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.
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.
Saturday, December 8, 1–4 p.m. Effigy Mound Culture. Earthen mounds with conical, linear, and animal shapes were built by native people in southern Wisconsin. The effigy mound groups at the Arboretum are among the few remaining of hundreds built in our area more than 1,000 years ago. 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. Register by December 4.
Tuesday, January 8, 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 education coordinator. Fee: $25. Register by December 17.
Saturday, February 16, 1–3 p.m. The Art of Pruning. Learn the science, tools, and techniques to help ensure healthy tree structure and proper wound closure, as well as shrub pruning for plant renewal. Instructor: David Stevens, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens curator. Fee: $20. Register by February 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.
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.