REBIRTH OF A SANCTUARY
Following the deaths of Arthur and Alice Langmuir in the early 1940’s, the original Quarry Park, created on this site in 1936, fell into decline and served as a Village dump from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. In 2005, plans were put in motion to remediate the landfill and replace it, once again, with a beautiful public garden. The tall marble cliffs, the result of quarrying at the site from 1828 to 1871, have been a dramatic feature of both the original Quarry Park and today’s park.
Blocks of marble, excavated during the remediation, now serve as benches and as reminders of the quarrying era. The setting has been restored with thoughtfully designed landscapes, utilizing a diverse range of plants native to the northeastern United States. These native plants provide food and shelter for the local fauna, bringing back a lost vibrant habitat.
THE WHAT AND WHY OF NATIVE PLANTS
A plant is considered native if it grows naturally in the region where it evolved. Since this occurs over thousands of years within a complex and changing web of organisms, climate and geology, native plants grow in close harmony with their surroundings.
There are numerous advantages to landscaping with natives. Native plants have adapted to the climate of their region and are the foundation of the local habitat. They support wildlife by providing food and shelter, and their deep root systems help prevent erosion and soil compaction.
The native wildflowers, grasses, perennials and trees found in Quarry Park are ideal sources of pollen, nectar and habitat for our local pollinators. These pollinators, which include bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds, are essential to the reproduction of most flowering plants and they have evolved to be uniquely adapted to one another.
Many pollinator populations are diminishing due to factors such as pesticide use and loss of habitat. Some are so closely dependent on the plant species with which they have evolved that their survival is threatened should those plant populations decrease or disappear.
Monarch butterflies, for example, are entirely dependent on milkweed plants to propagate their species; they lay their eggs on the leaves, the only food their caterpillars eat. Monarch populations are in steep decline, in large part due to widespread loss of milkweed habitat.
Native plants are integral to the food web of a region. Insects, birds and small mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits eat their leaves, seeds and fruits. In the process, animals help propagate plants by dispersing seeds; for example, squirrels store acorns that can grow into new trees. In turn, small mammals are food for red-tailed hawks, owls and other predators.
Quarry Park illustrates how beautiful this biodiverse approach can be while supporting our local ecology.