Seven Ponds Nature Center

A Nature Sanctuary and Environmental Education Center

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Visiting Seven Ponds Nature Center

Seven Ponds is a place of extraordinary natural beauty. The scenery at Seven Ponds is spectacular. Each season brings it own form of beauty to the nature center. Seven Ponds has tremendous natural diversity. The center has 486 acres which contain deep glacial lakes, ponds, marshes, fields, woodlands, and prairie. These provide sanctuary for many different kinds of plants and animals. Seven Ponds beauty and diversity provide a wonderful, undisturbed setting for those seeking serenity. It is a peaceful retreat for all in these times of turmoil. Such natural settings are becoming more and more difficult to find in today’s world.

Along the Trails

The Seven Ponds are seven small glacial lakes which are connected by streams and channels. The lakes are steep-sided and several are over thirty feet deep. The nature center is named after this beautiful lake system. The lakes are reached by taking one of the trails leading downhill from the Interpretive Building.

The Teaching Platform is a large dock on the shore of Treetop Pond. It is a good place to begin a visit.

The A-Frame Bridge crosses the channel between Treetop and Little Ponds. The bridge is a great place to observe birds and other wildlife. It also provides an excellent view of the nature center’s wetlands.

Big Pond Observation Platform overlooks the largest of the Seven Ponds and provides the best view of ducks and geese on this large lake.

Paul's Woods is a mature forest of sugar maple, oak, hickory, and beech. It is home to woodland wildflowers, ferns, and a variety of animals, especially birds.

Miller Pond Boardwalk winds along the shore and provides access to interesting swamp forest habitat. A small platform on the north end overlooks a beaver lodge that is frequently active
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Earl’s Prairie is a reconstruction of a rare Michigan plant community and features many native wildflowers. This nine-acre area is especially showy during summer and early fall when plants are blooming.

The North-80 is an eighty acre area located across the road from the nature center’s entrance. A network of trails takes hikers through fields, thickets, and forest. Map posts are located at each junction of the trail system to aid navigation. These trails are popular with cross-country skiers.

Waterfowl Pond
is located in the North-80 and is an excellent place to view many forms of wildlife, including ducks, herons, muskrat, and beaver.

The Butterfly Garden is located in the driveway circle. Its plants provide nectar for butterflies and other insects, and serve as hosts for butterfly larvae.

The Herb Garden is located in the driveway circle. This garden displays plants used by our fore-bearers for food, medicine, potpourri, and dyes.

The Woodland Wildflower Garden contains a nice variety of spring woodland wildflowers and ferns. The garden is located below the Interpretive Building.
Jonathan Woods Nature Preserve was established in 1977 when Elizabeth Graham donated the land to The Nature Conservancy. Ownership of the land was transferred to Seven Ponds Nature Center in 2003. Jonathan Woods consists of 145 acres in southwest Dryden Township and features an unusually varied and rugged terrain. This preserve is especially diverse; habitats include oak woods, mixed hardwoods, beech-maple forest, tamarack bog, yellow birch swamp, open hillside meadow, swamp forest, aspen stands, leatherleaf bog, and a hemlock stand. Jonathan Woods is also rich in animal life, containing all the common animals one would expect in a large woodland and some unusual for the area including river otter, four-toed salamander, acadian flycatcher, ovenbird and scarlet tanager.

There is no parking lot, so visitors must park along the road near the entrance without blocking traffic or nearby driveways. You may also share the trails with horseback riders since the preserve trails are part of the system maintained by the Metamora Hunt. The trail system can be confusing so pickup a map and directions when you visit the Interpretive Building.
The most important features of Seven Ponds Nature Center are the natural ones to be found along our eight miles of trails traversing 486 acres on two sites, Seven Ponds Sanctuary and Jonathan Woods Preserve. To orient and educate visitors the center has an interpretive building containing:

Interpretive Building

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  • Assembly Room seats 100 people.
  • Discover Room contains natural history exhibits and activity center for preschool children; classroom and offices adjoin.
  • Library possesses a comprehensive selection of books and periodicals on natural history and environmental education.
  • The Rookery bookstore sells field guides, children's books, gift items, nature study equipment and bird feeding supplies.
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  • Natural History Collection includes fossils, rocks and minerals, bird and mammal study skins, and insects.
  • Observation Bee Hive permits close inspection of honey bee activity.
  • Touch Table displays many natural objects for children to handle.
  • Michigan Bird Display totals over 150 specimens; includes an extinct Passenger Pigeon.
  • Bird Feeding Area allows close-up viewing of birds throughout the four seasons.
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Guidelines for the Trails

Seven Ponds Nature Center is a very special place. It is a nature sanctuary, providing habitat for a variety of living things. All plants and animals are protected. The nature center also serves as a peaceful retreat for its visitors. Here, a person can get away from some of the problems of our increasingly complex world, even if for only a little while. As you travel the nature center’s trails today, please remember:
  • Stay on the trails. Leaving the trail injures plants, disturbs animals, and destroys animal homes.
  • Walk slowly and quietly. You will increase your chances of observing animals and noticing wildflowers and other features.
  • Picking or collecting plants is prohibited. Leave everything where you found it for other visitors to enjoy.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Leave the nature center better than you found it. Pick up litter and return it to the building or your car for disposal.
  • Pets, horses, smoking, bikes, and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails.
  • There is no picnicking along the trails. Picnic tables are located adjacent to the nature center parking lot.
  • Hunting, fishing, or trapping is not allowed.
  • Leave only footprints, take only photographs and memories.
  • Return often. Each season has its own beauty, each moment is unique.

To help you find your way here, we have include a Google Maps link: