The Brothers' Trail

THE BROTHERS' NATURE TRAIL IS......

Located 0.1 miles south of the Beaver Island School, next to the McCann house.  Look for the sign NATURE TRAIL.  The trail is on the property of the Brother's Place.  The Nature Project was a labor of love by all the students of the Beaver Island Community School.  The funding for the Nature Trail was a mini-grant from the State Department of Education.  Please respect and enjoy the trail.

INFORMATION: For more information about Beaver Island's wildlife, consult the many books available at the Beaver Island District Library.  Books about many aspects of Beaver Island life are for sale at the Museum Print Shop and at local stores. 

  1. The Brochures Box Please take a brochure as you begin your walk.  The flora and fauna you will see are just a sample of the beauty of Beaver Island

  2. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera).  Paper Birch has a bark that comes off in strips.  The bark is thin and light enough to write on.  Paper Birch is also called White Birch.  Paper Birch can grow 60-80'.  Native Americans used its bark to make birch bark canoes.

  3. Red Pine (Pinus resinosa).  Red pine needles are in bundles of 2 and are 4-6" long.  On mature trees the bark forms diamond shaped scaly plates with a reddish color to them.  It is an important timber tree and can grow to 100' tall.

  4. Poplar (Populus)  Poplars grow throughout the northern hemisphere.  These trees are fast growing but have a short life span.  Many have such flat leaf stalks that even a small wind causes them to flutter.  The wood from these trees is used to produce furniture, matches, studs, containers, and pulp.

  5. Listening Post  Stop here and take some time to listen to the sounds of the woods.  The ovenbird is a loud "teacher, teacher, teacher" call.  In the distance you may hear the "zee zee zee zue zee" of the black-throated green warbler.  What else can you hear?

  6. Dwarf Juniper (Juniperus communis)  A tree or more often a shrub with sharp three-sided needles in whorls of three.  Fruits are hard, blue-black berries.  Oil from leaves and wood is used for perfume and burned as incense in India.

  7. Starflower (Trientalis borealis)  This flower lives in cool woods and high slopes.  It has six seven-pointed stars on thread-like stalks.  Winter-green (Gaultheria procumbens) is named wintergreen because it keeps its leaves green all through the winter.  It is used for flavoring candy, gum, toothpaste and medicine.

  8. Black Spruce (Picea mariana)  The black spruce is an evergreen conifer in the pine family.  It was named this mostly for its color.  The needles are four-sided, stiff and less than 1" in length.  Spruce are widely used for papermaking and interior furnishings.

  9. Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repensul)  The Trailing Arbutus comes from the Heath family.  It grows in the spring in the dry woods.  The flowers have five petals and they are colored from white to pale pink.  It is a protected Michigan flower.

  10. Pileated Woodpecker Tree  Look closely at the oval-shaped holes drilled into this tree.  That is evidence of the pileated woodpecker's work.  A large woodpecker, the pileated has a red-crested head and makes a lot of noise while working.  Look for the wood shavings under the tree.

  11. Bracken Fern (Pteridillim aquilinum)  A perennial growing from a creeping root.  The young shoots, called fiddleheads, are good to eat when cooked.  The commonly grow in slightly open areas.

  12. The Fungus Tree   This birch as some interesting fungi growing on it.  One commonly called shelf fungi, is white and grows out from the side of the tree.  The other is dark brown in color and may be Polyporus frondosus.

  13. Thin-leaved Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides)  is a low shrub 8-24" tall.  The leaves are oblong to elliptical, and 1" long.  The flowers are greenish and bell-shaped, most commonly seen in May and June.  The berries are sour and blue, with a powdery surface.  Berries are found from July to August.

  14. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)  The Red Maple is a beautiful tree to see in the summer months.  Leaves are toothed, 2-6" long.  They turn a scarlet color in autumn.  The Red Maple grows rapidly in moist to swampy soils.  It is commonly planted as an ornamental.

  15. White Pine (Pinus strobus)  It's needles are soft bluish green and flexible.  They are in bundles of five and are 3-5" long.  Needles remain on the tree for two years.  Cones are 4-8" long.  It is one of the tallest trees in North America.  It is used in carpentry and squirrels eat its seeds.

  16. Moss (Musci)  There are more than 9,000 species of mosses and more than 1,200 in the U.S. and Canada alone.  Unlike other plants, mosses have rhizoids, threadlike structures that resemble roots.  Mosses have an alternation of generations.  They provide homes for insects, fiber for bird nests, and help prevent erosion while providing fertilizer and fuel.

Miller's Marsh Trail

Simpson Trail

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