Cofrin Arboretum offers fertile ground for hands-on learning

Cofrin Arboretum offers fertile ground for hands-on learningFor science students at UW-Green Bay, back to school is also back to research — and they don’t have to go far to find it. The picturesque campus includes nearly 300 acres designated for the Cofrin Arboretum, an area of rich biodiversity that provides not only beauty and recreation, but also ease of access for hands-on learning.

“It’s great,” said UW-Green Bay graduate student Lindsey Bender. “Sometimes we get to do research in between classes and, you know, right after school. So it just seems like it’s right available at your fingertips.”

From undergraduates still exploring their options to grad students with a defined career path, UW-Green Bay students say there’s nothing like being able to conduct research right outside your door. With each new school year, comes new opportunity.

“It’s really cool that we’re actually given this field experience right here and now,” said UW-Green Bay junior Jacob Leigh. “It’s going to look good in any future job, it’s good on a resume and it actually allows you to find out how to actually make a difference by just doing something like this on campus.”

That field experience is paired with real-life expectations, helping to prepare students for their careers. Student-faculty collaboration further enhances that experience, whether on campus, in the community or at more distant sites in Northeastern Wisconsin.

“I think the key to this exercise is that the students are actually conducting a science experiment,” said Prof. Robert Howe, Director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, “and they’re expected to write the findings in a report that simulates a real scientific paper. It’s a form of learning, a form of engagement, that pays off.”