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 Bees and Predatory Wasps of Prairie Ecosystems: Their Role as Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Heather Holm
Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 7 pm
Room UC114 UW-FDL

Learn about the nesting habitat, life cycle, pollen collection, foraging behavior, and general characteristics of the common genera of native bees and predatory wasps in prairie ecosystems. This presentation examines factors that influence prairie management decisions including pollinator seasonality, floral preferences, plant community structure, bee-plant specialist relationships, and timing of prescribed burns and mowing.
Author of Pollinators of Native Plants, Heather Holm owns a Minnesota-based landscape design and consulting firm specializing in pollinator landscapes and native landscape restorations. She is currently working at the University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a three year study to determine the types of native bees that visit cultivated blueberries in Minnesota. Heather is an environmental educator and frequent presenter at conferences in the Midwest and Northeast. She writes for Houzz, a social media website, about pollinators, beneficial insects and native plants.

The Land Ethic: From Wisconsin to the World

Curt Meine
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 7 pm
Room UC114 UW-FDL

As a guiding philosophy for our relationship with the natural world, the land ethic has deep roots in Wisconsin's conservation history.  Curt Meine will trace that history connecting the stories of Wisconsin's Native Americans, scientists, writers, educators, landowners, policy-makers, and citizen advocates.  This can prepare us to ask the hard questions:  How well are we living up to that legacy in Wisconsin and beyond?  What does the future hold for the land ethic as an evolving idea?
Dr. Curt Meine is a conservation biologist and writer based in Sauk County, Wisconsin. He serves as Senior Fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Center for Humans and Nature, Research Associate with the International Crane Foundation, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He served as an on-screen guide in the Emmy Award-winning documentary film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time (2011). Meine has authored and edited several books including the award-winning biography Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work (2010) and the Library of America's definitive collection Aldo Leopold: A Sand County Almanac and Other Essays on Ecology and Conservation (2013). In his home landscape, he is a founding member of the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance. 
Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum's Photo

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum