Workshops

The Arboretum offers workshops all year round covering a wide variety of topics from birds to mushrooms to gardening to art. Virtual programs are offered live on Zoom, and recordings are made available for registrants to access for a limited time. Details on registration policies can be found on our Registration Information page.
View a complete list of The Arboretum's programs on our Workshop Descriptions page.

We are excited to be offering some of our programs in-person, once again. Please note that COVID procedures as applicable at the time of the workshop will be followed. The university's guidelines can be found at: https://www.uoguelph.ca/covid19/

Masks (medical grade or higher) are required to be worn at all programs while inside and outside of our buildings. Proof of vaccination is required to attend and University of Guelph screening must be completed the day you are attending the program.

The University of Guelph screening form to attend our workshops can be found at: https://uoguelph.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4Ntfm8k1oXAPssm. We will need to see the email you receive or a screenshot of the green checkmark.

Upcoming & Current Workshops



Virtual Bird Songs

collage of bird photos with text "Bird Sounds 8 courses for $8 each"

Weekdays - Monday, January 17 - Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 12 NOON - 1 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Chris Earley

Into birding but songs have you stumped? Join Chris Earley, Arboretum Interpretive Biologist and author of 5 bird field guides, for a series of eight virtual noon-hour lectures to cover over 150 bird species! We will focus on songs and some common, distinctive calls and will apply different methods to remember them. Each course will start with a short intro topic about birding by ear before we dive into the bird species. Learn how to make your own calls, read a sonogram, make up your own memorable bird song sayings and more! We will finish each class with a 10-15 minute discussion period so you can ask all your bird-related questions. The course is suitable for those new to learning bird sounds as well as the more experienced.

You can sign up for individual courses for $8 (plus tax) each or take all eight at the discounted cost of $56 (plus tax - that's eight courses for the price of seven!). See below to find out what bird groups are covered in each class. And don't worry - if you miss one or this time doesn't work for you, you will be sent recorded programs afterwards and will have access to them for a month after the whole series.  For those that take the whole course, we will also be making the videos available again for a couple of weeks in April so you can review them just before the peak of spring singing occurs!

Fee: $8 (plus HST) per person, per session or book all 8 in one transaction and get one free ($56 plus HST instead of $64 plus HST).


Saw Whet OwlDay 1 - Owls and Wetland Birds
Whooooooo was that? Owls always grab our nightly attention but many wetland birds are also evening singers. We will cover a selection of rails, coots, bitterns, loons, grebes and more. And don't forget a couple of glorious goatsuckers (whip-poor-wills and nighthawks)! This course will include teaching you how to speak "owl." $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

GrackleDay 2 - Blackbirds and Hawks
These two groups include some early migrants and now is the time we get to see them after a long absence! We will cover the whole blackbird family including meadowlarks, bobolinks and orioles. We will also study some raptor calls so you can figure out who might be flying through or maybe nesting in your local forest. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Black-throated Blue WarblerDay 3 - Phrasers and Buzzers
Knowing warbler song is a key element for finding these tiny trinkets of the treetops. The males will even sing during migration so knowing their voices is important. In this course we will start with the species that sing distinctive phrases or use a buzzy texture in their songs. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Pine WarblerDay 4 - Trillers and Thrillers
So, this time things might be a bit more, um, difficult. Trilling birds are tricky but we will go through them and study the differences in these similar songs. We will also cover some other warblers that are a bit more musical and easier to figure out! $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Savannah SparrowDay 5 - Sparrows
They may be a lot duller to look at than warblers but most sparrows are much better singers! Sometimes it is easier to tell them apart by song than by sight. We will study who says "Home Sweet, Canada, Canada, Canada", "I gotta go wee wee now!" and "Won't you come sit down besiiiiiide meeeee?" $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Rose-breasted GrosbeakDay 6 - Finches and Thrushes
Finches, including grosbeaks, redpolls and crossbills, can be sparrow-like but are even better songsters. But some of them sound the same so we will figure out ways to tell them apart. Their call notes can be important during bird surveys so we will cover some of them, too. Thrushes have lovely voices and one was once voted as the best singing bird in North America! Find out which one at this workshop. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Pileated WoodpeckerDay 7 - Woodpeckers and Flycatchers
Sometimes you have to know mechanical sounds to figure out a nearby territorial bird - woodpecker drumming is a prime example. They also make some distinctive calls. And speaking of distinctive, some flycatchers can only really be identified by their songs, not by sight! We will listen to these and get a handle on this confusing group. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

