Note: Out of concern for the health of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arboretum Visitor Center will be closed and events are cancelled through at least May 15. Additional cancellations are possible. Please check back for updates. Read more»

Arboretum programs nurture the public’s interest in land care and living in harmony with nature. We offer many free walks, tours, and activities for the general public. Our paid classes explore restoration, native plants, and other topics in-depth.

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.

There is a fee for classes, and advance registration is required.

Refunds will be given while registration is open, minus a $10 service fee.

Upcoming Classes

Friday, March 6, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Following Oliver, Nature Poetry Workshop, session 1. Explore the poetry of Mary Oliver and other nature writers. Learn new techniques and receive feedback in an inspiring and supportive environment. Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor class component. Class is meant for participants who want to write regularly. Reading material provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 per session. Register for any or all sessions (also March 13, 20, and 27). REGISTER by March 2.

Friday, March 13, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Following Oliver, Nature Poetry Workshop, session 2. Explore the poetry of Mary Oliver and other nature writers. Learn new techniques and receive feedback in an inspiring and supportive environment. Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor class component. Class is meant for participants who want to write regularly. Reading material provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 per session. Register for any or all sessions (also March 6, 20, and 27). REGISTER by March 9.

Friday, March 20, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. CANCELLED
Following Oliver, Nature Poetry Workshop, session 3. Explore the poetry of Mary Oliver and other nature writers. Learn new techniques and receive feedback in an inspiring and supportive environment. Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor class component. Class is meant for participants who want to write regularly. Reading material provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 per session. Register for any or all sessions (also March 6, 13, and 27). CANCELLED

Saturday, March 21, 1–3 p.m. CANCELLED
Phenology—Keeping Track of Nature. March is the perfect time to tune into spring unfolding. Phenology—the study of periodic occurrences in nature—is both art and science, practiced for millennia across cultures and regions. Learn about different approaches, and even invent your own. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. CANCELLED

Friday, March 27, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. CANCELLED
Following Oliver, Nature Poetry Workshop, session 4. Explore the poetry of Mary Oliver and other nature writers. Learn new techniques and receive feedback in an inspiring and supportive environment. Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor class component. Class is meant for participants who want to write regularly. Reading material provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 per session. Register for any or all sessions (March 6, 13, and 27). CANCELLED

Saturday, April 25, 1–3 p.m. – CANCELLED
Introduction to Wisconsin Geology. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by gaining a greater understanding of Wisconsin geology. Learn about the forces that shape the planet, geologic time, and how to identify rocks that can be found locally. Instructors: Sue Bridson and Stephanie Williams, Arboretum naturalists. Fee: $20. CANCELLED

Saturday, May 2, 1–3 p.m. – CANCELLED
All about Bluebirds. The Arboretum’s bluebird trail in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens is more than 30 years old. In this indoor/outdoor class, you’ll walk the trail and learn about bluebirds, their behavior, their decline, and restoration efforts. Dress for the weather. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. REGISTER by April 27. CANCELLED

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

Since 1968, the UW Arboretum has offered Winter Enrichment lectures for naturalists in the greater Madison area. Originally coordinated by Rosemary Fleming for Arboretum naturalists, the program is now open to Arboretum volunteers, friends, and interested public as space allows.