W.W. Field Station
Three Oaks, MI
The W.W. Field Station in Three Oaks, MI is a newly acquired 40 Acre property by a prestigious private university. The property contains many remnant ecosystems, from Beech-Maple forest, remnant wet prairie, and wooded floodplain. Along with a portion of the property that is currently fallow farm field and an old homestead site. Approximately ½ of the 40 Acres is remnant Beech-Maple forest that contains steep ravines adjacent to the Galien River. In the floodplain near the Galien River, many spring ephemerals are present including skunk cabbage, wild leeks, an abundance of different ferns and sedges, along with many other more common woodland wildflower species.
Pizzo and Associates, Ltd. began restoring portions of the property in late 2010 and we continue our efforts to date. During the winter of 2010-2011, Pizzo cleared 5 Acres of a remnant wet prairie that had been overtaken with invasive woody species. Ash, Cottonwood, Dogwood, multi-flora Rose, and Black Locust were all removed to begin restoration of the wet prairie area. During 2012, Pizzo will begin clearing another 5 Acre portion of wet prairie densely vegetated with Black Locust and multi-flora Rose. Continued maintenance of these cleared areas along with stewardship of the remnant forest should prevent the reintroduction of invasive species. The Beech-Maple forest will begin a process of Maple thinning in 2012 in order to encourage the proliferation of herbaceous woodland species. Over the next few years, Maple thinning will continue, along with stewardship on the entire property to control prevalent invasive species.
The university purchased the property to create a field research station studying genetics of Arabidopsis species. Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. began preparing research test plots in late 2011 by applying herbicide and tilling the ground in preparation of a spring planting. The university intends to make the property a field station for students to conduct research and study the unique local ecology of Southwest Michigan. Intended plans for the field station eventually include creating trails throughout the woods, eventual seeding and restoration of the prairie areas, and continuing genetics research focused on local genotypes of plants.