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Dunn's Woods Gallery

To help promote the cultural and natural heritage of the 10-acre woods, and interdisciplinary team of faculty members, students and professionals have founded the Dunn's Woods project. Among its activities, the team hosts workdays to pull exotic invasive species and replace them with native woodland plants.

Dunn's Woods is ecologically and culturally important to campus. In addition to being home to a diversity of trees and other species -- among them birds, box turtles, and the White Fawn Lily shown here -- it's an island of woodland habitat in an otherwise urban landscape.

The exotic invasive plant Purple Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) covers much of the Woods in thick carpets like this, seen near the Maurer School of Law. Such dense growth inhibits wildflowers and other native plants, driving down the diversity of native plant species. Loss of native plant diversity has rippling effects on the whole ecological web of life in the woods, including butterflies, chipmunks, and birds.

A lone wildflower (Toothwort, Dentaria laciniata) in a sea of Purple Wintercreeper.

Two severe summer windstorms hit the woods last year, damaging or destroying dozens of trees. Storm damage and cleanup efforts left the woods with large tree canopy gaps and areas of bare ground highly vulnerable to exotic invasive plants that wreak havoc on the natural order of the woods.