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Lenfestey courtyard.
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Lenfestey Family Courtyard

The Lenfestey Family Courtyard in the center of Mary Ann Cofrin Hall was dedicated in June of 2002. The courtyard and its plantings were made possible by a generous gift from the Lenfestey Family Foundation. Mrs. Josephine B. Lenfestey and her late husband, Frederick J. (Ted) Lenfestey, have been strong supporters of UW-Green Bay from its earliest days.

Like the rest of Mary Ann Cofrin Hall, the courtyard design demonstrates ecologically responsible architecture. Rainwater is captured from the roof for the cistern and the pond. Recycled utility poles were used to build the trellis and recycled stone slabs surround the pond and planters. The trellis will support native Virginia creeper whose dense foliage will shade the west facing windows.  

Native plants have been used throughout the courtyard. Native species are better adapted to the local climate and require less pesticides and water than many non-native species. American Robins and Cliff Swallows nest in the courtyard and several species of birds including Cedar Waxwings and Kingbirds forage on insects and fruits in the natrive plantings.

Woodland garden in autumn.Seven garden plots in the courtyard represent suites of ecologically related native plants and cultivars found in the Great Lakes Region. The Butterfly Garden features native prairie species that are especially attractive to butterflies and their caterpillars. The Northern Barrens Garden contains a variety of plants including Blueberries and Sweet Fern that thrive in well drained low-fertility soils. The Tallgrass Prairie Garden illustrates the variety of grasses and forbs that once covered much of southern Wisconsin. The Sand Prairie Garden illustrates the types of prairie that form on sand ridges or other sandy areas. The Woodland Garden contains trees that are typical to an early successional woodland. The Rain Garden contains mostly stress tolerant prairie species that are used to provide an area that can flood and allow water to infiltrate into the soil. The Heirloom Vegetable Garden illustrates vegetables and flowers that were brought to Wisconsin by farmers in the 1800s and early 1900s. The Lake Michigan Dunes garden recreates the vegetation found on Great Lakes dune ridges and beaches.

The Lenfestey Family Courtyard is popular with students and visitors looking for a quiet place to read, study, or to just view the gardens. It is also available for rental for weddings and other events. Visit UWGB Union Reservations for more information about using the courtyard or wintergarden areas.