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WELCOME
TO
SHARON CREEK
CONSERVATION AREA


LOCATION
HISTORY
USES
SPECIAL FEATURES
friends of sharon creek SPECIAL PROJECTS
HABITATS
GRASSLAND
AQUATIC
WETLANDS
FOREST
VISITING A NATURAL AREA
PDF Format of this document
PDF of the checklists in this document
PDF of the visiting a natural area section of this document


 

LOCATION
The Sharon Creek Conservation Area is located on Springer Road, Middlesex County. To get there follow County Road 2 (Longwoods Road) east of Delaware, then go south on Delaware Township Concession Road #1, which is also known as Springer Road. Watch for the sign for Sharon Creek Conservation Area on the east side. The address is 4212 Springer Road.

HISTORY
1797 The lake or reservoir at Sharon Creek was named after Daniel Springer who came to the area as a result of the American Revolution. This man had a huge impact on Middlesex County as a pioneer, postmaster and magistrate for the town of Delaware.

1966 Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority acquired the 125 acre park. The Sharon Creek Dan and Reservoir were constructed.

The Sharon Creek Dam was built for two reasons:

  • in order to raise groundwater levels
  • to provide a municipal water supply for the Delaware region

1999 the friends of sharon creek planted a 7 acre tall grass prairie and demonstration garden

USES
The park is predominantly used by conservation oriented camping groups such as Scouts, Guides, and Youth Groups. In addition to camping it is a great place for day use activities including picnicking, bird watching, hiking, fishing, canoeing, non-power boating, and swimming. Please keep in mind that hunting is prohibited, you must swim at your own risk, and all pets must be leashed.
Curriculum based conservation programs about the tall grass prairie habitat are offered to elementary school students every spring and fall in the natural settings at Sharon Creek Conservation Area. Programming information can be found at www.lowerthames-conservation.on.ca or by phoning (519) 264-2420.


SPECIAL FEATURES
There are many special features to explore at Sharon Creek Conservation Area.
There is a memorial forest called The Elliott-Madill Memorial Forest. The Elliott-Madill Funeral Homes Ltd. of Mt. Brydges and Komoka, donate a tree to be planted in the forest in memory of loved ones.
A Tall grass Prairie site has been planted at Sharon Creek. In 1999, the Friends of Sharon Creek planted a 7 acre tall grass prairie and demonstration garden. Over 70,000 grasses and flowers were planted, including many rare species.

The Sharon Creek area is situated among a series of significant wetlands. Over half of the area is covered by Springer Lake Reservoir. This reservoir was formed as a result of damming Sharon Creek, which was at one time a small, meandering stream. There is an earthen dam (made of earth) with a spillway that has a capacity for 1 in 10 year regional storm. Another spillway is designed to hold extra water to protect the dam. Both the dam the reservoir can also be used for flood control within the site area.

Sharon Creek Conservation Area also has a walking path that takes you by the north shore of Springer Lake, around a small wetland and through the bluebird nesting box area.
Canoes can be launched from the shoreline canoe dock and there is an amphitheatre overlooking Springer Lake.

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friends of sharon creek SPECIAL PROJECTS

friends of sharon creek is a volunteer group working in partnership with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation, and many community groups to raise money for the annual maintenance and operating costs of Sharon Creek Conservation Authority. They can be reached at (519) 652-5562. Their current projects are as follows:

  • tall grass prairie habitat upkeep
  • wetland and shoreline restoration
  • water quality monitoring
  • community events
  • bluebird nest box monitoring
  • Elliott-Madill Memorial Forest and Trail
  • grounds upgrades
  • fund-raising
  • Sharon Creek Trust Fund Growth

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HABITATS
There are a variety of habitats to experience at Sharon Creek Conservation Area. The 125 acre park is 83 acres of aquatic/wetland habitat and 42 acres of forest and grassland habitat.

