This 1,165 acre preserve is part of a ridge-and-swale complex adjacent to Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Two Rivers. It contains a diversity of high-quality habitats that include upland and lowland hardwood and coniferous forest, shrub swamp, sedge meadow, cattail marsh, and wet and dry meadows. Facilities include hiking trails, boardwalks, observation platforms, and an interpretive center.
The presence of high quality habitats adjacent to the Lake Michigan flyway attracts thousands of migrating birds, particularly passerines, to Woodland Dunes. Many species stay to breed, including small numbers of priority species such as osprey, black-billed cuckoo, marsh wren, veery, ovenbird, and mourning warbler. Small numbers of herons and bitterns breed here, as well as some species that typically are found much further north such as black-throated green warbler, Magnolia warbler, and black-and-white warbler. Staff and volunteers at Woodland Dunes have collected over 30 years of data from summer and winter bird surveys and bird banding. Hundreds of birds are banded each year, including large numbers of saw-whet owls.