SHILOH ENVIRONMENTAL TRAIL  Tail #7

     When we think of Shiloh, our minds quickly picture waves of soldiers charging across open fields, of the thunderous roar of cannon, and the unbelievable hardships of war. It’s true that these are all a very important part of Shiloh, but the Battle of Shiloh was only a brief instant in a much longer struggle which nature is still carrying out in the area.

     The forces of nature were hard at work shaping Shiloh and the surrounding lands long before man first viewed the scene. Centuries of shifting, carving, and eroding passed before the land began to take its present-day form. Years more passed before man visited the area.

     The first men probably came as hunters in search of food. They left little evidence of their passing, but they remembered the high bluffs that always remained safe from the frequent flooding which swept the surrounding lowlands. Eventually these people returned to build homes and ceremonial lodges. Thus, man became a small but important part of the scene.

     The Indian lefts as mysteriously as he had come, but the door had been opened. Explorers and adventurers from across the seas soon followed. Eventually, the farmer and settler came to tame the land. Man could no longer be classed as a casual visitor or temporary resident.

     By the time of the Civil War, the woods of Shiloh had been opened, and in many places there were small cornfields and cotton patches pushing up through the recently cleared soil. Small cabins began to dot the landscape as "Man, the Master of the Land" built his farms.

     The land was farmed, and sometimes abandoned, for years following the Civil War, but Shiloh had become something special. Men had struggled and died on its fields to defend their personal beliefs. As a result, Shiloh became a National Military Park, a monument to man and his ideals.

     When Shiloh became a park it also became a living example of how man and nature must work together. Man was sometimes unwise in his use of land, but perhaps the  errors of the past can help us today to better conserve the land.

     Conservation, above all, should mean wise use. To use our land wisely we must first understand what goes on there and how man’s actions can influence nature. We are capable of altering the land in ways that would require centuries to repair. However, we must remember that man is still a newcomer. Eventually, nature is always the winner.

     The benefits of this hike will depend entirely upon you. All of the stops will not require a written answer, and there can be no one answer that is most correct for certain other points. These stops are no less important than those that do require specific answers. In fact one stop may give key information that is needed later on. You will be on your honor as you travel this trail. If you just answer the questions, the day will have very little meaning. But if you take the time to look, to listen and to understand what is around you, the day can open a fascinating new world of which you were hardly aware.

     As you walk, think of nature as a series of related activities. Everything, including man, is dependent on its environment. Two terms will be very helpful in understanding these relationships.
     The first term is ECOLOGY. Ecology refers to the study of the interrelationships, which must exist between any form of life and its surroundings. This applies to all life from the smallest to the largest, plants and animals. Factors of the surroundings include everything from the soil and water underfoot to the air and sun overhead.
     The second term is WEB OF LIFE. The Web of Life is a diagrammatic way of showing that all forms of life, including man, are interrelated in some way. The strands of sun, air, water and soil support the web, just as certain key strands hold a spider web in proper position so that the spider may function and survive. Damage to any part of the web causes vibrations to pass throughout it.

 

1A)      Follow the old road from Shaw’s to the junction of Confederate and Reconnoitering Roads. Follow the Fraley Field Trail from the road junction to the edge of the field. DRAW AN OUTLINE OF THE LARGE OAK GROWING ON THE RISE IN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD.

1B)     As you return along the trail to Confederate Road, look closely at the large trees in the thick woods. DRAW A TYPICAL OUTLINE OF ONE OF THESE TREES.    (Alternate:  Start from Shiloh Camping Area.   Follow map through Woods Field to Fraley Field.)

     Sun is a major requirement of most producers (plants) in the Web of Life. Plants gather light energy through their leaves; and by using a process called photosynthesis; they convert the energy into sugar. The difference in the two drawing should indicate the need for sunlight. The tree in the open can absorb sunlight easily from all sides so it becomes full and spreading. The forest trees can only get enough light from above, so they are forced to grow up to the light or die out in favor of hardier or faster growing trees.

     You have considered the effects of the sun on just one small part of the Web of Life so far, but it must be remembered that no portion of the Web can stand by itself. The necessity for light energy is most easily recognized in our plant life, but it is just as necessary for the other forms of life, which compose the consumers and decomposers.

     Think of our world and our environment as a large, natural machine made up of many gears, which turn against each other. If a single tooth on any of the gears should break, the whole machine is thrown out of balance. The broken gear could be a tree or shrub, a fox, a group of microscopic bacteria – or it might even be man himself.

