Upcoming events

    • June 02, 2017
    • October 27, 2017
    • 11 sessions
    • Various Places and Times
    • 20

    PLATO charges a $10 fee for most walks.  We normally use a guide who is a member of the associated friends group.  PLATO then will pass this registration fee onto the friends group as a way of saying thanks.

    Tentative Walk Schedule

    1. May 5, morning:  Wilkie Gorge
    2. May 17, morning: Lake Farm Park - Before Annual Mtg
    3. June 2, morning: Pheasant Branch Conservancy
    4. June 12, morning: Lodi Marsh SNA
    5. June 30, Donald County Park
    6. July 12, evening: Lake Shore Preserve
    7. July 25, morning: Pope Farm Conservancy
    8. Aug. 14, morning: Cherokee Marsh
    9. August 30, morning: Cam-rock County Park 
    10. Sept. 13, morning: Bascom Hill & Memorial Union
    11. Sept. 29, morning: Indian Lake County Park
    12. Oct 10, TBA: Camp Randall
    13. Oct. 27, evening: Forest Hills Cemetary

    What to Expect on the Walks

    In general:

    • We are looking at parks and trails within Dane County.
    • The length of the walk will be upwards of 3 + miles, depending on terraine.
    • The walks will take 2 to 3 hours and may include a suggestion for lunch.  
    • The pace is meant to be appropriate for folks of retirement age who normally are not climbing hillsides and valleys as part of their normal exercise routines.
    • The description of the walks will include information that will help you assess the likelihood that you are up to the challenges of the walk.  There will be three factors mentioned:
    1. length of walk
    2. the quality of the path
    3. the elevation changes along the path

    Highlights of the Walk

    Most of the walks we've chosen this year will follow one of two themes:

    • The walk will feature terrain that has been shaped by the recent glaciers.  This may mean that the walk includes some hillside walking
    • The walk includes areas where archeological research indicates the life of PaleoIndians - dating, perhaps, as far back as 10,000 BC.
    • We will attempt to find a leader who is well informed about some aspect of the trail and we will allow time for this story to be told. 

    Driving and Parking Instructions

    • Information about driving and parking will be sent the week of the walk.
    • I will provide a google map that allows you to enter your starting location and provides detailed instructions on how to arrive at the trailhead.

    What to bring along on the walks.

      Things to bring and wear:

    • sunscreen
    • hat (perhaps an umbrella for the sun)
    • walking shoes
    • bottle of water or sports drink
    • perhaps long sleeve shirt and full length pants 

    About Ticks 

    I thought you might be interested in the following articles on how to reduce the risk of tick problems during our walks.  





    • June 30, 2017
    • 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
    • State Highway 92 Mt. Horeb, WI 53572
    • 2

    Park Description:

    Donald County Park is a 775-acre park located southeast of Mt. Horeb off Highway 92, just west of Mt. Vernon. The park contains oak woods, intriguing rock outcroppings with scenic vistas and springs. The park is also known for its hiking & equestrian trails and three trout streams; Deer Creek, Frye Feeder and Mt. Vernon Creek.

    What to expect on the walk:

    • Created through the joint efforts of Dane County Parks, The Friends of Donald County Park, community volunteers and willing land owners the trails are well-marked and groomed hiking, multi-use and interpretive  trails.

    Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

    Driving and Parking Information.Direction:

    Donald County Park is located in Dane County just 15 miles southwest of Madison. It is situated south of Highway 92 between Mount Horeb and Mount Vernon.

    Lunch following walk:

    Take part in a Wisconsin tradition—lunch in a tiny town Wisconsin tavern.  Marcine’s, in Mt. Vernon, just two miles down the road from Donald Park is unimpressive, even downright off-putting from the outside and the interior isn’t all that much better.  But the food makes this place fill up with local workers at lunch and families at dinner with daily specials in generous servings at reasonable prices. 

