Where to enjoy nature’s beauty on campus


A beautiful day on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater’s nature preserve.

Felicity Knabenbauer, Lifestyle Editor

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater’s campus is anything but a concrete jungle. With over 1,700 types of trees as well as a flourishing of flowers and herbage, there is rarely a moment where the eyes are not settled on something green and flourishing. As the weather warms with each passing day the seeds of last year’s generation of plant life have begun to sprout in and around campus. Students and faculty alike do not have to travel far from their dorms and offices to be  surrounded by the scents of spring and approaching summer. 

One of the most popular areas on campus to stop and smell the roses is right in front of the University Center’s North Mall. Located  in Whitewater at the 135 feet long series of waterfalls known as Minneiska Springs water feature. The spring was assembled using limestone rocks from Door County as well as glacial erratics that are native to the Whitewater area. Surrounding the dazzling cascade of water is a diverse plant life of oriental grasses, shrubs, weeping cherry trees and roses. The rocks themselves make a smooth and comfortable seating spot to truly take in the sound of trickling water as well as the colors of the variety of flowers that bloom each year. There are also benches and grounded picnic tables conveniently placed around the spring to use at your leisure.

An area frequented commonly by hikers, joggers and nature lovers alike is the University’s Nature Preserve. With over a hundred acres to frolic in, it is no wonder the University regularly uses it for various natural science classes and research for conservation and recreational efforts. New to the Nature Preserve’s website is a trail system map that anyone can download in order to better understand and choose a trail! One of the most breathtaking views in the nature preserve is inside the prairie where at the top of the hill there is a bench conveniently placed to take a breather. This is the perfect place to take a photo of your surroundings or simply take a seat and appreciate the view. 

A peaceful and easily accessible area on campus to visit when the spirit is low is the University campus’s memory garden. The memory garden, located near the Center of the Arts, was built as a place to reflect, celebrate, honor and remember our fellow Warhawks. The garden was designed around the “bird feeding sculpture.” This sculpture was welded by a student in the early 2000’s for their metal’s class and now sits as the staple piece for the memory garden. There are plenty of areas to sit and watch the bustling bees and butterflies go from flower to flower.

What’s special about the UW-W campus is that there are hidden gems just about everywhere if you take the time to look around and spot them. Little areas where one can find solitude and peace among the plants. One of these special spots is located just next to the front entrance of Heide hall. Here there is just a short path that leads to a one-person bench with a tree overlooking them both. On two rocks located along the path are separate plaques. One plaque reads, “I want to make a lasting monument to your bravery. Such a nervy way to live and die! Department of English, Angela Peckenpaugh, 1982-1987.” The other plaque has a poem named, “To capture the power of a daylily,” by Angela Peckenbaugh. 

This memorial is just one of the many places on campus you can find to simply relax and enjoy mother nature’s creation. They are also great locales for finding peace amongst an area known for its high-stress environment.