2)   Follow Reconnoitering Road until you find an open area in the woods with a thick ground cover of leaves.  Scrape away a small patch of leaves down to bare earth.  DESCRIBE HOW THE LEAF LITTER CHANGES IN APPEARANCE AS YOU APPROACH THE UNDERLYING SOUL.
     Did you ever stop to think of all the soil does?  It anchors plants, supplies minerals and food, holds moisture and contains valuable forms of plant and animal life to name just a few things.  All the plant food we eat grows in a thin, upper layer of the soil.  Our lives and the lives of other living things around us all depend on that fragile layer.  
     Soil is really not suitable for growing things unless it is a mixture of both rock fragments (dirt) and organic matter (such as the decaying leaves).  This combination of basic materials takes place in many ways.  The weather and the actual materials involved are the deciding factors in what type of soil is formed.  There are many different soil types, each of which is given a specific name.
     This soil is called Savannah Silt Loam.  The thick leaf layer you just examined plays a major role in nourishing this soil type and holding moisture.  This natural litter is a key factor in distinguishing the soil at this location from the soil of old fields where the soil building process has been broken.  Look closely at the decaying leaves and you may see streaks of white mold running through them.  These mold streaks belong to the decomposer strand on the Web of Life, and they play an important role in breaking down the leaves and returning nutrients to the soil. 
     The "dirt" under the leaves is a loam, which simply means that mineral earth has combined with organic matter to form a basic soil mixture.  The entire Savannah Silt Loam is made up of several layers beginning with the leaf litter on top and going all the way down to coarse gravel and clay on the bottom.  This complete layering pattern is called a soil profile.  Different soil profiles result in different soil types.
3)     The next stop will not be until you reach Peabody Road.  But as you continue along Reconnoitering Road, take a little extra time to look around you and think about the following paragraphs. 
     Light, soil, water and air form the basic framework of the Web of Life.  The lack of any one of these may very well mean that the producers, consumers and decomposers (which include all living things) may not be able to survive.
     Air is probably the most difficult of the four basic items to understand since we can't see pure air, but it is only necessary to hold your breath a while to remember how important air really is. The smoke and fumes which now hang over many of our cities gives us another reminder of how important our air is and how easily we can damage it.  All living things "breathe" in one way or another, but most life will suffer and possibly even vanish if the air that surrounds it becomes to badly abused. 
     Breathing may be the most obvious use of air, but there are many other uses that we may overlook.  What about the weather?  Are there any clouds overhead?  Where does rain come from?  It is air circulation that creates wind and brings us our changing weather patterns.  Other places where we don't give much thought to air include the soil under our feet and the various lakes, rivers and oceans.  Unless the oxygen content in soil and water is at the proper level, most life will not survive there.
     Lack of soil oxygen can be a serious problem in our parks.  Thousands of people walking or driving over the same ground can cause the soil to pack so solidly that air is blocked from the roots of nearby plants.  The very features that people come to see can be destroyed in these cases unless travel is carefully restricted to roads or trails. 
     All too often we take air for granted and think there is nothing that we can do about it, but there are visible signs almost everywhere we go that the air can be damaged. Today even the distant reaches of the Arctic and Antarctic bear traces of airborne pollution.  Man must be aware of all his surroundings and he must make every effort to use all resources wisely. 
4)    When you reach Peabody Road, turn east for a short distance and locate another spot in the woods covered with a thick layer of leaf litter.  
     Stop at the edge of the selected spot, and imagine that there is a two-inch ring attached to the toe of our shoe.  Beginning with your left foot, take forty steps in a straight line.  Each time our right foot touches the ground, stop and count all the plants that would either be in or touching the two-inch ring.  Everything from large trees down to individual stems of grass should be counted.  WRITE THE NUMBER ON THE ANSWER BLANK FOR 4A.  This is a sampling technique similar to those used in studying grazing lands to see how much livestock an area of land will support. 
Proceed along Peabody Road to a plaque for the Camp of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry.  Go directly into the stand of small trees where the sign points.  REPEAT THE RING SURVEY YOU JUST FINISHED AND ENTER THE NUMBER IN 4B. 
     The two counts should show a large variation in number, although there is no exact number that each person should get.  If you are careful in your count, the number from 4B should be larger than the one from 4A.  There are several reasons why this is so.  They all relate to the fact that the various plants are competing with each other for space and for the basic elements necessary to support the Web of Life.  There are probably two factors that are particularly responsible for this.  One of these would be sunlight.  The other would be water.
     Think about the two spots where you made the sample vegetation counts.  The sun reaches both areas in similar amounts, but how much actually reaches the ground in each case?  When the forest is old (at 4A), much of the light energy is absorbed by the forest canopy before it ever reaches the smaller plants near the ground.  The young trees at 4B have not formed enough of a canopy to shut off light from the ground level, but as they grow they will also block more and more sunlight until only those small plants that can live in reduced light will survive.  When that time comes, the vegetation counts will be about the same in the two locations.     
     A similar struggle goes on beneath the forest floor as the trees and smaller plants compete for water and soil nutrients.  Trees such as the large oaks at 4A have roots that cover as much or more area below ground as their branches cover above ground.  These roots can draw so much moisture that there is often very little left for the shallow rooted plants during dry spells.  Since the trees are smaller at 4B, the competition is not so one-sided and the shallow-rooted shrubs and grasses can still compete. 
 Think about the results of  the two counts again.  A forest might be compared to your house.  You can't understand its full history unless you know what has taken place all the way from its basement to the roof over  the attic.  A canopy of branches and leaves form the forest  roof and the soil underneath forms the basement.  Just as it is with a house, there may be several floor levels in between.
5)  Nature is an ever-changing thing.  Forested areas are constantly being destroyed by man and sometimes by nature.  However, no matter how the land becomes barren, the pattern followed in returning to a mature forest is about the same.  The process of developing from bare ground to a mature plant community is called natural succession.  In the Shiloh area, bare ground is soon covered by a blanket of small, mixed plants that are replaced by rapidly growing shrubs such as blackberry and sumac.  Small trees and saplings follow the shrubs.
 Competition is the key to the stages of succession.  In each stage of development, a few types will lose out in the harsh struggle for survival.  Eventually, if nature is given time, the competition will lead to a mature forest of the type that existed before the land was disturbed.  This complete process of succession may take several hundred years; but regardless of the time involved; it will follow a certain pattern.
 Most of the small trees you now see are sweetgum.  They probably started from the seeds of two large trees growing nearby on the north edge of Peabody Road.  Sweetgum is typical of trees that come in on recently cleared areas.  The seeds are light and easily scattered.  Trees of this type are called pioneer species, since they are pioneering on barren ground.
Like most pioneer species, sweetgum is very intolerant.  This means that they can't tolerate shade and that they need open, sunny conditions to survive.  Most pioneer species would die if they were forced to compete with larger, more tolerant trees.  However, they play an important part in nature by paving the way for more tolerant trees which may need a certain amount of shade to get their start. As these small sweetgums get larger, they will choke out most of the undergrowth that now exists.  Eventually, when these trees weaken from old age and disease, the oaks will take over due to their greater tolerance or ability to survive under the remaining canopy of old trees.
     Pay close attention as you visit other fields in the park, and you will see that sweet gum is usually one of the first trees to come in as natural succession progresses.  Sweet gum produces very fine wood, and is highly valued in many places as a lumber producer.  Its star-shaped leaves and round, spiked seed capsules make identification easy when they are present.  Take a close look at several twigs on these young trees for another good identification point.  You should see a corky ridge developing on some of them.  These ridges become more obvious on older trees.  DEFINE NATURAL SUCCESSION IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
6)     Follow Eastern Corinth Road north to the Prentiss Headquarters Trail (about 100 ft before the Roberson Alabama Artillery plaque)  and turn right.  As you enter the woods, you will again be in an area undergoing succession.  This was once a small farm, but it is now returning to forest conditions as they might have existed at the time of the Civil War. 
     Natural succession is actually in the shrub stage here, but evergreens have been planted through the area to speed up recovery.  As a result, the succession is not entirely natural.  Eventually the area should return to an oak forest condition.  
     Watch closely for wildlife signs.  This path is a favorite dust bath for bobwhite quail during the summer.  Various other tracks are also frequently seen in the dust of mud along this trail.  Animals follow patterns of succession similar to those of the plants.  Right now this spot is well suited for bobwhite, rabbits and various birds and small rodents which depend on grass, weed seeds and certain shrubs for food. As the plants change, the animal types will change too. 
7)    When you reach the Prentiss Monument, go beyond it for approximately fifty feet.  This will bring you to the top of a large gravel bank.  
     In the past, large quantities of gravel were removed from hidden areas of the Park to surface the roads.  You are looking at the results of the last of this gravel removal.  The large trees to the east give some idea of what the area would have looked like before man disturbed the land.  The flat area now covered with a thick mat of vines, shrubs and a few small trees is on its way to recovery, but it will be many years before it is fully forested again. 
     A few shrubs are now getting a foothold on the gravel bank in front of you and are giving the soil a chance to rebuild.  Notice the leaves and debris collecting in this small tangle.  This litter will gradually help to replace the missing topsoil and will help to prevent further erosion of the bank.
     It will be a long, slow process to return this spot to forest conditions similar to those in the distance.  Man removed most of the valuable topsoil from this area in a very few years, but it will take nature many years to replace it.  It has been estimated that it takes as much as 500 years to replace one inch of productive topsoil under favorable conditions. 
8)    The trail continues to the north from Prentiss Headquarters.  Turn left as soon as you cross the large stone culvert.  As you start up the slope on the other side of the culvert, you will be entering a mature or climax forest.  A climax area is one that will continue much as it now exists until such time as fire, logging, insect attack, or some similar factor causes the successional cycle to start again.  In the absence of any of these factors the area should remain the same as long as the climate and overall environmental conditions remain the same.  The areas studied in the last stops should eventually be similar to what you are now seeing. 
     Blackjack and post oaks are among the most common trees in this particular  type, thus the name blackjack-post oak climax. In addition to these oaks, there are various other trees that are found in smaller numbers in this type.  Like all climax areas, most of the new trees are the same as the old ones.  As the larger trees die, the saplings replace them.  In this way  the climax area remains the same.  Notice also that the dead trees are allowed to fall to the forest floor where they will eventually rot and return to the soil for reuse.  The decomposers on the Web of Life break down any dead plant and animal matter so that the nutrients may be absorbed through the roots of other living plants.  You will be reading more about this vital cycle later in the day.
     In the early days of Shiloh National Military Park, all dead trees were removed, all shrubs and saplings were cut, and all leaves were burned.  This was harmful to the forest since the natural cycle was blocked.  In addition the burning may have injured some of the trees and allowed disease to develop.  As a tree died out from old age or disease, there were no young trees waiting to replace it, as there would have been in a natural climax area.  These practices were stopped in 1933, and since that time the woods have returned to nearly the same conditions that existed at the time of the Civil War.  However, the scars of improper management will be visible to the careful observer for many years yet.
     As mentioned earlier, animals also follow plant succession.  Many of the birds and animals of the open areas are not found in the thick forest other than in a limited way.  Others such as squirrels and woodpeckers are actually part of the climax community.  Study the trees carefully, and you will probably see holes used by woodpeckers, squirrels and other forest dwellers.  You may also see a number of large, leaf bundles in the trees that serve as squirrel nests during the warmer months.          
     The numbers and types of animals found in an area depend largely on the kind of food found there.  In this oak climax, the acorn is one of the key food items along with scattered hickory  nuts and a few other nuts and berries.  All the various nuts are lumped together under the term of mast.
    If  the mast crop is good, a large population of squirrels can usually be expected the next year.  If the crop is poor many of the animals will not survive through the winter and the population will drop.  This then affects the food supply of the various predators that eat squirrels and their numbers may also be eventually altered as a result of poor mast crops.
     This relation of total animal population to the amount of food available deals with the carrying capacity  of an area of land.  In other words, the land can only produce enough food for a certain animal population and it will not carry more animals than that level of food dictates.  If the population does get too high for the amount of food, the numbers will be reduced naturally by such means as starvation, disease, predation or mass movement out of an area.  Think of all the places in history where people have been faced with famine.  The laws of carrying capacity are just as vital to man as they are to wildlife. 
     Man is crowding the laws of nature in many parts of the world today.  NAME AN AREA OF THE WORLD WHERE MAN HAS VIOLATED THE LAWS OF CARRYING CAPACITY.
9)      When you reach Hamburg - Purdy Road, turn east until you see the plaque for Harper's Mississippi Battery.  Sight over either of the two cannons and you will notice a group of small, shrubby trees in the middle of the field and just to the left of you line of sight.  Got to these trees.
     These are flowering dogwoods.  They do well throughout the park, even in the shade of larger trees.  The showy, white flowers in the spring, distinctive leaves in the summer, red berries in the fall and winter and bark broken in small blocks make this an easy tree to identify any time.  It is a favorite ornamental tree, and the very hard wood was used by early farmers for such things as wheel hubs and tool handles.  Civil War  soldiers used the dried bark in treating fever and dysentery, and the young twigs stripped of bark were rubbed against the teeth to keep them white and free from tobacco stain.
     The fleshy, red fruits that are available through the fall and part of the winter are valued as wildlife food.  Birds in particular eat the fruit; but a number of animals including rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, deer and mice eat them occasionally.  The animals aid the trees, in turn, by spreading the heavy seeds.  This insures that dogwoods will start in new locations and survive as a species. 
     Age and good growing conditions in an open setting have caused these trees to send out new stems from their bases, but each clump is still just a single tree.  What ARE THE LARGE NON DISGUISE  IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD?
10)    Walk across the field to the War Cabin.  Small cabins of this type dotted the Shiloh area during the early 1800's. Each of them had its own small patch of farmland that had been cleared from the forest to supply the settler's basic needs.  The grassy fields around the park today indicate where these small farms were located at the time of the Civil War.  Crops of cotton, corn and wheat along with a few cows, chickens and pigs were common; but the peach orchard that grew on this farm was a luxury that few of the people would have known. 
     The first settlers to penetrate Shiloh's thickly wooded grounds were faced with endless hours of work and sweat just in order to survive.  They looked on the dense oak forests as a source of building materials for their homes and as barricade which would have to be removed so that they might plant the crops and raise the livestock which would be needed for their survival.  The land was a challenge to every man, and it was one that had to be won.
     Look closely at the way the War Cabin was built using the limited materials at hand.  Now look into the thick woods behind the cabin.  At one time, this whole area was probably wooded in the same way.  Can you begin to imagine the work that must have gone into clearing this field and building homes such as this one?
     Man's role in nature has changed drastically since the days of the pioneer.  Where nature was once an obstacle to be beaten back, it has now become something which we must take steps to protect and preserve as well as use.  Man has grown so powerful that he is now capable of destroying the land and himself along with it.
    Notice the large twisted eastern red cedars growing behind the War Cabin.  These are the same as the smaller, "Christmas-tree" shaped evergreens just west of the cabin.  The smaller ones are typical of most of the eastern red cedars in the Park.  The large ones differ because of old age and the fact that they have been trimmed.  Theses old trees are similar to other groupings that mark old home-sites in the park.
     Tennessee produces large quantities of red cedar lumber that is valued for its red color, "cedar" fragrance and ability to resist rotting.  This is the tree used in making cedar chests and closets.  It has been widely planted at Shiloh on abandoned fields although it was probably not as common in the original forests of the area.
     Just as this old cabin and the surrounding farmland met the basic needs of early settlers, trees such as these old red cedars can provide food and shelter so necessary to our wildlife.  Eastern red cedars produce small berries that are eaten by many forms of wildlife, especially birds.  One bird, the cedar waxwing, is named for its fondness of the berries.  The dense branches provide excellent nesting and roosting cover.  Owls will sometimes roost in cedar thickets in the winter so they can hide from crows and small birds that would pester them if they roosted in the open.
     Although eastern red cedar has been very important to man,  it can also be harmful.  These trees support a disease produces a ball-shaped gall on the cedar.  It is harmless in this stage, but the other stage that can develop among apple trees is capable of destroying a fine orchard.  Take a close look at the cedars you will be seeing today and you will probably find some of these ball-shaped galls.
     HOW MANY EASTERN RED CEDARS ARE THERE IN THE STAND IMMEDIATELY BEHIND THE WAR CABIN?
11)     Walk toward Hamburg - Savannah Road as you leave the War Cabin.  Bloody Pond, which is your next stop, will soon be visible through the trees to the north.
     Bloody Pond is a name that is well known to all who have heard the story of Shiloh.  The soldiers who crawled to it during the heat of battle left its waters stained with blood.  However, not all of Bloody Pond's past has been so colorful.  A 1908 report by the Shiloh Military Park Commission read, "Bloody Pond has been fenced, to keep out hogs and cattle that were making it a nuisance."
