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 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.


Nature Poetry
Session 1: Fridays, February 5 and 12, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Registration required by January 31.
Session 2: Fridays, February 19 and 26, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Registration required by February 14.

These two-class sessions offer a sampling of modern nature poetry, covering poets from Gary Snyder to Joy Harjo to Evie Shockley. We will consider human relationships with nature and then address contemporary topics such as the psychological benefits of nature, sustainability, and biodiversity loss. This is an appreciation class but we may also share writing. Sessions are two classes. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 for session. Space is limited.

Register online for session 1»
Register online for session 2»

Writing Your “Marshland Elegy”
Tuesdays, March 2 and 9, 6:30–8 p.m. Registration required by February 25.

An elegy acknowledges sorrow and loss. Aldo Leopold eloquently used the elegiac device in the essay “Marshland Elegy.” In this two-class session, we will interpret Leopold’s elegy through the contemporary lens of unprecedented loss of species and ecological diversity. The first class will cover topics and in the second we will share short written pieces. Session is two classes, March 2 and 9. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 for session. Space is limited.

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.