Turtle Woods Preserve - Troy
Imagine a place within a busy, developed city where shady swamps are home to endangered turtles and ancient amphibians that glide just below the surface of the water. Next, picture beautiful fields of native grasses and flowers, growing where glaciers last melted and became lakeplain prairie. Is it possible in southeast Michigan, or is it a distant memory? Surprisingly, such a rare and beautiful place exists in Troy, Michigan.
Turtle Woods Preserve is an 80 acre area located on the north side of Square Lake Road between John R and Dequindre in Troy, Michigan. The Troy School District acquired the property more than 50 years ago, as a site for possible expansion. When the school district decided the property would not be needed for expansion, they wanted to sell it and put the funds into educational programming. Through many public meetings and discussions, the school board decided to have an environmental assessment done, to see if there was an option to both preserve the ecological integrity of the site, and allow for some development to recapture funds that could be used for other purposes.
The land contains 43.73 acres of wetlands and also includes a lakeplain prairie ecosystem. The lakeplain prairie is an extremely rare habitat unique to the Great Lakes—less than 1% remains—that supports some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity known in the region, while the wetlands help sustain water quality in the Clinton River system and ultimately Lake St. Clair. Over the course of their ownership, the school district began using the property for environmental education. They monitored and studied the natural features and ecosystem and worked with community groups to create a trail system, interpretive signage, species identification and monitoring, and habitat restoration projects.
The creation of the Turtle Woods Preserve is the direct result of the foresight, commitment, and action of the Troy School Board and Troy School District administration. The community and residents of Troy are extremely fortunate to have a group of public officials who have made great effort to create an innovative approach and partnerships that will benefit current and future residents of Troy by permanently protecting a fabulous natural asset in the heart of their City.