An ecological exploration of fascinating ecosystems and the relationships that sustain them.



Nature is teeming with incredible ecosystems.  From fertile floodplains to lush freshwater marshes, these dynamic ecosystems exist in a variety of forms and sustain all living things.  But how exactly do they work?  What are their origins?  And why must we learn them?

EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS is an online ecology course designed to answer these essential questions.  With a focus on the relationships that bind nature together, this online course is your gateway toward developing ecological literacy.


How is a bog different from a fen?  Why are trees mostly absent from tallgrass prairies?  How does fire influence the landscape?

EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS introduces you to thought-provoking questions to help you identify key features of different ecosystems.  With guided lessons through high-quality videos, this online course is designed to strengthen your ecological skills — one ecosystem at a time.

Hi, I'm Adam


I am the founder of Learn Your Land — an online educational resource designed to bring humans and wild places together.

In recent years, I've noticed a peculiar trend taking place:  nature enthusiasts are focusing on smaller and smaller components.  Mushroom people are limiting their focus to mushrooms.  Plant people are limiting their focus to plants.  Bird people are limiting their focus to birds.

This approach to learning can be valuable in certain contexts, but it has its drawbacks.  One major drawback is the inability to see how all the different organisms within a particular place are connected.

As it turns out, nature is fundamentally built on its ability to create connections.  These connections form the foundation of intricate relationships which build thriving ecosystems.  When we don't see these connections, we don't see the bigger picture.

Fortunately, this modern-day problem has a solution:  we can acknowledge the connections that build ecosystems.  Acknowledging these connections and identifying key features of ecosystems allows us to finally achieve something that many people strongly desire:  a meaningful glimpse into the ways in which nature really works.

I designed EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS with the bigger picture in mind.  By enrolling in this course and studying its content, you will embark on an educational journey in which the beautiful connections that build ecosystems are revealed.


Here's what's included with EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS.

  • Exclusive in-depth videos. The course includes 25 exclusive and never-before-seen videos that are only available to students.  Organized into 4 modules, the lessons within the course introduce you to 17 ecosystems.
  • Work at your own pace.  Complete the course at a speed that is most convenient for you.  The total length of this self-paced course is approximately 7 hours.  You can put the course on hold if necessary and return to it at any time.
  • Optional quizzes and assessments.  Review what you have learned by downloading quizzes after the modules.  An optional final assessment is offered at the end of the course.
  • Unlimited access.  Once you enroll, the course and all materials are immediately available to you.


An Introduction To Ecology

Ecology is the study of the interactions among living organisms and their environment.  While the word itself is relatively new, the concept of ecology is very old.  Understanding ecology and the interactions that take place in nature is fundamental to your understanding of how ecosystems function.

What Is An Ecosystem?

Most of us are familiar with the word ecosystem, but we are less familiar with the criteria that define the term.  How is an ecosystem different from a habitat or biome?  What do ecosystems have to do with ecology?  EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS addresses these important questions in the introductory videos.

Origins Of Ecosystems

Every ecosystem has an origin story.  Some ecosystems have been shaped primarily by fire.  Some have been shaped by ice.  Some have been shaped primarily by wind and water.  EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS highlights the origins of ecosystems, placing special emphasis on important geological influences.

Similarities & Differences

How is a marsh different from a swamp?  How is a floodplain different from a river scour?  Are alvars the same thing as cedar glades?  EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS addresses these intriguing questions to help you discern between different ecosystems with similar attributes.

Indicator Organisms

In which ecosystems are we likely to find carnivorous plants?  In which ecosystems are we likely to find six-lined racerunners scurrying along shale rock?  This online course highlights key organisms that live within certain ecosystems and emphasizes the ways in which these organisms interact with their physical environments.

Changes & Challenges

All ecosystems are characterized by constant change and activity.  Some ecosystems, like vernal pools, change rapidly.  Other ecosystems, like old-growth forests, change more slowly.  How and why these inevitable transformations take place are key topics that are covered in EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS.


Here’s what you will be able to do after completing the course:

  • Identify with confidence 5 wetland ecosystems and 12 non-wetland terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Define important ecological terms, including habitat, biome, niche, and ecotone.
  • Understand the differences between similar ecosystems using a variety of observational clues.
  • Determine which plants, mushrooms, and animals are likely to be found in certain ecosystems.
  • Read landscapes more effectively.
  • Improve other valuable nature skills, including birding, botanizing, foraging, herping, hunting, and tracking.
  • Strengthen the essential connection between you and nature.








Here are the lessons featured in EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS.


