Winter Enrichment Lecture Series begins January 13


Naturalists, environmental educators and the general public are invited to attend a series of environmentally themed lectures held each Thursday morning at the Arboretum Visitor Center.

Lectures begin on January 13 and continue through March 17, meeting Thursday mornings from 9-11:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center auditorium.

There is a break at mid-morning for refreshments, socializing and phenology reports. Each presentation includes some time for questions and answers.

You may register and pay for the complete series by downloading a brochure and mailing your payment to the Arboretum. Download a registration form. Or you can pay for the series online here. Or you may pay for an individual lecture by following the links below.

The schedule is as follows:

January 13 “Searching for Systems: Tools for Integrating Systems Thinking into Your Programs.” Dr. Christine Kelly, Coordinator of the Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education (MRCSE)

Have you ever thought about how you are connected to the water in the nearby pond? Do you reflect on the systems that made your dinner? Sudden thunderstorms, unexplained traffic jams, ants finding food, sudden social change on a global scale—these are all examples of complex systems. We live in a complex world—one that is interwoven and interdependent. We define a complex system is any perceived whole whose elements ‘hang together’ because they continually affect each other over time in such a way that we cannot predict their behavior. Complex systems and systems thinking have a lot to offer the modern environmental and sustainability education fields. If we are educating our children to become globalitizens, then they must be able to search for systems. This workshop will begin your journey to develop systems thinking tools. Our goal, using hands-on activities, will be to explore the question “How would you live, learn and teach differently in this world if you were a systems thinker?” Register and pay for this lecture.

January 20 “A Man Called Baraboo: The Life of a Voyageur in 18th-Century Wisconsin.” Author M. Richard Tulley

Tulley will appear in period dress to discuss the clothing, tools, and lifeways of the French Canadian voyageurs that frequented Wisconsin more than 250 years ago. Register and pay for this lecture.

January 27 “Lost Ladybug Project.” Scott Perez, tribal liaison for the Lost Ladybug Project and vice president of Ecological Dimensions Consulting

We will cover the background and basic goals of the project. We will then have some hands on experience with the educational material and discuss ways to adapt the program for any group. Register and pay for this lecture.

February 3 “Science Day – 2010 Research at the Arboretum.” Brad Herrick, Dr. Joy Zedler, and Student Researchers

Eleventh Annual Science Day. University of Wisconsin graduate and undergraduate students will present their findings from research projects conducted at the Arboretum and surrounding lands. Topics include plant-pollinator interactions, invasion of stormwater wetlands by cattails and a savanna restoration plan in Spring Green. Register and pay for this lecture.

February 10 “Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Environment” Nancy Langston, Professor, forest and wildlife ecology, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Langston will explore why our environment has become saturated with synthetic chemicals that disrupt hormones,and asks what we can do to protect human and environmental health. Since World War II, these chemicals have penetrated into every aspect of our bodies and ecosystems, yet our government has largely failed to regulate them. Toxic Bodies argues that the industry and the federal government knew as early as the 1940s that these chemicals caused cancer and disrupted sexual development. Yet they were approved by regulatory agencies and widely marketed to producers and consumers. Toxic Bodies explores how scientific uncertainty has been manipulated to delay regulation, and shows how we can use history to make better policy. Register and pay for this lecture.

February 17 “Art and the Environment.” Jill Sebastian, professor at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design faculty.

The Arboretum has been the inspiration for two major works of public art Sebastian is creating for the University of Wisconsin New South Campus Union. She will offer intimate previews and insights into the creation of the video and etched glass developed for the main entrance and of the 32 foot long bronze ever burning but never consumed Prairie Fireplace. Jill Sebastian’s sculpture and installations have been exhibited internationally, in New York and across the United States in museums and galleries. Among her major public works are several in Madison including a mosaic for UW Biotechnology and Philosophers’ Stones for State Street. Sebastian has been a professor at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design faculty since 1989. Register and pay for this lecture.

February 24 “An Overview of Long-term Changes in Wisconsin Forests.” Professor Don Waller and Dr. Sarah Johnson

Learn about long-term changes in Wisconsin forests (species-specific changes as well as trait-based changes in plant communities) followed by a discussion of Southern Wisconsin’s floodplain and bottomland hardwood swamp forests. Not many people spend much time in these lowland forest habitats, so photos of the types of plants you find there will be a treat, along with a discussion of the influence of
natural and anthropogenic disturbances on these plant communities over the past 55 years. Register and pay for this lecture.

March 3 “Understanding Air Quality and Climate Change.” Dr. Tracey Holloway, director of the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE).

With climate change in the news, tighter air quality standards from the EPA, and an average “D” rating for Madison air pollution from the American Lung Association, its hard to keep up with the science and policy of air emissions. Professor Holloway will introduce key concepts and bring us up-to-date on air pollution and climate, with lots of time for questions and discussion on these major environmental issues. Holloway’s research and teaching examines air pollution chemistry and transport at regional and global scales, including links between air quality and climate, energy, land use, health, and public policy. Register and pay for this lecture.

March 10 “Butterflies of Wisconsin.” Butterfly enthusiast and photographer Ann Thering

Thering will guide us through identification and natural history of many of the 150+ species of butterflies in Wisconsin. Register and pay for this lecture.

March 17 “Recent Developments in Wisconsin Archaeology.” John Broihahn, archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society

Broihahn will discuss recent develops in Wisconsin archaeology and the challenges and opportunities facing cultural resource management in the 21st century. He works as an archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society and focuses on the preservation of important historic places throughout the state. Register and pay for this lecture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Winter Enrichment at the Arboretum

How much does it cost? The 10 lectures series is $50. You can also register for individual lectures ($5 each) at, or in person on the day of the program if space permits.

How do I register? If registering for all events, you must download the registration form and send it in. If you are registering for individual events, you can do that online. Individual Registration

Who may attend? The series is designed for Madison-area naturalists, people involved in environmental education programs, UW students and staff, and Arboretum volunteers and supporters. Others are welcome on a space-available basis.

Where is the Visitor Center? The Arboretum has two entrances: Seminole Highway just north of the West Beltline, or South Mills Street at North Wingra Drive. Either one leads to the same main parking lot. For more information, please see, or call 608-263-7888. Please note that “1207 Seminole Highway” is the mailing address, not the physical location of the Visitor Center building.

Will you cancel if the weather is bad? We might. In case of severe weather the morning of a lecture, call 608-263-7888 to access a
recording about the status of the day’s program.

Is there enough parking? We have a generous parking lot, but large events can push it to its capacity, especially in winter. We encourage carpooling.

Should I still bring my own coffee cup? Yes, if you can—we are trying not to use disposables. A small fee will be assessed if you need a paper cup.

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.