University of Mount Union
Minerva, Ohio 44657
Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center webpage
Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center map
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Photos by Tom Fishburn
Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center Trails
The Nature Center has approximately four and a half miles of maintained trails.
Huston Farm Loop – .5 mile
Brumbaugh Woods Trail – 1.8 mile
Succession Trail – .4 mile
Spicebush Trail – .2 mile
Pond Trail – .1 mile
Maple Trail – .2 mile
Tulip Trail – .1 mile
Beech Trail – .2 mile
Oak Trail – .1 mile
Big Valley Trail – .2 mile
Hickory Trail – .1 mile
Forest Buchanan Trail – .6 mile
The half-mile Huston Farm Loop provides access to nature for people of all ages and abilities. All people can move easily along the boardwalk and improved-surface trails on foot or in strollers or wheelchairs and enjoy the scenery without concern of muddy areas or roots found on most hiking trails.
From Adam Zorn
A description with a map of a 2.4-mile hike on the Aspen, Flat Top, and Huston Farm trails is available on the AllTrails website.
Tips for Birding Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center
The Nature Center’s bird observatory is accessible all year round during the Visitors Center’s operating hours. This circular room with large viewing windows also has an audio system that brings the sounds of nature inside. The bird feeders are stocked all year round and the surrounding landscaping and water feature attracts a good variety of bird species to observers of all ages and mobility levels.
If you are short on time or energy, the .5 mile Huston Farm Loop offers access to early- and mid-successional forest via a network of boardwalk and compacted gravel paths. Many of the Nature Center’s year-round resident bird species can be seen or heard on the Huston Farm Trail. Watch for nesting Phoebe’s around the Visitors Center and Huston barnyard. The southern section of the Huston Farm Loop hosts a good variety of migrant species during spring and fall migration. Breeding birds along this stretch of trail include American Redstart, Hooded Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Gray Catbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Eastern Wood-pewee. Look for Eastern Bluebird, Song Sparrow, and American Goldfinch in the meadow at the intersection with Maple Trail. The east side of the Huston Farm Loop provides access to the interior of the Nature Center’s preserve. In spring and summer, you may be lured from the gravel path by the sounds of Wood Thrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
For a longer walk, the 1.8-mile Brumbaugh Woods Trail and the .4-mile Succession Trail are two options. The Brumbaugh Woods Trail provides the grand tour of the property and its successional and old growth forest, ephemeral streams, electric transmission corridor, pond, and field. The Succession Trail cuts through the center of the property and provides access to many of the same habitats.
The northwest corner of the Nature Center was ravaged by Emerald Ash Borers, so check this area for woodpeckers all year round. In spring and summer, the numerous ash tree snags provide ample perches for flycatchers, thrushes, and vireos while the thicket underneath is ideal for warblers, catbirds, and towhees. Check here in fall/winter for a variety of sparrows. The Spicebush Trail holds birds throughout the year due to dense understory vegetation and an open canopy. This area is great for migrants, including some of the area’s least reported warbler species such as Cerulean, Kentucky, Wilson’s, and Canada warblers, during spring and fall migration. The Nature Center’s steep-sided stream valleys attract both species of waterthrush in spring, Veery in spring/summer, and a Worm-eating Warbler back in August 2014. The electric transmission corridor and access road provides summer habitat for Yellow-throated Vireo and Indigo Bunting. The old growth forest, east of the access road, is home to Barred Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers year-round and Wood Ducks in spring. The Big Valley Trail’s wetland habitat annually hosts breeding Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler, occasionally hosts White-eyed Vireo and Red-headed Woodpecker and is a good migrant trap in spring and fall. The meadow on the far east end of the property hosts breeding Field Sparrows and Indigo Bunting, the occasional Brown Thrasher, and a Clay-colored Sparrow in 2015. On the north side of Daniel Street is the 32-acre parcel known as the North Woods section of the Nature Center where bluebirds, Tree and Barn Swallows, Song Sparrow and soaring raptors and vultures can be observed. This area occasionally hosts Vesper Sparrows in summer, and the adjacent fields can host American Kestrel, American Pipit, Horned Lark, Snow Buntings, and longspurs from late fall through early spring.
About Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center
The John T. Huston – Dr. John. D. Brumbaugh Nature Center was established thanks to a gift from Dr. John D. Brumbaugh. Dr. Brumbaugh donated the 109 acres that had been his grandfather’s farm to then Mount Union College in December of 1986. The farm, located in Washington Township, Stark County, Ohio included old growth and second growth forest and a large bank barn. Dr. Brumbaugh also established a generous endowment to provide for the development of the area as a nature preserve and educational facility. The property was named The John T. Huston – Dr. John D. Brumbaugh Nature Center, in honor of both Dr. Brumbaugh and his grandfather, John Huston. It was Dr. Brumbaugh’s wish that the area be used as a nature preserve for the education and enjoyment of all people and the area be developed in such a way as to lead visitors into an exploration of the outside environment.
Today the Nature Center provides support for numerous classes at The University of Mount Union, welcomes thousands of school students to environmental education programs, creates opportunities for hundreds of people to give of themselves as volunteers and offers a place for reflection and nature study for any who choose to visit.
From Adam Zorn, Program Manager Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center
Indoor restrooms are available during Visitors Center open hours and a portable toilet is available at the parking lot.
Handicap accessible trail.