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

Native Landscaping, a Historical Overview from Jens Jensen to Contemporary Landscape Applications and Issues

Stephen McCarthy
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 7pm
Room UC114-UW-FDL

Jens Jensen was at the forefront of the Prairie School landscape movement which emphasized the use native plants in artistically designed settings inspired by nature.  We'll take a close look at some of projects he designed, discuss his role in early conservation efforts, and also learn about his folk school, The Clearing.

Stephen McCarthy has practiced landscpe architecure with a focus on native landscape restorationfor the past 37 years. He has served as landscape architect for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and manages the Greenseams land acquisition program which has preserved 3000 acres of wetlands, riparian corridors, and forested areas.
Green Fire's Photo

Green Fire

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum's Photo

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum