Educational Programs

The Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum provides monthly environmental education programs. Most programs are held at the University of Wisconsin Fond du Lac campus and run about an hour unless otherwise noted.

Download our 2014 -2015 Educational Brochure

Creative Writing About the Natural World

Dr. Mary Linton
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 6:30 pm
Room UC114 University Center


Ask William Butler Yeats or Mary Oliver and they will tell you that the natural world and poetry go together like peanut butter and jelly, Wisconsin and a Friday fish fry. We'll start with the natural world, move to haiku, and finish with longer poetry. Experienced naturalists and newcomers welcome. Bring a notebook, favorite writing implement, and appropriate clothing for any sort of weather.
Mary Linton is a wetland ecologist, teacher and poet from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. As far as she is concerned, a day mucking about a fertile wetland could not be better spent. Well, maybe a day in the arms of a tall white pine might come close. Her poetry has appeared in Appalachia, Aethlon, Blueline, Builder, Country Feedback Magazine, Farming Magazine, Fourth River, Friend's'Journal, Hummingbird, Poetry Motel, Seeding the Snow, Solitary Plover, and Verse Wisconsin.

Introduction to Permaculture for the Average Homemaker

Dr. Mai Phillips
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 7 pm
Room UC114 University Center


For most, embracing sustainability as the guiding principle for how humans could continue to exist without depleting the Earth's resources and thus contributing to their own survival is easy to accept intellectually. The more daunting task is how to translate sustainability into action and that is what permaculture is all about. Permaculture originally came from "permanent agriculture" but has come to mean "permanent culture." It is a way of living on earth without destroying the planet. While it is usually applied in broad scale systems, permaculture works well at the individual level.

Dr. Mai Phillips is the Coordinator of the Conservation and Environmental Science (CES) Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Her research specialties include plant genetic resources conservation; plant domestication and origins; and the genetics of invasive species. Prior to joining the CES Program at UWM, she worked as a Senior Scientist at the Global Environmental Management (GEM) Education Center, UW-Stevens Point.

Prairie Fest

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 10 am to 3 pm
Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum Grounds


Come to experience the beauty of the Gottfried prairie at the peak of the summer bloom during the 13th annual Prairie Fest. There will be speakers on many nature-related subjects, children's activities, outdoor exhibits and prairie tours as well as artists and vendors inside and outside. The event is free and food will be available for purchase during the entire event.

Of Light and Devotion, A Contemplative Approach to Photography

Lora Vahlsing
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 6 pm to 9 pm
Room UC114 University Center


Contemplative photography is about showing up in one's environment and being present. This act of mindfulness allows the photographer to be receptive and forms a different relationship between photographer and subject. Learn new ways to look through the lens with a heightened sense of your surroundings. We will spend some of the class walking through the prairie and arboretum exploring the natural world around us along with some critiquing at the end of the session.

Lora Vahlsing is a local poet, artist, photographer, and yogi. She teaches art and yoga courses at UW-FDL and Marian University. Whether she's taking photos, writing poems, or teaching, she tries to incorporate a contemplative approach in everything she does.

Wisconsin Wetlands - Ecology, Appreciation and Restoration

Alice Thompson
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7 pm
Room UC114 University Center


Learn about wetland ecology and discover some our of wetland gems that are located in the state. Alice will discuss wetland restoration in southeast Wisconsin and the challenges we face in the midst of invasive species, climate change, hydrology shifts and species loss.

Alice Thompson is a wetland ecologist and as owner of Thompson and Associates Wetland Services, she works on wetland restoration and mitigation projects in southeast Wisconsin. She is lead author of the Wetland Restoration Handbook for Wisconsin Landowners published by the DNR.

Seed Collection Workshop

Margie Winter
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 9 am to noon
Meet at the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum Shelter


We will begin the workshop with a discussion on seeds, including when and how to collect them from your favorite native plants. Participants will walk through the prairie and learn how to identify wildflowers and grasses in the seed stage. They will collect and clean the seed heads while learning how to store and propagate the seed for growing plants.

