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.

Upcoming Classes

Saturday, March 17, 1–4 p.m. Pollinator-friendly Gardening. Explore the life histories of Wisconsin’s native bees and other pollinators and how they fare in our gardens and landscapes. Learn gardening practices that create and enhance pollinator habitat and promote conservation. Indoors, with brief garden walk if weather permits. Instructor: Susan Carpenter, Arboretum native plant gardener. Fee: $30. Registration closed.

Saturday, March 24, 1–3 p.m. Phenology. Phenology is the study of periodic occurrences in nature, especially as they link to climate and weather. The March equinox is the perfect time to think about spring unfolding. We’ll explore literary and scientific approaches to monitoring the natural year. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Registration closed.

Saturday, April 21, 9–11 a.m. All About Bluebirds. Walk the Arboretum’s 25-year-old bluebird trail in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens and learn about the fascinating bluebird, its behavior, reasons for its decline, and current restoration efforts. Dress for the weather. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20. Registration closed.

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.