House WrenDay 8 - Wrens and Friends
We will finish off with a hodge podge of species such as wrens, vireos, jays, nuthatches, kinglets and more! Many of these live in forest habitats and could all be singing or calling at the same time so learning to differentiate them is an important skill. Are you ready for the challenge? $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)

Fee: $8 (plus HST) per person, per session or book all 8 and get one free ($56 instead of $64).

click here to register for a workshop
 


Virtual An Introduction to Tracking Ontario Mammals

animal track in snow

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 7 - 8 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Tamara Anderson

Who left that track in the snow? This introductory tracking workshop will help you identify differences in track patterns for some common mammals that live in Ontario.

Fee: $10 (plus HST) per person.


click here to register for a workshop


Owls: A Who's Whoo in Ontario

Owl Workshop

CANCELLED DUE TO COVID  
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM and 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Format: IN-PERSON
Instructor: 

Mask (medical grade or higher), proof of vaccination and screening required to attend this event.

Discover how to use your eyes and ears to identify Ontario's Owls. Through a wide variety of hands-on activities participants will learn about owl plumage, calls and behaviour, habitat requirements, migration patterns, and owl folklore. The day will be spent learning in the classroom. Registration also includes an outdoor Owl Prowl on The Arboretum grounds from 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

Check out this video of a past Owl Workshop.

Fee: $100 (plus HST) per person if booked before the early bird deadline of TBA, 2022. After the early bird deadline the fee is $110 (plus HST).

click here to register for a workshop


Ask the Arb

decorative collage for colour photos of a bird, a butterfly on a flower, plants in a nursery and a flowering tree.

Tuesdays, January 25 (11 - 11:45 AM) and February 22, 2022 11 AM - 12 NOON
Format:
Online
Instructors: Arboretum Staff

Bring your garden, nature, and wildlife related questions to our free one-hour live session on Zoom. Our horticultural and naturalist staff will be on-line to answer your questions.

FREE!

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Tracks, Signs and Scat

animal tracks in snow

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 7 - 8 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Tamara Anderson

Animals can sometimes be tricky to see but they are always leaving stories about their lives for us to find. In this tracking workshop, we will look at tracks, scat and sign for a variety of Ontario mammals. By looking at these clues, we can piece together mysteries that bring us closer in our connection with the wild beings of the meadows, forest and shorelines.

Fee: $10 (plus HST) per person.


click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Constellation "Walk"

colour image of stars in the night sky

Thursday, January 27, 2022, Thursday, February 24, 2022, Thursday March 31, 2022 
8:00 - 9:00 PM

Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Trevor Chandler

Learning the night sky is like getting to know a new neighborhood. At first, it may seem big and confusing, but as you strike out and become more and more familiar with prominent landmarks, the day comes when you realize that the neighborhood is no longer new. It’s home.

Join us for monthly sessions as we get to know the night sky a little better. Participants will be introduced to prominent stars and constellations, where to look for them and how the motions of planet Earth cause them to appear to shift from hour to hour and month to month. You will receive a downloadable star map to help you make your way through the stars. We’ll learn a half dozen or so constellations every month and you will be invited to discuss your observations with the group as we each get to know the neighborhood a little better. 

Fee: $10 (plus HST) per person, per session (evening).

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Owl Program

Owl Workshop

Friday, January 28, 2022, 7 - 8 PM
Format: Virtual
Instructor: Kyle Horner, Wild Ontario

Join Wild Ontario for an evening all about the incredible world of owls! We'll cover the specialized adaptations that make owls such spectacular nocturnal hunters, and learn about the 11 species of owls that call Ontario home. You'll get some useful tips and tricks for finding owls in the wild, and an introduction to Wild Ontario's feathered ambassadors!

Fee: $8 (plus HST) per person.

