South Fork Museum of Natural History, Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York

The South Fork Museum of Natural History was established to foster an understanding of the environment and ecology of Long Island.  The site adjoins the Long Pond Greenbelt Preserve, home to many of the South Fork’s indigenous fauna and flora. The museum and site, an integral exhibit in itself, serve as models of environmentally sound planning and construction.

Sustainable measures including porous paving, reinforced grass, and bioswales that attract wildlife were deployed in the parking areas, which blend with the surrounding meadows. During major storms, water overflows from the bioswales to a constructed shallow pond that also welcomes wildlife and provides irrigation.  The entire landscape, completed in 2003, is both educational and beautiful, and is heavily used by enthusiastic school groups and other visitors. It has proved durable: the reinforced grass parking area has withstood heavy use, the native plantings have matured to seamlessly blend with the landscape beyond, and a variety of butterflies, birds, and small mammals have made their home here.

Quennell Rothschild & Partners worked closely with the trustees and Rogers Marvel Architects to develop this ecological paradigm.

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