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Natural Heritage

The meadows have a diverse mix of grasses and forbs.  Many summer field flowers that attract butterflies are found here, and a small pond enhances the habitat for butterflies.  The upland forest has a gently rolling topography.  Maple and beech dominate, and there is a rich assemblage of spring wildflowers.  The rather undisturbed swamp forest at the western edge of the property is part of Townley Swamp, one of the largest swamps in Tompkins County.  It is dominated by hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), black ash (Fraxinus nigra) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis).  The ground is hummocky with standing water pools in the hollows.  The bryophytes are abundant and diverse.

Ecological Communities

Beech-maple mesic forest

A hardwood forest with sugar maple and beech codominant. Found on
moist, well-drained soils, on north and east facing slopes, and on
gently sloping hilltops of any aspect, this type rarely occurs in
ravines. Common associates are basswood, American elm, white ash, yellow
birch, hop hornbeam, and red maple. Characteristic species in the sub-
canopy are musclewood, striped maple, witch hazel, hobblebush, and
alternate-leaved dogwood. There typically are few herbs and shrubs, but
tree seedlings may be abundant. There are many spring ephemerals.

Hemlock-hardwood swamp

A swamp on mineral soils in depressions which may receive ground water discharge. The swamp may be flooded in spring and dry by late summer. The forest commonly occurs on very acid (pH<4.2) woody peat at margins of small rain fed basins. The canopy is usually fairly closed and there is a sparse shrub and groundcover layer. Characteristic trees are hemlock, yellow birch, and red maple, black ash, and, formerly, American elm. Locally, white pine is usually one of the dominant trees. Tall shrubs of acid wetlands such as highbush blueberry, black huckleberry, and wild raisin are present. The herb layer may be sparse and species poor. Characteristic herbs are false lily-of-the-valley cinnamon fern, and sensitive fern.

Intermittent stream

The aquatic community of a small ephemeral streambed with a moderate to
steep gradient, where the water flows only during the spring or after a
heavy rain. The streambed may be covered with mosses such as Bryhnia novae-angliae.

Maple-basswood rich mesic forest

A hardwood forest that typically occurs on fertile, well-drained land.
Soils are rich and moist. Dominant trees are sugar maple, basswood, and
white ash. Common associates are bitternut hickory, tulip tree,
musclewood, and alternate-leaved dogwood, witch hazel . The shrub layer
is sparse. Spring wildflowers are usually abundant. Characteristic
species are trillium, white baneberry, spring beauty, toothwort, trout
lily, and bloodroot.

Shallow emergent marsh

A marsh that is better drained than a deep emergent marsh; water depths
may range from 15 cm to 1 m during flood stages, but the water level
usually drops by mid to late summer and the substrate is exposed.
Characteristic plants include bluejoint grass, reed canary grass, rice 
cutgrass, mannagrass, three-way sedge, bulrushes, sweetflag, wild iris,
and water smartweed.
Successional forest

Successional old field

A meadow on sites cleared, plowed, and then abandoned. The ragweed type
occurs on fields 1 to 3 years after last cultivation—ragweed, daisy,
 Queen Anne’s lace, crab grass, golden foxtail, and chickweed are common.
 The goldenrod subtype occurs 3 – 15 years after last cultivation.
 Dominant species are perennial composites: goldenrods and asters. Other
herbs include timothy, orchard grass, smooth brome, bluegrasses,
 quackgrass, sweet vernal grass, evening primrose, old-field cinquefoil,
 wild strawberry, and hawkweeds. Shrubs represent less than 50% cover but
include gray and silky dogwoods, arrowwood, raspberries, sumac, and
eastern red cedar.

Successional shrubland

A woodland community that commonly occurs on abandoned agricultural
fields and pastures, particularly on fertile soils, on slopes along the
lakes, and occasionally on well drained soils of alluvial valleys. The
dominant tree is usually red cedar. Gray birch, hawthorn, buckthorn,
 white ash, and black walnut are common associates. Shrubs and ground
layers are similar to that of successional old field.