*Please note that this Friday evening session is included in the In-Person Owl Prowls listed below. If you are signed up for the In-Person Owl Prowl you do not need to sign up for the virtual session as well, as you will automoatically receive the link as part of your Owl Prowl registration.

click here to register for a workshop


Owl Prowl

Owl Prowl

Saturday, January 29, 2022 - ADULTS ONLY
Saturday, February 5, 2022 - FAMILIES (Adults also welcome)
7:00 - 8:30 PM

Format: *Hybrid of IN-PERSON (outside) and VIRTUAL for indoor portion
Instructor: Wild Ontario Staff

Mask (medical grade or higher), proof of vaccination and screening required to attend this event.

Learn about the behaviour and adaptations of owls in the Guelph area. The introduction to this program will take place on Zoom on Friday, January 28 at 7 PM*. Don't worry if you can't make the scheduled time as a recording will be sent out afterwards to all registrants.

Please dress warmly for the in-person portion as it is an outdoor event.

The Adults only program is for adults and teens aged 14+.  The Families program is open to everyone, however children must be accompanied by an adult. *Maximum 25 people.

Check out this video of a past Owl Workshop.

Fee: $12 (plus HST) per person, per session (evening). Please register at least one week in advance so we can be sure we have enough registrants to run the program.

*Please note that the Friday Virtual Session can be registered for separately if you do not wish to attend the in-person portion. If you wish to attend both you only need to register for the In-Person Owl Prowl, as the virtual session on Friday, January 28 is included in the fee for the In-Person Owl Prowl.

click here to register for a workshop


Snow in Watercolour

watercolour of snowy scene

Monday, January 31, 2022, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Candice Leyland

In this beginner friendly workshop, Candice will demonstrate a variety of techniques to capture snowy landscapes in watercolour. During the second half of the class, she will work with students step by step to create a simple snowy winter scene.

A supply list is provided upon in your confirmation. Please ensure you have the supplies on hand for the workshop.

Fee: $30 (plus HST) per person.

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Winter Tree I.D.

tip of tree branch in winter

Thursdays, February 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2022, 12 NOON - 1 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Shelley Hunt

No leaves? No problem! In this workshop you will learn about the variety of tree features that are useful for winter identification of deciduous trees as well as evergreens. From buds and leaf scars to bark and needles, we will take an in-depth look at the surprisingly distinctive characteristics that let us unlock the identities of trees in their dormant season. We will focus on native Ontario tree species. Optional 'homework' assignments will encourage you to get outside and observe trees in between sessions. The program runs once a week for 4 weeks.

Fee: $50 (plus HST) per person for the 4 session program.

click here to register for a workshop


In-Person Tracking 

Person measuring tracks in snow

Sunday, February 6, 2022, 9 AM - 12 NOON or 1 - 4 PM
Format: IN-PERSON
Instructor: Tamara Anderson

Mask (medical grade or higher), proof of vaccination and screening required to attend this event.

Come and learn about animal tracking in a hands-on workshop at the Guelph Arboretum. We will look for tracks, scat and signs for a variety of Ontario animals. Dress in layers to be outdoors. Wear comfortable, warm boots. Recommended: Bring a notebook and a measuring tape to help with track identification.

Fee: $50 (plus HST) per person if booked before the early bird deadline of Saturday, January 29, 2022. After the early bird deadline the fee is $60 (plus HST).


click here to register for a workshop

 


Virtual Wildlife Garden Design Course

decorative graphic of garden planning

Tuesday and Wednesday, February 8 and 9, 2022, 12 NOON - 1 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Cael Wishart

Learn how to design a diverse garden space that attracts native wildlife species through key design elements, plant choices and maintenance needs. This course will draw from concepts found in The Arboretum’s Gosling Wildlife Gardens, while also offering insight on design features and plant species that have proven to be successful in our local Ontario setting. From attracting endangered pollinators to gardening with native plants, participants discover the relationships between plants and wildlife and how these ideas can be applied to a backyard!

Fee: $30 (plus HST) per person.

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual My First Vegetable Garden

Robert Pavlis

Tuesdays, February 15, 22, March 1 and 8, 2022, 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Robert Pavlis

This course is designed for the new gardener or the gardener that has only been growing vegetables for a couple of years. We’ll start at the very beginning, with ordering seeds and end with a detailed discussion of the 10 best vegetables for new gardeners. Focus is on hardiness zones 4 – 6.

