Upcoming events

    • March 24, 2017
    • January 26, 2018
    • 7 sessions
    • Lake Edge Shopping Center, 4102 Monona Drive, Madison,WI
    • 50

    PLATO Breakfast Get-Together -

    We're excited to announce the "Breakfast Get-together", an extension of the summer Kaffeklatsches held at Memorial Union's terrace. The first Breakfast Get-together will be on  February 24th  and continue to be on the 4th Friday of each month thru May. 

    The breakfasts will be at 9:30 at Elie's Family Restaurant, Lake Edge Shopping Center, 4102 Monona Drive. Free Parking in a large surface lot.  When you arrive, ask for the Plato room. 

    Elie's has a large menu, moderately priced, from hearty fare to smaller options. 

    We are glad to have an indoor option for folks to dine together.  Please RSVP no later than the Wednesday before the breakfast- sscratti@gmail.com., 608 280-8050

    Hope you're able to come!

    Organizer: Sharon Scrattish

    Visit Website

    KaffeeKlatsch: June-August, Every 4th Friday, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM on the new Memorial Union Terrace

    As well as announcing the new PLATO Breakfast Get-Togethers to be held on the 4th Friday of the month from  February 24 through May, we also want you to know about the slightly modified summer Kaffeeklatsches. We will now meet on the 4th Fridays of each month and earlier in the day - 9;30 am to 11 am on the terrace of the newly remodeled Memorial Union.  This summer's dates are
    June 23, July 28 and August 25.

    These PLATO monthly morning gatherings are informal social get-togethers in which to meet your fellow PLATO members, share common interests and make new friends. If you are new to PLATO or new to the Madison area, this will be a great chance learn more about your organization, as well as, your new home environment.


    • 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 23, 2017
    • September 22, 2017
    • 7 sessions
    • Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon St., UW-Madison Campus
    • 50

    NEW We've added the second Friday during the summer to gather for breakfast and conversation at the Memorial Union.  We will now meet on the 2nd and 4th Fridays during July, August and September.

    NEW We will gather no matter the weather.  The normal meeting place is on the Memorial Union Terrace.  If the weathers makes this a poor choice, we will meet in Der Rathskeller

    "Come enjoy summer, coffee, pastry, or a full breakfast at Madison’s gem - UW Memorial Union’s Terrace.  The recently renovated Union Terrace, a beautiful outdoor seating area, extends beyond the Union building to the shores of Lake Mendota."  

    So that we can organize tables and chairs, please RSVP to Sharon Scrattish (sscratti@gmail.com, or 608-280-8050) by the Thursday evening before the event.

    Meeting Dates and Times

    We will be meeting there from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m on 2nd and 4th Friday of starting in June 23 and running through September.  Mark your calendars:   

    • June 23
    • July 14 and July 28
    • August 11 and August 25
    • September 8 and September 22

    Note: These get-togethers replace our winter-time gatherings at Elie’s diner.  We will resume breakfasts indoors in the Fall.

    Food Options and Menus

    Food available at the Union during morning hours are Peet’s Coffee where pastry, bagels also available, and a full breakfast from Der Rathskeller. Other food choices are available after 11:00 a.m. Whether you plan on a light or full breakfast - or nothing at all - come at 9:30 and we can order and eat together. Food is not served on the Terrace but carried outside by diners.

    If the weather is not cooperating, we will meet inside in Der Rathskeller.

    Meeting Place

    Enter the Union at the front and one of the exits to the terrace is through Der Rathskeller.  Plato’s saved tables will not be far from that exit.  Look for the Plato banner.

    Parking Options

    The Memorial Union is located at 800 Langdon St. The best parking options are:

    • the parking ramp under Helen C. White, 600 N Park St., which is the closest but is often filled, 
    • and the Lake Street parking ramp at 415 North Lake Street. 

    Invitation and Contact Information

    Hope you can come! You need not be a PLATO member to stop by and break bread - you will always be welcome.  So that we can save seats and tables, please RSVP to Sharon Scrattish, sscratti@gmail.com, or 608-280-8050 by the Thursday evening before the event.”

    What's New on the Union Terrace:

    The Terrace reopened as part of the final phases of the Memorial Union Reinvestment (MUR). This renovation improved accessibility, sight lines and customer comfort while creating more seating space. The expansion of Lakeshore Path also increased the number of Terrace chairs by several hundred, and the Sunset Deck added even more.

    • 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 2017 PLATO Annual Meeting
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
April 21, 2017 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
March 10, 2017 Global Hotspots: International Implications of Brexit in the EU and around the World
March 10, 2017 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
February 24, 2017 PLATO Breakfast at Elie's Family Restaurant
February 10, 2017 Global Hotspots: "Is Civic Culture Dead? A Comparative Analysis of the United States, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil"
February 10, 2017 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
November 11, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Shakespeare around the World: Caliban’s Land Ethic in The Tempest”
November 11, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
November 09, 2016 Tour and Lunch at the New MatC Culinary Arts Facility
October 14, 2016 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace
October 07, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Beyond the Left-Right Divide: Ideological Hot Spots in a Polarized America”
October 07, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
September 16, 2016 Global Hot Spots: “Fighting Zika and Other Emerging Viruses”
September 16, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
September 09, 2016 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace
August 16, 2016 A Walk in Indian Lake County Park
August 12, 2016 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace
July 20, 2016 Walk the Gardens at EPIC Systems with Jeff Epping
July 08, 2016 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace
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 18, 2016 Annual PLATO Meeting and Luncheon
May 12, 2016 A Walk Along the Madison Segment of the Ice Age Trail
April 22, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hotspots)
April 07, 2016 Spring Gourmet Luncheon/lecture, Madison College Culinary Arts Program
March 18, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hot Spots)
February 19, 2016 Luncheon (prior to Global Hot Spots)
November 17, 2015 Gourmet Luncheon/lecture, Madison College Culinary Arts Program
September 16, 2015 PLATO Fall Course Preview
August 26, 2015 PLATO's Farewell to Summer Picnic @ Vilas Park Shelter, Madison
August 14, 2015 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace
July 09, 2015 The PLATO Kaffeeklatsch @ Memorial Union Terrace

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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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