Box Turtle


Native Wildlife

Most of Fernwood is dominated by moist soil conditions that are populated by a hardwood forest that leads to the banks of the St. Joseph River. Four miles of hiking trails pass by numerous springs, botanical gardens, and a tallgrass prairie that support an abundance of native wildlife.

Visitors enjoy a high probability of viewing small mammals at the Nature Center feeding station year-round. Eastern fox squirrels, deer, and groundhogs can be seen if you walk quietly through the grounds. Stop by the Big Pond to watch painted turtles, snapping turtles, bluegill, and large-mouth bass from the T dock. Queen snakes are often seen basking in the branches at the River Dock, and four-foot-plus black rat snakes, a species of special concern in Michigan, are common throughout the woodlands and gardens. A visit to the South Vista pond allows you to observe bull frogs, green frogs, red-winged blackbirds, and dragonflies.     

Fernwood's Nature Center features displays on local wildlife, as well as a bird feeding station that attracts a variety of resident and seasonal birds. Click here for more information on birding at Fernwood.


Fernwood will from time to time receive phone calls concerning orphaned or injured animals. Baby animals are rarely abandoned by their parents, which are often nearby watching them. If you are certain an animal has been abandoned or is injured, contact a licensed organization or individual before attempting to care for or handle the animal. Please do not bring the animal to Fernwood. We are not licensed and do not have the facilities to handle abandoned or injured wildlife. For more information on how to become a licensed rehabber, please call Barbie Carrell at (574) 215-1373 or (269) 641-5049. To locate a wildlife rehabilitator in your area, please call Fernwood or click here for a list.