Hike Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve April 12

Location: Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, 551 N Boeke Rd, Evansville, IN 47711

Directions: From State Highway 62 (Morgan Ave.) in Evansville, turn south onto Boeke Rd. and proceed 0.5 mile to the Wesselman Park entrance. Park in the nature center parking lot. Several trails lead from the nature center through the preserve.

Cost: Free, but registration is required.  Register for the hike

Time: 10 a.m. local time (Central Daylight Time).

The Division of Nature Preserves is teaming up with partners to hold a series of hikes on partner owned and managed nature preserves. Partners for this hike are the Wesselman Nature Society and the Indiana Native Plant & Wildflower Society.

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve is an Indiana State Nature Preserve and National Natural Landmark. This old-growth lowland forest is a crucial habitat for a wide variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. A Nature Center on the western edge of the property offers hands-on educational exhibits and a wildlife observation area. No other city in the United States with a population exceeding 100,000 has, within its corporate limits, a timber stand of such acreage and sylvan qualities.

This old-growth lowland forest is of exceptionally high quality. Despite the moderate variation in elevation within the woods (only 20 feet) there is a wide diversity of tree, shrub, and wildflower species. The degree to which sweetgum and tulip trees dominate the canopy, the large number of other trees in the canopy, and the southern influences set Wesselman Woods apart from most of the woods in Indiana. The presences of sugarberry, southern red oak, and cherry bark oak are examples of southern influences on the woods. The Wabash-Erie Canal and 2 railroads passed along the periphery of the preserve, but all three are now abandoned and grown up in forest. The interior of the woods has been protected for many years. 

Hike leaders include Mike Homoya, Indiana State Botanist; Susan Haislip, Wesselman Nature Society. ***Hear Mike Homoya speak on wild ferns of Indiana that evening at 7:00.***

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