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The photo below was taken on 21 January 1994. The image was extracted from a Color Infra-Red (CIR) digital orthophoto quadrangle provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. Each pixel represents 1 by 1 meters of earth.

The 11-acre tract that defines Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is outlined in red. Hilton Pond, constructed to control erosion in about 1960, is the smaller body of water highlighted in blue; a second impoundment (called "Nothilton Pond") lies partly on the property. The circa-1918 farmhouse that serves as the Center's office and lab is outlined in yellow; it is positioned at Lat 34º 58' 21" N, Long 81º 13' 25" W. Devinney Road forms the Center's southern border and turns northward toward the City of York; proceeding southwest it passes York Comprehensive High School and intersects with US 321 about one mile away.

Visible in the southwest quadrant of the property are some of the two-plus miles of nature trails that meander around the property and that--in some cases--serve as mist net lanes for capturing birds. The 60-acre pine plantation north of the Center was clear-cut in 1995 (compare top photo with the one below, taken in about 2000); it is now in pasture used by beef cattle. In the photo below, the Center's several legally defined tracts are outlined in blue.

The next overflight photo to which we have access (below) was taken in late winter or early spring 2006, well before green-up; it shows more clearly the relative extent of leafless deciduous trees and evergreens. On this photo we have indicated in red the approximate borders for each of four unequal "quadrants" into which the property is divided for research and survey purposes. Quadrant borders roughly follow old fencerows that were established to keep livestock from wandering.

  • Quadrant #1: Old farmhouse and lawn, plus mainly open deciduous woods
  • Quadrant #2: Dense stand of Eastern Red Cedar and various pines, plus a small meadow; this quadrant was in row crops for many years prior to 1982
  • Quadrant #3: Mix of pines and hardwoods with few cedars, plus bottomland swampy area below dam; this quadrant was in graze for many years prior to 1982
  • Quadrant #4: Mix of pines, Eastern Red Cedars, and hardwoods, plus a relatively large open meadow; this quadrant, maintained for many years with brush-cutting equipment prior to 1985, was the site of a three-year small mammal study

Hilton Pond Center continues to undergo natural vegetational succession and undoubtedly will look different when the next series of aerial photos is taken.

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.