Thurston Nature Center
The 24-acre nature area has a 7-acre shallow pond, called Thurston Pond, an oak-hickory woodlot, a vernal pond, a small area planted with prairie species, and other areas with grass or trees and shrubs and flowers. Common birds around the pond include great blue herons, egrets, mallards, and Canada geese. Racoons and skunks are seen in the area.
During some periods of very heavy rains, water overflows from Thurston Pond into Millers Creek, which in turn flows into the Huron River. The pond is home to many painted turtles and snapping turtles. However, the biodiversity of the aquatic plant and animal life in the pond has declined substantially over the last several years, and now the fish community consists of just black bullheads, carp, and goldfish along with a few other fish species. Indeed, conditions in Thurston Pond have deteriorated so much that the pond can no longer be used by the Ann Arbor Public Schools for classes about aquatic life, and the majority of the Thurston Nature Center Committee recently voted to adopt a comprehensive plan to rehabiliate (i.e., restore the ecological health and biodiversity of) Thurston Pond.