South Hill Natural Area West
Adjacent to the west side of the main campus across Danby Road, the 67 acres of South Hill Natural Area West have come under recent management for teaching, research, and recreation under the banner of regenerative use. Currently this reserve has a mixture of land covers, including white pine stands, mixed hardwoods, and thickets of exotic invasive shrubs. With the exception of historical fence rows and riparian corridors, the forest stands of South Hill West appear to be less than 40 years old--young compared to other portions of South Hill. This reserve contains regularly flowing streams in small ravines, one of which is lined with unusual (and yet unidentified) species of hybrid ash tree (Fraxinus spp.). At the center of the reserve is a junction of historical stonewalls and fencerows with nut- and fruit-bearing trees, such as hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and black cherry (Prunus serotina).
Regenerative use will be achieved through managed successional re-growth, sustainable harvest of non-timber forest products, invasive exotic plant control, and selective forest thinning. A repeat photography project is in place to monitor regeneration over the long term. Meanwhile, a trail built in 2011-2012 facilitates access, concentrates impact, and promotes field research.