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 adjacent to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 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 (now known as UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus), 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.

Seed Gathering | Saturday, October 15th | 9:00 am - noon
Luminary Hike | Saturday, October 22th | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Educational Programs

Seed Collection Workshop

Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 9:00 am to noon

Meet at the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum Shelter

This FREE workshop begins 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. Margie also taught courses on environmental science, prairie ecosystems, and restoration at Marian University.

Please email info@gottfriedprairiearboretum.org to register.