WCSU Covid-19 Information Fall 2021

Westside Nature Preserve

A Walk Through WNP

All the following footage is from 2013


Station 1

Note Winged Euonymus (green sign); behind you, over the stone wall, is an extensive layer of this Asian plant. On the right side of the trail there are two kinds of ferns: Christmas Fern (dark green) and Marginal Wood Fern (fountain-shaped). Euonymus (winged burning bush) is an invasive plant.

Station 2

Note that the tree in front of you has grown around barbed-wire; this land was once part of a dairy farm. To your left is an ancient, majestic, Red Oak (brown sign); the large, straight, tree just beyond it is a Tulip Tree. The footpath behind you leads to a park bench and Station 3.

Station 3

In front of you is a view of Central Valley. As you look out across the space, the trees with very straight trunks are Tulip Trees; most ferns in the foreground are Christmas Ferns. In early spring, native wildflowers, Bloodroot, Hepatica, Anemones and Trillium, are in bloom within a few feet of the park bench. Return to the trail at Station 2 and continue the tour.

Station 4

Note the American Chestnut saplings (the leaves did not reappear in 2008) growing around the stump. To your left is a large Maple tree. Before the chestnut blight, the American Chestnut was a dominant tree of the Connecticut woods. The disease (caused by a fungus) began in New York City in 1904.

Station 5

Here in the Central Valley, low-growing Skunk Cabbage (a brown sign in the area) is in abundance. At eye-level, most of the small trees (bushes) are Spicebush (a brown sign in the area), the leaves of which are quite aromatic.

Station 6

Behind you is Central Valley, above your head the small trees are Witch-hazel. A myth maintained that a forked branch of a European relative of this plant could be used to locate underground water.

Station 7

In front of you most of the ferns are New York Fern. On the ground is Partridgeberry, with double green leaves along the ground-hugging stem; Partridgeberry blooms, with double white trumpet-shaped flowers in June. In the fall, bright red berries will complement the dark green leaves.

Station 8

To your left there is a small White Oak. Further to your left, on the adjacent clearcut, the Giant Reed, Phragmites (an invasive plant), is abundant; the large ferns are Cinnamon Ferns and the small ferns are Marsh Ferns. There are at least 13 different species of ferns on the Westside Nature Preserve.

Station 9

The large tree in front of you is a Tulip Tree (brown sign); on the ground, Partridgeberry is quite abundant. Behind you, a shelf fungus is growing along the length of a dead log.

Station 10

Relax at this park bench and listen to the babbling brook. In front of you, notice the difference in widths of the brook and its channel. Much of the hillside, across the brook and to the right, is covered by Euonymus, which has green leaves in early spring and pink leaves in the fall. To your right is a Shagbark Hickory (brown sign); beyond it is a Yellow Birch (brown sign).