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Wisconsin Tree Identification

Wisconsin Tree Identification

Dates: Sept. 19–Oct. 1, 2011 (2 weeks–online & field)
$50 (register)
Catherine L. Woodward, Ph.D., cwoodwar@wisc.edu
Credits: Non-credit: 2 CEU

UW–Madison Mazomanie Outreach Outpost

Identifying trees is easy and fun! Learn the native and common exotic tree species of the upper Midwest in just 6 online sessions and 2 enjoyable field trips in Wisconsin forests!

What distinguishes a sugar maple from a red maple? A spruce from a pine? If you're a high-school biology teacher, a natural resource professional, or just an amateur naturalist and you want to learn to identify native trees of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, this short course is perfect for you and may meet your continuing education goals or professional development requirements!

How the Class Works:

Designed to fit any schedule, the class consists of online lessons that you can do at any time during the week preceding each of two weekend field trips. Each field trip will be offered on two alternative dates – just pick the date that works best for you. The online lessons will help you learn the basics of tree ID and introduce you to the main groups of tree species (e.g. maples, oaks, etc.) that we will learn on the field trips.

Online lessons:

There are six online lessons total, three preceding each field trip, as detailed in the schedule below. Once you have registered and paid for the class, you may access the online lessons at any time after the course start date by logging in using the username and password assigned to you by your instructor. Download the syllabus for complete instructions and details on course requirements.  Access to a computer with a good internet connection, and basic computing and web browsing skills are needed for this course. Most public libraries have computers available for public use if you do not have your own.

Weekend Field Trips

There will be two weekend field trips to forest communities of southern Wisconsin. Each will be offered twice during the semester. Please let your instructor know which dates you select, from the options below:

Date/Time Location Where to Meet
Field Trip I

Sat., Sept. 24, 2011


UW-Madison Arboretum
McKay Center parking lot
Field Trip II

Sat., Oct. 1, 2011


St. Dunsten's conifer arboretum & Baxter's Hollow
St. Dunstan's Church parking lot, University Ave., Madison









You are responsible for your own transportation to field trip sites. The class email list can be used to plan ride-sharing. Please bring a bag lunch and water, and be prepared for walking in the field with proper footwear, long pants, rain gear and insect repellant.

Download the syllabus here!

How to Register

This course is a non-credit course. The cost of the course is $50. Teachers may obtain 2 CEUs for their professional development plans.  Send an email to Catherine Woodward, cwoodwar@wisc.edu, indicating that you would like to enroll in the class. You will be sent a link to an online registration form.

About the Instructor

Catherine Woodward received her Ph.D. in Botany in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has taught many courses at UW including Dendrology, Midwestern Ecological Issues, Vegetation of Wisconsin, and Rainforests and Reefs. She is commited to teacher education, and besides this course also offers courses in Rainforests and Reefs (online) and Ecological Field Methods. She also has led ecology study abroad programs in Ecuador since 1999. Her research focuses on the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity and ecological and evolutionary processes. Visit her website for more information or send an email to:


For more information, contact the instructor: Catherine L. Woodward, cwoodwar@wisc.edu   608-890-3701