     Unlike most small ponds of its size, Bloody Pond never goes dry.  Rainwater helps to keep it filled and swells its size at times, but a natural seep is responsible for its continuous survival.  Most ponds fed by an underground flow also have and outlet.  Apparently the Flow into Bloody Pond is just enough to equal the water lost through evaporation.  Otherwise, the pond would continue to rise until it overflowed.
     Bloody Pond might be no more than a marshy spot or perhaps even solid ground by now if it wasn't for the controlling actions of man.  Each summer the banks of the pond become lined with thick clumps of water plants.  If park officials didn't remove these plants,  they would continually fill in the shallow edges. 
    Each fall the plants that grew during the summer would die and begin to decay.  The next spring a new group of water plants would start growing just a tiny bit nearer the center of the pond.  This endless cycle of growth and decay would eventually create a rich, spongy layer around the edge.  Since Bloody Pond is so shallow, the spongy layer would continue to spread until it finally covered the entire pond with a solid mat of decayed water plants.  This is the basic process used in forming large beds of peat moss in certain parts of the world.
     Just as bare soil will follow succession patterns to from a mature forest or grassland, a small pond may go through succession from water to marsh to meadow and finally all the way to a true climax stage.  Since Bloody Pond is of such great historic value, the natural stages of succession are being blocked by cutting away the water plants and cleaning out the debris each year.  However, there are hundreds of similar wet or marshy spots in other places that are undergoing the continual patterns of change that will eventually lead to a dry-land climax condition.
12)  Follow Hamburg - Savannah Road north to a plaque for the 11th Iowa Infantry, Army of the Tennessee.  Go about 75 feet beyond the plaque to a large pine tree.
     This tree is a loblolly pine, one of many pines planted at Shiloh.  The loblolly pine is called the "old field" pine in parts of the South because it develops so rapidly on abandoned farmlands.
     In addition to its value for lumber and turpentine, the loblolly, along with other pines, is important to several forms of wildlife.  Various birds and small mammals make use of the seeds, and the evergreen foliage provides important wildlife shelter and cover during the winter months.
     Pine trees are very common in many parts of the world; and to the untrained eye; they may all look just about the same.  It's true that all pines do have certain similarities to each other, but there are also distinct differences that distinguish between the different types.  This illustrates a basic feature of our natural world that we might call the rule of similarities and differences.  Regardless of whether you think of plants, stars, rocks, people or any other object around you, there are certain similarities and differences which aid us in classifying the features of our environment.  Look at your hiking companions for a minute.  Now, think of ways in which you are similar to them and ways in which you are different. 
     There are enough similarities among the pines to set them apart from the oaks and all other trees, but at the same time there are certain easily recognized differences which set one type of pine such as this loblolly apart from all the other pines.  Three basic points that can aid in pine identification are the cones, the bark and the needles.  Needles of most pines grow from the twigs and branches in small bundles called fascicles.  The number of needles per fascicle and their length and shape should always be checked.
     If the needles are too high to examine on this tree, take a look at some of the dead ones around the base of the tree. Be sure to note the twisted from that is common to loblolly needles.  NEEDLE NUMBERS DO OCCASIONALLY VARY ON LOBLOLLY PINES, BUT WHAT IS THE AVERAGE NEEDLE NUMBER PER FASCICLE?
13)  Continue on Hamburg - Savannah Road to a stone culvert (125 yards down the road).  Go to the tree nearest the southwest corner of the culvert.  A large woodpecker hole on the north face of the tree provides identification.  Squirrels probably make use of the hole today.
     This is a persimmon.   It is a member of the ebony family of Asia from which we receive the hard, black wood  used for piano keys, golf clubs and other specialty items.  Persimmon trees are easily recognized, even in winter, by their unusual bark pattern.  TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BARK OF THIS TREE AND MAKE A DRAWING OF A SMALL SECTION OF IT TO SHOW THE PATTERN.
     Persimmons are important as a source of wildlife food.  They produce a fleshy fruit which ripens in late fall and hangs on till winter.  Foxes, raccoons, opossums and many species of birds are among those that eat the fruit and seeds are too heavy to scatter by themselves, the animals play a vital role in scattering the seeds for growth in new locations.  
     The fruit is good to eat when fully ripe and is sometimes even sold locally.  It is extremely bitter if not fully ripe, and the taste of a green persimmon is not soon forgotten.  In pioneer times, the fruit was mixed with flour for bread, distilled into brandy or made into syrup and combined with molasses or honey in making vinegar.
     Do you remember the description of ecology that was given in the introduction to this trail?  It mentioned the many interrelationships that exist in our environment.  You are looking at a single tree that shows a few of the many ways in which various forms of life depend on each other.  Various animals have depended on this tree for food and shelter, but at the same time the tree is dependent on the animals to spread its seeds.
     Man must be familiar with the many interdependencies that occur in nature if he is to do an effective job as a resource manager.  Too often in the past, man has attempted to protect some plant r animal while at the same time he was destroying another type of life necessary for the survival of the species to be protected.  We must know the full ecology story before any decision is made toward managing any of our natural resources. Otherwise, we may destroy what we are attempting to save.
14)  Continue to Riverside Drive and follow it to the last clump o trees growing on the left side of the road in the open field.
     Look closely at this clump and you will see that it consists of a number of small trees surrounding one large, dead tree.  Now look across the road and you will see what this clump may have looked like several years ago.  The tree on the north side of the road is now dying, and the small trees that surround it will eventually follow the same course as this clump.
     The rotting remains of the original tree are now well hidden by the younger trees; but until it died, it cast enough shade and drew enough food and moisture from the soil that the saplings could barely survive.  As the central tree weakened, the smaller ones began developing more rapidly.  Instead of competing with the older tree, they are now competing among themselves on nearly equal footing.
     Crowded conditions have prevented the remaining trees from doing as well as they might have in another spot.  Notice how they all lean out.  Crowding at the center and the need for sunlight are the causes of this.  Sunlight has been obtained more effectively by growing away from the competition. 
     The thick tangle at the base of this clump provided excellent wildlife cover.  Quail might stick near spots such as this when they feed in the open.  If a hawk was observed while they were feeding near here, a covey might huddle under this tangle all day if they felt it was necessary.
    Look carefully at the larger trees leaning far out on the backside of the clump.  These are wild cherry trees.  They can usually be identified by the gray, striped bark that appears on branches and smaller trees.  The leaves are easy to recognize and the showy white flowers or the clusters of cherries leave little doubt as to identification when they are present.  The cherries are a favorite food of many animals, and the wood is highly valued for furniture making.
     There are a number of wild cherry trees in the Shiloh area, but the seeds are too heavy to blow here and it is doubtful if man planted these trees.   HOW  MIGHT  THE SEEDS HAVE GOTTEN HERE?
15)  Continue on Riverside Drive to the Indian Mounds Trail.
     These earthen mounds are all that remain of a large city of Mound Builder Indians who lived here long before this area was know to historians.  The large, flat-topped mounds were the bases for ceremonial and chieftains' lodges.  A spur trail near the river leads to a smaller, rounded burial mound.  Depressions in the ground at various points indicate sites of a few of the round, mud-and-log huts that most of the people actually lived in.
     This village on the high bluffs above the Tennessee River was probably a center of activity for many of the surrounding lowland villages.  Many of the neighboring bands of Indians may have retreated to this spot to escape the annual floods that swept the flood plains.  In addition, steep ravines on two sides, a sheer bluff along the river and a dirt wall along the west gave protection from raiders.  Life wouldn't have been easy;  but a combination of hunting, fishing, and farming made survival possible.
     We sometimes tend to forget the fact that we are all a part of nature and that we are very much affected by our environment, but this was not the case with the Indians.  They were very much aware of the fact that they were the "children of the land".  Their very lives depended on the natural happenings around them.   Everything from their religion to their daily activities reflected this association with their surroundings.
     Although these mounds are of great historic interest today, they should also serve to remind us of man's power over nature.  If these primitive mounds can remain after hundreds of years, just imagine how long it will take some of the scars to heal that man now produces with his massive construction equipment.
     HOW MANY MOUNDS ARE THERE EAST OF THE ROAD?  All of them are not visible unless you follow the path.  Take a close look at the rounded burial mound on the spur trail by the river.  You will be reading more about it later.
16)  Continue on Riverside Drive from the Indian Mounds.  As you come down the hill  toward the river, you will see several old trees with the smooth, blue-gray bark.  Some of these trees are badly scarred with the initials of thoughtless park visitors.
