Throughout the season

o   Cost: variable

o   Leader: Institute of Botanical Training staff

The Institute of Botanical Training provides botanical consulting services and plant identification workshops throughout the Midwestern United States. We offer several field-based plant identification workshops each year. During our workshops, we strive to teach as many plants as possible by encouraging familiarity with the flora through repetition and various exercises. Unlike most other plant identification courses, we focus almost exclusively on vegetative identification characters, rather than relying unnecessarily on flowers. Ultimately, participants gain a strong working knowledge of the regional flora.

UW  Field Station Milwaukee

Sedges: Identification and Ecology

o   June 16 – June 17

o   Cost: $115.00

o   Leader: Dr. Anton Reznicek, Curator of Vascular Plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium

Identification of sedges, especially Carex, will stress not only keying skills, but using ecological and vegetative characters to identify species and species groups.  In addition to identification we will explore the importance of sedges in a variety of different communities, and gain an appreciation of the dynamics of some of the communities and the role of sedges in these dynamics. 

Vegetation of Wisconsin

o   June 12 – June 17

o   Cost: $420.00

o   Leader: Dr. James Reinartz, Director UMW Field Station

Following "The Vegetation of Wisconsin" by John Curtis (1959), we will visit and study all of the major plant communities in the state.  In addition to study of the ecology, development, and dynamics of the original vegetation types of Wisconsin, we will explore plant communities which have developed as the result of disturbance, and the challenges associated with management of natural areas representing pre-settlement vegetation types.  This will be a week of good old-fashioned ecology and botany with a group of others very interested in the topic.  The course fee covers all transportation costs and lodging.

Grasses: Identification and Ecology

o   August 4 - 5

o   Cost: $105.00

o   Leader: Dr. Robert Freckmann, Professor Emeritus of Biology at University Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Survey the evolution and diversity of the grass family, emphasizing grasses of the local area and reviewing grass structures, terminology, and differences between grasses, sedges, and rushes.