GRASSLAND HABITAT AT SHARON CREEK
In May 1999, a demonstration garden with 30 marked common species, was planted by the students of Our Lady of Lourdes. On June 15 and 16, 1999, the friends of sharon creek, a group of volunteers from the Delaware Area committed to the preservation and enhancement of the Sharon Creek Conservation Area, planted 7 acres of tall grass prairie. the friends of sharon creek had the help of many sponsors, conservation groups, and local school children. Over 70,000 grasses and flowers were planted.
The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority has developed a tall grass prairie education program for schools

The objectives for The Sharon Creek Tall grass Prairie are:

  • To establish tall grass prairie vegetation on a 7 acre site
  • To create a site that demonstrates the close relationship between a wetland/lake habitat and a tall grass prairie environment. The project includes a shoreline restoration program for Springer Lake that in turn will enhance wildlife and ensure a diverse environment. This provides nesting cover for waterfowl and forms additional forage areas for other species.
  • To develop educational programs
  • To enhance and compliment other sites under development
  • To provide a source of information and technology transfer for the community and other environmental groups.

The open grassy areas in Sharon Creek have attracted bluebirds. Numerous nesting boxes have been placed near the grassland area. Bluebirds and Tree Swallows use these boxes during the spring and summer months.

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GRASSLAND HABITAT
Grasslands are open areas where few or no trees grow. A true grassland is sometimes called a prairie. A prairie is a long-lived grassland that is dominated by native grasses. In comparison, the grasses that you may see growing along the side of the road are called meadows, they are not true prairies or grasslands.
A meadow is an open, treeless area covered by grasses and is usually the result of a disturbance. Meadows are the first stage of forest regeneration. These areas have hundreds of different species of grasses and wildflowers.

Grasses make up between 50-75% of all plants found in tall grass prairies. The most common grasses found within a Tall grass Prairie includes: Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indian Grass and Switch grass. Some plants that can be found within this habitat include Wild Lupine, Gray-headed Coneflower, Prairie Smoke, Wild Bergamot, Butterfly Milkweed, Blazing Asters, Goldenrods and Sunflowers.
Before European Settlement tall grass prairies were abundant in Southern Ontario. Now, they are endangered. Less than 3% of the original tall grass prairies still exist in Ontario today. The prairies were converted into agricultural fields and pastures. However, restoration projects are underway in Southern Ontario to help save the prairie.

Unfortunately, along with the loss of habitat comes the loss of species. Of the plant species considered rare in Ontario, approximately 20% are associated with prairie ecosystems.

LIFE IN A GRASSLAND
Here are some species you might find in a grassland habitat:

BIRDS
Red-tailed Hawk
Brown-headed Cowbird
Killdeer
Field Sparrow
Rock Dove
Barn Owl *at risk
Eastern Meadowlark
Barn Swallow
Turkey Vulture
Song Sparrow
Short-eared Owl *at risk����
Eastern Bluebird
American Goldfinch
Pheasant
Northern Harrier
American Kestrel
Loggerhead Shrike� *at risk
 
Wild Turkey
Bobolink
Horned Lark
Snow Bunting
Northern Bobwhite *at risk����
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INSECTS
Dragonflies
Crickets
Preying Mantis
Various Species of Flies
Various Species of� Spiders (not insects)����
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Damselflies
Grasshoppers
Ants
Bees and Wasps
Ladybird Beetles
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Monarch Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly������
Red Admiral�����
American Painted Lady Butterfly
Cabbage White Butterfly
Summer Azure����
Clouded Sulpher�����
Orange Sulpher������
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MAMMALS
Deer Mouse
Field Mouse
Short-tailed Shrew
Common Shrew
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Red Fox
Smoky Shrew
 
Meadow Vole
White-tailed Deer
Skunk��
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Groundhog
Star-nosed Mole
American Badger *at risk�����
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REPTILES
Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Milk Snake
 
Eastern Hognose Snake
Fox Snake *at risk
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Smooth Green Snake
Eastern Ribbon Snake
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PLANTS
Tall Fescue
Big Bluestem
Little Bluestem
Indian Grass
Red Fescue
Canada Wild Rye
Switch Grass
Wool Grass
Quack/Twitch Grass������
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Canada Tick-
Trefoil
Black-eyed Susan
New England Aster
Virginia Mountain Mint
Blazingstar
New Jersey Tea
Tall Sunflower
Canada Thistle
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Goldenrod
Wild Bergamot
Gray-headed Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Prairie Dock
Smooth Beardtongue
CommonDandelion
Joe-Pye-Weed
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Wild Carrot
Common Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed
Butterfly Weed
Common Plantain
Meadowrue
Common Burdock
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AQUATIC HABITAT AT SHARON CREEK
The Sharon Creek Reservoir, otherwise known as Springer Lake sits among a series of significant wetlands. The reservoir was formed as a result of damming a small stream. Some property owners in the Sharon Creek Watershed have started projects such as:

