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swinging bridge in the natural areas

Silvoor Biological Sanctuary

Silvoor Biological Sanctuary is a 2.5-acre tract of land donated in 1978 to the University by Dr. Robert A. Hefner. Dr. Hefner and his wife, Ilo, spent many years converting this former town dump into a beautiful sanctuary.

In 1980, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Fitton donated a portion of their land, which was part of the Sanctuary, to Miami with the understanding that it remain a part of Silvoor Biological Sanctuary. The sanctuary houses an extensive wildflower garden with over 60 species on showy display seen during the scheduled wildflower walks or casual walks each spring.

The entrance to the Silvoor Biological Sanctuary is at 910 Silvoor Lane, Oxford, Ohio 45056.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

Bachelor Wildlife and Game Reserve

During the twenty years that Dr. Joseph M. Bachelor served on the Miami faculty, he accumulated land adjacent to the University. He lived on the land, farmed it, and in 1947, gave 416 acres to create the Bachelor Wildlife and Game Reserve, the backbone of the natural areas. The Bachelor Wildlife and Game Reserve is managed to establish and preserve habitat diversity for native plants and wildlife. A variety of animals live in the Reserve including beaver that frequent Bachelor pond.

This land encompasses a number of interesting features and attractions. Some of these include the scenic Harkers Run Creek spanned by a 45' swinging bridge, wood ducks nesting at Bachelor Pond, pinewoods and old growth woodlands of beech, maple and oaks. Over six miles of trails connect these interesting areas.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

College Woods

College Woods is a 16 acre second growth wood-lot with many trees that had been a part of Western College for many years. Many of the trees are over 100 years old. The woods contain many interesting species including: white ash, american beech, black cherry, slippery elm, shagbark hickory, American hop-hornbeam, chinquapin oak, shingle oak, pawpaw, sassafras, black tupelo, and black walnut.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

Reinhart Reserve

In 1991, Dr. and Mrs. Roy Reinhart donated 45 acres of land adjacent to the intersection of Oxford-Milford Road and Bonham Road . Amenities include old growth woodlands, meadows, springs, streams and scenic overlooks with trails connecting all.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

4-Mile Creek

Purchased in 1962, the area comprises about 100 acres of land. Miami's riding stables are on this tract of land and an additional 20 acres are designated as pasture for the horses. Ten acres are designated for the Miami University 's Recycling Center. Thirty-five acres are cultivated for agricultural purposes, the proceeds of which go to help maintain the Natural Areas. Along this route, hikers can also get a close-up view of the DeWitt house, the oldest standing log cabin in the Oxford area.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

Western Woods and Beck Reserve

The Western Woods comprises approximately 100 acres located on the eastern and southern sides of Western Campus. There is a hiking trail through this beautiful woodland area that travels hills and valleys through a magnificent stand of oaks, beech and maples.

In 1997 the University acquired Beck Reserve. This land was part of the estate of the late Dr. William and Virginia Beck. Their son, Michael Beck and his wife Noreen, stipulated in the transaction that the land was not to be developed. Today, trails travel along Four Mile Creek up hillsides with beautiful views of the valley below and through mature woodlands.

swinging bridge in the natural areas

Kramer Woods

Paul and Edith Kramer donated this twelve-acre tract of land to the University in 1987 that is typical of a mature wood-lot in southwest Ohio. It is maintained in its natural state. Hiking trails are continuous with those of the Bachelor Reserve. Kramer Woods' trail provides a variety of hills and slopes for hikers to climb. Upon reaching the top, hikers are rewarded with a stunning view of the forest below.

