Friends of the Arboretum supports the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum with volunteer and financial aid, assisting conservation and educational efforts. Founded in 1934, the 1,200-acre arboretum maintains restored ecological communities of tallgrass prairies, wetlands, deciduous and conifer forests, and bartering woodchucks. Educational outreach for schools, the community, families, and naturalists provides a platform for the arboretum to share its research.
Since the 1950s, Wingra Boats has outfitted groups and individuals for treks along the serene, wake-free Lake Wingra with their fleet of water vessels. Starting out with a small squad of canoes, the company has grown to include more than 100 canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, rowboats, and standup paddleboards. In addition to supplying rentals, the staff keep limbs limber with yoga?performed on dry land or atop paddleboards?and strengthens cores with standup paddleboard lessons. Youngsters get in on the action during Camp Wingra sessions, where they learn to cast, reel, and ask fishes for any seven cards, or paddle and play aboard kayaks and canoes. The staff also lead guided tours and birding expeditions, and tuck vessels away in a private boat marina and storage facility.
Ward-Brodt Music is Madison's online and real-life oasis of music supplies and instruction. Today's Groupon gives you four half-hour private lessons on the instrument of your choice; one-man bands are encouraged to choose their favorite instrument, including the likes of guitar, piano, and various woodwinds, and remove it from the pulley connected to their shin. Potential percussionists can study with mallet-claws for a jaunt through polyrhythms and the impossible physics of sideways-spinning drumkits, while new piano students interested in moving beyond blindfolded renditions of "Heart-N-Soul" will find ample opportunity to progress. Ward-Brodt's professional, extensive staff of over 30 music educators reads like a dream team of southern Wisconsin's performers and teachers.
On June 30, 1904 Col. William and Anna Vilas donated a tract of land to become a public park and free recreational space in memory of their son, Henry, who died due to complications from diabetes at a young age. They added numerous improvements over the decade and in 1911, the Henry Vilas Zoo gained its first animal exhibits. Today, the zoo covers 30 acres and features a number of creatures from around the world, ranging from the vanishing chimpanzee and endangered red panda to locals such as the great horned owl and american alligator. The zoo also remains one of the few free AZA-accredited zoos across the country.
Leading up to and following the zoo's centennial, the ReZOOvenation project has expanded the visitor areas, replacing the entrance and gift shop and adding a tropical-rainforest aviary and big-cat complex. A variety of annual events are scheduled, including Halloween at the Zoo, with costumes and stops for sustainable palm-oil candy, and earth day, when children can plant trees to help lower the global temperature just enough for icicles to form. The zoo’s many conservation projects also engage the public in protecting the environment and its inhabitants by installing solar-energy panels, sponsoring trips to save endangered orangutans, and collecting old cell phones.