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 as well as paid classes, which explore restoration, native plants, and other topics in-depth. We also offer private guided tours for school groups, scout troops, and adult groups.

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. Fees will be refunded only if a class is filled or cancelled.

Fall 2017 Classes

Sat. Nov. 18, 1–3 p.m. History of the Lost City. Delve into the fascinating history of the “Lost City,” concentrating on the failed Lake Forest development project and the Arboretum’s subsequent acquisition of the lots. Who were the personalities involved, why didn’t the original project succeed, and what is the current status of the area? Meet at the Visitor Center. See also Oct. 29 Lost City tour. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 (FOA $18). Register by Nov. 14.

Sat. Dec. 9, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. All About Owls. Learn about Wisconsin’s twelve owl species, focusing on the three in the Madison area, their habitat, range, and habits, and how to identify these elusive birds of prey. Indoor class. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Register by December 5.

Sat. Dec. 9, 1–3 p.m. Effigy Mound Culture. For hundreds of years, earthen mounds with conical, linear, and animal shapes were built by native people in southern Wisconsin. Learn about the mounds, the people who created them, and their environment. Indoors, with outdoor walk if weather permits. Instructor: Paul Borowsky, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 Register by Dec. 5.

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.