Hike Report: Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve

Shrader-Weaver Hike Draws a Crowd

by Brent Smith

The April 13 INPAWS field trip to Shrader-Weaver Woods, a 100-acre DNR Nature Preserve in northwest Fayette County, was a great success, with about 80 participants! It was a good thing I brought two senior botany teaching assistants with me from Earlham College, and that so many attendees really knew their natural history lore!

Many of us hugged one of the largest black walnuts in Indiana before we entered the magnificent old growth section of the preserve. We noted large numbers of big black walnut, tulip poplar, black cherry, beech and sugar maple. The biggest were two bur oaks. 

We split up into groups to identify spring wildflowers. Due to Indiana’s late cool spring, many early species were at their peak and some later ones just peeking out. Once we finished the old-growth loop trail, half the group continued on the successional trail, picking up new species, including nasty invasives such as amur honeysuckle, autumn olive, and multiflora rose.

This trail through abandoned agricultural land then enters an old-growth swampy forest. Magnificent individuals of pin oak, bur oak and white ash are present, as are skunk cabbage, marsh marigold, swamp buttercup and horsetail. We were a little early for Blue-eyed Mary, abundant in this section of the preserve. Trying to catch this little annual at its peak is worth a return trip.

There are few places in the region that rival Shrader-Weaver for both its majestic trees and its beautiful spring flora. On this April day we were fortunate to see it at its near best. 

Original hike announcement with directions

Comments

    Ian wrote on August 08, 2014

    Wow, I had no idea there was a use for mesquite tree's other than bbq wood! Here in Central Texas we do everything we can to kill the stuff. It's very invasive and will choke out the oaks and anything else in its path in no time. I could likely fill up a truck bed right now just by driving a mile perimeter around my house and that's a conservative estimate, lol. I'll have to try grinding the beans, fascinating!

    INPAWS : INPAWS Hike: Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve April 13 wrote on October 07, 2013

    [...] Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve, Fayette County, Indiana     View full hike report [...]

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