Cofrin Arboretum

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Map of Cofrin Arboretum

The Cofrin Arboretum is located on the campus of University of Wisconsin Green Bay and was founded in 1975. In the Cofrin Arboretum you can find many species of wildlife as well as many features of architecture. The Arboretum provides recreation opportunities for both winter and summer months.


The campus of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay was built, in 1969, on land that was mostly agricultural. However, the area also included the wooded bay shore, Mahon Creek and its surrounding forest, and the Niagara Escarpment. While these features were very attractive, the open farm land was also very promising as it had potential to improve the campus because of the opportunity to add other vegetation. When the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay’s campus was built, its primary objective was to preserve and enhance the beauty of the site’s natural conditions in a way that would benefit the entire community.

Northeast Wisconsin is part of Laurentian Mixed Ecological Province, which is a 147,000 square mile area that spans from New England to north-central Minnesota. This whole region was covered with glaciers during the Pleistocene Epoch, about 1.8 million — 8,000 years before present day, and glacier land forms were abundant through the area. Most of the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province was covered by transitional forest of northern hardwoods which consisted of maple sugar, American beech, eastern hemlock, yellow birth, and white pine, prior to the European settlement in 1800’s. The area the the campus of University of Wisconsin - Green Bay is on was covered Kaily by oak forests which is an indication that the area was a drier and more disturbance-prone local environment. [1]


The Arboretum provides food and shelter for many different types of 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. Along with animals, the Arboretum is home to many different plant species. [2]
Bur Oak Tree


There are a number of types of plants that can be found in the UW Green Bay Arboretum. Some of these are known as shrubs, wetland plants, goldenrods, asters, ferns, trees, and invasive plants. Two examples of plants that can be seen while on the trails include:

  • Lupine - a genius of flower from the legume family. It the genius has over 200 species located primarily in North and South America with North Africa and the Mediterranean also having some. These flowers are located in the Keith White Prairie. [3]
  • Bur Oak - a species of oak on the white oak section native to North American in the central and eastern United States and central and eastern Canada. The Bur oak is also called the mossy-cup oak and mossycup white oak. This plant can be found in the Oak Savanna Restoration Plots. [4]


Many different animals can be found in the arboretum. Most of them are small prey and deer, but it also includes amphibians, reptiles, and insects. A few examples of the animal wildlife you might see while on your hike could include:


  • American Robin - a native bird to North America. Named after the European Robin. The American Robin has grey feathers and an reddish-orange body. Can be found in the Lenfestey Family Courtyard.[5]
    American Robin
  • Cliff Swallows- This bird is also native to North America with breeding in Mexico as well. You can also find this bird in the Lenfestey Family Courtyard[6]
  • Giant Canada Goose - This bird can be identified by its long neck and black and white feathers.


  • White Tailed Deer - a medium sized deer that can be identified with its light tan body and white tail. [7]
  • Raccoon - the raccoon can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds as an adult and can be identified by its grayish-brown fur, fox-like face, and black mask. [8]
  • Eastern Gray Squirrel - a gray furred rodent with bushy tail. [9]


There is a severe lack of predators in the arboretum. Because of this there is a very large population of white tailed deer, geese, turkeys, and many other animals regularly known as prey. However, this also helps the Arboretum Trails stay safe and accessible to hikers during all times of the year.

Architecture Features

Over the years of the Arboretum being open to the public, several architectural features have been added.

Arboretum Tower

One of the features this arboretum had was the Arboretum Tower. This 40 foot tower, which was demolished in 2017, was located just off the UW-Green Bay campus. The tower was constructed in 1985 as a dedication to John P. Cofrin, who was a former president of Howard Paper Company. One cool fact about the tower is that the architect that created the tower used a cherry picking machine to see the land and determine a perfect spot for the tower. At the base of the tower is the Cofrin Arboretum Trail. The trail is 6 miles long.[10]

Le Mieux Family Chapel

Nicknamed the "Haunted Chapel" the Le Mieux Family Chapel is located deep in the woods of the Arboretum, lays a little chapel for all to come and pray. The 12 foot by 18 foot chapel was built in 1925. The chapel was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. In 1984 the UW-Green Bay bought the chapel to keep the land around it suitable for the environment. Students often take trips in the late night and walk to the chapel to find the chapel it self as well as a statute of the virgin Mary by the chapel.[11]

Lenfestey Family Courtyard

Located in the center Mary Ann Cofrin Hall is a state of the art courtyard. The Lenfestey Family Courtyard was given as a gift by The Lenfestey Family Foundation as a full supporters of the university. The courtyard has many features. One of them is that the roof collects rainwater and stores it in the little pond in the yard to water the plants.[12]


Trail Details

  • 4.7 mile long hiking trail that loops completely around
  • The trail is paved with gravel and wood chips
  • Good for all skill levels, very family friendly
  • No dogs allowed

Warm Weather

Activities such as hiking, biking, bird watching, and simply meandering can be done during the spring, summer and fall months.

Cold Weather

Activities such as cross country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking can be done during the winter months.


Large populations of deer on the UW-Green Bay campus are damaging forest understory plants in the Cofrin Arboretum and threatening the ecology and beauty of the natural area. In order to better manage deer populations the UW-Green Bay campus participates in the City of Green Bay archery depredation hunt. Hunters apply through the City of Green Bay and must pass a background check and proficiency test and must follow special rules set by the City. The assignment of hunting locations are determined by the hunt administrator.


Article History

  • Proofreading and Editing for Style: Philbr (talk) 06:12, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
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