The Downer Woods Natural Area is an 11.1 acre fenced forest on the UWM campus, which became part of the UWM Field Station in the Spring of 1998. Prior to 1998, the woods was not managed as a natural area, and the vegetation bore little resemblance to that of the mature beech-maple forest which must have once occupied the site. Perhaps the most immediately apparent feature of the plant community when the Field Station assumed responsibility for its management was a dense shrub layer of non-native buckthorn and honeysuckle.

After the Field Station began managing the site, we started controlling exotic species, constructed a formal trail system, established a permanent grid system and sampled the vegetation of the forest. The plant species list and vegetation data are available on request. Now that the thicket of non-native shrubs has been removed and adequate trails are provided, Downer Woods is being used extensively by neighbors and students for enjoyment of the natural area.