Even though I’ve spent two years as an undergraduate in Ann Arbor, moving from the dorms on campus into a house off campus has allowed me to see a completely different side of the city. While living in the dorms, my travels were restricted to how far I could walk – only a mile or two. Now that I’m living off campus and have access to my car I’ve been able to explore parts of the city I never knew existed. The work I do for my internship has taken me to so many beautiful parks and natural areas across Ann Arbor that I never would have found on my own – I had no idea the city was full of natural hidden gems just waiting to be explored. Huron Parkway Nature Area, for example, is hidden in plain sight. It runs right along the edge of Huron Parkway, but there’s no obvious entrance to the forest and no designated parking. I must have driven past it countless times before working there for my internship. The nearest parking is half a mile away, but the hike is worth it. Inside the park is a beautiful, untouched old-growth forest right along a tributary of the Huron River; and this is only one of the over 200 parks and natural areas managed by the city of Ann Arbor.
Working in different forests and natural areas across Ann Arbor has opened my eyes to all of the natural beauty of the city and its surrounding areas. Once my internship is over, I know I’ll return to some of these sites to take a break from the hustle and bustle of campus life.