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Crow’s Nest: From Wreck to Weald

May 6, 2024

By Devon Funt, Crow’s Nest Intern, and Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

The defunct general store at the former Warwick Woods Campground

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Debris from a building demolition in the woods

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Following the demolition of the defunct General Store at the former Warwick Woods Campground, we were left with a bank of soil and rocks from the entrance drive to what was the basement level of the building and the immediate yard. Top photo, “before.” Above, the scene during demolition; our neighbors at Polycor Quarry carried out the demolition and cleanup.

Some areas of the former campground we’ve restored to native plant communities; the pool area we’ve filled over and planted as a meadow. Nature is reclaiming the campsites on its own as tree seedlings and saplings grow through the forest openings. But the lower level footprint of this building we’ve decided to keep open as a small gravel parking area for visitors for events at the Warwick Woods section of Crow’s Nest Preserve. On the slope above the parking area we asked current Long-term Intern in Land Stewardship and Environmental Education, Devon Funt, if she would be interested in designing a native garden on the site where the building rubble once sat. She was.

She mapped out a preliminary layout to the garden bed, chose species of native plants adapted to the site, made use of existing boulders, and anchored the planting with three dogwood trees that will add a vertical element to the space.

A planting map for a bed of wildflowers

Design: Devon Funt

There ended up being some substitutions due to availability, plus we added some divisions of plants from our other native gardens at Crow’s Nest. Stepping stones placed strategically in the bed will make maintenance easier. It will take a few years to fill in but we’re very excited about the results.

Here’s the planting area prepped and ready for volunteers…

"Before" picture, woods with a foreground bank of topsoil ready to be planted with wildflowers

Photo: Devon Funt

…followed by a view of the volunteers at work:

Volunteers planting wildflowers on bank in front of woods

Photo: Devon Funt

And posing together after the project.

Volunteers standing in front of native wildflower planting at Warwick Woods section of Crow's Nest Preserve

Photo: Devon Funt

Below, a view looking down the bed toward the entrance of Warwick Woods toward the upper right, with the new parking area to the left.

Finished planting bed with wildflowers mulched

Photo: Devon Funt

Warwick Woods is open daily as is all of Crow’s Nest Preserve. The gate to this parking area will likely only be open when there are events going on. But feel free to park along Trythall Road and walk in on the Horse-Shoe Trail ¬†westbound to enjoy the former campground’s trails and this beautiful site where nature is returning!