While most people consider Terre Haute as a whole
entity, the property encompasses several distinct and different
ecosystems - lowland marshes, high ridgelines and slopes, vernal
pools and mature hardwood forest all interconnect and thrive from
the diverse species of plants and animals that comprise them. Each
individual ecosystem is dependent on the others for its continued
survival. How vibrant is this ecosystem? In a 24 hour "BioBlitz"
survey conducted in Spring 2001, the adjacent (and very similar)
Tarrywile Park set a record for the most species of plants and wildlife
ever recorded in a non-rural setting. Preserving this biodiversity
is a key goal of PATH.
pools are perhaps the most rare and sensitive of these ecosystems.
The pools appear in wet seasons– after rainfalls and snowmelts
when the water table is at its highest. The pools are only a few
inches deep, but are the home and breeding grounds for a variety
of insects and amphibians - that in turn are a major food source
for birds and mammals. Rapid overdevelopment of much of the east
coast has removed many former vernal pools, reducing species populations
over a relatively short period of time. Development of this land
could easily disrupt the water table, endangering the pools and
the life they support.