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Nature’s Friend: The Local Quarry

Mallard duck flying from a pond in one of the quarries

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

John Lubbock
The birds were loving the quarry’s water hole on Earth Day

Since I was a kid, I loved growing up literally “in the quarry.” Riding Huffy bikes, jumping off small stone ledges, riding through standing water; it was all a boy could ask for. I got very good at patching my bike tire’s inner tubes and taking broken bikes and cobbling together one good bike. I also remember it was a great place to bump into nature. Rabbits and snakes of course were the main sight, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary to run across other animals. Deer, racoons, redtail hawks, woodchucks – they all would visit from time to time.

Deer travel to the quarries for a drink of water

I think this closeness to nature helped me understand the importance of the quarries. We shared the land with a large number of inhabitants, some were more visible than others. One of my favorite pictures was a big-old bullfrog hanging out in a retention pond. The water was so clear you could see to the bottom. It was a good feeling to know we helped that frog build a home.

Bullfrog hanging out on a log in a retention pond.

Now more than ever I appreciate how we to care for the land. Buechel Stone needs the stone to make the world a beautiful place and help others have a piece of nature on and around their buildings. When I think about what it takes to get the stone to someone, I am glad we are part of their project because I know we take it serious being one with the land.

Removing slabs of Chilton Limestone a layer at a time

You would think being a good steward of the land is a given but it’s not. Around the world there are tons (no pun intended) of examples where a quarry is an eyesore or a problem. I’m sure that’s a huge part why people are so often against “anything quarry.”

The reality is there’s a huge economic impact our business has on others. Buechel Stone employes over 150 people. We purchase from hundreds of vendors that employ people. We help employ masons, architects, landscapers, builders, truck drivers, and thousands of others around North America. It’s pretty humbling when you really sit back and think about what a business means to others. That impact and importance does not give us carte blanche reign over the land though, but honestly we wouldn’t even need need the regulations – we know its the right way to run the business.

Several years ago Buechel Stone started reclaiming land it was no longer able to use for quarrying. Now as the years have passed, its impressive to see the results. The process was to taking the overburden and excess scrap and flattening the area. The dirt that was kept in berms on-site was used to cover the rock and stone.

Pushing stones flat for ground to go over
Reclaiming part of the quarry that is depleted for our use

A few weeks ago I drove out to the quarry and was so happy to see the land, and how well it is coming back. It now has ponds, prairies, and will once again be a haven to so many animals.

In the end, the quote above fits a quarry well. Everyone sees what they want to see. There are those people that see a quarry as a disaster and a reason to stand up and hate. I for one, see a homogenous existence: one doesn’t have to interfere with the other in the long run. We made a home for the animals, a home for our rockstar employees through a meaningful place to work, and quite literally a home to those who use our natural stone on their homes. The land goes back, virtually untouched, as a prairie in this example. Maybe the next time it’s a large pond, maybe a farmer’s field… only time will tell.

Each picture below is land we once quarried and is now on its way to being a prairie.

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