Comments are off for this post

The Sweet Gum Trail Blog: A Stroll Through the Trails

By Abigail Quin Hricik,

The Sweet Gum Trail is a wonderful ecological resource on the MAS’ campus. It is teeming with life just waiting to be explored!

The plants along the trail are managed and identified by the local Master Gardeners. Some of the species you can observe include the southern magnolia tree (Magnolia grandiflora), the endangered Fringed campion flower (Silene polypetala), and the dwarf palmetto palm (Sabal minor). A stroll along the trails can introduce you to dozens of new species which are all labeled with their common name and scientific name. The free plant and animal identification app, iNaturalist, can further enhance your learning experience, allowing you to discover information about a plant’s range, toxicity, seasonality, taxonomy, and more!

While you admire the plants, listen and look up into the trees! Numerous bird species live around the area, including cardinals, mockingbirds, and even hawks. You can learn more about birding during the bird walks led by Amy Alderman from the Audubon Society every third Saturday of each month.

The pond is full of wonderful creatures as well! A day of pond dipping with a Mercer professor revealed numerous organisms including water striders and salamanders. Depending on the season, the pond may also be full of tadpoles munching on the algae and plant debris at the bottom of the pond.

Make sure to check out the Sweet Gum Trail the next time you visit the museum!