Follow the path. Read about each special area at each numbered post .
1. Prairie site
- This site
depicts a prairie. Originally prairies were scattered throughout the
vast forests of Michigan. They supported many species of wildlife,
including quail, badgers, deer, and meadowlarks. As Michigan was
settled, the combination of farming and fire suppression led to the loss
of over 90% of our native prairie. This prairie was replanted to provide
habitat for the many species of wildlife that depend on it and to
preserve this piece of our natural heritage for future generations.
site - A meadow is an area that has short grasses and sometimes
has scattered trees. It has an edge habitat that attracts many
species of animals. An edge habitat is a place where two different
habitats meet. In this case the meadow is next to the forest, which
makes an easy escape route for many smaller animals. A meadow is a
place for animals to graze, nest, breed, and seek shelter. Animals
you might encounter here are rabbits, woodchucks, insects, and
different species of birds. The nest boxes have attracted Eastern
Bluebirds and Tree swallows.
Woodlot/Wildflower site - This site is an oak woodlot. Oak
forests originally covered vast stretches of southern Michigan with soil
that was too dry to support maple or beech. Oaks and hickories dominate
these forests. Black cherry and white pine are often found there as
well. Oak forests provide food and shelter for squirrels, deer, wild
turkeys and many species of songbirds. During the spring this site
contains numerous woodland wildflowers Violets, trilliums, and
Jack-in-the-pulpit brighten spring days in late April and May.
Throughout the summer, many other species of wildflowers will carpet
the forest floor.
Pond site - This site contains a type of wetland known as a
vernal pond. Vernal ponds fill up with water in the spring but
usually dry up by mid summer. Because they cannot support fish, they
are valuable places for frogs, toads, and salamanders to lay their
eggs and raise young. The lack of fish insures that the eggs and
young are safe while they develop. Vernal ponds should be left
undisturbed. Turning them into deep ponds or filling them in
destroys much of their value as habitat for amphibians.
Site - Ponds such as this one are scattered all across Michigan
and provides places to swim, fish, and ice skate for people and are
valuable wildlife habitat well. They provide resting and feeding
places for ducks and geese, year round homes for turtles, and many
support fish as well. At this site, watch out for poison ivy
climbing on a tree and on the ground. Look up to see our bat house,
helping to control our mosquito population.
Dump/Tree Snags site. The rubbish/trash disposed of at site was
deposited here nearly half of a century ago (50 years). During this
time frame trash collection like we use today was not common in
rural areas. Farmers also found out that what might be broken or
thrown into the dump may have a use in the future.
snags - Standing dead or dying trees such as this one may look
bad, but they are actually some of the best trees in the forest for
wildlife. They provide nesting sites for woodpeckers. Once the
woodpeckers leave, the nest sites are available to many types of
wildlife, including songbirds, squirrels, raccoons, and owls,
depending on the size of the hole. The trees are also full of
insects that provide food for many types of wildlife. Eventually
the tree will fall providing habitat for the types of wildlife that
need fallen logs.
Bush site - This site was once used for collection of sugar
maple sap and production of maple syrup. A sugar shack building
once stood here where a local farmer named Hegel produced maple
syrup. In late winter, a tree’s sap begins flowing up through the
tree’s veins from the roots, where it remains unfrozen all winter.
(Sap is a watery liquid “food” produced with the tree’s vessel
system.). The returning sap feeds the tree’s swelling buds, which
will soon open into leaves. Sap can be collected and boiled down to
form a rich, sugary syrup for eating.
9. Cattail Marsh site - Shallow marshes such as this one provide
habitat for many types of wildlife. Because they have permanent
water, they serve as winter homes for amphibians and turtles. They
are also extremely important as homes for nesting ducks. Wood ducks
nest in hollow trees like the one at the proceeding site and in
special nesting boxes such as the one here. Another common resident
of marshes are bats. They do people a great service by eating huge
numbers of mosquitoes. Because they are so important to many types
of wildlife marshes and other wetlands should be protected from
destruction whenever possible.
Lot Ecology site - There is a world of science here too. From
cracks, small plants take hold when soil blows in. Ants and other
11. Planter Boxes site - The planter boxes were built and partially funded by the Goodrich PTO and the Goodrich Masons. This spot has been planted with perennial flowers to provide food for migrating songbirds in the fall. The sunflower seeds provide energy the birds need to make their way south each fall.