     These are American beech trees.  The American beech is one of the easiest of the eastern hardwoods to identify regardless of the season.  It is found over much of the areas where it grows.  Moisture is the key to the beech.  Most of the stream bottoms and moist areas of Shiloh contain a few beech trees.
     Beech is known as a "climax" tree.  Since it does so well in cool, moist shade of mature forests, you can bet that climax conditions exist were large beech trees are common.  Remember the "climax" blackjack-post oak forest you saw earlier?  You are now seeing an excellent example of how climax areas differ due to soil, moisture, slope and so forth.  All these things combine to create an entirely different type of climax forest in the moist bottomlands of the Park from the dry, oak forests that you have been seeing.
     The American beech produces small triangular nuts that are eaten by a wide variety of birds and mammals.  The nuts are especially important for squirrels.  Unfortunately, they are not dependable.  A good nut crop of one year is often followed by several years of nothing at all.
     Notice the rotten patches and small holes in these trees.  Beeches live as much as 300 to 400 years but almost all-old trees are rotten in the center.  This rotting proves useful to various animals that often find den spaces in hollow beech trees.
     WHAT TERM APPLIES TO THE NUT CROP THAT AMERICAN BEECH SOMETIMES PRODUCES?
17)  Continue on Riverside Drive to the Pittsburg Landing Trail and follow the trail to the Tennessee River overlook.
      Large rivers have acted as major forces in the shaping of nature since the beginning of time, and the Tennessee River is no exception.  Its water has cut a low, broad  valley that divides two of the major landforms of the state.  The distant ridges to the east are the start of what is called the Highland Rim and the land to the west is the beginning of an area known as the Coastal Plain.
     The Tennessee River has had a major influence on the people of the are since the days of the first Mound Builders.  It as influenced how and where people would live and farm, how they traveled how they earned a living, and even what they ate.  The Tennessee flooded the surrounding lowlands in the spring of 1862 and was a major reason why Union troops chose Shill's high ground for their camp.  If it had not been for these flooding conditions, the Battle of Shiloh might never have taken place here.
     Although the Tennessee River is now harnessed with dams, it is still very unpredictable.  Floodwaters still cover many of the low fields and cut away at the high bluffs such as the one you are standing on.
     Waterpower for electricity and increased shipping has made the Tennessee more important than ever.  If you lucky, you may see one of the many strings of barges which haul huge loads of supplies up and down the river.  In addition, the waters still produce large quantities of fish and shellfish for commercial and sport use.  Recreation has become an important business on the river.
     Before man changes natural conditions such as he has on the Tennessee, he must predict and be able to handle the problems that can grow out of these changes.  Increased industry using the power supplies may cause serious water pollution.  Increased traffic on the water causes new traffic regulation and safety problems.  New fishing pressures, dam locations and pollution all affect the sport and commercial fishing.  These problems can often be harder to solve than the original problems of developing the river.
     Pollution has become a major problem of many of our American waterways today.  THINK OF SOME OF THE WAYS THAT POLLUTION MIGHT BE HARMFUL TO THE TENNESSEE RIVER AND LIST TWO OF THEM.
18)   Continue on the trail to the footbridge at Pittsburg Landing. 
     Ravines are wounds on the face of the land.  Topsoil flows from them much in the same way that our own lifeblood would flow from an open wound. Fortunately, the deep ravine under the footbridge is in the early stages of healing.  A great deal of water is channeled down this spot during heavy rains; and, if it were not for the dense mat of ivy that now blankets the slopes, there would continue to be a severe soil loss here after every rain.  The holding power of these vines could eventually result in some filling of the ravine as debris accumulates and clings to the ivy instead of always washing straight out into the river.
     Notice the smooth, gray-barked tree next to the west side of the bridge.  This tree is a sycamore and is easily identified by its mottled appearance.  Look closely at the hole in the trunk of this tree.  Probably this hole is the result of a dead limb.  As the tree increased in diameter, it was forced to grow around the dead limb.  This is now the bulge was formed.  Eventually the dead core rotted out and left the hole that you now see.
     The hole catches rainwater and holds it to create ideal conditions for rotting and disease.  Throughout our environment, some life must end to allow others to live.  In this case, the sycamore is gradually dying so that various bacteria and microscopic organisms may live.  This may continue until the entire core of the tree is rotted out.  Most hollow trees begin in just this way.  An injury allows infection to enter the tree, and this spreads until the tree becomes completely hollow or is blown over.  Such injuries can result from any number of causes.  Fire, storm damage, insect attacks, and woodpecker and animal damage are just a few of the possible causes.
     Although such injuries are undesirable where timber is being brown for sale, a certain amount of this is valuable to wildlife.  Hollow trees provide homes for an endless variety of animals.  Squirrels, flying squirrels, raccoons, opossums, owls and woodpeckers are a few of the better-known residents of Shiloh who use hollow trees.
     HOW IS THE VINE PROTECTING THE HILLSIDE?
19)  Go to the Visitor Center and look at the Indian pipe on display there.
     This effigy pipe is considered to be one of the finest of its kind.  Remember the burial mound you saw earlier?  This pipe came from a log-covered burial pit in the center of that mound.  It was removed from the pit in the 1890's.  It is such an outstanding example that it was once shipped to Paris for an international exhibit of primitive art.
     Man has gone to great efforts to obtain certain stones, minerals, and other materials from the earth's crust since the most primitive times.  Indians used Catlinite, the mineral from which this pipe was carved, in many different parts of North America, but most of it came from the same region.  Problems of getting certain valuable stones and minerals seem very involved today, but imagine the problems of just getting this piece of stone centuries ago.
     WHERE DID THE CATLINITE FOR THIS PIPE COME FROM?
20)  When you leave the Visitor Center, crossover to the large flagpole and turn toward your right in the direction of the road junction just southwest of the pole.  Look closely at the medium-sized trees growing near the junction, and you will notice rows of small holes on some of the trunks.  These trees are sugar maples, one of our more valuable hardwoods.  Their wood produces fine furniture, and maple sugar and syrup are made from the sap.  The small eight-to-quarter-inch holes in these maples are the work of yellow-bellied sapsuckers.  These sapsuckers resemble other members of the woodpecker family except for one important point.  That exception concerns their food preference.  Most woodpeckers prefer to search dead or dying trees for insects and grubs, but the sapsuckers prefer to drill masses of holes into living trees and lap up the sap which flows from the tiny openings.  In some cases this can actually result in the death of a large number of trees.
      Large sapsucker populations can mean a loss of many dollars to the lumber industry, but this does not necessarily mean the sapsucker is "bad".  Many animals have been labeled as "bad" simply because they happened to compete with man in some way.  Although the competition of such animals may seem undesirable, the animals are usually performing a specific function in maintaining a balance in the Web of Life.  Trouble often develops due to the fact that man himself has upset this delicate balance.  Man is frequently the guilty party, and the animal receiving the blame if often an unfortunate victim of circumstances.  Attempts to remove the so-called "bad" animals may create more problems than it solves.
     Shiloh is home to four other species of woodpeckers in addition to the yellow-bellied sapsucker.  The largest of the four, the pileated woodpecker, is nearly crow-sized.  The pileated can actually rip a small, dead tree to pieces with his powerful beak as he searches for insects and grubs.
    The benefits of these other woodpeckers are much easier for man to understand.  When a tree dies, it usually isn't long before a variety of wood-eating insects move in to attack it.  If these insects are left alone, they may build to such numbers that they have to start attacking live trees as well as dead ones to keep from starving.  Woodpeckers act as a natural control to prevent population buildups of this sort.  The birds don't eat enough to completely destroy the harmful species, but they often eat enough to prevent the spread of a costly insect attack.  This is just one of nature's controls which helps to keep all life in balance.
      Woodpeckers may occasionally kill some trees by boring their nesting and roosting holes, but they also do considerable good by providing new den spaces for squirrels and other small creatures.
     LOOK CLOSELY AT THESE SAPSUCKER HOLES.  RECORD WHETHER THE HOLES RUN AROUND THE TREE OR UP AND DOWN THE TREE.
21)  Confederate Road begins by the large monument with the eagle on top.  Go south on Confederate until you are within about 100 yards of the intersection with the Lew Wallace Road.    Look for a small pine tree on the west side of the road.  It will have two main trunks that begin at a fork about two feet from the ground.
      This particular pine is a short leaf pine.  Like many of the Southern pines short leaf pines are valued for their lumber.  These trees are frequently found in mixed stands of oak and hickories such as you see growing nearby.  Short leaf pines also grow in mixed stands with loblolly pines like the tree that you saw earlier in the day.  It is sometimes difficult to tell loblolly and short leaf pines apart, but there are ordinarily some very distinct differences.
      Take a closer look at the needles of this tree. Short leaf pine is ordinarily classed as a two-needled pine, but this particular pine has as many fascicles with three needles as it does with two.  This is one example of how things may sometimes vary from what we ordinarily think of as being normal.   