Lesson 1:  About The Course — How To Make The Most Of Your Learning Experience (17:14)
Lesson 2:  Why Learn Ecosystems? (7:55)
Lesson 3:  What Are Ecosystems? Terms And Concepts Explained (23:00)


Lesson 1:  Introduction To Wetland Ecosystems (9:41)
Lesson 2:  Bog — Builder Of Peat (15:53)
Lesson 3:  Fen — Where Mineral-Rich Waters Flow (15:35)
Lesson 4:  Marsh — An Herbaceous Repository Of Biodiversity (15:21)
Lesson 5:  Swamp — The Wooded Wetland (17:08)
Lesson 6:  Vernal Pool — Life In A Temporary World (15:12)


Lesson 1:  Introduction To Non-Wetland Terrestrial Ecosystems (5:49)
Lesson 2:  Alvar — Living On The Edge Of Limestone (10:55)
Lesson 3:  Cedar Glade — A Rare Ecosystem In The Central Basin (13:28)
Lesson 4:  City — The Wildness Within (19:16)
Lesson 5:  Floodplain — Receiver Of Rising Waters (16:31)
Lesson 6:  Forest — A Quintessential Example Of Nature (24:47)
Lesson 7:  Old Field — From Abandonment To Abundance (17:59)
Lesson 8:  Prairie — Sea Of Grass And Forbs (18:20)
Lesson 9:  River Scour — Beneficiary Of Disturbance (14:06)
Lesson 10:  Sand Dune — An Inspiration For Succession (14:41)
Lesson 11:  Savanna — Land Of Transition (13:38)
Lesson 12:  Serpentine Barren — Where Rock Breeds Resilience (18:10)
Lesson 13:  Shale Barren — Life On A Steep Appalachian Slope (16:19)


Lesson 1:  Course Summary — Putting It All Together (15:10)
Lesson 2:  Additional Resources And Learning Opportunities (17:54)
Lesson 3:  Conclusion And Next Steps (7:22)



This course is designed for nature lovers interested in improving their knowledge of ecology.  Essential ecology topics are covered throughout the course, including succession, symbiotic relationships, food webs, and notable people who have made a strong impact on the field of modern ecology.  Related concepts are also woven into the lessons, including botany, biology, geology, and mycology.  Within each lesson pertaining to a particular ecosystem, specific organisms are highlighted.

The ecosystems featured in this course were filmed in the temperate zones of eastern North America.  Students who live in eastern North America will predictably derive the most benefit in taking this course.

However, because many ecosystems within the course occur in other parts of the world, and because universal concepts are discussed throughout the lessons, students who live outside of eastern North America will still find value in taking this course.



At some point during your educational journey, you were likely introduced to the subject of ecology.  If your experiences were anything like mine, then the way in which ecology was presented to you in school wasn't optimal.  Classes were dry.  Text books were intimidating, and important concepts were abstract.  In other words, ecology as we learned it in school lacked any real connection to a particular place.

EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS takes a different approach.  This online course teaches ecology as it relates to particular ecosystems.  The ecosystems featured in this course contain vibrant communities of organisms that build meaningful relationships.  Presented through high-quality, full-length videos that showcase each ecosystem in detail, this online course fills in major educational gaps by offering an incredibly informative and relevant learning experience.




"Adam is a fantastic teacher.  I am really feeling very well educated and am absolutely delighted by my investment in this training!  Adam is so enthusiastic as well as learned on the subject matter — and he delivers it in such a beautiful blend of simplicity and science that I feel both ease as well as depth in the learning process."
—Anjel H., student of Foraging Wild Mushrooms

"I decided to enroll in the mushroom course because I enjoy watching Adam's videos on YouTube and thought he was excellent at explaining things.  Also, I wanted to take my mushroom skills to the next level, and this course definitely exceeded my expectations!  The course was very well thought out and had a lot of content on all aspects of mushrooms, and I was sad once I completed the course.  Ever since taking the course, I have identified and eaten so many more mushrooms.  I would definitely recommend this course to anyone looking to learn more about or expand their knowledge on mushroom identification, look-alikes, cooking, storage, and medicinal benefits. This course is worth every penny and a great value for the knowledge you receive.  I also like the fact that I can come back to reference the videos on content that I am unsure of."
—Steve B., student of Foraging Wild Mushrooms

“It’s the best class ever.  I can go back to it whenever I want to refresh my memory.  Thank you for doing this class.  You put a lot of time and effort into it.  The details of each species and the photography are so worth the cost."
—Sandy I., student of Trees In All Seasons

 "I can't believe how much I've learned.  The nuances of trees have overwhelmed me for years in my learning journey.  It makes me happy to say that I now feel much more comfortable with and more aware of trees in a way that is already adding so much subtle magic and joy to my life.  Needless to say, I couldn't have taken a more helpful course that will come in handy in little ways every day!"
—Skyler B., student of Trees In All Seasons

Deepen Your Connection To Nature


To understand nature, it’s essential that we ask ecology-oriented questions.

How does water influence the species composition of ecosystems?  Why do certain plants grow in rich fens?  Which ecosystems are dependent on fire?  How predictable is ecological succession?

These kinds of questions open our minds to connections that were formerly invisible to us.  When we’re able to see new connections, we perceive nature differently.  With this new perception, our knowledge of ecosystems increases, and our relationship to wild places strengthens.

If you’re interested in improving your understanding of nature, EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS will help you achieve that goal.  With guided lessons that help you see how all the components within ecosystems are linked together, this online course is designed to deepen your connection to nature.

Enroll in EXPLORING WILD ECOSYSTEMS today and see for yourself just how rewarding ecological literacy can be.








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