  • creating stream buffers
  • improving water quality
  • restoring stream banks
  • restoring fish and wildlife habitats


AQUATIC HABITAT

Aquatic habitats are areas containing permanent water. Ponds, rivers, and lakes are examples of aquatic habitat. Animals such as turtles can be seen basking on logs, frogs can be heard communicating with each other, toads can be seen hopping away, salamanders hiding, birds flying overhead, beaver busily building, muskrats swimming by and much more!

Aquatic habitats provide a home for many different species of plants, insects, birds and mammals. These areas supply much food and water for wildlife. Many mammals come to drink from the aquatic habitat. Some may be looking for food. Next to aquatic systems you can often find wetland vegetation species. Some examples are cattails, reeds, grasses, willows and dogwoods.

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AQUATIC LIFE

Here are some aquatic habitat species that you might find:

BIRDS
Common Loon
Canada Goose
Mallard Duck
Hooded Merganser
American Pipit
Cliff Swallow
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Double �crested Cormorant
Spotted Sandpiper
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Pintail
Great Blue Heron
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American Black Duck
Bank Swallow
Wood Duck
Brown-headed Cowbird
Ring-necked Duck
Green Heron
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Killdeer
Belted Kingfisher
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Ruddy Duck
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FISH
Common Carp
Catfish
Walleye
Rainbow Trout
Shiners��
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Minnow
Sunfish
Brown Trout
Brook Trout
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Johnny Darter
Crappy
Chub
 
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Bass
Pike
Rock Bass
Perch
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AMPHIBIANS AND
REPTILES
Pickerel Frog
American Toad
Spring Peeper
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Bull Frog
Green Frog
Gray Treefrog
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Snapping Turtle
Painted Turtle
Map Turtle
Blandings Turtle
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Mudpuppy
Northern Water Snake����
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INSECTS
Dragonflies
Damselflies
Mayfly Nymph��
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Water Strider
Mosquito
Water Beetle
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Water Spider
Water Boatman
Water Strider��
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PLANTS
Yellow Water Lily
Common Duckweed
Water Milfoil
Cattails
Water Plantain
Algae
 
Blue Flag
Bulrush
Bladderwort
Arrowhead
Reeds
Bugleweed
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Black Ash
Blue Beech
Various species of Willows
Silver Maple
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Bur Oak
Large-toothed Aspen
Red Maple
Sycamore
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*Many mammals use the aquatic habitat for water, food and shelter. Beaver, muskrats, mink, opossums, and raccoons are some of the mammals you might see in or near an aquatic area. Very often you will be able to find their tracks.

WETLANDS AT SHARON CREEK
You may find wetland areas around the Sharon Creek Reservoir. A wetland was also created when earth was excavated from an old parking in the conservation area to build a viewing mound. This lowland pond is to be restored with cattails and other wetland plants to create a marsh habitat for wildlife. This is a good example of human impact on a natural area. Can humans change the environment in order to enhance areas for wildlife?

Wetlands
A wetland is an area that has standing water at or near the surface for most of the year. Wetlands may be located along shorelines and riverbanks or can often be found in isolated depressions or hollows. Wetlands are very important within nature for the following reasons:

A. Wetlands provide habitat (food, water, shelter and space) for mammals, reptiles, amphibians and many bird species.
B. Wetlands act like a giant sponge, holding water that reduces flooding.
C. Wetlands release water slowly, supplying water to other communities.
D. Wetlands help to control erosion.
E. Wetlands act like water filters.

MARSHES

These are found along the edges of rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. They support many plants that are rooted in the soil and grow out of the water called emergent plants. Cattails and Arrowheads are two examples of emergent plants. Marshes receive their water from the body of water next to them, groundwater, rain or snow. As a result of this the water levels can vary from a few centimetres up to two metres.

