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Arboretum in spring
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Cofrin Memorial Arboretum

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The Cofrin Memorial Arboretum forms a natural boundary of 290 acres encircling the UW Green Bay campus and providing ready access for recreation, field trips, and research projects. The purpose of the Arboretum is to restore and preserve some of Wisconsin's native ecological communities and to provide a place where people can enjoy and appreciate nature. Emphasis is placed on the protection, enrichment, and development of native Wisconsin plant communities and areas of special ecological significance. Forests, prairies, ponds, and creeks represent some of the major communities thriving in the Arboretum. The Arboretum also contributes significantly to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay environment, making it one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.

Benefits of the Cofrin Arboretum extend to the campus and to community members. More than 6 miles of trails are open to the public for passive recreation such as hiking, biking, bird-watching, cross-country skiing, and simply meandering. School and non-profit organizations regularly conduct walks and bike rides to raise funds or draw attention to their causes. University and high school classes make use of the Arboretum for lab exercises, field trips, and student projects. Grants are available to UWGB students to conduct independent research on the arboretum lands.

The Arboretum provides food and shelter for wildlife, including an estimated 45 mammal species, more than 200 resident and migratory bird species, as well as significant populations of native amphibians, reptiles, insects, and other arthropods. The physical proximity to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary increases the movement wildlife between the Arboretum and the sanctuary.

The Goals of the Arboretum are to preserve existing natural communities and to develop examples of other communities of this geographic area.

  • To preserve and reinforce existing natural areas
  • To re-establish plant communities and wildlife indigenous to northeastern Wisconsin at the time of European settlement in the mid 1800's
  • To establish plantings of non-indigenous species that can be expected to
    • 1) survive in this climate and
    • 2) provide educational benefits for students and visitors
  • To promote opportunities for research in natural history, environmental science, ecological restoration, and related fields
  • To foster appreciation of nature through public trails and exhibits
  • To coordinate planning and activities with other ecologically significant areas in northeastern Wisconsin
  • To support recreational activities that are harmonious and compatible with the above goals
  • To prohibit or discourage activities that threaten the integrity of the natural communities and educational opportunities for future generations

Development of the Arboretum is an ongoing process. In addition to the plantings for the purpose of establishing new, representative communities, trail construction and maintenance, pond excavation and landscaping, and the annual controlled burning of the prairie are part of the continuing effort to enhance the ecology and beauty of the Cofrin Arboretum.