This area was once part of the Turkey Hill Farm or “turkey farm” used by Cornell University’s Poultry Science Department. The site was most recently used under the direction of Peter Marks in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to create “succession plots” as a teaching demonstration for field biology classes.
This former agricultural land was managed to mimic natural succession of agricultural fields following abandonment from corn production. Thirteen square plots, each about 40 meters by 40 meters, were planted to corn, more or less like a local farmer would. Each plot was planted to corn for two years, then abandoned and left fallow for six years and then the cycle was repeated. These succession plots are still being maintained, but have been moved to the Dunlop Meadow in Brooktondale (also a Cornell Botanic Gardens Natural Area), as this site was too wet to reliably get farm equipment on the ground when desired. The remnant 40-meter squares of different-looking vegetation are still apparent, especially in an aerial photograph.