Winter Class Series 2022

Although fall lingers in the Garden, I am looking toward the winter as a time of planning for the future. Like every gardener, I am making plans for the next season, but I am also contemplating who should be at the heart of our garden for many years beyond.

In January and February, the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden’s Winter Class Series will be just the thing to keep me thinking about these questions. Its theme this year is “Gardening through the Ages”, and there will be plenty to learn—from the agricultural practices of the Indigenous peoples of Teejop (Madison) to ways to engage our youngest gardeners with citizen science. Experts from UW-Madison and beyond will share what they know to help all of us think more carefully about the ways the past informs the future of the people and plants in our gardens.

You’ll find descriptions of all of these wonderful learning opportunities below. I hope you will join us for one or all!


Winter Class Series 2022

Winter classes are Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m on Zoom. They are $10 each and free for members of the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden. Click on the date or title for more information and to register for each.
Please email if you need help with the discount code.

January 22, 2022 – Indigenous Foodways
Speaker: Dan Cornelius, Outreach Specialist, Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center, UW Madison Law School

“Indigenous Foodways” grows out of Cornelius’s work with the Intertribal Agricultural Council to bring a diverse array of historic seeds back to indigenous communities, to reconnect with the land through what we eat. Since 2019 cross campus collaborations have resulted in the establishment of an Indigenous Research Garden and sugarbush at the Arboretum. These collaborations are part of a larger effort to better incorporate indigenous perspectives and practices into the campus landscape and course curriculum. His focus is the relationship between the land and indigenous peoples prior to European colonization.

January 29, 2022 – Growing Hope: The Local and Global Youth Garden Movement
Speaker: Nathan Larson, Senior Outreach Specialist, Planning and Landscape Architecture Department, UW-Madison

In school and youth gardens throughout Madison, and around the world, young people are growing connections to food, nature, and community. Join us to learn about this growing local and global movement, and to hear inspiring stories about how young people are caring for the land while building enduring bonds with the plants and animals they tend in the garden.

February 5, 2022 – Monitoring Wildlife in Your Garden for Citizen Science
Speakers: Julia Whidden & Nancy Sheehan, Citizen Science Coordinators, UW-Madison Arboretum

About the Presentation: Join Julia Whidden and Nancy Sheehan from the UW-Madison Arboretum to learn about citizen science and how to monitor wildlife in your garden for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) and Journey North. Both programs rely on citizen scientists to collect data that advances our understanding of the distribution, abundance, and migration of a variety of insect and bird species, including monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and more. Contribute to MLMP by monitoring your garden for monarch larva and milkweed, and report sightings of migratory species to Journey North.

February 19, 2022 – Crops to Conservancy: A Family Farm Legacy
Speaker: Amy Jo Dusick, Park Administrator, Schumacher Farm Park

About the Presentation: Schumacher Farm Park in Waunakee, Wisconsin is a turn-of-the-century farm that has transitioned into a passive recreation park with heritage gardens and five acres of restored prairie. This talk will discuss a little about the transition process, how the park vision drove garden design and management of the 30-year-old prairie restoration.

February 26, 2022 – Soil Organic Matter and Healthy Soils
Speaker: Thea Whitman, Associate Professor, Soil Science Department, UW Madison

About the Presentation: You may have heard a lot about soil health and soil organic matter. What are these two concepts, and how are they connected? Thea will discuss what soil organic matter is, the factors that determine whether the amount of organic matter in soil grows or diminishes, and the co-benefits of soil organic matter with respect to soil health. She will also discuss one specific form of soil organic matter – biochar – a brief overview of its history and its use as a soil amendment.