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 held at the Arboretum offer more in-depth coverage of topics than tours provide and explore ways humans interact with the environment studying natural history, restoration, and the arts. In addition, they provide opportunities for families to learn together. Many classes focus on ways to engage in restoration activities on your own property.

There is a fee for classes, and advance registration is required. Fees will be refunded only if a class is filled or cancelled.

Fall 2016 Classes

September 24, Saturday, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Class: Crabapple Cider Workshop. Area experts will teach you about using this small tart fruit for cider. Along with an introduction to crabapples, you will learn blending and production strategies, tour the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens’ crabapple collection, and taste crabapple ciders. Instructors: David Stevens, LHG curator; Nick Smith, UW–Madison CALS; Herdie Baisden, Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery; and a representative from the Wisconsin Apple Growers Assn. Fee: $25 ($22.50 FOA). Preregistration required by Sept. 22.

October 1, Saturday, 8–10 a.m.
Class: Beginning Birding. This class will start indoors with a short introduction to bird identification, then move outdoors to practice finding and identifying birds. You’ll learn tips and tricks from a veteran birder. Bring binoculars. Instructor: Levi Wood, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 ($18 FOA). Preregister by Sept. 29.

October 15, Saturday, 1–3 p.m.
Class: The Lost City in Detail. Delve into the history of the Lost City, concentrating on the failed Lake Forest development project and the Arboretum’s subsequent purchase of the lots. This indoor class will include a slideshow and viewing of historical artifacts. Instructor: Kathleen Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 ($18 FOA). Preregister by Oct. 13.

November 5, Saturday, 1–3 p.m.
Class: 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 will include slides, recordings, and handouts. Instructor: Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 ($18 FOA). Preregister by Nov. 3.

November 19, Saturday, 1–3 p.m.
Class: All About Turkeys. Learn about the Arboretum’s thriving wild turkeys, their anatomy, biology, and behavior. The class will be held indoors, concluding with a 30-minute walk to look for turkeys. Instructor: Lisa Andrewski, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 ($18 FOA). Preregister by Nov. 17.

December 10, Saturday, 1–3:30 p.m.
Class: Effigy Mound Culture. For hundreds of years earthen mounds, including effigies of animals and conical and linear shapes, were built by native people in southern Wisconsin. Learn about the mounds, the people who created them, and their environment. Indoors, with an outdoor walk if weather permits. Instructor: Paul Borowsky, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $25 ($22.50 FOA). Preregister by Dec. 8.

Sign up by finding the class on our events calendar and clicking the “Register” link.

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.