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The waters of Pierson Creek supports a riparian habitat under a canopy of trees that shade the waterway, maintaining cool temperatures and regulating the dissolved oxygen levels. “Pierson Creek is a stream in a natural condition. The water is clear, cool, odorless and safe for wading,” Biliter continues. “Everything is in biological and chemical balance, providing the perfect environment for healthy biodiversity.” Participants on the tour spend much of their time in the clean waters of the creek searching for frogs, salamanders, insects and aquatic organisms found only in healthy stream environments, Biliter said.

Riparian habitat: Derived from the Latin word meaning “bank”: the zone paralleling the banks of a natural stream that provides food, shelter, water and space for individual organisms and populations of organisms that depend on stream-side habitat. The characteristics of the valley provide a rich plant community distinctly different from areas along the ridges. In springtime, wildflowers, ferns, liverworts, scouring rush and clubmoss emerge, found alongside the creek itself and on the valley floor. You may spot or recognize the calls of the blueheaded vireo, black-throated green warbler, Canada warbler, Blackburnian warbler, winter wren and dark-eyed juncos that have chosen Pierson Valley as their summer nesting spot.

Your naturalist guide will point out the treasures of this hidden habitat: flora and fauna, geological formations, stream formation, things to look and listen for; the benefits of a forested riparian system. “I love doing these hikes,” said Mary Schmidt of Gates Mills, a Holden member and frequent participant in guided hikes. “I find the guides extremely knowledgeable; they explain what I’m seeing and enrich my experience.” These 3-1/2 hour-long guided hikes are open to adults and children 12 years and over. The ravine is steep but has been made accessible by a long flight of wooden stairs. It is a workout of a climb coming back up, but benches along the way provide opportunities for people who need them to catch their breath . Part of the valley floor is boardwalk so as not to disturb delicate plants; further along the ravine it is generally unimproved and somewhat rugged going. A walking stick and shoes that can get wet are good equipment to have with you. For families with younger children, stream discovery packs can be checked out for a self-guided exploration of the creek and surrounding area, or refer to the Children’s Discovery Section of the class schedule in this issue for other available programs on Pierson Creek. Enrich your Holden experience – learn more about the beauty around you with a guided journey into Pierson Creek, which is $5 for members and $15 for nonmembers, and is offered monthly. See the listing in the Events Calender and Class Schedule for more information.



The Flora - A Unique Community The dynamic valley system creates a rich plant community distinctly different from the plant communities along the ridges. Fresh nutrients are continuously leached downward from the valley walls and uncovered from shifting soils. These nutrients, along with increased sunlight and abundant moisture, provide superb growing conditions for the flora of Pierson Creek Valley.




Fall 2014



Leaves Magazine Fall 2014  

Leaves Magazine is the quarterly publication of The Holden Arboretum, focused on horticulture, conservation, education and ecological resear...

Leaves Magazine Fall 2014  

Leaves Magazine is the quarterly publication of The Holden Arboretum, focused on horticulture, conservation, education and ecological resear...