13 June 2017

2017 Grass Identification and Ecology Workshops to be Offered at The Morton Arboretum

For several years I have led a very popular and relatively inexpensive grass identification and ecology workshop at The Morton Arboretum.  I will be leading that workshop again this summer.  In addition, for anyone who has taken that workshop in the past or who takes the workshop this year, there will also be an advanced grass identification workshop following the first workshop.  Information on the workshops follows.  If you know of someone who may be interested, please spread the word.

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Tired of seeing "unknown grass" and "Dichanthelium sp." on your vegetation sampling datasheets?  Need to know what species that Elymus is to figure out if you're in a wetland or an upland?  Interested in learning vegetative characteristics for some of our more common grasses?  Just want to know more about grass identification and ecology in general?  If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then the workshops discussed below being held on September 5-6 and 7-8, 2017 at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois may be for you.  If you have any questions about the workshops, email Scott Namestnik at snamestnik@orbisec.com.




Learn to identify the grasses that add beauty and interest to the summer and fall landscape. Grasses allow us to read the landscape: from soils, habitat, disturbance and past land uses. They form a critical component of the biodiversity and with nearly 11,000 species, this is the fourth largest plant family. This workshop consists of an intensive, hands-on approach incorporating both classroom work and field study.  Identify warm season grasses in the field and lab, learn the specialized terminology and distinguishing features, discuss their ecology, and practice identifying species from keys. 
Instructor: Scott Namestnik, senior botanist, Orbis Environmental Consulting
Notes: Held both indoors and outdoors. Please dress for the weather each day. Limit 20
Supplies: Please bring a water bottle, a hand lens, and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes for walking over uneven terrain. Fee includes all workshop handouts, morning refreshments and a box lunch.
Intended audience: Advanced students and professionals.
Prerequisites: Prior experience with plant identification required
Course number: 
S318
SCHEDULE AND LOCATION: 
Tuesday, September 5, and Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 9:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center
FEES AND ADMISSION: 
Nonmembers: Fees include admission to the Arboretum. 
$195.00 members
$230.00 nonmembers
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: 
ONLINE: REGISTER NOW
CALL: 630-719-2468 (or to be wait listed)
IN PERSON: Stop by the Visitor Center during open hours.

Expand your grass identification skills in this expert workshop. You've taken the first step towards learning the specialized terminology used to identify grasses, and you've learned some common woodland, prairie, and wetland grasses. Now it's time to delve even deeper into the complex world of these economically and ecologically essential monocots. This workshop consists of an intensive, hands-on approach incorporating both classroom work and field study.  We will use what we've learned in the introductory grass identification and ecology workshop as we become more comfortable using dichotomous keys to identify several grasses in the lab. We'll then incorporate our learning in the field as we learn key identification characteristics of even more grass species in varied habitats. 
Instructor: Scott Namestnik, senior botanist, Orbis Environmental Consulting
Notes: Held both indoors and outdoors. Please dress for the weather each day. Limit 20
Supplies: Please bring a water bottle, a hand lens, and your Grass Identification and Ecology notebook, and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes for walking over uneven terrain. Fee includes all workshop handouts, morning refreshments and a box lunch.
Intended audience: Advanced students and professionals.
Prerequisites: Grass Identification and Ecology (S318) or permission of the instructor. Please contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar-ed@mortonarb.org with questions about prerequisites.
Course number: 
S319
SCHEDULE AND LOCATION: 
Thursday, September 7, and Friday, September 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center
FEES AND ADMISSION: 
Nonmembers: Fees include admission to the Arboretum. 
$195.00 members
$230.00 nonmembers
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: 
ONLINE: REGISTER NOW
CALL: 630-719-2468 (or to be waitlisted)
IN PERSON: Stop by the Visitor Center during open hours.

5 comments:

Nathan said...

Hi Scott! I'm really excited about this class. I'm working on my MS thesis and am trying to ID mature and seedling grasses from woodlands around Chicago. I have a very rudimentary ability to key out grasses, and would like to improve. Would you recommend the introductory class if my goal is becoming familiar with ID for common woodland grasses, or should I seek permission to get into the advanced course? Thanks!

Scott Namestnik said...

Hi Nathan. In the introductory class, we go over terminology, key a few plants together, and then go in the field (prairie, woodland, wetland, and weeds). For the advanced class, we won't discuss terminology at all, so it is important to know and understand the terminology used in the keys. I'm always surprised by how many people come into the class thinking they know the terminology and then find they didn't know it as well as they thought. My suggestion would be to do the introductory class, or both. In the advanced class, we'll spend time in the classroom keying plants and then spend time in the field in sand prairie, dune, prairie, wetland, and forest.

By chance, do you know some of the grasses in your study areas?

Scott.

Scott Namestnik said...

Nathan,

I just checked, and the "beginner" workshop is sold out. You may want to try to get on the waiting list in case a spot opens up. There are still eight spots available in the "advanced" workshop.

Scott.

Nathan said...

Hi Scott,

I'll be sure to get on the waitlist. Can I register for the advanced class in the meantime? I'll take both if there's a spot available in the first one as well. I'm using the Field Guide to Wisconsin Grasses, and have keyed out some to the species level with some confidence, but would like to feel more familiar with grass ID as a skill.

Here are a few that I've found: Elymus hystrix, Elymus villosa, Danthonia spicata, Bromus latiglumis, Brachyelytrum erectum, and Poa nemoralis. Some others that I'm less confident about are Glyceria striata, Cinna arundinacea, and species of Leersia.

I was familiar with using keys for plant ID before this summer, but never for grasses, so it's been slow going but fun!

Thanks,

Nathan

Scott Namestnik said...

Hi Nathan. I'd say try to register for the advanced class and see what they say. If they allow you to get in, I may send you a document to review that discusses most of the parts of a grass plant... parts we'll use in regular conversation during the workshop that I'd want you to be familiar with. Regarding the grasses you mention, in the two workshops, we'd see all of those except Poa nemoralis (but we'd see at least a few other species of Poa). We should see several of these in the advanced class as well, so I think the workshop would be worth your time.

Only six spots left in the advanced class.

Scott.