LIFE IN A WETLAND
Here are some species that might be found in a wetland habitat:

BIRDS
Tundra Swan
Canada Goose
Mallard Duck
American Black Duck
Wood Duck
Hooded Merganser
Gadwell
Northern Shoveler
Red-winged Blackbird
Sandhill Crane
 
Greater &Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Green-winged Teal
Pied-bill Grebe
Horned Grebe
American Bittern
Northern Harrier
Least Bittern
Snow Goose�
Green Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Solitary Sandpiper
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Greater &Lesser Yellow Legs
Wilson Phalarope
Spotted Sandpiper
 
Pectoral Sandpiper
Dowitchers
Common Snipe
Belted Kingfisher
Killdeer
Virginia Rail
Yellow Rail
Sora Rail
Marsh Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Hawk
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MAMMALS
Beaver
Mink
Red Fox
Weasel
Coyote
Raccoon
Various Mole Species
Various Vole Species
Various Shrew Species
Skunk
Grey Squirrel
Opossum
White-tailed Deer
Muskrat
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AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES

American Toad
Green Frog
Spring Peeper
Wood Frog
Bull Frog
Pickerel Frog��
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Mudpuppy
Red Spotted Newt
Blue Spotted Salamander
Red-backed Salamander
Four-Toed Salamander
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Snapping Turtle
Map Turtle
Painted Turtle
Blandings Turtle
Spotted Turtle
Five-lined Skink
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Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Milk Snake
Ribbon Snake
Eastern Hognose Snake
Smooth Green Snake
Black Rat Snake
Brown Snake

 

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INSECTS
Dragonflies
Damselflies
Mayfly Nymph�
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Mosquito
Various Species of Flies����
 
Various Species of Bees and Wasps��
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PLANTS
Cattail
Bulrush
Various Sedge Species
Various Grass Species
Pond Weed
Swamp Milkweed
Jewelweed���
 
Waterfoil
Pickerel Weed
Arrowhead
Blue Flag
Smartweed
Marsh Marigold
Dense Blazingstar
Skunk Cabbage
Sensitive Fern
Northern Maidenhair Fern
Christmas Fern
Choke Cherry
Crab Apple
Hawthorns
Autumn Olive
Red-Osier Dogwood
Pussywillow�����
Honeysuckle����
Roundleaf Dogwood���
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White Birch
White Elm
White Ash
White Cedar
Trembling Aspen
Red Maple
Silver Maple
Ironwood
Poplar�����
White Willow
Sandbar Willow
 

FOREST HABITAT AT SHARON CREEK
Woodland areas are important habitat for a variety of species including birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians and mammals. A habitat is where plants and animals live; it is their home. These homes in the forest can be large old hollow trees known as den trees, or standing dead trees called snag trees. These trees are very important within the forest ecosystem because animals like raccoons and flying squirrels make their nest in den trees, while birds like woodpeckers nest in snag trees.


Many nut producing trees such as oak, beech and hickory supply food for the woodland creatures. These trees are called mast trees. Without these trees in the forest the animals would either starve or move to another forest that contained these trees.

Conifer trees (have cones) or evergreens are important because they are used as shelter and cover from the snow, wind and rain by many forest animals. Conifer tree seeds can be found in cones.
Even dead trees have a place in the forest since all of the dead logs and leaves on the forest floor provide habitat for insects and amphibians, which in turn are food for other animals.

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THE CAROLINIAN FOREST LIFEZONE
Carolinian Canada is one of Canadas most significant landscapes. Often known as the banana belt, this area supports an amazing diversity of wildlife and natural habitats. The area has a relatively warm climate, providing suitable habitat for many species that are not found anywhere else in Canada. The area has the warmest average temperatures and the longest frost-free seasons in Ontario. This results in relatively mild winters compared to the rest of Ontario. The Carolinian forest reaches its northern most limit in Southern Ontario.

