Welcome to the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum

At one time, most of Fond du Lac County was covered by prairie -- native grasslands that were home to bison, prairie chickens, bobolinks and other wildlife. At the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum on the UW-Fond du Lac campus, a group of volunteers has reestablished the native plants that once grew on this site.

The project began in 1991, with the goal of representing the original plant communities of Wisconsin in a small arboretum. At present, volunteers have planted 42 acres of native prairie grasses and wildflowers, developed two wildlife ponds and planted 176 native trees and shrubs. Most of the wildflower seeds were collected from some of the last remaining original prairie sites in Fond du Lac County. To educate local residents there's an interpretive trail as well as six benches, two picnic tables, and a kiosk for recreation.

The Formal Arboretum is an innovative attempt to depict the native plants and plant communities of Wisconsin in a design representing the "Tension Zone" of our state. This is the area of overlap of northern and southern Wisconsin plant communities, which occurs in the Fond du Lac area. It consists of savannah, lowland forests and northern mixed forests, plus their associated wildflowers.

The Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum is named for Bradley Gottfried, former dean of UW-Fond du Lac, and a major force behind the project's initiation and development. Dean Gottfried's vision and persistence have resulted in the restoration of a portion of native prairie for county residents to enjoy.

Educational Programs

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum's Photo

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum

Saturday, January 20, 2018 at noon-2:00 p.m.
Meet at the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum Shelter


Snowshoe through the prairie and arboretum while looking for animal tracks and other signs of wildlife in winter. During the snowshoeing, we will talk about some of the plants of the prairie and dormant trees in the arboretum. Snowshoes will be provided by the gracious donation of Attitude Sports of Fond du Lac. Pre-registration is required. No dogs please. Please call 920-940-8869.
We will also offer a family nature movie after the hike, FREE popcorn and hot cocoa!! This will take place inside UW-FDL in Room UC 114 at 2:30 pm

Supple Marsh, Lakeside Master plan

John Redman
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 6:30 p.m.
Room UC 114 UW-FDL


Do you enjoy visiting the City of Fond du Lac Parks. Come learn what is involved with maintaining the City Parks. John Redmond will touch on the evolution of the City Parks, maintenance required, future improvements and how the city is being environmentally friendly while making these improvements.

John Redmond is the cities Park Superintendent and has worked with the Park Department for the past 6 years. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. John is also owner and grower of an apple orchard west of Fond du Lac.