Margie Winter taught high school science in the Fond du Lac School District and the Sun Prairie School District for a total of 31 years. For the last 2 years, Margie has taught an environmental science course and a prairie ecosystems and restoration course at Marian University. The prairie course is offered jointly to students from UW-FDL and Marian University and utilizes the Gottfried Prairie as an outdoor classroom.

Create a Winter Wreath and Swag

Jackie Scharfenburg
Thursday, November 13 at 1 pm to 3:30 pm & 6 pm to 8:30 pm @IAC
Wednesday, November 19, 6 pm to 8:30 pm @ Lakeside Pavilion


Please note that this class will be offered at three separate times. Because of limited space, the first two will be at the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest Ice Age Center near Dundee and the other at Lakeside Park Pavilion in Fond du Lac. Using a variety of natural materials, we will create a beautiful wreath and swag that will enhance your home's winter decor.  Please bring along a pruning shears and $15.00 to cover material costs. We will use the dried flower and grass seed heads from the prairie. Registration is required. Please call 920-313-0190.
 
Jackie Scharfenberg is a Forest Naturalist/Natural Resources Educator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.  She enjoys teaching all aspects of environmental education.  Her goal is to get people connected or re-connected with the natural world whether through creating a nature craft, learning something about nature, trying a new outdoor skill or experiencing nature first hand.

Rain Gardens...A Good Fit for Your Yard

Sharon Morrisey
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 7 pm
Room UC114 University Center


Learn to identify sources of rainwater runoff from your yard that could instead be managed as part of your landscape. See how modifying existing flower beds or creating new ones can catch diverted rainwater, filter out its pollutants, and then return it naturally to the watershed where you live.

As Consumer Horticulture Agent with the UW-Extension in Milwaukee County for 22 years, Sharon directs the largest Master Gardener Volunteer group in WI with over 400 certified volunteers performing over 23,000 hours of volunteer service each year. Through presentations, articles, garden walks, booths and youth programs she delivers university research-based information to the public on the whole spectrum of gardening and environmental issues in Wisconsin.

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum

Saturday, January 24, 2015, 1 pm to 3 pm
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. If time permits, we will examine the arboretum's dormant trees and explore ways to identify them by looking at their buds, twigs and bark. Snow shoes will be provided by the gracious donation of Attitude Sports of Fond du Lac. Registration is required. No dogs please. Please call 920-313-0190.

So What's the Trouble With Worms?

Bernadette Williams
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 7 pm
Room UC114 University Center


Wisconsin's native earthworms were destroyed during our last ice age, and the forests of Wisconsin as we know them evolved without earthworms. The glacier scoured the land down to bedrock, forcing all life forms to move south and earthworms did not repopulate.
Learn how with the introduction of nightcrawlers and other earthworms, the disturbed soil is causing a decrease in the diversity of plant and animal relationships.

Bernadette Williams is an Invasive Species Conservation Biologist in Forest Health for the WDNR. She works on all things invasive, but specializes in plants and especially earthworms. Bernadette is an avid gardener and bee keeper on the side.


Why Few Prairie and Savanna Plantings Match the Diversity of our State Natural Areas

Scott Weber
Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7 pm
Room UC 114 University Center


In spite of over 60 years of prairie and savanna restoration in Wisconsin, few plantings match the composition and diversity of native remnant prairies or State Natural Areas. A 30 year analysis of seed mix design, several restoration projects, WDNR seed purchases, nursery data, and costs show that economic and social factors are the some of the primary reasons why our plantings fall short of our expectations.

Scott Weber has owned and operated a native plant nursery for over 20 years with his wife, Muffy Barrett. He has been restoring prairie and oak savanna for over 30 years for private, government, and non-profit organizations, including 19 years with the State Natural Areas program with the Wisconsin DNR.
Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum's Photo

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum

1/18/2014
Enjoying the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Fond du Lac County's Photo

Enjoying the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Fond du Lac County

8/10/2013
A Day with Aldo Leopold's Photo

A Day with Aldo Leopold

3/2/2013
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