Note: We continue to follow UW–Madison guidance and recommendations about the Visitor Center, in-person programs, and facility use. The Visitor Center is closed and in-person events are cancelled until further notice. We are not able to hold school and youth group field trips through summer 2021. We will update this page as university guidance changes. COVID-19 updates»
The Arboretum’s precollege education program encourages young people to connect to place, explore nature, and engage with natural and cultural communities. While at the Arboretum, participants will use the science practices of asking questions, designing models, carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and constructing explanations. Participants will use patterns observed in nature and an understanding of structures and processes, as well as interactions, energy, and ecosystem dynamics, while learning to care for and conserve natural landscapes. All programs are inquiry-based and focus on student-centered learning. Use the school group form in the sidebar to request a field trip.
School Group Field Trips (pre-K through 12th grade)
Our programs are aligned to the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (Pre K), Wisconsin Standards for Science (SCI) the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Wisconsin Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Standards (ELS), and the Wisconsin Standards for Social Studies (SS). Click the links on each program below for more information.
- Effigy Mounds and Land History (6–8)
- Our Changing Ecosystems (6–8)
- Our Changing Ecosystems + work party (6–8)
Cost: $34 per naturalist per hour. Group size will determine the number of naturalists required. See school group pricing grid for more information.
We can customize field trips for any grade level. On the request form, select “Your Choice” and provide detailed information about the field trip and topic you would like for your visit. Please note that additional fees may apply for customized programs.
Youth Group Field Trips
We can tailor programs for community centers, scouts, 4-H, faith-based groups, after school, summer programs, and other youth groups according to interests and needs. Use the youth group form in the sidebar to request a field trip.
- Seasonal Observations (all ages): Enjoy a seasonal walk in the Arboretum. Participants will make observations, gather information and notice patterns as they explore seasonal phenomena in nature. This program can be scheduled at any time of the year. (suggested time: 1, 1.5, or 2 hours)
- Ecosystem Studies (all ages): Take a walk through the ecosystems of the Arboretum- prairie, forest, wetland, and gardens. Participants will explore the plants and animals of the Arboretum and study their lifecycles and interactions. This program can be scheduled at any time of the year. (Suggested time: 1.5 or 2 hours)
- Effigy Mounds and Land History (3rd grade and up): Participants will learn about who has lived on the land, how land use has changed, and what we are doing today to preserve and honor the sacredness of the land. Late fall through spring is the best time of the year to schedule this program. We highly recommend not scheduling this in the summer. (Suggested time: 1.5 or 2 hours)
- Our Changing Ecosystems (middle school and up): Participants will learn how ecological restoration increases biodiversity in managed ecosystems and how climate change is playing a part in our restoration practices. This program can be scheduled at any time of the year. (Suggested time: 1.5 or 2 hours)
- Your Choice (all ages): Let us know the outdoor-related badge requirements, topics you wish to cover, or any special interests of your group. This program can be scheduled at any time of year. Additional fees may apply for customized programs. (Suggested time: 1.5 or 2 hours)
Cost: $34 per naturalist per hour. Group size will determine the number of naturalists required. See youth group pricing grid for more information.