Nature Preserve at UW-Whitewater
About 15,000 years ago, a glacier covered what is now the northeast corner of the UW-Whitewater campus. It deposited two 60 foot tall glacial drumlins with a valley and wetland dividing them creating a unique setting for our nature preserve. Today, it is an area of approximately 110 acres.
The UW Board of Regents purchased the land in the 1960s to provide space for planned university housing. When the projected 20,000 enrollment did not materialize, excess state lands were put up for sale. It was even considered a possible state prison site. In 1970, 40 acres of woodland, Friars Woods, was purchased for $203,000 using half LAWCON (Land and Water Conservation Act ) funds and half state land acquisition funds.
The area includes various ecosystems such as woodlands, wetlands, prairie and others. It is an outdoor classroom and laboratory where students and faculty can learn and experiment. The area also includes recreational trails for running, hiking, cross-country skiing or biking.
Currently, the campus is restoring native prairie species to a large area of the preserve.