The Society for Ethnobotany

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

Travel Information

Madison, Wisconsin is a wonderful location for a conference.  It is a mid-size city (est. > 245,000) that is fairly centrally located in the USA, large enough to have relatively easy access by air, but small enough that lodging is relatively economical.  It is an attractive city on an isthmus between lakes, surrounded by farmland.  The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large research university with folks studying many aspects of broad-sense ethnobiology/ethnobotany/economic botany, including archaeology of foodways; pastoralism; domestication and evolution of plants under human influence; food, medicinal, and other uses of plants in the past and present; horticulture and agronomy; nutrition; land use and vegetation change; environmental history, etc.

Conference venue:  The Memorial Union

The Memorial Union is the historic student union at UW-Madison, which has just completed several years of renovation.  The iconic chairs on the terrace overlooking the lake should not be missed.

Ease of access to Madison, Wisconsin, USA: 

Air travel:  The MSN (Dane County) airport is 5.4 miles from the conference venue (15 minutes by car, 45-50 minutes by public transportation).  It is not a major hub itself, but MSN airport connects to many other hub cities (i.e.,  Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Washington DC.; see

While investigating connecting flights, attendees might want to compare with fights to Chicago – O’Hare Airport (ORD).  Some flights are sometimes enough lower in price to Chicago (ORD) that it is less expensive to fly to ORD and then take the Van Galder bus to Madison (currently $60 round trip between Madison and O’Hare airport; ).  The Van Galder bus leaves from ORD toward Madison every hour to 1.5 hours between 6:30 am and 11:00 pm.  The bus trip takes only 3 hours and brings you directly to a stop across the street from the conference venue.

Ground travel:  Train travel has a lower carbon footprint than flying, and although there is not train service directly to Madison, an alternative route on the Van Galder bus goes to Union Station in downtown Chicago.  That allows those who prefer not to fly to reach Madison by taking a train to Chicago ( and then a bus to Madison.   Just don’t expect the Amtrak trains to run on time, as they are often quite late.  There are also different bus lines that reach Madison from Milwaukee and Minneapolis.