Often overlooked, the ever present and beautiful New England Stone Walls of the Sanctuary have many hidden stories to tell. Understanding the geology of stone walls opens our eyes to the incredible glacial past that shaped the Sanctuary’s land and created the soils on which it grows and lives. The historical importance of the walls speaks to the agrarian past of the Sanctuary and those who farmed there. Finally, having been a part of the Sanctuary’s habitat for hundreds of years, these loosely stacked walls are now an important habitat of their own that many species rely upon for their survival. These species are under threat of habitat loss from the pilfering and rebuilding of historic stone walls to create modern cemented walls that are not only deserts, but impede the local migrations of amphibians and reptiles, and remove the hibernaculum and shelter of several species.
Join us as we explore these important monuments of Connecticut at the Fraser Woods Montessori School on March 24th from 12 – 3pm. Dr. Mitch Wagener of Western CT University will illuminate the importance of these walls as support for native wildlife, including their existence as underground insect highways. Want to know how our forefathers built these incredible structures? Master Stone Mason Andrew Pighills will conduct hands on “dry stacking” workshops to create one of these amazing life supporting walls with participants, while Earthplace in Westport’s naturalists introduce us to their live ambassador stone wall animal species! For those smaller participants who may not be able to lift full sized stones with Mr. Pighills, we will have mini wall building activities. Finally, all participants will be able to explore the historic walls at Fraser Woods with CVHF naturalist Henryk Teraszkiewicz to learn how to date them using lichens like a real archaeologist, find and record signs of and living stone wall wildlife for Citizen Science using iNaturalist, and understand the different crystals, rocks and minerals that make up our native stones and how they came to be here.
• Hands-on, outdoor stone wall building presentation (weather permitting)
• Children’s stone wall building activity
• How to explore, date and identify your stone walls
Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.