VanderBloemen Bog

What is a bog?

A bog is a large stagnant lake created by melting glacial ice and covered with a mat of sphagnum moss. Acting like a sponge, the moss holds 13 times its weight in water.

Plants growing in a bog need mechanisms to retain their own rainwater and often eat insects due to lack of nutrients in the bog. Many plants have small, thick and waxy leaves to reduce water loss.

Due to low oxygen, lower temperatures and high acidity, root growth is very slow. Decomposition also is a very slow process in a bog.

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VANDERBLOEMEN BOG

Pitcher plants, mosses, buckbeans, orchids, cranberries, sedges, leather leafs, moccasin flowers, blueberries, lady slippers and sundews are among the natural wonders found at VanderBloemen Bog, owned by Silver Lake College.

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The 24-acre parcel of quaking bog surrounded by woodlands is situated in the end moraine of the Valders stage of Wisconsin glaciation in the heart of Manitowoc County.

The land was purchased in 1965 thanks to efforts by Herbert VanderBloemen, the first conservation warden in Manitowoc County, and generous donations from individuals, conservation clubs and other organizations. The bog, named for VanderBloemen, was designated a State Natural Area in 1966.

Surrounding the bog are white pine, tamarack and black spruce. Farther out are black ash, red maple and white birch.

Birds include the ovenbird, goldfinch, robin, yellow-bellied sapsucker, wild turkey, wood thrush, veery, northern oriole, eastern bluebird, least flycatcher, white-breasted nuthatch, and crested flycatcher.

The bog also is home to the frog, garter snake, white-tailed deer, snail, cotton-tailed rabbit, raccoon, red fox, butterfly and the ubiquitous mosquito.

Silver Lake College uses the land for class trips and scientific research.


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Permission from the college is required for visitation. For more information, please contact Ariens Family Welcome Center 920-686-6175.

Sources: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin State Natural Areas

Silver Lake College archives

“Guide for Life in the VanderBloemen Bog,” compiled by Silver Lake College’s Plant Morphology class of 1969 and Ecology class of 1970 and updated by the Plant Taxonomy class of 1988.

All Photo Credit to Joshua Mayer of State Natural Areas of Wisconsin  (Licensed)