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 toward 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.