See all trail maps here
The University’s 750 acres include meadows and wetlands, uncut forests and managed forests, ponds and ecosystems in various stages of natural reclamation from the groomed farmland that once dominated this property. Among the indigenous wildflowers identified on campus that are expected to proliferate in naturalized fields are clover, raspberry, Black-Eyed Susan, daisies, Queen Anne’s Lace, and asters. An endangered herbaceous plant called the Plymouth gentian also makes its home here. A wider range of bird species will likely nest on campus as artificial landscapes are given over to naturalization.
Beyond the academic scholarship that studying UMass Dartmouth’s acreage promotes, the intentional development of the Living Classroom concept will eventually open up the land to recreational and informal learning opportunities. For students and the public, several miles of handicapped-accessible walking, biking, and cross country skiing trails are being reestablished in the campus forest areas. Signage will point out the features of the woodlands, including which ones are managed old-growth areas, which are re-forested, and which are red cedar groves versus stands of white pine. Students and faculty groups will maintain the trails and determine priorities for signage.
UMass Dartmouth plans to add an education shelter built of campus-harvested timbers at the edge of the woods. It will contain trail maps and informational materials about the forests, wetlands, and Cedar Dell pond. Hopefully, wood cut on campus will also be used to build a dock for launching kayaks and canoes onto the pond, inviting people to rediscover this water feature long forgotten as the forests have grown up and hidden it from view on campus.
Our forests, like all others across the planet, sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Where mature trees are culled, saplings and underbrush have the chance to strengthen and grow. Where saplings and undergrowth are culled, mature trees do not have to compete for resources. Mixing forested areas with open acreage encourages diversity and allows remaining trees, plants and animals to flourish. By showing people our managed forested plots and explaining our goals for them, we’ll teach a lesson in sustainability that’s easy to grasp on a small scale.