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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 59, Number 2 (Oct. 1957)

The Arboretum,   pp. 18-22


Page 20


A red-winged blackbird study was made from this blind near Lake Wingra.
Wingra Fen is a sloping peat area west of Wingra Woods, watered by a
seepage of alkaline water. This special environment harbors unusual plants.
20
1933 and the Arboretum was officially
dedicated on June 14, 1934. At that
time it contained 500 acres. Since, more
than 25 separate land acquisitions-
made possible through the efforts of
such public-spirited men as J. W. Jack-
son, F. J. Sensenbrenner and M. E. Mc-
Caffrey-have brought the total acreage
to 1,218. From 1933 on, Prof. William
Longenecker has been executive director
of the Arboretum. The first research di-
rector was Prof. Aldo Leopold, and he
was succeeded in 1948 by Prof. John T.
Curtis.
   From the first, the purpose of the Ar-
 boretum has been establishment of natu-
 ral groupings of plants and animals in
 balanced, typical communities. Early
 plans envisioned creation of all major
 communities of the world which might
 be expected to thrive in the climate of
 Madison. Subsequently, the scope has
 been reduced by restricting the commu-
 nities to those adjacent to the prairie-
 forest border extending from Canada to
 Missouri.
   Several forest types thus are being de-
veloped within the confines of the Ar-
boretum, which provides the proper set-
ting for lowland' stands like willow and
elm as well as the upland species. Sev-
eral týpes of oak woods were already
present in 1934-probably vestiges of
the original oak-opening forest in the
area a century and a half ago. There's
one rather large and rich red oak forest
called Wingra Woods; various parts of
this area are being underplanted with
maple, basswood, hemlock, yellow birch
and beech to provide native forest com-
munities typical of Wisconsin. Also
planted have been white, red and jack
pine, white spruce, balsam fir and black
spruce.
   Like other forests, those of the Ar-
boretum contain more than trees. Doz-
ens and dozens of species of flowering
plants, and even more ferns, mosses, li-
chens and fungi, carpet the forest floor.
Late May brings a profusion of flowers
here. 'On the other hand, the prairie
flowers are at their best in mid and late
summer.
  One of the most important manage-
ment problems has been, and will be,
keeping the forests and the prairie tracts
separate. There's a natural tendency for
millions of tree seedlings to convert any
  Wisconsin Alumnus, October, 1957


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