Pioneer Woods Nature Area is an urban forest adjoining the Greenview Nature Area. The woods is a mix of native and non-native deciduous hardwoods and evergreens. Deciduous trees are typical to southeast Michigan and include oak, hickory, black walnut, sycamore, and maple. There are also small groupings of hemlock, white and red pine, and spruce. The forest provides shelter and breeding habitat for many species of birds, amphibians and other animals.
Several walking trails crisscross the forest. Friends of Greenview and Pioneer Nature Area maintain woodland paths – remove fallen trees, construct boardwalks over seasonal wet areas and spread woodchips. The Friends clear invasive species, such as buckthorn, using both chemical and controlled burn methods.
The Pioneer Woods supports a diverse collection of native plants including many spring blooming wildflowers. In early spring you can find Spring Beauty, Broad-leaved Toothwort and large colonies of Yellow Trout Lilies. There are also Jack-in-the-pulpit, Wild Geranium, Mayapple and False Solomon Seal.
As temperatures decrease, the forest becomes radiant with vibrant autumn colors. The many nuts and acorns in the fall provide fodder for various forest denizens preparing for the winter. Black walnuts, acorns, hickory nuts and pinecones are favorites with chipmunks and squirrels.
Warm fall rains bring out a variety of mushrooms in the forest floor – look for them on tree stumps, fallen logs and among leaves and grasses; their many shapes and colors are a delight to discover.