Eagle Heights Woods
This magnificent, mature oak forest, with beautiful woodland wildflowers in spring, has survived substantially intact since European settlement began. The spectacular setting with its commanding 150 foot bluff overlooking Lake Mendota has been prized since the time of the ancient Native American mound builders and into the present.
Situated on top of dolomite outcrops from the early Ordovician period and a layer of glacial till, most of this woodland is still red and white oak. It is one of the better quality woods on campus and the area is not impacted by any run-off. Because of this and because of differences between the tree composition on its slopes which face all directions, Eagle Heights Woods has long been an important resource for research and study. Community visitors seek relaxation in this quiet area of the Preserve.
The woodland is multi-layered and the native plant understory is diverse. Several types of viburnum, dogwood and other native shrubs and trees form a rich mid-layer. Wildflowers in the ground layer are especially beautiful in spring, before canopy trees are fully leafed. Currently, parts of the existing tree canopy are in decline, and dense shade from invasive plants is affecting the character and composition of canopy tress and reduces biodiversity in the area.