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 – Fall 2019

Saturday, November 2, 2–4 p.m.
All about Owls.
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, and adaptations to acquire food will be discussed. Indoor class. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Class full – registration closed.

Saturday, November 16, 1–3 p.m.
History of the Lost City. An in-depth look at the fascinating history of the failed Lake Forest development project and how the Arboretum acquired the land. Who were the personalities involved, why didn’t the original project succeed, and what’s the status of the area?  See also October 27 and November 3 tours. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. REGISTER by November 12.

Saturday, November 23, 1–3 p.m.
Wreath-making from Nature. Using natural materials found at the Arboretum, make nature-inspired wreaths just in time for the holiday season. Materials supplied. You are welcome to bring ornaments and ribbons for decoration. Instructors: Marian Farrior, Arboretum restoration work party manager and Jane Hawley Stevens, herbalist. Fee $25. Class full – registration closed.

Saturday, December 14, 1–4 p.m.
Effigy Mounds—Considering the People, Culture and Environment. For hundreds of years, earthen mounds—including effigies of animals and conical and linear shapes—were built by Native peoples in southern Wisconsin. Join us for a presentation and discussion of the environment and ways of life of the peoples who created them. Indoors, with an outdoor walk if weather permits. See also December 8 walk. Instructor: Paul Borowsky, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $30. Register by December 9.

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.