Ebba Springs Wildlife Refuge
Austin is expanding, fast. And while we often just talk about this in terms of nightmare traffic, Austin’s expansion has had a significant impact on local wildlife. Well, Sam and Barbara Attwell Ritter’s Cuernavaca Neighborhood house, called Ebba Springs, is helping counteract this trend by incorporating wildlife habitat elements into their home design at every chance they could get!
The stucco entrance walls to the driveway contain cavities that house several species of birds. A 27’ tall artistically designed tufa bat cave stands prominently in the front yard and was awarded an Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin 2012. The the bat’s guano gets repurposed as a fertilizer for the vegetable garden. Several other habitat towers stand throughout the property and often house vultures, bats, squirrels, owls, and woodpeckers. And to make sure these critter neighbors have everything they need, there’s even a wildlife pond of native plants to keep them full and happy.
The house is just as eco-conscious as the surrounding property. Made with a rammed earth technique from the soil onsite, the house very intentionally looks like a relic from an older and wilder time. Poems, sandblasted sculptures, and relief prints of leaves, birds feet, mountain lion paws and geodes are built right into the walls. If that weren’t enough, it is filled will Barbara’s paintings and felted sculptures, often depicting animals and ecological themes.
Be prepared to go on a weird and wild adventure and don’t be surprised if you make some furry friends! But only when you buy a ticket to the 2017 tour.