    Additional Information:

    • PLATO charges a $10 fee for each walk.  We normally use a guide who is a member of the associated friends group.  PLATO then will pass this registration fee onto the friends group as a way of saying thanks.
    Please visit the Friends of Donald Park website for more park information.
    • July 12, 2017
    • 6:15 PM - 8:30 PM
    • 610 Walnut St, Madison, WI 53726 Cross Streets: Near the intersection of Walnut St and Linden Dr
    • 17

    This walk will include a number of trails as we discover Frautschi Point and rediscover Picnic Point.  We will be lead by two knowledgeable guides who will inform us about the native American and early European use of the land as well as the geology, watershed as we walk along Lake Mendota shoreline and adjoining woodland.

    What to Expect on the Walk

    Quality of the Path/Walk

    Length of Walk

    The walk will be about a 3 mile walk.  The walk will take about 2.5 hours.  The length of the walk and the time it takes to complete the walk will depend on the informational stops we make along the way. 

    Hill Rating

    On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very  steep, the trails are rated 2.5.  On a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 represents very difficult footing, the trails we will follow are rated a 2.0.

    Walk Difficulty

    A three mile walk along a several trails along mixed hilly and flat terraine.  There will be opportunities to shorten or lengthen the path, depending on group interests and abilities.

    Handicap Accessibility?

    The trails are not particularly handicap accessible.  They may be manageable with someone to assist you.  Please call me at 608 257-9164 to further evaluate the trails


    Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

    Driving and Parking Information will be emailed the week of the walk.

    Highlights of the Walk

    Native Americans and the Preserve

    For more than 12,000 years, Native peoples have lived on the land that is today the UW-Madison campus. Evidence of this long human occupation is inscribed all across the campus landscape. Earthen burial mounds, including unique effigy forms constructed over 1000 years ago, can be visited in several parts of the Preserve. Learn about the more than 40 archaeological sites across campus.


    In the Madison of 50,000 years ago, the Yahara River flowed sweetly at the bottom of a steep river valley perhaps as much as 600 feet deep. Resilient sandstone layers formed extensive ledges and spring fed streams issued from limestone caves to cascade to the river far below. Incredibly, a natural event of unimaginable scale literally wiped this entire ecosystem from the face of the Earth—glaciers.

     geology map of Dane County


    Hydrology and hydrologic process within and around the Preserve greatly influence the quality and health of its diverse biotic communities. Additionally, the Willow Creek Watershed—which is much larger than most people realize—has a substantial impact on the quality of water in Willow Creek and University Bay.

     Willow Creek watershed map


    Prairies are grasslands dominated by native grasses associated with a diverse assemblage of flowering herbaceous plants known as forbs. UW-Madison's Biocore Program has been carrying out tallgrass prairie restoration in the Preserve in the field between Picnic Point and the Eagle Heights Community Gardens since 1997.

     prescribed fire in Biocore Prairie


    Wetlands have water at or just above the surface of the soil for much if not all of the year. Known for a distinctive set of plants, wetlands support a wide variety of animals, and provide essential services such as flood and stormwater abatement and water quality management. The Preserve has two major natural wetlands—Picnic Point Marsh and University Bay Marsh—as well as a wetland restoration, the Class of 1918 Marsh.

     sandhill cranes in Class of 1918 Marsh


    The Woods in the Preserve typify the broadleaf forest common to relatively moist, upland sites in southern Wisconsin. You'll find a common set of tree species occupying the overstory throughout the woods, but the relative abundance of each varies with slope and aspect (the direction the slope faces). Common species include Bur oak, White oak, Northern red oak, Shagbark hickory, Slippery elm, Hackberry, White ash, Black cherry and Basswood.

    $10 Fee and Honorariaum

    PLATO charges a $10 fee for each walk.  We normally use a guide who is a member of the associated friends group.  PLATO then will pass this registration fee onto the friends group as a way of saying thanks.








    Indian Lake County Park, east lot 8183 Hwy 19 
    Cross Plains, WI 53528 United States 
    + Google Map


    • September 13, 2017
    • 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
    • Registration will begin July 15, 2017 . . . Meet at the Campus and Community Information Desk in the West Wing of Memorial Union located at 800 Langdon St
    • 25
    Registration is closed

    Join us as we walk through State and University history.  We will start and end at the newly renovated Memorial Union, climb Bascom Hill as we hear stories of the original UW Campus, pause at the Lincoln Statue and stop in front of the unique Carillon Tower which is currently under reconstruction.  We will return to the Memorial Union for a tour of the new renovations.  For those willing to continue, Mike will lead us on a brief tour of the Red Gym.  

    Highlights of the Walk

     9:50 am  Meet our docent at the Memorial Union

    10:00 am  Start our walk up historic Bascom Hill

    10:30 am  Stop in front of the Lincoln Statue and again across from the  Carillon Tower.  Head down Bascom Hill.

    11:00 am  Start Tour of the renovated Memorial Union

    11:45 am  Optional tour of the Red Gym

    12:00 pm  Tour ends with lunch on your own.

    Restaurants: The walk will terminate at the newly renovated Memorial Union, having added a few new lunch locations. There are many options for lunch two blocks away on State Street.

    Meeting Location and Parking

    Meeting:  We will meet at the Campus and Community Information Desk in the West Wing of Memorial Union located at 800 Langdon St., (608) 265-3000.  

    Bus Drop-off and Pick-up :  Bus Drop-off and Pick-up for the Memorial Union is available at the end of Park Street in the circle and between Helen C. White Parking Garage.

    Nearby Car Parking:  the following parking areas allow metered or gated public parking:

    • City parking ramp located State and Lake or accessed by University Ave. or 430 N. Frances St, accessed from the Frances St. side
    • UW Parking near Memorial Union:  Helen C. White Garage (Lot 6), Grainger Hall Garage (Lot 7),  and The Fluno Center Garage (Lot 83).

    What to Expect on the Walk

    Quality of the Path/Walk: The path is well maintained cement pavement.

    Hill Rating: Strenuous Hill Climb as we climb both up and down the slope.

    Handicap Accessibility? Yes, but the hill climb is strenuous as we travel both up and down the hill. Building access is adapted to handicap accessibility.

    If you have questions contact Mike Di Iorio @ 608 257-9164 or mdiiorio@tds.net.  If you need to cancel the morning of the walk or will be late, please contact Mike on his cell phone: 608 520-4448.


    A few photos of the buildings that we will hear about and see on our tour:








