The Wayne College Nature Trail & Arboretum

Nature Trail SignThe Wayne College Nature Trail & Arboretum is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about the plants and trees in the area. The trail is an almost half-mile, paved trail with an arboretum area that includes more than two dozen species of trees and shrubs that are native or live in similar environments to northeast Ohio. In the spring of the year, more than 100 wildflowers of more than 10 species bloom along the trail.

Species identification signs are scattered throughout the trail and include drawings of the leaves and sometimes flowers of the species, a common name, and the scientific name. These signs were drawn by Wayne College students, Katie Kramer and Angie Keefer.

What You'll See in the Arboretum
The arboretum, south of the main parking lots, connects across the lawns to two woodland walks. The southernmost woodland consists of a mixture of black cherry trees with red and sugar maples, ashes and a few dogwoods. The floor of the woodland is covered with ivy and Virginia Creeper. The woodland to the north is lower, wetter and younger than the one to the south. This woodland is dominated by a mix of black cherry and black locust trees. Both woodlands are spotted with honeysuckle shrubs.

Scott Hagen Aquatic Area
The Scott Hagen Aquatic Area is east of the woodland walks and behind the Barnet-Hoover Farmhouse. The easternmost part of the aquatic area is the wetland area, dominated by cattails and other wetland species. A number of wildflowers and wetland plants naturally occur and have been planted in the aquatic and wetland areas. These include watercress, water lilies, lizard's tail, forget-me-nots, wild irises and many others. Numerous waterfowl and other migratory and nesting birds visit this area regularly.

Visiting the Nature Trail & Arboretum
You can visit the Nature Trail and Arboretum any time the College grounds are open. Guided tours for groups can be arranged in advance. Hiking, birding, picnicking and other activities are encouraged. Please be a thoughtful visitor and "take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints."

Nature Trail & Arboretum History
1975 - Biologist Forrest Smith began to use the grounds for botany and ecology classes, bird watching and other field experiences.

1978 - Smith began planting the plants in the arboretum for botany and field study classes.

1984 - Emily Rock joined the biology faculty at Wayne and uses the ponds and Nature Trail to collect specimens for biology classes and for an ecology "scavenger hunt."

1992 - Wayne College sold some trees for lumber and used the money for the design and implementation of Phase I of the Nature Trail, which was completed in October 1994.

1994 - Dedication Phase I of the Nature Trail, which included the Student Senate amphitheater, the wetland viewing deck, the bridge and the stream viewing deck. Also, 22 brass plant identification signs and four large illustrated education signs were unveiled. These four signs include habitat description signs about lawn, wetland, and successive ecosystems and a sign describing the Hagen Aquatic Area.

1998? - Phase II dedication, which included replacement of the plastic arboretum signs with brass ones similar to those along the trail, addition of a stone Nature Trail sign and new directional signs along the trail.

Virtual Tour
Please feel free to use this part of the Wayne College Web site to take a short tour of the Wayne College Nature Trail and Arboretum. On this tour, you can view a number of images taken along the trail and read about what you are seeing. Text pages include descriptions of the signs along the trail, the history of the trail, and a digital map of the trail as it exists on the college campus. Finally, you can also see the drawings and the text of four educational signs visible on the trail.

View and read about:




 "The Lawn Ecosystem"
"The Successional Ecosystem"
"The Wetland Ecosystem"
"The Scott Hagen Aquatic Area"

VARIOUS PLANT DRAWINGS - Common & Scientific Name

Please enjoy this tour and feel free to contact Forrest Smith, Emeritus Professor of Biology at with questions, comments, and suggestions.