DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The University of Dubuque has bought 121 acres in northern Dubuque County that it plans to keep in its native state and use for education and research, officials said.
School leaders on Tuesday announced the purchase of Wolter Woods and Prairies, a plot of unglaciated land located north of Balltown along the Mississippi River, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported.
The acquisition is the culmination of a 10-year relationship between the university and former landowners Mari and Gary Wolter, who sought an owner to continue their efforts to preserve the native landscape. University officials declined to say how much the school paid for the property, but noted an anonymous investor financed the purchase.
“It’s really a very, very rare opportunity for a university to be able to have an outdoor research site of this size and of this scope and with this biodiversity,” university President Jeffrey Bullock said.
The largely wooded acreage includes limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, a spring-fed creek, 20 acres of reintroduced native Iowa prairie and a sustainable garden. There is also a home on the property.
The university could use the land for ongoing research projects, university classes for the school’s recreation and wellness program, or as a retreat space for faculty and staff, Bullock said. The university plans to preserve the land, and there are no plans to construct any other buildings at the site.