The Ecology Project

THE ECOLOGY PROJECT at FORT WILLIAMS PARK:

The Ecology Project is a long-term, park-wide effort by the Friends of Fort Williams to improve the ecological health and sustainability of Fort Williams Park, resulting in a greater variety and abundance of pollinators and birds, increased natural beauty, and a heightened sense of exploration and discovery for people.

FRIENDS OF FORT WILLIAMS PARK

The Friends of Fort Williams Park (formerly, Fort Williams Park Foundation) was established in 2001 as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the natural resources and visitor experience of Fort Williams Park by providing planning and stewardship for projects that support the Park’s ecology, accessibility, and open space.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES for THE ECOLOGY PROJECT:

  • Reduce and control invasive plant and insect populations
  • Preserve and expand native plant communities and increase biodiversity
  • Improve open space and access for passive recreation
  • Foster collaboration, community participation and stewardship
  • Provide opportunities for environmental education

Click here to download a map that identifies the location of each Ecology Project site and suggested walking path loops (pdf).

Fort Williams Park - Photo by: Cindy Farr-Weinfeld

Fort Williams Park white birches - Photo by: Cindy Farr-Weinfeld

The rocky coastline at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Rock sculpture at Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The first demonstration of the Ecology Project’s potential came in 2012 with the completion of Cliffside. Where invasive shrubs and vines once formed an impenetrable thicket, you can now stroll among native trees and shrubs, sit on stone walls, and enjoy awe-inspiring views of Casco Bay. The second Ecology Project site, Lighthouse View, contains a beautiful example of a native meadow with wildflowers enjoyed by people and pollinators alike. The transformation of this highly-trafficked space adjacent to the lighthouse can serve to raise awareness and inspire an expanded stewardship of the environment.

The third Ecology Project project, the Children’s Garden, was designed to become a natural oasis that celebrates local ecology and history while stimulating the imagination and encouraging children to interact playfully with the natural environment through climbing, exploration and discovery. Engaging children in quality outdoor play experiences promotes healthy childhood development while instilling deep and lasting connections with nature.

Garden features include paths leading to a variety of opportunities for creative play; a small, diverse woodland full of birdsong; a shallow pond promising frogs and dragonflies; water flowing through a series of cascades into the Skating Pond below; a “gopher tunnel”; a tree lookout fort; and a picnic area for rest and regrouping. Additional features in the process of being created include a meadow alive with native wildflowers and pollinating insects, and a living willow tunnel and dome.

In the fall of 2015, the Fort Williams Park Foundation began implementing a multi-year ecological restoration of the Cliff Walk Landscape, which involves suppressing invasive plants while preserving existing remnant native plant communities, and creating conditions more conducive to their spread across the site.

More landscapes are planned for the future to provide additional places of refuge and wonder for Park visitors and habitat for the wildlife with which we share this space. This ambitious project will be many years in the making, and success will depend on the continued help of generous donors and dedicated volunteers.

For more information about current and future Ecology Project plans, activities, events, and how you might volunteer or donate, please visit our website at fortwilliams.org or use the contact info below to reach us by mail, phone or email:

Fort Williams Park Foundation
P.O. Box 6260,
Cape Elizabeth, ME  04107
(207) 767-3707
info@fortwilliams.org