The Donald E. Miller Wildlife Area is a 16.5 acre area located on the north bank of the White River, on the west side of Muncie. It is a site for nature study and environmental sciences field experiences for students from pre-K through college. The Miller area is a remnant of White River bottomland that was isolated when the Army Corps of Engineers straightened the river channel and constructed a leveein the late 1940s.
This preserve contains a diversity of plants, animals, and habitat types, all located within a small area that is easily accessible to the university and Muncie communities. An oxbow pond, created when the old river channel was isolated by the levee, is located within the preserve. The pond is shallow, has high organic matter level, and due to extensive duckweed in the growing season, has low oxygen levels. Turtles and amphibians inhabit the pond area, as well as a few fish species that are tolerant of the conditions. A mature bottomland forest of predominantly sycamore and hackberry trees occupies a relatively flat river terrace east of the pond. The transitional status of the woods along a topographic moisture gradient, and the presence of the oxbow pond, creates a diverse habitat conducive to the presence of a large number of bird species. Over the last three decades, the rich understory has given way to two invasive exotic plant species, bush honeysuckle and garlic mustard.Due to its proximity to the Ball State University campus and easy access to the property, it has remained an important destination for NREM classes and researches interested in birds.There are no public programs and visit is by permission only.
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