Incoming UW Law School students clear sumac from a prairie for Community Service Day, August 20, 2013. Photo: Andy Manis, courtesy UW Law School

Incoming UW Law School students clear sumac from a prairie for Community Service Day, August 20, 2013. Photo: Andy Manis, courtesy UW Law School

The Arboretum welcomes group service projects. If you are part of a group that would like to participate in a garden or ecological restoration project, we can arrange one that suits your schedule and ages. Example projects include mulching the gardens, clearing invasive shrubs from prairies, putting up fences, and collecting native plant seeds.

Arranging a Service Project

Consider the following before you contact the volunteer coordinator to schedule your group:

  • Your group’s preferred month, day of the week, and time of day
  • Your members’ skills
  • What your group would like to learn
  • How rigorous of a project would be suitable
  • What other goals does your group have for a service project?

When you have this information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at least one month before your desired date.

Once we’ve settled on a project, a detailed confirmation packet will be sent to group leaders with map, clothing guide, waiver forms, and contact information. Please also review the following tips for a successful service project. Thank you for sharing your time, skills, and people-power with the UW–Madison Arboretum!

Tips for Volunteer Groups

Following these tips will help ensure a well-organized and successful project at the UW–Madison Arboretum:

  • Everyone in the work party must wear sturdy close-toed shoes or boots and long pants or they will not be allowed to participate.
  • Please share Dressing for Work Parties with your group members.
  • Leave time for a bathroom visit prior to starting your project. Bathrooms are not available near several of the work locations.
  • We require one adult chaperone for every 5 children (younger than 18). Chaperones will participate in the service project and assist the children with tasks. Please organize these teams before coming to the Arboretum. Nametags are helpful, but not required.
  • Waiver Forms/Youth Release of Liability will be sent in the confirmation packet. Please distribute them to all participants ahead of time and bring completed forms on the day of your project.
  • Youth-group leaders, and the Arboretum Team Leaders working with your group, are responsible in the case of emergencies. This may mean returning to the Visitor Center or group vehicle(s) and seeking medical aid.

To better understand what happens on a service project, group leaders are welcome to attend a drop-in ecological restoration work party before bringing a youth group (see Volunteer Positions for information about drop-in work parties). The current schedule is available on our events calendar.

Group leaders may prefer to take an Arboretum tour to learn about our history and plant communities. You can also bring your group on a self-guided tour to make observations and find your own inspiration.