MNA Kicks Off Spring with Wildflower Weekend Getaway

May 2-4, 2014

A hepaticia flower. Photo by Aaron Strouse

A hepaticia flower. Photo by Aaron Strouse

See wildflowers and celebrate spring with MNA! Join us for a weekend bus trip, featuring the wildflowers of southwest Michigan. The Wildflower Walkabout will kickoff with tours through Phillips Family Nature Sanctuary, Brewer Woods Nature Sanctuary, Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary, and Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary.

The Phillips Family Nature Sanctuary is home to many rare and unusual plants and is one of three MNA sanctuaries that protect coastal plain marshes. The flora that grow at the sanctuary are known as coastal plain disjunct plants because they are separated from their main populations along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Visitors will get to see bald-rush, seedbox and tall beak-rush, which are only found in Michigan’s coastal plains. The Virginia meadow beauty can also be found and can be identified by its bright purple and rich pink flowers. These four-pedaled flowers have eight stamen with striking orange and yellow anthers.

Your visit to the Brewer Woods Nature Sanctuary will present you with a remarkable array of spring ephemeral wildflowers. You may also get a glimpse at the eastern box turtle or the hooded warbler, two species that protected by the state of Michigan and reside within the sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of the few remaining areas of mature beech-maple forest left in Kalamazoo County.

The intense beauty of the Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary will make your visit memorable. This mixed deciduous forest that is set along a glacial ravine is littered with striking spring ephemeral flowers that will be abundant on your visit. The trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger and yellow trout lily are some of the wildflowers found throughout the ravine, and beech and sugar maple are the predominant hardwoods that tower above.

The yellow trout lily. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary is considered the “crown jewel” of MNA’s sanctuaries. The 384-acre mesic forest serves as a travel through time to what Michigan looked liked prior to plowing and settlement. A diverse range of plants and animals call this sanctuary home and the 1.5 mile trail allows visitors to observe all that the sanctuary has to offer. An abundance of wildflowers can be found along the Dowagiac River and oxbow ponds. Some flowers found in the floodplain are jewelweed, skunk cabbage, marsh marigold and golden ragwort. 50 species of nesting birds like the barred owl and yellow-throated warbler use the river and forested habitat along with several species of reptiles, such as the black rat snake, are common sights.  New discoveries will be found with every visit to the Dowagiac Woods and it will surely be a visit to remember.

This weekend getaway is just $275 for double occupancy. The price includes two nights at the Four Points by Sheridan, transportation, and meals and snacks. To sign up, contact Danielle Cooke at 866-223-2231 or dcooke@michigannature.org. Additional information is available on the MNA website.

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