Nature Trail for Tree Identification

This Nature Trail, created in 2017, is a ¾ mile loop and rated easy in terms of its walkability.  However, there are places where the ground is rocky and a small stream must be crossed on stepping-stones.  The trail is thus not suitable for a baby carriage or other wheeled conveyance.

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This map highlights the route of the Nature Trail which is blazed in both directions with WHITE vertical stripes on trees and rocks.

             Trail goes straight                               Trail turns right

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A brochure has been created as a Guide to the Trail that can be viewed or downloaded by clicking HERE.  A limited number of copies may also be available at the kiosk (at the trailhead to the left of the road just before the Veteran’s Building) or from the Park Ranger’s Office.

 [This brochure was first conceived by Tom Strachan in fulfillment of his Eagle Scout rank with the support of the Boy Scouts of Troop 604, the Friends of Brooksvale Park, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Hamden.]

An example of a description of a tree in the brochure can be seen in the following illustration.

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 2 Black Cherry - near #1 (L)

Prunus serotina

Leaf: Long, narrow and blunt toothed.

Fruit: Round, in long clusters

Bark: Rough dark outer bark, peeling to expose reddish under bark.

The number indicates that this is the second tree along the trail.  After the tree’s common name (Black Cherry) is information about its location along the Trail – in this case that it closely follows after the first tree and that it is on the left (L) side of the trail.  The second line has the tree’s scientific name in italics.  Brief descriptions of each tree’s leaves, fruit and bark then follow accompanied by line drawings of its leaves, fruit and, in most cases, budding stems.

To  follow the sequence of the trees described in the brochure, begin at the kiosk at the trailhead to the left of the road just before the Veteran’s Building and proceed clockwise around the loop, ending behind the Veteran’s Building near the sign for the Rain Garden.

Along the Trail we have identified 24 different species of trees.  Each tree has been tagged with plates, like the ones pictured below, that list both its common and scientific names.  The plates are usually on the trees themselves, but occasionally are on posts nearer to the trail.

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Since some trees are set back from the Trail and thus might be over-looked, we have placed a white-painted rock on the same side of the Trail as the tree to alert you to look out for it.  [If you find that a rock has been moved/removed or if there are any others problems that you encounter on the Trail, please contact us at brooksvale@hamden.com.

It is hoped that by providing descriptions and pictures of the fruit and bark as well as the leaves that visitors will be encouraged to hike the Trail in all seasons of the year and become familiar enough with the trees’ characteristics so as to be able to identify them with or without their leaves.

At the end of the Trail behind the Veteran’s Building and before the sign for the Rain Garden is a stand of three different trees with tags marked “A”, “B”, and “C”.  This is a Quiz challenging you to recall what you learned about the trees described along the Trail and to identify these specimens.  The answers to the Quiz are at the end of the brochure.

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Information on individual trees can also be found on both of the above websites or by going directly to the Wikipedia links below :

Sugar Maplehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_saccharum

Black Cherry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Cherry 

Tree of Heaven https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_altissima

Red Maplehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_rubrum

Sassafrashttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras

Sycamorehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycamore

Shagbark Hickoryhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_ovata

Black (Sweet) Birchhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_birch

American Beech https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagus_grandifolia

Yellow Birchhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_alleghaniensis

White Oak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_oak_(disambiguation)  

Eastern Hemlockhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuga_canadensis

Tulip Poplarhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liriodendron_tulipifera

Black Oakhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liriodendron_tulipifera

Mockernut Hickoryhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_tomentosa

Red Oakhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_oak_(disambiguation) 

American Hornbeamhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpinus_caroliniana

White Ashhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinus_americana

Pin Oakhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_palustris

Eastern Red Cedarhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniperus_virginiana

White Pinehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Pine

Norway Sprucehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_abies

Eastern Cottonwoodhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populus_deltoides

Bitternut Hickoryhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_cordiformis