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.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that school leaders on Tuesday announced the purchase of Wolter Woods and Prairies, located north of Balltown along the Mississippi River.

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.