The Crossings and natural wetlands
Known as "The Crossings' Children's Memorial Gazebo and Boardwalk", the memorial consists of a boardwalk and gazebo, on the edge of the Williamsburg Cemetery’s natural wetlands. The Crossings was built as a lasting memorial to all children who have died tragically within our community.
While the boardwalk is a memorial to children, it also serves as an educational environment where people can learn about the natural flora and fauna of the wetland. Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. Plant life found in this wetland includes cattails, sedges, tamarack, willow and many others. Animal life includes many different amphibians, reptiles,birds, insects and mammals.
What is a Wetland?
The boardwalk was built over a wetland. A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water. Wetlands include swamps, marshes and bogs. The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater or brackish. Wetlands also serve as natural wastewater purification systems.
Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. Plant life found in this wetland includes cattails, sedges, tamarack, willow and many others. Animal life includes many different amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects and mammals.
Look carefully and you may see…
The Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America. Bullfrogs lay up to 20,000 eggs in huge sheets, attached to plants under the water.
Adult bullfrogs always stay near the water. They live in ponds, lakes and slow-moving streams. Bullfrogs usually hide among tall plants, such as cattails. They help humans by eating large amounts of pesky insects, such as mosquitos.
Bullfrogs have a deep, loud call which can be heard up to a quarter of a mile. If you visit the boardwalk during mid to late April, you will be entertained by the very loud and lovely symphony that the bullfrogs present during their mating season.
Bats are very helpful as the primary predators of night-flying insects. They play a role in the balance of nature by reseeding cut forests and pollinating plants that provide food for humans.
Look up into the trees and to the right of the information marquee and you will see the ‘bat house.’
Purple Martins are part of the swallow family and are one of the largest swallows in North America, measuring 19 cm. Martins have long, pointed wings and fly with exceptional grace.
Martins, like all swallows, are aerial insectivores. They eat only flying insects.
Martins make their nest out of small twigs, grass and mud. You will spot their mud-packed nest in the ‘shaped’ corners of many of the buildings at Williamsburg Cemeteries, where the walls and roofs meet.