From the barn, take the Red Trail following the shoreline to the intersection with Brown, Orange and Peninsula Trails. Turn left onto the Brown Trail.
Old Field Succession
On the Brown Trail you will soon come to what is called an "old field" - cropland that has been abandoned and allowed to go into the first stages of secondary succession. Grasses, sedges, and other herbaceous plants like broomsedge, asters and goldenrod rapidly overrun an abandoned field. Summer wildflowers highlight this area and serve as an important nectar and pollen source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
In a year or two woody shrubs such as blackberries and sumacs move in. In this field we also see a shrub not often cited in succession literature but frequently found in abandoned fields -- Autumn Olive. This non-native invasive shrub has become a common component of the fields and edges at Ivy Creek.
In order to maintain this field in this stage of succession for educational purposes, it is bushhogged every other year.