Butterfly Gardens

Miami University and its students, staff, and faculty are devoted to supporting a sustainable campus through environmental restoration projects. Miami's Natural Areas Butterfly Garden, located at the Bird Blind near DeWitt Cabin, has flowering plants that are native to the area and provide homes and food for native animal species. Butterflies, hummingbirds, other birds, and a number of species of bees are found within the garden.

butterfly on a flower

Peffer Park

Once a pastureland and farm, this 80-acre plot was purchased as two parcels in 1955 and 1966 by Miami University. Later, Fred C. Yager generously donated money to Miami University in order to develop a park on this land south of campus along Highway 27. Yager stipulated that the park was to be developed in memory of his nephew, G. Maurice Peffer. William Amos and Dorothy R. Amos contributed funds for the park's development as well.

A small portion of the land is a recreational park. The balance is maintained as a natural area to promote outdoor recreation, education, and research in the natural sciences. Common activities include hiking, snow skiing and bird watching.

Peffer Park is located at 4346 Millville Oxford Rd., Oxford, Ohio 45056, and is available to rent.

Ecology Research Center

The Ecology Research Center (ERC) was founded in 1969 and is the focal point for ecological field research at Miami University and provides a venue for educational opportunities for middle, high school, and university students. This 69-hectare field station is located just north of Oxford and contains a diversity of field sites and facilities that support both aquatic and terrestrial research. In addition the ERC provides the tools and equipment needed to maintain field plots and the ERC staff are available to provide advice and assistance in the design and fabrication of research apparatuses and sampling devices.

student doing research at the ecology research center

Historical Sites

DeWitt Homestead

The DeWitt cabin was built in 1805 by Zachariah DeWitt. At the time, Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth had seven children, and traveled here from Kentucky to claim the cheap and newly available land.

Zachariah became an important member of the pioneer farming community. He built several houses in Oxford, including the initial portion of what would become the building still housing Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the corner of High street and Campus Avenue in Oxford. He was village treasurer when he accepted a captaincy in the War of 1812, took command of a company of Butler County riflemen, and marched them to Detroit to assist General Duncan McArthur. He became a pillar in the Baptist church, was co-owner of the Mansion House Hotel, and in 1822 became a founder and secretary of the Masonic Lodge. A Whig, he supported William Henry Harrison for President; a memorable reception at the Mansion House was part of Oxford’s celebration of Harrison’s election.

The log house of Zachariah Price DeWitt is now the oldest remaining structure in Oxford Township. It also is the last of a string of pioneer homesteads established along the Four-Mile Creek before Oxford Township, the town of Oxford, or Miami University even existed. It stands on the east bank of the creek about three hundred yards north of Route 73. Located on Miami University land, the structure is leased to the Oxford Museum Association, which in 1973 took on its restoration to preserve this rare example of early 19th-century log construction.

The DeWitt Log House is open to visitors on Sunday afternoons from Memorial Day through Labor Day featuring interns in living history who provide first-person interpretation of the site. It is also open during the annual Hike-A-Thon.

DeWitt Cabin is located off of SR 73. Parking is available at DeWitt Cabin Parking Lot.

Women's Recreation Association Cabin

The Women's Recreation Association was essential to the formation of women's athletics at Miami University. Established in 1908 by Zay Engle Hoopes as the Girls' Athletic Association, it only consisted of a women's basketball team. The GAA later gave way to the Women's Athletic Association in 1921 and then to the Women's Recreation Association in 1956, under the leadership of Margaret Phillips. It was the means through which women had access to athletic participation, both in intramural and intercollegiate competition. Membership in the organization was determined not only on sports participation but also on service provided to the institution.

During its 66 year history, the organization owned and maintained four tennis courts, purchased a playing field which the university helped to maintain, built the WRA Cabin, sponsored play days with other schools, built a field house on the south side of campus, purchased a station wagon for use when traveling to away events, scheduled social events for women on campus, presented letter awards to participants who earned a designated number of points, and beginning in 1950 offered a full tuition scholarship each semester to an upperclass woman on the basis of scholarship, financial need, personality, and service to the campus.

The Women's Recreation Association Cabin is located at 5715 Oxford Milford Rd., Oxford, OH 45056.