We are pleased to announce that the A. J. & M. D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery to expand our woodland restoration efforts in Consecration Dell. Over the years, The Friends has received more than a million dollars from the Ruggiero Memorial Trust for wildlife habitat enhancement projects. Perhaps the most dramatic has been the multi-year phased woodland restoration in Consecration Dell, a beautiful area with steep forested slopes and an ecologically significant vernal pool at its center. The history of the Dell is inextricably linked with the history of the entire Cemetery, as it was within this natural amphitheater that Mount Auburn was formally consecrated on September 24, 1831.
Since 1997, with funding from the Ruggiero Memorial Trust, we restored the area by removing invasive species such as Norway Maples and replanting it with native New England species of trees, shrubs, ferns, and other groundcovers. Over the years we have planted many thousands of plants in the Dell, comprising over 128 different species all native to New England. The woodland habitat has improved greatly and is certainly an attractive resource for birds – especially migrating warblers – as our many birdwatchers can attest to each year! While the restoration efforts in the Dell are close to completion, one key area still needs to be restored, the North Dell Meadows. Thanks to the support of Ruggiero Memorial Trust, we will undertake this next stage in the spring of 2019.
Each new expansion adds much-needed habitat space to the Dell area as part of our goal of permanently establishing a sustainable native plant community that supports the many different species of wildlife that inhabit the site. The North Dell Meadows, with its higher sunlight exposure, focuses on a group of plants and a habitat that complements the woodland habitats adjacent to it. A blend of native un-mowed grasses and wildflowers will form the underlying basis for an ecosystem that offers a multitude of benefits for pollinators and other insects, especially during the summer months. We look forward to moving forward with this latest stage of replanting.
If you would like to contribute to our woodland restoration in the North Dell Meadows, please visit https://mountauburn.org/give/special-projects/ and make a gift to our Horticultural Collections. Thank you for your support!