Past events

June 12, 2017 A Walk in Lodi Marsh State Wildlife Area
June 02, 2017 Walk Pheasant Branch Conservancy
May 17, 2017 Walk Lake Farm Park - Prior to Annual Meeting
May 05, 2017 Walk Wilkie Gorge of the Cross Plains National Scientific Reserve
April 21, 2017 Global Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy in the Trump Administration
March 30, 2017 Campus Tour: Institutes of Discovery and Geology Museum
March 10, 2017 Global Hotspots: International Implications of Brexit in the EU and around the World
February 15, 2017 PLATO Spring Course Preview
February 10, 2017 Global Hotspots: "Is Civic Culture Dead? A Comparative Analysis of the United States, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil"
February 03, 2017 The use of Immunotherapy & Stem Cell Transplant Therapies to Treat Cancer
January 23, 2017 Long Term Care: Planning for My Future Needs
January 18, 2017 Going for Wisconsin Gold; Stories of Our State Olympians
November 11, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Shakespeare around the World: Caliban’s Land Ethic in The Tempest”
November 09, 2016 Tour and Lunch at the New MatC Culinary Arts Facility
November 05, 2016 Lunch Prior to Encore Viewing of "An Evening with Evicted Author Matthew Desmond"
November 05, 2016 Added Events to Enrich Your Big Read Experience
November 03, 2016 Health and Resource Fair
November 02, 2016 WARF: The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation: Investing in Research, Making a Difference for 90 Years+
October 07, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Beyond the Left-Right Divide: Ideological Hot Spots in a Polarized America”
October 04, 2016 Fitting the Pieces Together with Medicare
October 03, 2016 Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)
September 21, 2016 PLATO Fall Course Preview
September 20, 2016 Olbrich Gardens Daytime Stroll
September 16, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Fighting Zika and Other Emerging Viruses”
August 16, 2016 A Walk in Indian Lake County Park
July 20, 2016 Walk the Gardens at EPIC Systems with Jeff Epping
July 08, 2016 A Walk Along Table Bluff in Cross Plains
June 28, 2016 A Walk in Cherokee Marsh
June 17, 2016 A Walk Through the Brooklyn State Wildlife Area
May 25, 2016 Forest Hill Cemetery: A Walk Through Madison History
May 20, 2016 University Senior Guest Auditor Workshop
May 12, 2016 A Walk Along the Madison Segment of the Ice Age Trail
May 10, 2016 End of Life Preparedness Lecture (Part II)
May 03, 2016 End of Life Preparedness Lecture (Part I of II)
April 26, 2016 Owning Your Future: Resources to Assist as we Age
April 22, 2016 Global Hot Spots: Biodiversity Conservation in Developing Countries
April 07, 2016 Spring Gourmet Luncheon/lecture, Madison College Culinary Arts Program
March 18, 2016 Global Hot Spots: An Update from Paris: Climate Change Summit
March 11, 2016 Library Electronic Resources Primer @ Madison Public Library
February 19, 2016 Global Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy and the Changing Middle East
February 10, 2016 Library Electronic Resources Primer @ Madison Public Library
January 20, 2016 Wednesday Night @ the Lab: Nitraites in Wisconsin's Groundwater
January 13, 2016 Wednesday Night @ the Lab: DNA & Waistlines
January 06, 2016 Wednesday Night @ the Lab: Walking and Strokes
December 03, 2015 UW Showcase Series
November 20, 2015 Global Hot Spots: “Market Reforms and Water Wars”
November 17, 2015 Gourmet Luncheon/lecture, Madison College Culinary Arts Program
October 27, 2015 On Fourth Lake: A Social History of Lake Mendota Book Talk
September 18, 2015 Papa Francesco’s Invitation to All people to Dialogue
September 16, 2015 PLATO Fall Course Preview
September 15, 2015 Back-to-School Primer @ Madison Public Library
September 10, 2015 Crimes of the 21st Century: Scams Targeting Seniors
August 26, 2015 Afternoon Tour: The Henry Vilas Zoo
August 26, 2015 Morning Tour: The Henry Vilas Zoo
August 25, 2015 Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times Exhibition @ Paine Art Center, Oshkosh
June 24, 2015 Drive-to PLATO Lecture & Visit at the Milwaukee Art Museum: Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels Exhibition
May 03, 2015 End of Life Preparedness (Parts I & II)
April 23, 2015 End of Life Preparedness
April 22, 2015 Jeeves Takes a Bow and Explore Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward
April 16, 2015 End of Life Preparedness
April 10, 2015 Global Hot Spots: “Scary Viruses, Killer Tapeworms, and Nostril Ticks: Unanticipated Adventures in Disease Ecology”
April 01, 2015 Five Presidents @ Milwaukee Rep
February 27, 2015 Global Hot Spots: “Update on International Relations”
February 18, 2015 PLATO Spring Course Preview
December 10, 2014 Harvey @ Milwaukee Rep
October 29, 2014 Gourmet Luncheon/lecture, Madison College Culinary Arts Program
October 22, 2014 The Color Purple (The Musical about Love)

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For more info about PLATO contact:

Louise Fowler
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715

Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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