Arboretum Classes

Classes at the Arboretum offer in-depth coverage of topics and explore ways humans interact with the environment, delving into natural history, conservation, restoration, Arboretum history, and the arts. For paid classes, refunds will be given while registration is open, minus a $10 service fee.

Advance registration is required. You will receive two automated email acknowledgements after you register: One is a payment confirmation, the other is a registration confirmation listing the class you’re attending. Save these emails for your records.

A few days before virtual classes, you will receive an email with a calendar invite and a link to access the talk.

Fall 2022 Classes

History of the Arboretum’s Lost City
Saturday, November 19, 1–3 p.m.

Learn about the fascinating history of the failed Lake Forest development project and the land that became part of the Arboretum. This indoor class will explore the personalities involved, why the project didn’t succeed, and the status of the area now. Includes a video tour of the site. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Register by November 14. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Registration closed.

Past classes

Following W.S. Merwin – The Well-Being of Poetry in Nature
Friday, October 14, 4:30–6 p.m.

A United States Poet Laureate and recipient of many poetry prizes, W.S. Merwin will be our inspiration for this class. Guest instructor: Troy Hess, On the Yahara Writing Center. Outdoor class, include a walk to Icke Boardwalk, come dressed for weather. Class takes place except in unsafe weather. Make-up date: October 21. Register by October 10. Fee: $15. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Reading the Landscape – Woodlands
Saturday, October 15, 1–3:30 p.m.

Explore Gallistel and Wingra Woods during peak fall colors. Learn to identify plants, distinguish the characteristics of different woodlands, and find out about the restoration and management of these communities. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Outdoor class, takes place except in unsafe weather. Make-up date: October 22. Fee: $25; Register by October 11. Meet at the Visitor Center.

All About Owls
Saturday, November 5, 1–3 p.m.

Learn about Wisconsin’s twelve owl species, focusing on the three that nest in Madison, and how to identify these elusive birds of prey. Habitat, calls, courtship, hunting, and eating will be discussed. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Indoor class. Fee: $20. Register by November 1. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Annual Learning Programs

Native Gardening Conference

Held every September at the Arboretum, the Native Gardening Conference promotes sustainable gardening practices and use of native plants in home landscapes. We inspire and inform gardeners, homeowners, and landowners to create and maintain native gardens or small-scale restorations on their own property. The program welcomes people with a range of interests and experience.

Winter Enrichment

The Arboretum’s long-running Winter Enrichment series offers lectures for naturalists in the greater Madison area as well as for volunteers, friends, and community members. The ten-week series runs February to April. See the Winter Enrichment page for more information.

Friends of the Arboretum Luncheon-Lectures

The Luncheon-Lectures series, organized by Friends of the Arboretum, presents monthly talks with a catered lunch. Friends receive priority registration, but talks are open to anyone as space allows.