Field Station History

From Cornfield to Prairiefield station field

In 1967, Miss Gertrude Sherman donated a 92-acre farm to the University of Wisconsin with the intention that the land be maintained in a natural condition. She later contributed an additional six acres, including access to a small lake. The last crop of corn was taken off the land in 1967. After 125 years of farming, the land is being retired to grow native plants. The UWM at Waukesha is restoring the acreage to communities of plants and animals native to Wisconsin.

Natural Features and Restoration Activities

The Field Station consists of rolling glacial deposits covered with old field vegetation, a 20 acre oak woods, a small lake with marshlands, a shallow pond, and cold water stream. A farm house and out buildings are maintained by the resident manager.

The University's expressed purpose in planning the facility is to create a diverse pattern of natural communities for maximum teaching and scientific research value. Examples of these communities are prairie, oak openings, oak forest, pine forest, and open meadow. It is anticipated that plantings for these communities will continue for several human generations. The facility, however, is already showing signs of progress as the diversity of plants and animals increases each year. The station also has a thriving artistic culture, with the use of the unique Anagama kiln on the property and the diverse ecological communities inviting people to explore art and nature projects. 

Facility Use

College courses in the natural sciences are particularly attracted to the facility, but it is available to any other interested discipline. Students wishing to do independent study at the Field Station are encouraged to do so. Other users include the University Extension, local bird clubs, high-school classes and teachers, as well as individuals who simply desire a quiet place to appreciate nature.

Administration

The Field Station is owned by the University of Wisconsin with administrative duties delegated to the UWM at Waukesha. A local campus Field Station Committee advises the Dean of the campus concerning administrative policy, management, educational, and financial matters.

Rules

  • No unauthorized collecting of plants or animals.
  • No firearms allowed.
  • No hunting or trapping.
  • No unauthorized fires.
  • No unauthorized vehicles on trails.
  • Groups must have a responsible adult supervisor.
  • The University is not responsible for accidents.