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.

Art in the Prairie

Wednesdays June 24th, July 1st, July 8th, July 15th from 10:00 AM to noon. 4weeks of exploring the arts in a natural setting. Nature walks and activities to inspire kids to get out in nature! Youth ages 8-12 welcome to sign up. There is a $20 total fee for supplies. Space is limited so contact wiscotmcd@hotmail.com for more information.

Educational Programs

The Ledge - Walk back in time...

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, 7 PM
Room UC 114 WU-Fond du Lac


Colorado has its Rockies, California its coastline, Alaska has Denali. But what does Wisconsin have? Lots of things, but quite notable and visible here in Fond du Lac County is our piece of the Niagara Escarpment. Better known locally as "the Ledge", this geologic formation is not only older than the Rockies, longer than the California coast, and was built in climates much more tropical than you will ever find on Denali, it is a unique formation that brings richness and interest to the Badger State and beyond.

Interested in more? Come to the Feb. 17 education program by Ted Eischeid titled: The Ledge - Walk back in time... Learn the significance and beauty of the Niagara Escarpment, so close it's visible from the Gottfried Arboretum. Leave with tips on how to start a new year of discovery on the Ledge, literally your backyard.

Ted is a recently retired science teacher in Fond du Lac. Even though he is in the process of a new adventure moving to Alaska, his love and enthusiasm for the Niagara Escarpment will be just what you need to explore this unique part of your Wisconsin!
Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum's Photo

Snowshoe the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum

1/23/2016
Create a Winter Wreath and Swag's Photo

Create a Winter Wreath and Swag

11/13/2015