Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area
This Nature Area is one of the more frequently used on campus, mainly because it is close to Trent University buildings, and provides natural environments for walks. The Lady Eaton Drumlin is so named because it is a drumlin- an elongated teardrop-shaped hill of rock, sand, and gravel that formed under glacier ice approximately 10,000 years ago.
- Read more on drumlins on the Glacier Landforms: Drumlins web page by the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
- Read more about the last glaciation across North America on the Wikipedia web page Last Glacial Period
This drumlin is about 850 meters long x 280 meters wide (at greatest extent), and rises about 30 meters above the surrounding landscape. It is one of several drumlins on campus, with the South Drumlin Nature Area occupying another of the larger ones.
A) Satellite Imagery
1. Created in ArcGIS Pro (click to view full size). The red line describes the boundary around this Nature Area, south of Woodland Drive and east of the Otonabee River. This image shows the hydro electric right-of-way for the transmission line that crosses Trent University campus, which splits the Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area into two pieces. The drumlin itself is the south portion, while the north portion (south side of Woodland Dr.) is north of the transmission line. In this winter image the Red Pine plantation is obvious on the south half of the drumlin, while the north half (below the transmission line) is a Sugar Maple-Ironwood forest in its dormant winter state.
2. Via Google Maps (shows latest satellite image available via Google Maps; will not show boundary).
Location and Use
The Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area is located between West Bank Drive, Lady Eaton College, and Highway 29. This Nature Area encompasses three different areas, the drumlin itself, the wetland between the drumlin and Highway 29, and the forest that runs along the south side of West Bank Drive. A hydroelectric line right-of-way bisects this Nature Area.
It is well-used for recreation and class studies due to its proximity to Trent University central campus.
Trails, Access, and Points of Interest
It sports several trails, generally spanning the length of the drumlin (north to south). Trail entrances can be found:
- at the north end of the drumlin, starting from the southwest corner of the north Trent parking lot ("Green" parking lot, now designated Trent lot "P")
- at the south end of the drumlin, east side, off West Bank Drive just north of the driveway leading to the Athletics Complex parking lot (Trent lot "F")
- in the centre of the drumlin, east side via a switchback trail that starts from the southeast corner of the Lady Eaton College parking lot (Trent lot "G")
Trails traverse the main two ecosystems on the drumlin itself, a deciduous forest and a coniferous forest (see Ecosystems, below). There are also a few points of interest on the north end of the drumlin accessible by trail, including:
- a lookout area, looking east over Trent University, and
- at the north end of the drumlin, remnants of an old ski lift (this area of the drumlin used to be a ski hill before Trent University was established).
Ecosystems and Species
The Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area includes 4 primary distinct ecosystems:
- a deciduous forest, mainly Sugar Maple and Ironwood, with a few other species, on the north end of the drumlin.
- a coniferous forest, mainly red pine, on the south end of the drumlin
- a wetland area with a seasonal river running through it, at the base of the west side of the drumlin (between the drumlin and Highway 29)
- a deciduous forest, mainly sugar maple and ash, located north of the drumlin between the hydroelectric line right of way, Highway 29, and West Bank Drive. This area is physically split from the drumlin by the hydroelectric line right of way, which is cleared of vegetation mechanically and via chemicals by Hydro One every few years.
You can download a plant species list (pdf) for the Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area, developed back in 1994. Do you see any new species? Do you notice any species that have disappeared? We hope to establish a mechanism for visitors to report sightings soon, stay tuned!
This Nature Area is heavily used at certain times of the year, and thus is subject to some stress from frequency of recreational and educational use. To help with this, the Nature Areas Committee does request that any educational use of Trent University Nature Areas (i.e., for a class exercise or research project) be formerly reported/requested prior to use. This allows for better monitoring.
The Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area is also being impacted by invasive species, particularly:
- Dog Strangling Vine: This appeared approximately 10-12 years ago, and has been spreading quickly. This plant is an annual vine that grows pods that break open in late summer-early fall, releasing hundreds or even thousands of seeds (similar to Milkweed). Further, a new plant can grow from a very small root fragment. You'll find a large area that is completely taken over by this plant half-way up the switch-back trail from Lady Eaton College parking lot. Colonies and individual plants are continuing to spread further into the forests on the drumlin each year.
- Buckthorn: This invasive shrub has been present in the Peterborough area for decades. It was originally planted as an ornamental plant. It grows moderately slowly, but once it reaches a certain size it shades the ground with its thick, waxy leaves, reducing the biodiversity of other ground covers and seedlings. Buckthorn can be found throughout campus, including in the Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area.
- Emerald Ash Borer: This invasive insect arrived in Peterborough in 2014, and has spread each year throughout the region, killing Ash trees. The insect in larva form eats the wood material under the bark (phloem, cambrium, and outer xylem), killing the tree's ability to transport nutrients. An infected tree dies within a year of being infected, and there are several Ash trees in the Lady Eaton Drumlin that are dead or dying. This will affect the future of the deciduous forest in as of yet unknown ways.
Nature Area History
At the north end of the drumlin a ski hill was prominent (running down towards the Otonabee River) before Trent University was established. You can read more about the Nassau Ski Hill in Soaring on Skis, a Peterborough Examiner article from Feb. 7, 2009.
The Lady Eaton Drumlin Nature Area was established around 1994.
Updates to Come!
We are working on posting maps and physical descriptions for each Nature Area. Stay tuned for updates!