Like many other forms of life, short leaf pine has its own special features to insure that it can compete and survive in the often-difficult struggle with nature.  Young trees up to eight or ten years of age will sprout again after their main stems have been destroyed by either fire or cutting.  The sprouts will reach mature size, and their sprouting ability provides quite an advantage over many other trees where fires are common.

     Take a closer look at the needles of this tree.  Short leaf pine is ordinarily classed as a two-needled pine, but this particular pine has as many fascicles with, three needles as it does with two.  This is one example of how things may sometimes vary from what we ordinarily think of as being normal.
     If you were to go by needle numbers alone, you probably wouldn't be able to tell this tree from the loblolly pine you studied earlier.  Bark and cone features would help you to tell the trees apart, but in this case the needles can still do it even though the numbers can't be depended on.  Loblolly needles are longer and heavier than short leaf needles, and the short leaf needles lack the distinct twist of the loblolly.
      You read of the rules of similarity and difference on Stop Twelve and how these factors aid us in identification of natural objects.  Some of the differences that set short leaf pines apart from all other pines have been discussed in the above paragraphs.  NAME AT LEAST THREE SIMILARITIES THAT HELP TO CLASSIFY THIS TREE AS A PINE AND SET IT APART FROM ALL OTHER GROUPS OF TREES SUCH AS THE OAKS AND MAPLES.
22)  When you reach the junction of Confederate and Lew Wallace Roads, look southwest into the woods.  You should see a silver plaque for Ross' Battery.  This stop is also marked by a post with yellow and white stripes.
     Once again you are looking at an example of natures' complex ways.  The two dead trees were killed by lighting.  The dangers of lighting in starting fires, destroying trees and property, and sometimes even destroying lives are well known, but in this case the damage has been minor.  In fact, you might say the area has benefited from this particular incident.
     When lightning strikes, it causes certain changes.  One of these is the addition of nitrogen to the soil.  This is a vital substance in the diet of most growing plants.  In addition to providing a certain amount of enrichment to the soil, this strike also cleared a section of the forest canopy and reduced competition on the forest floor by killing the two trees.  This left a small, cleared area with ideal conditions for new growth or natural succession.
     Apparently, sometime during these other events, some bird or animal dropped blackberry seeds here, possibly while sitting in the now dead trees.  Blackberries thrive on cleared, forest areas as a pioneer species; and when lightning opened this spot, the stage was set.
     The thorny blackberry bushes tell the story for now, but these are short-lived plants.  Eventually the forest will reclaim this spot, but in the meantime the blackberries will have provided another small but important patch of food and cover for local wildlife.
     TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THE THORNY BLACKBERRY STEMS AND DESCRIBE THEIR SHAPE.
23)  Continue through the woods to Cavalry Road and turn west.  Read the following paragraphs as you walk along:
     Notice the small size of most of the trees in this area in comparison to those you saw earlier.  There are also many more pines and Eastern red cedars along the road.  These are all indicators of man.  Most of this section was once covered with homes,  gardens and small field.  When they were abandoned, the trees began to come back; and pines, red cedars and others were planted to speed recovery. The Civilian Conservation Corps probably planted many of these pines and red cedars in the 1930's.
     Early farming and land-use practices were often very hard on the soil due to the fact that nutrients were constantly being removed from the soil, but nothing was being returned to make up for the losses.  However, even these practices eventually resulted in a condition that in some ways is beneficial.  It wasn't planned, but when the small, run-down sections of land were abandoned a condition known, as "edge-effect" was the result.
    Edge-effect" is very important in determining just how much wildlife can survive on a given amount of land.  Most animals depend more on one type of terrain or cover than on any other, but they usually need two or tree types to survive.  An example  is the bobwhite quail that usually feeds on seed in more exposed areas and seeks cover and shelter in tangles or wooded areas.
     Each covey of quail needs a certain amount of "edge" land to survive.  If a square unit of land is divided down the middle so it is half filed and half woods, it may be able to support only one covey.  On the other had, if the same square of land is broken into several smaller fields surrounded by  woods or dense cover, if may be possible for several coveys to survive on the same amount of land.  Each field plus the bordering cover might be able to provide all the essentials for survival.  Modern farmers sometimes achieve "edge-effect" by planting hedgerows around their fields and leaving small, scattered cover patches.  If you happen to live in the suburbs, you are benefiting from "edge-effect" yourself.  You receive some of the benefits of both city and rural living by being on the edge of each.
     The small farms and home sites that were once scattered through Shiloh's woods are gone, but they have left their mark on the land in the form of numerous variations in cover.  Man has caused most of the variation at Shiloh; but, when he is not present, nature has its own methods of keeping the land in a constant state of change and maintaining a natural balance.  Fire, forest disease, lighting, tornadoes and storms are just a few of the natural events that reset natures' clock, so to speak.
24)  After about one-half mile, Cavalry Road will drop down a steep slope into thicker cover.  Stop at Tilghman Creek that runs at the bottom of the slope.
     Tilghman Creek is typical of the small streams in the Shiloh area.  Fed by springs, these streams gradually cut deep into the surrounding terrain until they finally come to rest on more durable beds of underlying rock and gravel.  Creeks of branches of this type were undoubtedly of great importance to early settlers as a source of water.
     It hasn't been too long since the quiet pool below the bridge rang with the shouts and laughter of local farm children.  A Small dam made the pond a perfect swimming hole, and there is little doubt as tot he coolness of the spring-fed water on a sweltering August afternoon.  A close look along the bank should discourage any would-be swimmers from testing the water now, as the pool has become a favorite hangout for the poisonous water moccasin.  These snakes can frequently be seen draped along poolside branches during the warmer months.  However, they usually drop quietly into water at the first sign of a disturbance.
     Stream bottoms such as this one are teeming with many forms of life, and a few quiet moments spent here will help you become aware of them. Do you remember what was said earlier about all objects being related and dependent on each other?  This is a good spot to consider that further.  We might begin by comparing the living things in nature to a chain.  Just as one weak link can ruin a perfectly good chain, a weak link in what we call the "chain of life' can unbalance all the natural processes of an area.
     Look around you at the thick tangle of trees, vines and shrubs that have grown up on this moist site.  You will have to look carefully to see the mosses and various small plants that are also part of the plant community.  These green plants make up the first link in our "chain of life" and provide the necessities needed by  the second link.
     The animals that feed on the plants form the second link.  There are many of these animals about you, although most will be hidden from your view.  The rabbits, the squirrels and many of the birds are among those most likely to be seen, but don't forget the smaller ones such as mice, beetles, caterpillars and even small forms of life in the creek.  All these animals are a part of this vital link.
    Next in the chain comes the hunter or what we call the predator.  Foxes, bobcats, raccoons, hawks and owls are a few of the better-known predators that prowl the Shiloh bottomlands, but they are only the beginning.  What about the water moccasin mentioned earlier or the small fish which often inhabit these streams?  The "chain of life"  carries on in the water just as it does on land, and the snakes are just one of the many predator types which can hunt in both places. Last, but far from least, is man.  He probably is the mightiest and most dangerous of all the hunters, for he has the ability to destroy entire communities of life.
     Look around at the dead tree stumps and branches that overhang the creek.  You may be able to pick out a few of the bracket fungi that grow like warts or small shelves on the rotting remains of old trees. These fungi are among the life forms that make up the final link in our chain.  We might call this link the breakdown group.  As all plants and animals die, they are gradually broken down until the remains finally return to the soil as new nourishment for other life.  The fungi are just one of the types that aid this breakdown,  thus completing the circle in the "chain of life".  Others that aid in the breakdown process include bacteria, insects, and the many different scavengers that inhabit the earth.
     Do you see any new plants pushing up through the soil, any nests in the trees or anything else that might indicate new life?  If you do, you are looking at examples of the "chain of life" starting all over again.
     Earlier you read about the producers, consumers and decomposers on the "Web of Life."  LIST THE FOUR TYPES OF LIFE THAT COMPOSED THE LINKS IN OUR "CHAIN OF LIFE" AND TELL WHETHER EACH TYPE IS A PRODUCER, CONSUMER OR DECOMPOSER.
25)  Continue on Cavalry Road until you reach the edge of Jones Field at the top of the hill.  Turn left at this point and move along the edge of the woods to the southeast corner of the field.  From this point you are to move in southerly direction until you reach Confederate Road.  Check your map for a bearing but don't worry about following an exact line.  Watch for snakes in warm weather and pick a route above the Tilghman Creek bottom for easier going.
     On this particular leg, you are to look for difference signs of wildlife or things that might attract wildlife.  This will require close observation as you go.  Look in all directions and cut back and forth, as you need to.  YOU ARE TO LIST AT LEAST FIVE WILDLIFE INDICATIONS OR ATTRACTIONS.  IF YOU LIST AN INDICATION OF WILDLIFE, THE ANIMAL ASSOCIATED WITH THE INDICATOR SHOULD ALSO BE LISTED.  AND ACTUAL WILDLIFE SIGHTING REQUIRES NO FURTHER INFORMATION.
     Examples of indicators and attractions might include nests, various types of holes, favorite wildlife foods, and other things that provide cover concealment and foods.  One answer might be - Broken Acorns - Squirrel.  Answers may be repeated if they are found in completely new locations.
26)  When you reach Confederate Road, turn to the left and follow the road until you came to two cannons on the left.  They will be identified by a red plaque that indicates Byrne's Mississippi Battery, Army of the Mississippi.  Sight along the barrel of the canon nearest the road.  You will see a tree about 100 feet away in the direct-line-of-sight.

