Cherished by Friends since 1982, the Luncheon-Lectures Series has provided many afternoons of warm connection and opportunities to hear engaging speakers.

Luncheon-Lectures are held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Arboretum Visitor Center Auditorium. A buffet lunch is followed by an educational presentation. This popular series fills up quickly, so register as soon as you can. Each lecture costs $40.

Registration is now open for the 2023–24 lectures. Register online at Online registration is fastest.

To pay by check, download and complete this PDF registration form available at, include a check made payable to Friends of the Arboretum, and mail to: Friends of the Arboretum, 1207 Seminole Hwy., Madison, WI 53711. Please indicate the lectures you wish to attend, attendee names and meal selections (vegetarian or non-vegetarian), your email address, and mailing address.

A registration confirmation will be sent to you. If a program you request is full, you will be contacted promptly. Reservations are transferable. If you give away your reservation, please call us at 608-890-2555 and let us know the name of the attendee. You also may cancel a reservation and request a refund at least 2 weeks ahead of the event.

2023–24 Luncheon-Lectures

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Journey North and Tracking Wildlife Migration: Celebrating 30 Years. Nancy A. Sheehan, Program Manager, UW–Madison Arboretum

With population declines among migratory birds and insects, Journey North seeks to help researchers, land managers and the general public understand how migratory species respond to a changing climate by tracking their journeys each year. Journey North is a crowdsourced, participatory science program that harnesses the power of thousands of volunteers across North America to gain insights into annual life cycle of a selected number of migratory species.

Thursday, May 9, 2024
The American Fuel-scape: What Modern Biofuels Mean for our Lands, Waters, and Wildlife. Tyler Lark, Scientist, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, UW–Madison

Come learn all about biofuels and the current state of the science and policy. We’ll cover the latest on the debate about corn ethanol, learn about the potential for better biofuels based on native perennial plants like switchgrass, and discuss what all of it means for the climate, wildlife, and our natural landscapes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
The Effects of Glaciers on Wisconsin. Lucas Zoet, Dean L. Morgridge Endowed Chair of Geoscience, UW–Madison

Professor Zoet will detail how Wisconsin has been shaped by glaciers and the types of landforms that can be seen around the region. He will also detail some of the specific glacial geologic history of the Madison region.

Past 2023–24 Luncheon-Lectures

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Putting the Kibosh on Extinction: The Power of Birds. Craig Thompson, Chief of Program Integration, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Climate change and the extinction crisis are the greatest challenges of our time. Both phenomena pose existential threats to the future of life. The decline of birds is a manifestation of the extinction crisis and serves as a clarion call to action. Birds offer the promise of hope. Conspicuous and beautiful, they can help address our greatest environmental perils. The presentation will provide examples of birds as powerful conservation catalysts and offer strategies for engagement by everyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2023
Effigy Mounds of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Mark E. Cupp, Executive Director of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Mr. Cupp will provide information on the types of earthworks found in Wisconsin and will focus on the effigy mounds of the Lower Wisconsin River Valley. The presentation will provide background on the people of the Late Woodland Tradition, better known as the Effigy Mound Builders, commonly believed to be ancestors of the modern-day Ho-Chunk Nation. Maps and photographs will be used to demonstrate locations and types of tumuli found in the region.

Thursday, November 16, 2023
Living One Water. Michael Mucha, Chief Engineer and Director, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

Water is our world’s most precious resource and essential to everything we do. No matter who we are, where we live, or what we do, water connects all of us. When we embrace the belief that water in all its forms has value — water in our lakes, seas, rivers and streams, drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater — the full water life cycle can be optimized to build strong economies, vibrant communities, and healthy environments. Michael will share how the sewerage district is implementing one water thinking and offer ideas for how you can too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
The Great Lakes Compact after 15 Years. Shaili Pfeiffer, Natural Resources Staff Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The 2005 landmark agreement, the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, was signed by the eight Great Lakes Governors and the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec. The agreement is implemented in the U.S. by a legally binding interstate Compact and is best known for its prohibition on diversions of Great Lakes water. Significantly, it commits the states and provinces to implement parallel water quantity management programs across the Great Lakes Basin — the largest fresh surface water system in the world. The last fifteen years have seen the implementation of the vision of the architects of the Great Lakes Compact and Agreement bringing together shared principles for water quantity management.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Ecological Restoration at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Amy Alstad, Director of Land Management and Environmental Education

Why is it that one of the nicest prairie restorations in Dane County is found at a Benedictine Monastery? Caring for the earth is one of the core mission elements at Holy Wisdom Monastery. This presentation will share stories and photos weaving together the past, present and future of ecological restoration at Wisdom Prairie.

Monday, March 11, 2024
Emerging Technologies for Supporting Pollinators and Pollination: Challenges and Opportunities. Dr. James Crall, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, UW–Madison

Technology is rapidly transforming nearly all aspects of our lives, including how we interact with the natural world. In this talk, Dr. James Crall will explore how emerging technologies (including artificial intelligence and the internet of things) are creating new opportunities for researchers, practitioners, and naturalists to study insects in ever greater depth. Yet these new tools also create new challenges that will require reimagining how we use technology to connect with and support the health of bees and other pollinators.