UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve


UW-Madison Lakeshore, photo by William Cronon

Site Description

This collection of urban natural areas is located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus along the south shore of Lake Mendota.  The site hosts a variety of habitats, including upland deciduous forest, shallow and deep-water marsh, restored prairie, oldfields, and planted gardens.  Picnic Point, a nearly mile-long peninsula jutting out into Lake Mendota, is one of the Preserve’s most distinctive features.

UW-Madison Nature Preserve, photo by William Cronon

Ornithological Importance

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a significant migratory concentration area for a wide variety of birds, including waterfowl, waterbirds, and landbirds.  The landbird migration is particularly notable, bringing thousands of flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, sparrows, tanagers, orioles, and especially warblers (34 species recorded) to the Preserve’s woods, fields, and marshes in spring and fall.  The Preserve’s proximity to the university and to the City of Madison also makes it an important site for education, research, and nature-based recreation.

Photo Credits: William Cronon