Ruthven Nature Area is a 29 acre natural area located northeast of the intersection of Huron Parkway and Geddes Road, just across Geddes from
Gallup Park. View the
Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas map for location context. Trails enter the park from Huron Parkway and Geddes. This site is an excellent example of glacial terrain. As glaciers receded from our area thousands of years ago, hills and depressions were left behind by the melting ice. As glaciers melt away, sand and gravel trapped in the ice are moved and sorted by streams and may accumulate in crevices in the ice. Eventually the ice below melts too, leaving an isolated hill of sand or gravel on the landscape. These glacier-created hills are called kames, and the hill in Ruthven is one of them. The sandy soil of the hill drains quickly, so the vegetation is different there. This topography supports diverse ecosystems, including dry fields with sparse trees atop the kame, and wetlands in the kettle area. The climb to the top of the kame is well worth the view of the Huron River and surrounding areas. If you look closely, you might find fox tracks or dens on the kame. In the kettle area, frogs are abundant and can be heard calling on spring and summer evenings. Indigo buntings can be heard calling from the kame in the summer. This nature area is undergoing restoration efforts by the staff and volunteers from the Natural Area Preservation unit, including prescribed ecological burns and removal of non-native invasive plants.