Trillium and blue plhox are just two of the flowers on display at Nan Weston Nature Preserve in the spring.
Flowers at Nan Weston Nature Preserve Trillium and blue plhox are just two of the flowers on display at Nan Weston Nature Preserve in the spring. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

Places We Protect

Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow

Michigan

A New Way to Explore

Enhance your next visit to the Nan Weston Preserve with the new Sharon Hollow Audio Tour!

 

Why Is This Preserve Significant?

This preserve lies in the Upper River Raisin Watershed, an area highly altered by agriculture, logging and development. The Nan Weston Nature Preserve serves to protect many remaining natural communities, stopover habitat for migrating birds and the river itself which winds approximately 25 miles to the Conservancy’s 700-acre Ives Road Fen preserve before continuing on to Lake Erie. 

Sharon Hollow is a dynamic preserve, featuring more than 260 species of wildflowers and other native plants. From the symphony of toads and frogs during spring, to the rain of yellow beech leaves in the fall, visitors will find year-round spectacles to enjoy. In the wet spring months, visitors can see vernal pools, which are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for insects, snakes and amphibians. 

What Can You See Here? 

As you hike the trails through floodplain forest and wooded wetlands towards the bank of the River Raisin, look for a vast array of wildflowers and other native plants. Beginning in mid-spring, woodland plants come to life, including bright blue hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, southern blue flag iris, squirrel corn, starflower, bloodroot and large-flowered trillium covering the forest floor. You may also catch a glimpse of the red-backed salamander or the eastern newt, most commonly found near vernal pools in cavities of rocks or overturned logs.

Also, keep an eye on the treetops and sky. Nan Weston Nature Preserve serves as stopover habitat for migrating birds as they travel through the Great Lakes flyway and provides nesting sites for several warblers and other birds, including the yellow warbler, rose-breasted grosbeak, barred owl and pileated woodpecker. 

In the spring, be prepared for wet, muddy trails by wearing waterproof boots. Be advised that hazard trees may be present along the trail due to destruction of ash trees caused by emerald ash borer.

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

Trail Map

Permitted activities:

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Wildlife observation
  • Geocaching
     

Prohibited Activities:

  • No building of new trails
  • No pets
  • 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
  • No firewood collecting
  • No littering
  • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including bicycles
  • No hunting or trapping without a Conservancy permit
  • No trespassing on adjacent land
Spotlight on Nature: Nan Weston Preserve at Sharon Hollow