This tree is known as a yellow poplar by foresters, but most Southerners know it as a tulip-poplar or tulip tree.  Although tulip tree is only a nickname, it seems the most accurate since the tree is not a true poplar.  Tulip trees are among our most valued lumber producers, and they are also highly valued as ornamentals.  It is no wonder that Tennessee has chosen the tuplip tree as the state tree.

Fossil remains indicate that there were once several forms of trees that were closely related to the tulip tree.  Apparently these forms were widely spread over both North America and the Old World.  However, only two species remain today - the one you are looking at and another species that grows in central China.  If all the cats in the world were to vanish except for the bobcats and tigers, it would be roughly the same thing that now exists with the two types of tulip trees in the world.

     The die-off of related species of life is a process that goes on constantly, but it usually takes centuries for any noticeable change to occur.  This die-off or extinction generally occurs when a species lacks the ability to adapt to changing conditions around it.  In this manner, only those that can adapt to new conditions are able to survive and carry on family resemblance's.  This is what we might call the survival of the fittest.  A Continual development or evolution of the strongest life forms is the result.
     The broadly notched leaves that appear in the spring remove all doubts as to the identity of this tree.  No other native tree has a leaf with the almost square "tulip-shaped" notch at the tip.  A tulip tree leaf forms the background of the patch that you are entitled to wear after completion of this trail.
     Large, greenish-yellow flowers appear in late spring to add even more to the beauty of this tree. Later in the year a number of cone-shaped seedpods will develop.  Some of the pods will hang on through the winter when they will look like scattered, dried flowers on the bare, winter branches.
     Look closely at the bark of this tree and you will see a few small holes that should now tell you a story of past activity here.  THE HOLES APPEAR TO BE QUITE OLD, BUT WHAT STORY DO THEY TELL?
27)   Continue  along Corinth - Pittsburg Landing Road until you reach the rail fence at Sunken Road.  Follow Sunken Road to the footbridge and turn at that point to follow the gully across Duncan Field.
    This gully is actually a part of Tilghman Creek drainage system, the same creek you saw on stop 24.  Look closely at the small shrubs and saplings growing in it.  You are seeing another example of natural recovery or succession.  Most of the shrubs and saplings in the gully are plants you have seen on other recovery sites.  Most common among the woody plants are sweetgum, sumac and blackberry bushes.  Wild cherry is also fairly common.  One trait shared by these plants is the fact that they are intolerant to crowding, and they do best when coming in on their own.
     The  slope of the ground indicates that this spot has always been a drainage are, but removal of ground cover and improper farming practices may have increased erosion of the gully.  Notice the debris that now catches around the young trees and shrubs growing here.  Chances are good that water will continue to drain along this course, but the increasing vegetation in the gully can reduce or prevent further erosion.
      IF MAN LEAVES THIS GULLY ALONE AND ALLOWS NATURE TO TAKE IT COURSE WHAT SHOULD EVENTUALLY HAPPEN HERE?
28)   The gully will angle across Duncan Field and lead you through the woods to the Hornet's Nest Road.  Once you reach the road, turn right to the junction with Federal and Eastern Corinth Roads.  You should now be able to see a straight line of elm trees that angle across Barnes Field to the woods on the west.
     This line of trees probably indicates a former property or fence line.  Nothing reveals man's presence in nature faster than and straight line or geometric shape.  One of the things that makes nature so beautiful to the eye and so difficult to copy is the tremendous variety of forms found there.  Man is able to build elaborate structures to fit his needs, but the varied patterns of our natural world are best accomplished through natural processes during the passage of time.
     Many an old woodsman can spot objects in the wild that we miss even though his eyesight may be much poorer than ours.  This ability can be developed through practice.  As you develop skill in the outdoors, you will gain the ability to spot animals, birds and signs of man's activity simply because they differ from the surrounding colors and shapes of nature.
     COUNT THE ELMS IN THE ANGLING ROW AND RECORD THE NUMBER BETWEEN THE CORNER AT FEDERAL AND GLADDEN AND THE EDGE OF THE WOODS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FIELD.
29)   Continue hiking west on Hamburg - Purdy Road until you reach a blue plaque for Vetch's Brigade and Hurlbuts Division.  Look for the cleared strip that leads into the woods behind the plaque and follow it for a short distance.
     Is there anything that looks a little different about this sport?  Take a closer look at the area along the west side of the strip. You are looking at the results of a small forest fire that burned 23 acres in April 1965.  Careless smokers started this fire.
     This particular fire wasn't severe enough to destroy the larger oaks.  However, the damage to the smaller trees and saplings is still easily seen by looking at the broken tangle that remains.  The thicker bark and higher branches of the older trees provided some protection from the fire that was not available to the younger trees. If a fire is not too intense, the older trees frequently survive, but even these trees are often weakened in such a way that insects and disease can get a foothold.  The tangled mass left by a forest fire often provides an ideal breeding place for three-destroying insects.  Foresters must be on the alert for dangerous insect buildups under such conditions.
     Recovery from a small fire begins quite rapidly if the conditions are favorable, but it still takes years before the vegetation begins to return to the level that existed before the fire. Various vines, shrubs and small plants have begun the rebuilding process in this spot, but imagine how long it wild take to replace the broken remains for the small trees which are not scattered over the area!
      Each year millions of dollars worth of forests and grasslands go up in smoke, and thousands more are spent trying to prevent such fires.  Although many fires do result from natural causes, man's carelessness is usually the greatest danger.  It is also the one cause that we should be able to control.  In spite of the fact that fire is such a great hazard to the natural scene, it shouldn't be considered as all bad.  When properly used, fire can be a very valuable tool in resource management.
      Fires have had a major influence on the environment, both good and bad.  They sometimes produce ideal food habitat for certain wildlife. In fact, a complete elimination of all  of all fires can reduce some animal populations that require food conditions found in early succession stages.
     There are many uses of fire in forestry and wildlife management, but they should all be left to the expert who knows how, where and when to use them.  Some techniques such as burning along fences, hedgerows and yards to control weeds and ticks have been found to be more harmful than helpful.
30)  Keep going west on Hamburg - Purdy Road until you come to a gravel road on the north side of Federal and an old, barricaded road on the South side.  The start of this road is marked by a vertical pipe that is padlocked in place.  Turn south on the old road. Read the following paragraphs as you follow this road trace.
      The interdependence of living things as described in ecology should be pretty well established in your mind by now.  You have seen how the world operates with interactions of everything from man down to the smallest forms of plants and animals.  In doing this, you have probably looked at one of the best examples of these interactions hundreds of times without realizing it.
      As you walk, look about you at the trunks of the oak trees.  You have seen hundreds of them already, but have you really examined them?  Take a closed look now.  In most cases you will see large patches of a mottled, grayish scale on the bark.  This gray substance is lichen (pronounced "like-en").  It is not a part of the tree, but it is a very important and unusual member of natures' family.
      Lichen is unique since it actually is made up of two living things that are completely dependent on each other for survival.  Special types of fungus and algae make up the two partners found in lichen.  Together they can survive where neither could manage alone.
      The algae performs its role in the partnership by producing food through the process of photosynthesis.  The fungus returns the favor by providing protection for the algae and furnishing water and minerals.  By combining their abilities, they both have all they need for survival.  This process of two things working together so that both will benefit is called symbiosis.
