This week, we conclude our photo journey around the city of Madison at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. The 1260 acre Arboretum is located about four miles south and west from the UW-Madison campus within the city of Madison. The Arboretum was established in the 1930’s on former farmland and pastures. The first director was Aldo Leopold, a world renown author, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a founder of the science of wildlife management and helped to develop the field of modern environmental ethics. While at the Arboretum, Leopold re-established the land to “original Wisconsin” with native trees, plants and tall grass prairies. In the latter 1930’s, the CCC camped at the Arboretum and provided the labor to accomplish this task. This work would eventually become known as ecological restoration. In addition to it’s research mission, the Arboretum serves a leisure destination for residents and tourists alike and is free of charge. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails, 10 miles of ski and snowshoe trails and 3 miles of bike paths.
After visitors drive down the winding road to the parking lot, they can’t help but notice the visitors center. In addition to administrative offices, the center houses the Arboretum Bookstore that carries a selection of nature, gardening and science titles for all interest levels. It also contains the Steinhauer Trust Gallery that serves to showcase the talent of artists inspired by the natural world. There is also an auditorium and classrooms for lectures and classes held for interested learners.
Just off the parking lot, visitors are greeted by beautiful metal sign that signifies the entrance to the Curtis Prairie, the oldest restored prairie in the world. Here are some photos both distance and close up of the sign.
On one of my many visits to the Arb, this hawk was keeping careful watch while park goers gawked at him/her for several minutes.
The Curtis Prairie is also a laboratory for research on controlled and prescribed burns to manage prairie species. One fine fall day, I happened upon these folks learning to conduct controlled burns.
The prairie plants present themselves in such majestic ways. The following are few photos of some of those plants.
In addition to the prairie grasses and plants, the Arboretum contains many species of trees and shrubs native to Wisconsin. And they too put on a display of natural wonder.
These oaks stand tall on the eastern border of the Arboretum.
When hiking in the Arb, one can never be sure what new site they will see. On this walk, we came across this stone building hidden away and surrounded by tall deciduous trees and with a shower of golden leaves.
The leaf peeping at the Arboretum during the fall is spectacular. The parking lot is often overflowing on those warm fall weekend days.
The winter season produces it’s own beauty with all the interesting forms and shapes the landscape takes on this time of year.
In addition to all the grasses, wild flowers, shrubs and trees, there are a number of bodies of water contained within the Arboretum. I should mention that some of the Arboretum borders Lake Wingra, a smallish lake within the city of Madison. In fact, the Arboretum is totally within the Lake Wingra watershed. In addition to the featured panorama at the top of this post, here is another example of the water features.
That about does it for this brief tour of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Just remember, um you are here, in case you ever get lost in the Arb!
That does it for this week. Stay tuned for some eastern US photos and narrative.
Until next week, travel safe.