Thurston Nature Center


The Thurston Nature Center is located just north of Thurston Elementary School on Prairie and on the south side of Bluett Road, across from Clague Middle School, in northeast Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan. The Nature Center was dedicated as a Conservation Education Reserve by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 1968, and celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2003. School classes have used the nature center as part of Ann Arbor Public Schools' Environmental Education Program for decades, and the area is enjoyed by many people in the community. The Nature Center is managed by the Thurston Nature Center Committee, a subcommittee of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Thurston Elementary School, and a Land Use Policy Statement has been agreed upon.

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.

 

TNC Meetings | Land Use Policy | Pond Restoration | Trees and Shrubs | Flowers | Birds | Fish


Copyright 2005 Thurston Nature Center Committee: revised 2/11/05.