The Society for Ethnobotany

Fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people.

Field Sessions

Due to low registration, the Sunday Fermentation and Arboretum tours are cancelled. Please join the Sunday Azalan Tour or the Thursday Ginseng Tour.

Contact Johanne Stogran [] if you were already registered and need to switch your field trip registration.


(prices for each trip are yet to be determined and will be posted shortly)

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

Half-day Sunday afternoon (buses depart 1:00 PM)

Widely recognized as the site of historic research in ecological restoration, the Arboretum includes the oldest and most varied collection of restored ecological communities in the world. This field trip will take about 2-3 hours. The Curtis Prairie is the oldest prairie restoration in the world will make this visit particularly unique.

Fermentation Tour

3/4-day Sunday (buses depart 8:00 AM)
David Spooner, Tour Leader, USDA ARS; Dept. Horticulture, UW-Madison

Wisconsin is recognized world-wide for its production of both cheese and beer. This field session will depart Madison around 9am to visit Roth Cheese, a family of cheesemakers crafting award-winning specialty cheese for more than 150 years. It will also include lunch in the Swiss colony of Monroe at Baumgartners Famous Cheese Store and Tavern (the oldest cheese shop in Wisconsin), then finishing with a visit to the Capital Brewery in Middleton for a beer tasting and brewery tour.

Late Woodland and Mississippian Archaeology at Aztalan

Half-day Sunday morning (buses depart 8:00 AM)
Sissel Schroeder, Tour Leader, Chair, Anthropology Department

This tour will travel to the National Historic Landmark Mississippian mound center called Aztalan, about 40 minutes east of Madison. Sissel Schroeder (UW-Madison) has conducted multiple seasons of excavations at the site and will provide an insider walking tour of this enigmatic northern outpost of Cahokia. This fortified town-and-mound center was established between AD 1050 and 1100 when migrants from western Illinois joined Late Woodland settlers on the west bank of the Crawfish River. By AD 1250, the site was abandoned and not reoccupied until Anglo-Americans arrived in the early 19th century.

A Force of Nature: Native Peoples and the Making of the South Central Wisconsin Landscape

Full-day Thursday (buses depart 8:00 AM)
William Gustav Gartner, Trip Leader, Department of Geography, UW-Madison

Native peoples, such as the Ho Chunk Nation, have long called south central Wisconsin home. The ancestors of Ho Chunk, and other native peoples, also played an important role in in shaping land and life here, from the time of the receding Late Quaternary ice sheets to Euro-American settlement of the area in the mid-19th century. This tour will highlight the roles of nature and culture in shaping the surprisingly diverse ecosystems of south central Wisconsin, including prairies, oak openings, closed-canopy deciduous forests, mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, riparian forests, and wetlands. Native peoples used hundreds of plants from these communities for food, fiber, medicine, and myriad other uses. Archaeological and paleoecological evidence suggests that native peoples have actively managed their botanical resources since mid-Holocene times, primarily through planting, tending, selective tree felling, and burning. We will also see Pre-Columbian components of the built landscape in south central Wisconsin such as effigy mounds (ca 700-1050 AD) and relict agricultural fields. As we will see, native peoples were the original organic and sustainable agriculturalists in Wisconsin, practicing sophisticated raised field agriculture in marginal environments by 1000 AD. This session will make multiple stops from the bus including the scenic overview of Lake Mendota, effigy mounds, Natural Bridges State Park and a short forest kike, Hulburt Creek Raised Fields, and more.

Ginseng Cultivation and Use
Full-day Thursday (buses depart 8:00 AM)

Trish Flaster, Trip leader, Executive Director, Botanical Liaisons, LLC

A trip to Wausau, WI, led by industry veterans Paul and Will Hsu from Hsu’s Ginseng, leaders in the field of American ginseng. Paul is a pioneer and holder of medicinal use knowledge and all things ginseng. We will observe ginseng cultivation and stop to see ginseng in the wild, a Chinese food lunch stop with ginseng foods on the menu, and a final visit to a ginseng beverage company for some tasting.