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.

Winter 2018 Classes

“Gardening with a Purpose” Class Series

Your garden can be both beautiful and beneficial. Learn how to enhance your garden’s purpose with classes focused on ecological and edible aspects of landscape gardening, taught by Arboretum staff with expertise in these topics.

Tues., January 9, 6–8:30 p.m. Multifunctional Rain Gardens. Rain gardens help absorb stormwater, recharge ground water, improve pollinator and bird habitat, and provide year-round interest. Learn about rain garden design and plantings. Bring yard plan for discussion. Indoor class. Instructor: Gail Epping Overholt, Arboretum outreach and education coordinator. Fee: $25. Register by December 20.

Thurs., January 25, 6–8 p.m. Edible Native Gardening. Learn which native plants offer both beauty and flavor. Explore ideas for creating wild edible landscapes small and large, sunny and shady, with samples to taste. Indoor class. Instructor: Judy Kingsbury, Arboretum volunteer coordinator. Fee: $20. Register by January 15.

Tues., February 6, 6–9 p.m. Forest Garden Design. This permaculture technique can help you grow plants for food, fuel, and more. Learn about site considerations, plant guilds, plant selection, mushroom cultivation, and garden designs. Plant lists and resources provided. Bring yard plan for discussion. Indoor class. Instructors: Marian Farrior, Arboretum outreach specialist, and Amy Jo Dusick, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $30. Register by January 29.

Thurs., February 15, 6–8:30 p.m. Tapping Maple Syrup. Learn about the history and process of maple syruping, tree selection, tapping and collection equipment, and sap processing and preserving. Indoor class. Instructor: David Stevens, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens curator. Fee: $25. Register by Feb. 9.

Sat., 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. Register by March 12.

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.