Nature Preserve

Fernwood’s nature preserve, with its tall trees, tranquil ponds, abundant springs, and carpets of wildflowers, is a magical place that draws people back again and again. Kay and Walter Boydston visited often before they owned the property. They finally decided to purchase Fernwood one spring day, when in Kay’s words, “we heard the liquid call of two wood thrushes in the woods as well as the wild sweet song of a water thrush as we crossed the bridge by the little falls.” Trails provide access to all parts of the preserve, allowing visitors to see a remarkable variety of plants and wildlife.

Fernwood's 55-acre Nature Preserve is both strikingly beautiful and unusually diverse. A 125-foot drop in elevation has given rise to several natural communities, including dry and wet forests, young second-growth woods, streams and ponds, and a reconstructed tallgrass prairie. Species of endangered or threatened Michigan plants and animals are protected in the preserve.

Trails of varying length provide access to the preserve. Some climb steeply while others offer gentle grades. All are kept simple so visitors remain close to nature. Surfaces are wood-chipped or bare earth, and there are steps on hilly portions and boardwalks over wet areas. Benches provide places to rest and observe the beautiful surroundings.

All of Fernwood's trails are open to visitors during normal public hours. During the school season, several of the lower trails are extensively used by Fernwood's Environmental Studies Program.