Image from the top of Quarry Hill Natural Area in Pownal, VT.
Quarry Hill Cliffs View from Quarry Hill Natural Area © TNC

Stories in Vermont

Quarry Hill Natural Area has New Neighbors!

Unique Collaboration yields a Bennington County Habitat for Humanity Home

Imagine living in a home that neighbors one of the most biodiverse and unique natural areas in Vermont, boasting forty-seven rare plants, four rare animals, and three rare natural communities? Thanks to a unique collaboration, this will soon be a reality for one local family.

In 2017, The Nature Conservancy expanded its Quarry Hill Natural Area in Pownal by nearly 30 acres and, seeing an opportunity, was able to allocate a half-acre for a future affordable homesite. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board allocated $39,850 for 25 acres in addition to Quarry Hill Natural Area and, in early 2021, Bennington County Habitat for Humanity selected the half-acre lot it for its 32nd housing project in the Bennington area. A prospective family has been selected who wants to remain local to the area. 

Quote: Susan Sommer

We are so excited to know that a family with children will be able to live in such a pristine area stewarded by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont.

Executive Director Habitat for Humanity Benington
People sit on a rock ledge overlooking Quarry Hill Natural Area in Vermont.
Looking over Quarry Hill Natural Area Quarry Hill a hotspot for rare plants and a magical place to experience spring wildflowers © Dylan Oleary

Traditionally, The Nature Conservancy’s land protection efforts do not lend themselves to these types of projects because the focus is on conserving sensitive natural communities like wetlands and intact forests. 

Quarry Hill is the second project in which The Nature Conservancy facilitated a land transfer to develop affordable housing. The first one was in Dummerston, Vermont, near TNC’s Black Mountain Natural Area. 

This project would not have been possible without the support of The Nature Conservancy’s loyal supporters and funding partners, like Vermont Housing and Conservation Board who donated the capital to purchase the donated land. VHCB has the dual goals of creating affordable housing for Vermonters and conserving and protecting Vermont's agricultural land, forestland, historic properties, important natural areas, and recreational lands.

Quote: Pam Boyd

We appreciate and support TNC’s great initiative. This is a great example of thinking outside the box when the opportunity presents itself to incorporate other community values in a land conservation project.

VHCB Communications Director
Workers pour and level cement in a housing construction area.
New Construction begins New neighbors next to Quarry Hill Natural Area © Habitat for Humanity Benington

The Quarry Hill Natural Area is one of 58 natural areas that TNC owns and manages. It is open to the public for hiking, snowshoeing, birdwatching, and hunting. As visitors walk the trails of this ecological gem, they will be greeted with some of the rarest plant species in the state and in the country. During the spring, flower aficionados often visit to experience the wild range of colors from all the wildflowers that bloom at this site. Quarry Hill is known for its rich biodiversity and soon will be the home to Vermont family to enjoy it in the comfort of their backyard.