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. Oct. 7, 1–3:30 p.m. Fungi—Food for Thought. Don’t fear fungi! They are incredibly diverse and play important roles in ecosystems. Learn the basic classes of fungi, growth and life cycles, and cultural significance. Instructor: Amy Jo Dusick, Arboretum naturalist. Come prepared for time outdoors. Fee: $25 (FOA $23). Preregister by Oct. 3.

Weds. Oct. 11, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Invasive Species Identification and Monitoring. Early detection is the best way to minimize the impact of invasive species. The Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app is one tool citizen scientists can use to help report invasive plant species. This workshop will cover impacts and identification and how to use the app. Come prepared for time outdoors and bring your smartphone. Meet at the Visitor Center. Instructor: Anne Pearce, Wisconsin First Detector Network program coordinator. This workshop qualifies as advanced training for Master Naturalist volunteers. Fee: $30 (FOA $27). Preregister by Oct. 7.

Sat. Oct. 14, 1–3 p.m. Wisconsin Bats and How to Help Them. White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in the U.S. since the early 2000s. Since first detected in Wisconsin in 2014, the disease has spread in hibernating sites, decimating bat populations. Learn about these important insectivores and how we can help them. Come prepared for time outdoors. Meet at the Visitor Center. Instructor: Lisa Andrewski, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $20 (FOA $18). Preregister by Oct. 10.

Sun. Oct. 15, 1–3:30 p.m.­­­­­ Trees and Shrub Identification. Learn to identify the most common native trees and shrubs in our area, as well as characteristics of some invasive shrubs. Come prepared for time outdoors. Meet at the Visitor Center. Instructors: Sara Christopherson, Arboretum naturalist, and Marian Farrior, Arboretum restoration work party manager. Fee: $25 (FOA $23). Preregister by Oct. 11.

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). Preregister by Nov. 14.

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.