Portrait Photograph of Susan Carpenter

Susan Carpenter

Native Plant Garden Curator

Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education | UW-Madison Arboretum

Hometown: Madison, WI

Susan Carpenter is the Native Plant Garden curator and gardener at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. Since 2003, she has worked with students and community volunteers to maintain and monitor a 4-acre garden representing the plant communities of southern Wisconsin. She also leads a conservation project that involves students and the public in documenting and studying native bumble bees, including the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee, Bombus affinis. A graduate of Stanford University, Susan earned her MS in Botany and MS in Science Education at UW–Madison. Her professional interests include plant ecology, ecological restoration, pollinator conservation, and science education.


Susan is available for virtual or in-person talks and is not available Monday or Wednesday evenings.


Gardening with Native Plants

Native plants are the basis of sustainable, diverse, and beautiful gardens supporting pollinators, beneficial insects, and wildlife. These gardens thrive without fertilizers, pesticides, mowing, or supplemental watering. We will share garden examples, plant sources, and practical tips for garden care.

Bumble Bee Conservation

Discover the life history, ecology, and healthy habitats of Wisconsin’s native bumble bee species. We use photography to document and monitor these important pollinators. Learn to identify the species that live in your region, and how you can help with pollinator conservation.

Native Bees of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to 500 kinds of native bees! Discover the diversity and life histories of these important pollinators. Learn how you can create and manage habitat for them, using native plants and bee-friendly gardening practices.