One of my projects at Fort Frederica National Monument this year was to develop a nature trail brochure. Last year the nature trail got all cleaned up and people started using it – a lot. This year people continued to use it and I thought it would be nice to identify some of the plants and trees along the way.
The nature trail brochure has sixteen numbers corresponding to stakes with the numbers on them along the trail. We are hoping these numbers are temporary and will be replaced with nicer numbered posts soon. But at least they can see these numbers with the brochure now. The park personnel also know where to put the posts when they come. Tom helped me identify the plants and trees and put in the temporary numbers.
The nature trail brochure begins at the Frederica River as it travels south from the fort. Along this stretch of the trail you can see red cedars, the river, the marsh, and an artesian spring. The town of Frederica was set on top of a shallow aquifer, so there was good, fresh water available for everyone. The water bubbles up at several places in the national monument.
Leaving the river, the nature trail brochure takes you into the maritime forest. Highlighted trees are the southern live oak, yellow pines, southern magnolia, and american sweetgum. Plants along the trail include the muscadine vine, dog fennel, dewberry, spanish moss, and resurrection fern. Dog fennel flourishes along roadsides in cleared forest and is a very distinctive looking plant. It looks like it has feathers instead of leaves. Dewberries look like blackberries except they are ripe in April.
Two other items highlighted in the brochure are a woodpecker tree and an orange tree. Woodpecker trees are any dead tree that has a lot of insects in it. You can see all the holes from the woodpeckers working away. These trees are also a great place to view woodpeckers. The orange tree is a seville orange, the same kind that the colonists planted. The fruit is very bitter and is better for sauces and marmalade than for eating.
I enjoyed putting together the nature trail brochure for Fort Frederica. I hope a lot of people walk the trail and enjoy learning more about the plants and trees.