Hasler Limnology Garden

The Limnology Garden was planted in 1997 in honor of Dr. Arthur Hasler’s 90th birthday, and celebrates the Hasler Laboratory for Limnology as the easternmost entry to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Volunteers, including Emeritus Professor Art Hasler with shovel, planted the garden.

Hasler’s pioneering research showing the connections between water quality and land management is today recognized around the world. This garden was fittingly dedicated to his love for the natural world and his protection of Madison`s lakes and the natural areas of the campus that have now been permanently protected in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

For many years, Hasler regularly led staff, colleagues, and friends in trash clean-ups throughout the woods, starting an ongoing tradition of clean-ups linked to a spring celebration at the Lab.

Volunteers from the community and the Hasler Limnology Laboratory help maintain the garden including Dr. Arthur Hasler’s son, Dr. Galen Hasler, on left.

As part of a process of natural shoreline management that Hasler’s research helped promote, beginning with this garden and continuing for four miles along the shoreline, trees are allowed to remain in the lake wherever they fall along the shore. This provides coarse woody habitat for fish and other animals that live in the lake. The Lakeshore Nature Preserve is one of the few places along the Lake Mendota shoreline where this important biological process is allowed to proceed.

The garden’s native plants assist in spreading diversity through the Preserve and are enjoyed along with the wildlife they nurture by users of the path. The garden was designed and implemented through the collaboration of Facilities Planning and Management, Volunteer Phil Wand, and the faculty, students, and staff of the Hasler Laboratory for Limnology. The garden was made possible by campus sesquicentennial funds and through gifts in honor of Dr. Hasler.


A less obvious goal of this garden is to try to manage traffic flow to enhance safety. The sidewalk on the lake side of the Limnology Lab is pretty narrow, and it’s dangerous for bicycles and walkers to use it at the same time. So bikes are directed to go around the south side of the building, and walkers around the north side. The garden subtly encourages bicycles traveling east to veer right as they approach the building, and so avoid the lakeside walkway.


Photos: Volunteers by Cathie Bruner; Blood root by Bryn Scriver; Butterfly by Anne Pearce.