This almost 500-acre county farm, formerly known as Harmony Farms, has been developed into a conservation and horticulture education area. It holds a majestic hardwood forest, restored prairie, a pine plantation, winding walking trails, agricultural fields, plus vegetable and flower demonstration gardens.
Although the Land & Water Conservation manages this area to provide wildlife habitat, recreation, and environmental education opportunities, the community is the key to its success. Management decisions are made with the help of the Friends of Harmony Farms, Northern Lights Master Gardeners Association, Chappee Rapids Audubon Society and the UW Extension of Marinette County.
Harmony Hardwoods Memorial Forest
The Chappee Rapids Audubon Society built the walking trails and the footbridge in the Harmony Hardwoods Memorial Forest where good birding opportunities exist. Walking into these woods is like walking back into time. There are trees here that managed to escape the Great Peshtigo Fire in 1871 that burned 1.2 million acres in Northeastern Wisconsin. A guided tour of these majestic hardwoods is held annually - the Wildflower Tour in early May showcases the spring wildflowers that bloom early before leaf-out and carpet the forest floor. Join wildflower enthusiasts to learn more about these interesting and short-lived spring flower species. There are trail markers and a corresponding brochure to guide visitors around the nature trail. Come out and take a relaxing walk through nature!
The Northern Lights Master Gardeners plant and care for the demonstration gardens. There is a wide range of perennials and annuals, vegetables, and fruit to look at and perhaps photograph. The Master Gardeners are out at the arboretum on a regular basis, you'll probably see them working in the evenings. They always welcome questions. There is a quiet shade-house to protect shade-loving plants complete with sitting benches, one at each end. What a perfect place to read a good book or just sit and enjoy the day.
The Master Gardeners hold a plant sale here every spring to help fund improvements to the garden area. Held on a Saturday in mid May (usually the same day of the Wildflower Tour) there are hundreds of plants to choose from and purchase. Throughout the summer the Master Gardeners sponsor workshops on different subjects all relating to gardening. The Land & Water Conservation offers nature programs in addition to the Master Gardeners events.
New at Harmony Arboretum ~ Children's Learning Garden
The purpose is to involve children in gardening and interacting with nature. Most areas have an education element, but there is a “sailboat sandbox” for playing in and giant animals for climbing on. There is a 36 foot mural that depicts 50 animals and plants native to the area. It is the front of a triangular structure which houses the “Chipmunk’s Tunnel” exhibit. Children are asked to imagine that they are only a few inches high, and what they see on the inside of the above-ground ”tunnel” is what a chipmunk would see in his underground home.
In the “pioneer cabin” are gardening tools for the children to use, together with handout material for families and teachers describing lessons for each area. There is something for everyone to get children involved and engaged, whether they are from a local school with their teacher, a family, or a home-school group.
Be sure to Click the link at the bottom of the page to check out the Children's Learning Garden!
The 17-acre demonstration prairie is managed by the Land & Water Conservation. It is in the early stages, but in a few years it will be flourishing with native prairie grasses and flowers. Prescribed burning is the way we manage this large prairie area. The fire kills invasive plants and young trees that could take over the area and leaves the prairie species whose deep roots allow them to survive and grow back quickly. Bring your prairie flower guide and take a walk on trails that meander throughout the prairie showcasing the flowers and grasses. A guided tour is held annually in August during the prairie's peak to learn how a prairie is started and managed.
A pavilion is now located on site for anyone's use. It is a good place to have a picnic while enjoying the scenic beauty of the area around you. A nice spot to take a rest after walking through the prairie and if it looks like rain, a perfect shelter. Groups who wish to meet for environmental education or concerns please contact the Land & Water Conservation at 715/732-7780 to make sure the pavilion is not being used.
Harmony Arboretum is located 7 miles west of Marinette on Highway 64 and 1/2 mile south on County E. Watch for the sign. The public is always welcome and the visit is free.
Click here to check out the NEW Children's Learning Garden at Harmony Arboretum. »