The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity manages over 12,000 acres across 5 natural areas located in Brown, Door, and Manitowoc Counties.
Our Natural Areas program began in 1971 when UW Green Bay faculty and staff recommended the development of a park-like arboretum and trail system around the periphery of campus. In 1975 the children and grandchildren of Dr. Austin Cofrin Austin Cofrin created an endowment in Austin Cofrin's memory that allowed the university to develop a system of trails, plantings, purchase additional property, and to continue to improve the botanical offerings of the arboretum. At the time their generous gift was made, the donation from the Cofrin children was the largest donation ever given to a University of Wisconsin institution outside of the Madison campus.
UW Green Bay aquired its first off-campus natural area property in 1968 when conservationist Emma Toft donated her family lake-front property, Toft Point, to The Nature Conservancy who then turned the property over to UW Green Bay. Since then, UW Green Bay aquired and additional 3 properties and extensive additions to the original arboretum property as gifts or by purchase. Each property features at least one unique natural community, including hardwood and conifer forest, inland or shorelines, dune ridge and swale, Lake Michigan cobble and dune shoreline, prairie, oak savanna, and Niagara escarpment .
Our natural areas and an associated granting program provide an outstanding educational and scientific opportunity as "living laboratories" where our students and faculty can conduct original ecological and policy based research.
Access and Hunting
Most of our natural areas are open to the public, but not all are easily accessible. We ask that you respect our neighnbor's properties and especially remain vigilent as you enjoy these unique areas. Do not remove anything from these areas and please stay on the trails. Dogs, horses, and vehicles of any kind are not permitted in the natural areas. Hunting is allowed with permission on some properties. Contact Dr. Robert Howe for more information.
We welcome non-destructive research that contributes to improved knowledge and management of our natural areas. Anyone wishing to conduct research in our natural areas should contact Josh Martinez and complete an online permit application form.