Saturday, May 11, 2013

SWAT to use property for training on May 17, 12:00 to 4:00 pm

On May 17th from noon to 4 pm, police officers and SWAT agents will be in the Stinchfield Woods running drills and undergoing search-and-rescue training. They will not be using firearms but will be in uniform with full gear. Through an agreement with University of Michigan, law enforcement agencies periodically use the property to simulate search and rescue scenarios and practice emergency response protocols in a wooded environment. So, don't be alarmed if you see officers in SWAT uniforms in Stinchfield on this date. The training is designed to be very realistic, but it is only a drill!! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visual Aid

I created an image of the trail map where I compartmentalized the trails into numbered sections. I thought this might aid visitors in submitting suggestions to the caretaker about where trail work is needed or help in identifying the general location of areas of concern (for example, "there is a tree down on the westernmost trail in section 5"). Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An occasional sign of appreciation

 A frequent visitor and enthusiastic volunteer has begun posting signs (an example is provided above) along some of the trails providing them with designations to aid in orientation and recollection of location. They are small, tasteful, and unobtrusive labels that should cause minimal harm to the trees. We ask that the volunteer avoid posting signs on oak trees, however, which are particularly susceptible to infection of diseases, like oak wilt, after incurring even small wounds.

This volunteer independently contrived the idea and proposed his plan to me, and after careful deliberation, members of the SNRE Properties Committee and I have decided to tentatively permit the volunteer to proceed with his project. It is important to note that the trail names are not official, permanent, or endorsed by the University of Michigan or the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE); and, this should not be perceived as a sort of pilot program in order to decide how a trail-naming system should be derived or what those names should be. Although the Stinchfield Woods property is owned and managed by the University of Michigan, we encourage and appreciate the input of our visitors and supporters. However, any and all use of the property remains subject to approval by the Administration Office of SNRE of the University of Michigan.

That being said, if there are any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Thanks to all our visitors and volunteers. I'll see you in the Woods!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Shout Out to All The Dog Walkers!

Although, admittedly, it is a poor scan, this is the reasoning behind the University of Michigan's policy on keeping dogs leashed on their properties. We just wanted to thank the many visitors who do follow the rules. You are helping to maintain Stinchfield Woods' natural ecosystems and wildlife-friendly environment. Personally, we haven't seen any woodcocks on the property, but there are plenty of other ground nesting birds, ground squirrels, chipmunks, mice, amphibians, and deer that thank you for protecting their nesting habitat. We thought a little support might provide you with a little peace of mind if you feel discouraged after encountering visitors who don't follow the leash policy. Unfortunately, not everybody realizes that the property is shared by all our guests who visit for a variety of reasons. Birders and wildlife observers, joggers and hikers, students and researchers; all using the property with different expectations and perspectives for how their experience should be while visiting Stinchfield. It is important for all of us to consider the impact of our decisions and behavior on the experience of all visitors. So, thanks again to everyone who considers the Stinchfield community in their actions and cooperates with the rules. The caretaker and his wife appreciate it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great event at Hudson Mills Metropark

There is a really cool event this coming Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter. They are giving a PowerPoint presentation about owls, their behavior, and environment followed by a guided tour to call and identify owls. They say they spot at least one every year! This would be a great opportunity for those of you who visit Stinchfield Woods in search of our resident owls, especially the barred and great horned owls. After attending this mini-seminar, one should walk away with a better understanding of where and when to find the owls; and, maybe even be able to call and "talk" with these awesome birds! For more information check out the Huron-Clinton Metroparks website (

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

FYI: UM DPS training with the FBI this Friday, August 10

The University of Michigan's Department of Public Safety (aka University Police) will be conducting a training seminar with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the Stinchfield Woods property this coming Friday, August 10. They will be running search and rescue type scenarios within the woods and realistic situational training. They WILL NOT be using firearms or doing any target shooting so there is NO DANGER to the public. All the officers will be wearing there usual uniforms and carrying their usual equipment for the purpose of authenticity. The Department has been using the Stinchfield Woods property for this type of training for years without any problems. The property will remain open to the public and all the usual rules apply. PLEASE be sure to keep your dogs leashed. If anyone has any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to let me know. You can call the caretaker's home at 734-426-4742. Thank you for the cooperation.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Careful of this thorny rose bush!

This is multiflora rose. It is a shrub native to Eastern Asia and was brought over to be used as "natural" fence lines, wildlife habitat, and ornamental hedges. In fact, the University planted multiflora rose bushes in Stinchfield Woods after they acquired the property in 1925 in an effort to create a maintenance-free fence along the property lines while providing a source of food and cover for birds to encourage on-site populations.

Now, generally considered an invasive species, you can find multiflora rose growing along many of the walking paths throughout Stinchfield. Like most invasives, it thrives in disturbed areas and tends to grow towards openings in order to have as much sun exposure as possible. This is why you'll often see this prickly shrub stretching into walkways so be careful not to walk through its branches; its thorns can give you a very painful scratch. I've been doing my best to cut the invading stems back from the trails and out of the way of passersby.

You can identify multiflora rose by the light, yellow-green color of its stems and leaves, its alternating compound leaflets, the feathery stipules at the base of each leaflet, and its recurving thorns (as seen in the third photo above). In the spring, they will grow clusters of five-petaled white flowers with many yellow stamens.