Much of Ontarios rare and endangered species can be found nestled away in the last remaining acres of the Carolinian Forest. Species that can be seen here include trees such as Sassafras, the Tulip Tree, Blue Ash, Flowering Dogwood, Chestnut, Hop Tree, Paw Paw, Black Gum, Cucumber Tree and the Kentucky Coffee Tree. The Green Dragon, the Creeping Fragile Fern, Swamp Rose Mallow, Lizards Tail, Yellow Mandarin, Virginia Bluebells and Oswego Tea are a few of Canadas rare plants existing now only within the Carolinian Zone. Bird species, such as, the Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Carolina Wren and the Prothonotary Warbler can be found here. Some mammals are restricted to this area, they include the Badger, Eastern Mole, Southern Flying Squirrel and Opossum.

Unfortunately this life zone is one of the most threatened landscapes in Ontario, covering less than 1% of Canada, but yet it is home to more rare plants and animals than any other region in the country. This is mainly because the species found here are at the northern most point of their habitat. As well, these species live in developed and settled landscapes, resulting in a minimum amount of habitat remaining. It is found within an extremely busy corridor between Windsor and Toronto. Urbanization, agriculture and industry have destroyed a large portion of this beautiful forest. Because of this the Canadian Carolinian Forest has been a focus for conservation and stewardship.

If you would like to learn more about the Carolinian Life Zone, or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact:

CAROLINIAN CANADA
TELE: 519-873-4631
www.carolinian.org

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LIFE IN A FOREST
Here are some wildlife species you might see in the forest habitat

BIRDS
American Woodcock
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird
Chickadee
American Crow
Cedar Waxwing
American Goldfinch
Various Sparrow species
Eastern Screech Owl
Hairy Woodpecker
Purple Martin
Junco
Nuthatch
European Starling
Common Grackle
Various Warbler species
Great Horned Owl
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Robin
Wood Thrush
Ruffed Grouse
Rose-breasted� Grosbeak
Mourning Dove
Flicker
Cardinal
Gray Catbird
Wild Turkey
Red-tailed Hawk
MAMMALS
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Various Bat species
Red Fox
Raccoon
Gray Squirrel
Coyote
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White-tailed Deer
Red Squirrel
Opossum
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Skunk
Groundhog
American Badger
 
AMPHIBIANS AND
REPTILES
American Toad
Wood Frog
Tree Frog
 
Eastern Redback������� Salamander
Blue-spotted Salamander
Milk Snake
Little Brown Snake
 
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INSECTS
Mosquitoes
Yellow Jackets
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Ants
Termites
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Millipedes
Wasps
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Centipedes
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PLANTS
May-apple
Bloodroot
Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Canada Anemone
Trout Lily
Wild Columbine
Canada Violet
Solomon�s Seal
Wild Bergamot
White Trillium
Red Trillium
False Solomon�s Seal�
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Ostrich Fern
Christmas Fern
Maidenhair Fern
Lady�s Fern
Poison Ivy
Virginia Creeper����
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Honeysuckle
Witch Hazel
Common Elder
Hawthorn
Wild Grape
Spicebush
Nannyberry
Serviceberry
Staghorn Sumac��
Raspberry��
Riverbank�� Grape�
Domestic Apple
Sugar Maple
Silver Maple
Red Maple
Red Oak
White Oak
Black Cherry
White Ash
Black Ash
Bitternut Hickory
Shagbark Hickory
Eastern Cottonwood
Black Walnut
American Beech
Trembling Aspen
White Birch
White Cedar
Ironwood
White Elm
Basswood
Eastern White Pine
Blue Beech
Tulip
Hackberry
 

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VISITING A NATURAL AREA

DRESS APPROPRIATELY

You want to enjoy your nature experience

  • long sleeves
  • long pants
  • a hat
  • shoes and socks
  • sun screen and bug spray
RESPECT THE AREA


Many species make this area their home

  • don�t litter

  • take only pictures

  • don�t disturb anything

  • don�t pick flowers

  • if you observe something place it back where you found it
STAY ON TRAILS


�You could trample wildlife and plants

  • �don�t damage vegetation

  • don�t disturb dead wood, it is decaying

  • stay away from leaflets three, it is poison ivy

  • minimize human impact on the area
ENJOY YOUR VISIT!


Your natural area is important to you

  • the quieter you are, the more you will see

  • leave everything in its natural setting

  • come back and visit again

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