Plants of Concern

Citizen Science Rare Plant Monitoring Program

2018 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 26 - April 25, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $279 for members

A Walk in the Wildflowers at Reed Turner Woodland

o   Date: May 5, 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.  

Recognizing Sedges in the Field

o   Date: June 12, 9:00-1:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $79, 20% discount for Chicago Botanic Garden Members

o   Leader: Jim Steffen, ecologist

In this course you will study Carex, the largest and most diverse genus of the sedge family. Learn about the taxonomy, structure, and ecology of this challenging group. This advanced course is for students who have already completed Botany I or are familiar with the use of taxonomic keys.

Morton Arboretum

Identify Woodland Wildflowers

o   Dates: Online component: April 20. In person component: May 5, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

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 20, 28, or May 4, 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m.

o   Cost: $16.00 members, $20.00 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 2, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

o   Cost: FREE (with admission)

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 19, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

o   Cost: $39.00 members, $46.00 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: In person component: Sunday, May 6. Online portion begins Friday, June 1, 1:30-4:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $16.00  members, $20.00 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. Attend either a 2 hour session at the Arboretum or register for the online session for self-paced online learning modules.

Plants of Wetlands

o   Dates: June 23, 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 8, 9:00-11:30 a.m. or June 21, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

o   Cost: $29.00  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.

Plants of the Prairie

o   Dates: July (TBD)

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

o   Leader: Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist

Learn the identification of skills to manage, restore, or simply enjoy prairie habitats. Learn to identify plants important for prairie restoration during the growing season, and practice your identification skills in the field with guidance from a local plant expert.

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 15, April 19, May 17

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. 

Cook County Forest Preserves

Wildflower Hikes

o   Dates: April 22, April 28, April 28, April 29April 30May 13, May 27

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

Spring Wildflower Walk

o   Dates: May 6

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 7, May 5

o   Cost: Free

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: May 12, 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

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 22, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.

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

Wonders of Wildflowers

o   Date: May 12

o   Cost: FREE

Get all of your senses ready to learn how to ID the many wildflowers and what makes them special.


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 15 – June 16

o   Cost: $120.00

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 18 – June 23

o   Cost: $425.00

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.