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/
Upcoming & Current Workshops
Virtual Bird ID
Wednesdays and Fridays, November 22, 24, 29, December 1, 6, 8, 13, and 15, 2023
12 Noon - 1 PM
Format: Online on zoom
Instructor: Chris Earley
Why not take your birding to the next level? Join Chris Earley, Arboretum Interpretive Biologist and author of 5 bird field guides, for a series of eight virtual noon-hour lectures on eight different bird groups. ID techniques, field marks, shapes, behaviour clues and more will all be covered. Each course will finish with a 10 - 15 minute discussion period so you can ask all your bird-related questions. 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! Bird groups covered include: Hawks, Ducks, Sparrows, Sandpipers, Gulls, Spring Warblers, Fall Warblers and Spring Migrants.
This fund-raising initiative will help support other Arboretum educational programs. Fee: $8.00 + H.S.T. / session or register for all 8 at once and pay for only 7 (ie. $56 for all 8 instead of $64 ... you must sign up for all of them at once in a single transaction; not at different times). This event will take place on Zoom. The list of topics with the presentation date is listed below.
Hawks - Wednesday, November 22, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
Everyone loves raptors but they can be a bit challenging as they fly by overhead. We will be covering what to look for to ID our 16 regular species. A special emphasis will be learning how to tell Cooper's Hawks from Sharp-shinned Hawks as they are common backyard predators that can be confusing! $8.00 (plus HSAT) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Ducks - Friday, November 24, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
This colourful group of waterfowl is full of interesting shapes, patterns and lifestyles. And, while the males are usually pretty straightforward to identify, the females can be quite challenging! We will dabble with dabblers and dive into divers in this web-footed workshop. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Sparrows - Wednesday, November 29, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
"Uh oh, a sparrow!" If this statement has ever left your lips, then this talk is for you! They may seem drab and dull at first, but these LBJs (little brown jobs) really aren't that hard once you know what to look for. And since there are different species depending on the season, they are really worth knowing! $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Sandpipers - Friday, December 1, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
There's nothing like looking at a bird that is standing right out in the open and still not being able to identify it. Sandpipers definitely fall into this category. We will cover beak and body shape, leg and neck length, colour placement and behaviour so you will have a better chance to id that shorebird the next time you see it. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Gulls - Wednesday, December 6, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
Did you know that southern Ontario (and specifically the Niagara River) is often considered the Gull Capital of the World? In late fall/early winter, we can find many species of gull in this region, so it is time to get to know our french fry-loving friends. We will focus on adults but also cover some immature stages to try and get a handle on this interesting group of birds. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Spring Warblers - Friday, December 8, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
Mention the words "spring warblers" to birders in the depths of February and you'll see longing, wistful looks on their faces. That's because spring warblers rock! And southern Ontario in spring is an amazing place to see over 30 species of these colourful little rays of sunshine. But this abundance of species does mean a lot to remember, so we will be covering ways to help with that. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Fall Warblers - Wednesday, December 13, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
While "spring warblers" will bring a smile to a birder's face, "fall warblers" might turn that smile upside down. This bird group is especially tricky during their fall migration when some species transform miraculously into seemingly different birds altogether! But don't worry, we will get them sorted out. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Spring Migrants - Friday, December 15, 12 NOON - 1:00 PM
This hodge podge of bird groups makes May migration a special time for nature lovers. We will cover some easy to id species (male Baltimore Oriole!) and some not-so-easy ones (ack, a little greenish flycatcher!) to help you be prepared for next spring. $8.00 (plus tax) per session or register for all 8 for $56.00 (plus tax)
Click below to select the bird id course(s) you want.
Virtual Winter Tree I.D.
Wednesdays, January 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2024
7 - 8 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.
* Please note that we are also going to be offering an in-person Winter Tree I.D. course in February, 2024. Details and registration will come soon. You can sign up for one or both ... the virtual or in-person program. They will be 2 independent programs.
Virtual Wildlife Garden Design Course
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
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: $15 (plus HST) per person.
In-Person Animal Tracking
Saturday, February 24, 2024
9 AM - 4 PM
Instructor: Tamara Anderson
Have you ever wondered what made those marks in the snow? In this full day program we will be learning how to track animals. We will be studying the tracks and signs of Ontario mammals and other types of wildlife. By the end of the day you will learn to identify and interpret animal tracks by looking at track patterns and gait analysis. The workshop will also include an introduction to scat identification. There is an outdoor component that will have us looking for and following animal tracks and trails. Please dress in layers to be outdoors and wear comfortable, warm boots. Recommended: Bring a notebook and a measuring tape to help with track identification.
The Arboretum Mammal booklet is included in the registration fee.
Fee: $97 (plus HST) per person if you register by the early bird deadline of February 16, 2024. After February 16 the fee is $107 plus HST.
Saturday, April 20, 2024
1 - 4 PM
Instructor: Don Scallen
Ponds teem with a diversity of organisms that conduct their lives largely unseen below the surface. This workshop will kick off with a slide show that will dive beneath the surface to reveal some of these fascinating creatures including frogs, fairy shrimp and salamanders. The importance of vernal pools will be highlighted. These temporary ponds are crucial to the reproductive success of various creatures including wood frogs, fairy shrimp and spotted salamanders.
A variety of live pond animals will be on hand as well. The outdoor investigation will follow. We’ll visit both permanent and vernal ponds found at the Arboretum, equipped with dip nets. We’ll catch and identify organisms, discuss their unique ecologies, and then release them back into their watery worlds. Each participant that attends the workshop will receive a copy of our Pond Life Biodiversity Identification Sheet.
Fee: $64 (plus HST) per person, per session if booked prior to the early bird deadline of April 12, 2024. After the early bird date the fee is $74 plus HST per person.
REGISTRATION COMING SOON.
Nature Throughout the Seasons for International Students and New Canadians Series
Facilitated quarterly (12 NOON - 1:00 PM)
Format: Online via Zoom
Instructors: Arboretum Interpretive Interns
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. Please note that at this time this program is being offered to special group instead of as a public program. If you are part of a group that is interersted please contact us for further information.