Note: Out of concern for the health of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Visitor Center will be closed and in-person Arboretum events are cancelled until further notice. Please join us for our fall virtual programming. COVID-19 updates»

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.


Mary Oliver and the Art of Observation in Nature – SESSIONS ARE FULL
Fridays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.

This four-week nature poetry class is meant for participants who want to regularly write nature poetry. We will look at a variety of nature writing but focus on two poetry and essay collections by Mary Oliver. We will cover four thematic observation techniques that can enhance the ability to write spontaneously and regularly. Instructor: Troy Hess. Free. Sign up for any or all sessions.

October 2 – register by September 30
October 9 – register by October 7
October 16 – register by October 14
October 23 – register by October 21

Register online» 

Art and Nature Poetry – SESSIONS ARE FULL
Fridays, November 6, 13, and 20
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.

Organized by season, the poems in Art and Nature: An Illustrated Anthology of Nature Poetry celebrate the grandeur of wild places and subtle everyday wonders. We will focus on the fall section of the book, reading W.S. Merwin, Marianne Moore, Rainer Marie Rilke, and others. We will discuss the connection between visual art and poetry and then create our own pairings. Instructor: Troy Hess. Free. Sign up for any or all sessions.

November 6 – register by November 4
November 13 – register by November 11
November 20 – register by November 18

Register online»

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.