UW-Whitewater is fortunate to have over 120 acres of land identified for open or general recreational use and over 100 acres of that is designated as the UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve. This page will familiarize you with this valuable resource found right on campus. If you would like additional information, please contact us with your questions.
The UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve was originally land purchased in the 1970s to house additional residence halls as part of an aggressive growth agenda for the University of Wisconsin system. When it became clear that this growth was not going to occur, an effort was made to protect the land as a natural green space in an urban area as part of the LAWCON initiative. Years later, this formerly disturbed farmland started its transformation back to a habitat found native to Wisconsin prior to European settlement, thanks to the efforts of several faculty and staff members. This restoration effort has continued today and now several acres of land have been restored with native prairie species, and with active management of the area through controlled burns and seed collection, we hope to restore the entire area to native prairie species in the future.
The southwest trail that starts at Perkins Stadium leads to an observation deck with sweeping views of the reconstructed prairie area. Enjoy this western view at sunset to appreciate the beauty of and serenity of this area.
The prairie reconstruction in the UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve helps to maintain a diverse array of native plant species. Seed collection roughly runs from mid-September until mid-November. Collected prairie seed are either used for planting on campus or donated to other non-profit organizations for their restoration projects. You can learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.
The Nature Preserve boasts over five miles of trails through a variety of ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, prairie, and others. Several trails are maintained for use by the UW-Whitewater Cross-Country team. The trail map and signage is being re-developed, but some of the main existing trails can be found on this map. Trail heads can also be found on the map below.