Places We Protect

Ives Road Fen Preserve


Summer wildflowers, grasses and plants in bloom at the prairie fen of Ives Road Fen Preserve.
Ives Road Prairie Fen An alkaline spring-fed prairie blends into a floodplain forest to create a globally significant fen habitat at Ives Road Fen Preserve. © Jen Moore

Wet, spring-fed fens blend into floodplain forest to create the globally significant habitat known as Ives Road Fen Preserve!



Fens are unusual, and increasingly rare. The water from this fen flows through the thick grasses of the preserve, which help to filter the water before it empties into the River Raisin at the preserve's eastern edge. The River Raisin is one of the best warm water rivers in the state, and three of the four local communities downstream draw all of their drinking water from this river.

The preserve has been impacted by invasive species like glossy buckthorn. In the two decades since buckthorn removal efforts began, staff and volunteers have removed more than 2.5 million adult buckthorn stems, spot burned 10 million buckthorn seedlings and burned nearly 400 brush piles of adult buckthorn shrubs. In 2010, we celebrated the removal of the last populations of adult glossy buckthorn from the preserve, a monumental milestone.




Wildflowers, migratory species, rare plants, hiking


703 acres

Explore our work in Michigan

Photos from Ives Road Fen

Tag your preserve visits on Instagram with #TNCMichigan to have your photos featured here!

A person cuts back invasive species in Ives Road Fen Preserve during an autumn work day.
A  wildflower grows on the Ives Road Fen Preserve in Michigan.
A close up of a rabbit at Ives Road Fen Preserve in Michigan.
A group of people walk through a green forest.

Plan Your Visit

  • When to Visit

    This preserve is open year round. A fine chorus of spring peepers can be heard calling in March. The splendor of wildflowers and prairie grasses can be enjoyed from June to August. Catch beautiful formations of migratory birds as they arrive in the spring and leave in the fall.

  • What to Bring

    Be aware of poison ivy, poison sumac, chiggers and stinging nettle at this site. Because of the wet and uneven ground conditions, wear waterproof boots with ankle support. Make sure to pack water, bug spray and sunscreen.

  • Trail Info

    Head out on this 3.20-mile loop trail near Tecumseh, Michigan. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 21 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking and walking, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

    Trail Map

  • Permitted Activities
    • Foot access for hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching, etc.
    • Educational Studies
    • Geocaching
    • Hunting for white-tail deer with TNC permit
  • Prohibited Activities
    • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including but not limited to automobiles, off-road vehicles (ORVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, snowmobiles, amphibious vehicles and bicycles. All visitors must park at the gate and walk in
    • No pets
    • No hunting or trapping without a TNC-issued permit
    • No removal of trees, plants or animals (alive or dead)
    • No removal of rocks, water or other non-organic materials
    • No camping, bonfires, fireworks or other fires.
  • Hunting

    The Nature Conservancy allows hunting for white-tail deer on this preserve to reduce threats too many deer pose to our conservation targets. All hunters are required to receive a permit from TNC as well as a Michigan deer hunting license. Additionally, hunters must report any deer taken from the preserve.

  • Questions?

    Have questions about the preserve? Contact Shaun Howard, TNC protected lands project manager in Michigan.

A group of people stand around the Ives Road Fen sign.
Ives Road Volunteers Thanks to the work of thousands of dedicated volunteers, Ives Road Fen is flourishing. © TNC/Heywood


Ives Road Fen Preserve has a long history of exceptional volunteer involvement. In the years following the creation of this preserve in 1987, The Nature Conservancy initiated recurring volunteer work days to control invasive glossy buckthorn. In 1997, a Volunteer Conservation Committee was formed under the extraordinary leadership of Chuck Pearson, who had led hundreds of volunteer days over the years. Chuck and the group of dedicated volunteers began weekly work days from April through November.

Then, on November 13, 2010, the last stand of adult glossy buckthorn was removed from this preserve, expanding the restored fen from five acres to almost 100 acres! This was a tremendous achievement, which would never have happened without the hard work of Chuck Pearson and the many members of the Volunteer Conservation Committee.

With the buckthorn removed, volunteers have turned their attention to other invasive plants such as autumn olive, honeysuckle, garlic mustard and dame’s rocket. They have also begun restoring the native prairie and surveying populations of the native massasauga rattlesnake. TNC is deeply grateful for this group of dedicated volunteers and the thousands of hours they contribute to make Ives Road Fen such a beautiful, natural place.

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Join Us

Email Chuck Pearson at or call 615-500-8229 if you are interested in volunteering.

Volunteer Work Days

Throughout the spring and fall, you will enjoy seeing butterflies and various bird species. In the spring months, we pull garlic mustard in the floodplain forest next to the River Raisin and enjoy the spring woodland wildflowers and some herptiles. In fall, we cut encroaching shrubs in the prairie fen and enjoy the fall colors and fruits. Workdays include cold drinks and fresh chocolate chip cookies. As a volunteer, you will get a chance to see parts of the preserve that most visitors never get to see.

Saturdays: mid-April, May, September, October
Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET
Location: 4997 N. Raisin Center Hwy, Tecumseh, Michigan 49286

Spotlight on Nature (3:29) Historically, most of the land in this preserve had been impacted by human activity like agriculture, sand and gravel mining, and drainage ditches. However, thanks to thousands of volunteer hours over the last two decades, Ives Road Fen is now largely restored to its natural state.

Keep Exploring

From shifting sand dunes to granite bald mountains, explore over 35 preserves and reserves spread across the state of Michigan.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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