Since 1930, the University of Michigan has maintained the Edwin S. George Reserve (ESGR) for the purposes of providing research and education opportunities in the natural sciences and preserving the native flora and fauna. The ESGR is a 525-hectare (ca. 1300 acre) fenced preserve located in Livingston County, Michigan (about 25 miles Northwest of Ann Arbor), which was presented to the University as a gift by Edwin S. George in 1930. The ESGR is characterized by a rugged moraine and basin topography supporting a rich fauna and flora (species lists). The ESGR is administered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan.
Purposes of the E. S. George Reserve
The ESGR is maintained by the University for the purposes of (1) providing research and education opportunities in the natural sciences, and of (2) preserving and demonstrating the native fauna and flora. It is used primarily for natural history study and other ecological investigations by students and staff of the University and by visiting scientists from other institutions.
Before 1927, the area comprised about a dozen farms with tilled fields, small orchards, wood lots, pastures, and swamplands. Clearing and tillage were largely restricted to the level upland and more gentle slopes. The woodlots and marshes were pastured, and the woodlots were moderately used for firewood. In 1927, the tract was purchased and fenced as a game reserve by Colonel Edwin S. George. In 1930, it was presented by him to the University of Michigan, which has maintained it since as a wildlife sanctuary, research area, and teaching resource under the supervision of a Director in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA).
As a result of the efforts of researchers of the past and present, a variety of data resources relating to the ESGR are collected, maintained and made available to interested parties. Databases include species lists for plants and animals, spatial data (GIS) for mapping and analysis purposes, and a map using the spatial data of the ESGR.
Species lists of plants and animals of the ESGR
There is a rich history of both formal and informal investigations aimed at describing the taxa that inhabit the ESGR. The flora are fairly well documented, as are the vertebrates and some arthropod groups. However, most of the insects are not catalogued, although many of the species found at Evans’ Old Field have been listed.