      In spite of its drab appearance, lichen is an extremely important member of the natural community.  This is due in large part to its ability to grow under the most difficult conditions.  Lichen can establish itself on bare rock where nothing else could grow, and as it grows it gradually loosens small fragments of the rock.  The building up of these fragments is one of the most basic of all soil producing techniques.  Eventually, as the rock flakes accumulate, other plants can get a foothold.  In this manner the soil continually builds until complex plant and animal communities can grow on what used to be nothing but bare rock.
       The well-known reindeer moss of the Arctic is one form of lichen that provides a vital food source in a harsh climate.  Other lichens are used in foods, dyes and various scientific purposes.
       You have probably heard that you can find your way in the woods by looking for mosses and lichens on the north sides of trees and rocks.  As you can see by looking around you, this method of direction finding cannot be trusted.  However, there is some truth to this idea.  Lichens and mosses generally prefer moist, shaded spots to grow in; and since the north side is usually the one that gets the most shade, it is also the side where lichens and mosses are most likely to grow.  There are so many other factors that influence ideal growing conditions that you may find these simple plants growing on any side of a tree or even all the way around depending on local conditions.
      At the beginning of this hike, it was mentioned that you should try to think of what you see in terms of ecology.  Few forms of life can introduce the key factors of ecology as effectively as the drab patches of lichen that you have been viewing.  Not all interrelationships in our environment are as obvious as those that exist between lichen and its surroundings, but they are every bit as important.  Take a minute to consider how your owl life is interrelated with the world you live in.
      DEFINE ECOLOGY IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
31)   The old road you have been following will eventually join a paved footpath.  Follow the path until you reach a wooden bridge that crosses a small stream.
     The earth's crust is so full of variations that it is hard to imagine most of them.  One of these variations that it is responsible for Rhea Spring that bubbles out of the hillside near this spot.  Occasionally a water-absorbent layer of earth occurs directly over a water-resistant layer.  As water percolates down through the upper layers it reaches the resistant under layer and flows along it to provide a highly valued underground water supply.  A break in  these layers allows the water to escape in much the same way a man-made canal allows the water to flow from a river or stream.
     Usually these underground breaks or springs occur at some point where a hill cuts through the layers of earth.  The hillside creates a break in the underground water flow, and the water escapes along the water-resistant shelf much like water might flow from a saturated sponge resting on an inclined board.  Rhea Spring is only  one of several small springs at Shiloh, which supply the creeks of the area with water during the dryer months.
      A cluster of springs in this location probably explains why Shiloh Church and various other buildings were built near here.  Although the water of these springs was once used for all purposes, including drinking, it is no longer considered safe for drinking without further treatment and testing.  Impurities have filtered down through years of land use to change what was once considered an excellent supply of safe drinking water.
      A twig tossed into the creek near the footbridge will often bring a swirl of activity from the minnows that swim there.  They are just one part of the living community that depends on water for survival.  If you are lucky, you may even see a snapping turtle lying motionless below the bridge in hopes that a fish will venture a little too close to his powerful jaws.
      The fish and the turtles, along with all the creatures that haunt the stream banks, are dependent on the continued flow of the springs for their way of life.  As long as the rainwater is absorbed into the earth, the springs should flow.  This vital absorption depends on vegetative ground cover to hold the water in place long enough for it to soak in.  Hopefully, Shiloh will never be faced with the loss of this valuable ground cover, but it is already a serious problem in other parts of the country.
     When the land has been abused too long and too often, the vital rainwater may run off in sheets before it can refill the huge reservoirs that exist below our feet.  Strange as it seems, life in and along a meandering stream may depend on its survival for the actions that take place on the land or watershed some distance away.   This is especially true in the arid country of the Southwestern United States where water supplies are dependent on mountain watersheds hundreds of miles away.  This only points once again to the fact that events in nature are interrelated, and that all of us who use the land must look far beyond our immediate actions to be sure we are doing the right thing.  We must all become good resource managers, no matter whether we manage thousands of acres of land or just a small yard in the city.
32)   Go up the steps from Rhea Springs to Peabody Road and turn right to Corinth - Pittsburg Landing Road.  Turn south on Confederate until you reach the junction of the old Beauregard Road.  Follow Beauregard until you come to an old bridge with vine-covered rockwork along its sides.
       The dense tangle of vine growing along the bridge is Japanese honeysuckle.  Originally it was an Asiatic plant, but it was introduced into this country as a garden vine and a cover for controlling erosion on steep slopes.  Plants and animals introduced in this way are called exotics.  In some cases exotics fit into natures' pattern and prove to be very valuable additions to an area.  However, in many cases just the opposite is true.  This is pretty much the case with Japanese honeysuckle.
     This vine now grows wild over much of the East.  Like many exotics, its natural controls are lacking in its new home.  As a result, it often overpowers an area and chokes out many species valuable to both man and wildlife.  This is what you are seeing here.  Once established, Japanese honeysuckle is very difficult to destroy.
     On the other hand, Japanese honeysuckle does provide food and cover for rabbits, quail and other wildlife.  It is especially valuable to wildlife during sever winter weather when all other cover is gone.  Some wildlife food is provided by the small, black berries that are produced in the fall.
       As mentioned earlier, it can also be of great value in preventing erosion on steep slopes.  The vines can also be quite decorative.  In the spring, highly fragrant white flowers fill the air with their sweet scent.  The heavy fragrance of Japanese honeysuckle on the spring air is not soon forgotten.
       You have been observing the interrelationships of nature all day long.  Now you are looking at one example of why man should know and understand these relationships.  Hundreds of exotics have been introduced around the world.  Some of them have proved to be valuable additions to an area, but others have practically destroyed parts of the natural scene.
        The ring-necked pheasant, which was introduced from China, has fitted in perfectly and is now one of the more popular game birds in the United States.  However, the introduction of chestnuts from the Orient was a different story.  The trees themselves were safe enough, but it was not known that they carried a fungus called chestnut blight.  Unfortunately, the American chestnut was not immune to the blight.  The disease was first discovered in New York in1904, and within forty years the American chestnut was destroyed.  What had once been one of our most valuable trees, both for wood and for its nuts, was reduced to nothing but sprouts which had no chance of survival.   
       The principles of ecology must be rigidly followed during the introduction of any new plant or animal to prevent possible damage to existing forms of life.  There is nor room for mistakes.  Rigid laws help to prevent serious problems of this type, but some of  the mistake of the past may never be corrected.
        The importance of wise use of our natural resources has often been overlooked in the past, but this is no longer possible.  In the early days of our country,  the pioneers managed the land by  trial and error.  If a mistake was made there was always more land over the next hill.  Time has changed all that.  No matter what our interest; whether it is in growing crops, mining, raising trees or just plain relaxing and having a good time; we must all learn to understand nature and do our part or maintain it.
       DEFINE AN EXOTIC IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
        This was your last stop.  You can continue going straight on Beauregard and come out on Highway 22 very near the Shiloh Group Camp or you can turn left on a side trail which branches off just ahead.  The side trail will lead you to Fraley Field and to your starting point at Shaw's Restaurant.