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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.