We’ll cover the following topics:
• Creating a new bed and different systems; in the ground, raised beds and growing in containers
• Best soil selection and how to get it ready for the growing season
• When to use seed vs transplants, and starting early indoors
• Dealing with weeds and other gardening tricks
• Watering, sun and fertilizer – keep them growing for a maximum yield
• Harvesting and fall crops
• Common vegetables myths

Robert is a Master Gardener and garden writer who publishes two popular gardening blogs and has published several gardening books. He owns and operates a private botanical garden where he grows over 3,000 different varieties of plants.

Fee: $40 (plus HST) per person. (This fee includes all 4 sessions.)

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Japanese Garden Design Course

Japanese Garden

Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 12 NOON - 1 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Cael Wishart

Japanese gardens have been an inspiration for centuries, influencing the creation of new gardens and landscapes both in Japan and in the West. In this introductory course to Japanese garden design, you will learn about the traditional techniques used to establish gardens of peace and Zen. These gardens require a high attention to detail, involving various techniques in pruning and shaping plants, the importance of viewpoints, wood preservation methods, as well as the unique applications of water and stone and how they connect to each other within the garden to create this compositional balance and harmony. Wherever your interest lie, in theory or in practice, this course is intended to help you appreciate and understand this unique tradition.

Fee: $20 (plus HST) per person.

click here to register for a workshop


Virtual Gardening Fundamentals

Robert Pavlis

Tuesdays, March 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2022, 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructor: Robert Pavlis

Garden Fundamentals will focus on ornamental gardens including trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and grasses. You will gain a good understanding of how these plants grow and their relationship with the soil. We’ll cover lots of practical topics such as planting, maintenance, plant selection, sun/shade requirements, and I’ll give you some of my top picks. This course is suitable for the beginner and intermediate gardener.

Week 1: Understanding soil
Week 2: Selecting the right soil for gardens, raised beds and containers
Week 3: Perennials
Week 4: Trees and shrubs
Week 5: Spring and summer bulbs
Week 6: Ornamental grasses and garden myths
Week 7: Weeds, pests and diseases

Robert is a Master Gardener and garden writer who publishes two popular gardening blogs and has published several gardening books. He owns and operates a private botanical garden where he grows over 3,000 different varieties of plants.

Fee: $10 (plus HST) per person, per session or sign up for all 7 and get one free ($60 instead of $70) Please note: You must sign up for all 7 at once in a single transaction to receive the discount.

click here to register for a workshop


The Art and Practice of Pruning

Pruning

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Format: IN-PERSON
Instructor: Polly Samland

Mask (medical grade or higher), proof of vaccination and screening required to attend this event.

This half-day indoor/outdoor practical workshop teaches the principles of easy and correct pruning in the home landscape. Participants learn how to choose the right equipment and how to keep it sharp and clean. Pruning techniques will be shown and practiced on a variety of shrubs and small trees.

Fee: $60 (plus HST) per person if booked before the early bird deadline of Monday, March 14, 2022. After the early bird deadline the fee is $70 (plus HST).

click here to register for a workshop


Seeing the Forest for the Trees - In-Person Walk at The Arboretum

Trembling Aspen

Thursday, March 24, 2022, 12:00 noon - 1:00 PM
Format: IN-PERSON
Instructor: Dr. Megan De Roover, Writer-in-Residence

Mask, proof of vaccination and screening required to attend this event.

Join us for a free public walk led by Dr. Megan De Roover, writer-in-residence affiliated with The Arboretum this year! She is conducting archival and on-site research for her new book "Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Trees as Participants in Theatre and Performance" (McGill-Queen’s University Press). Using a theatre and performance lens, her research monograph explores the relationships we already have with trees – in lived and mediated encounters – and how we can aim to build better ones. Participants will be pushed to reconsider the ubiquitous yet overlooked tree, and thereby the nonhuman world more generally, through new theoretical framework.

Fee: FREE

click here to register for a workshop

Nature Throughout the Seasons for International Students and New Canadians Series

aerial of Arboretum

Facilitated quarterly (12 noon - 1:00 PM)
Format:
Online via Zoom
Instructors: Kitty and Jenny Lin, Arboretum Interpretive Interns
Fee: FREE!
This online series is catered to University of Guelph international students and other community members new to Canada. New to the area? Come with us to explore The Arboretum and learn about what you can find in nature throughout the winter, spring, summer, and fall!
Visit the Nature Throughout the Seasons for International Students and New Canadians Series program page to learn more and register for upcoming dates.