Fond du Lac County’s Gottfried Prairie & Arboretum Advisory Committee transitions to a Friends Group
The Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum (GPA) committee was established by the Fond du Lac County Board in 1989 for the purpose of assisting in the planning and ongoing development of an arboretum and restored native prairie adjacent to the UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus, located at 400 University Drive.
Since the inception of the committee, the advisory role to the County has changed because it has met the original mission of planning and developing the Gottfried property. Therefore, at the June 13, 2023 Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors meeting, Resolution No. 35-23 was approved to dissolve the GPA advisory committee. A separate supportive organization was encouraged to be formed. This separate entity, Friends of the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum, Inc., was formed in July 24, 2023 and is in the process of applying for a non-profit 501c3 status.
The mission of the Friends of the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum group is to create, manage, preserve, and promote the restored prairie and representative plant communities for education, wildlife habitat, and public enjoyment. The Friends group will focus on offering free environmental educational classes for the public including the annual Prairie Fest event held the first Saturday of August. They will also be responsible for raising funds for the preservation and enhancement of the beautiful Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum. Since the GPA is part of the Fond du Lac County Parks system, daily operations and maintenance will be provided by the County in collaboration with the Friends group and the UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus.
The new Friends of GPA board is comprised of about 10 educators, ecologists, wildlife enthusiasts, and citizens of Fond du Lac County. The board meets monthly to make decisions about land management, promotion, and environmental education opportunities for the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum.
2023 – 2024 Friends of GPA Board Members:
- Charles Averbeck
- Jo Ann Giese-Kent
- Michele Keifenheim
- Lisa Mick
- John McDowell
- Fran Paul
- Margie Winter
- Brendan Wood-Taylor