This Self-Guided Hike was created by the “Roots in the Earth” First Year Seminar in 2018 and sponsored by the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement.
Download or print a copy of the Self-Guided Hike brochure!
Welcome to the Lillian Anderson Arboretum!
This website will be your guide as you explore several different ecosystems such as a pine forest, marsh, and prairie-like field while learning how human activities have impacted them.
Stop #1: Batts Pavilion
Walk down Pavilion Road to the Dr. H. Lewis Batts, Jr. and Jean M. Batts Pavilion, built in 2016 and funded by a grant from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. The round support poles were made from Red Pine logs harvested from the Magnificent Pines area of the Arboretum.
Stop #2: Pines Connector to Magnificent Pines Trail
Take the side trail out of the Pavilion field, turn right and follow signs to the Magnificent Pines. These pines were planted by Lillian Anderson’s family in the early 1930s with the intention of eventually harvesting them. The trees were never cut and they crowded each other as they grew, shading understory plants. In summer, listen for the flute-like trill of the Wood Thrush.
Stop #3: Oxen Run Trail
As you approach Oxen Run trail, you will notice one of many photo sites. These sites capture snapshots of the same landscape over time to create a record of ecosystem changes. Participate in this project by taking a picture of the pines and submitting it per the posted instructions. Oxen Run was created when ten pines were cut to build the Pavilion. In addition to supplying sustainable building materials, this thinned the pines, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor. A team of oxen dragged the pines to the Pavilion clearing.
Stop #4: Powerline Trail
As you turn right onto Powerline, notice the wide-open area just downhill from Oxen Run. This part of the trail flooded in the springs of 2017 and 2018, creating a lake on the trail. The water came from the crossing of Bernie’s Landing and Bonnie Castle Lake, which drains into this low section of Powerline. Spring flooding seems to be becoming a pattern, but as of right now, we can’t say what exactly is causing these abnormally high water levels. Do you think human impact might be behind this flooding?
Stop #5: Bernie’s Landing Trail
Partway down Powerline, follow the signs left onto Bernie’s Landing trail. Look around and notice the drastic change in ecosystems. What differences can you point out about the species? Does the fact that this area is less impacted by humans make it more natural? What does it mean for something to be natural? The dense shrubs and bushes surrounding the marsh make a wonderful habitat as they provide shelter for raccoons squirrels, chipmunks, and other mammals during the cold months. In the summer, you may see birds such as Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, and Eastern Wood-Peewees.
Stop #6: Leopold Bench
Emerge back onto the Powerline trail and turn left. On the right of this trail section you’ll see a Leopold bench, named after its inspiration, Aldo Leopold. Leopold was a conservationist and writer who loved nature and observed it avidly. Take a seat on the bench and observe the nature surrounding you. Use all of your senses: your sight, smell, hearing, touch.
Stop #7: Chestnut Point Trail
Follow the sign left off Powerline to reach Chestnut Point trail. Look around and see if you can spot an American Chestnut tree. The Arboretum is home to a few American Chestnuts, rare since their decimation in the early 1900s. Walk onto the small boardwalk that was created for students to take water samples for research projects. This will help you to see what it is like a little farther out in the Marsh. Stand still for a moment and feel the energy around you. What can you see? What do you hear?
Stop #8: Wetland Boardwalk
The Boardwalk was created during the summer of 2014 using a grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. Its platform is designed to prevent the disturbance of the hydrology of the sensitive ecosystem under and around the path. The Boardwalk contains a plethora of co-existing species. The Common Yellowthroat, an olive bird with a bright yellow throat and stomach, can be seen/heard in the spring and summer as it nests around the Boardwalk area. Make sure to listen for their witchety-witchety-witchety songs during the summer.
Stop #9: Fern-Oak Trail
Right after the Boardwalk, the short Fern-Oak trail will carry you back to Pavilion Road. As you walk along the trail, many large oaks, maples, and several red pines can be spotted around you. Please take some time to look up and around you to admire their beauty.