Christine Lawson - Environmental Educator, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation
Latta Nature Preserve is full of hidden surprises. Massive boulders lurk deep in the woods and long black snakes rustle quietly through the brush. As you wander down the Audubon Trail, you may spy tiny houses nestled in the shade of pine trees or tucked into hollow logs. As you bend down to inspect them, you might catch a flutter of wings out of the corner of your eye- was it a bird or perhaps something more magical? And just there, from behind the mossy stump, is something watching you?
A keen observer will note something very special about the fairy houses in our woods: they use absolutely no man-made materials! Each house is constructed using only materials found in nature around the preserve. There’s no need for nails, glue, or bricks; fallen leaves and scraps of old bark make up the walls of these fantastical abodes. A patch of moss acts as a lush carpet for fairy feet while pieces of pinecone shingle the tiny rooftops. Pebbles line a tiny path leading up to the front door and a shell found on the lakeshore makes a unique adornment.
If you would like to try creating your own fairy home, the rules are simple:
use only natural materials,
do not use any living things, and
keep it tiny!
Fairies love nature and enjoy living in homes made from all natural materials, but they don’t like seeing living things like plants harmed in order to build a home. If you look around Faylinn Village, the fairy community found on the Audubon Trail, you’ll see different examples of magical homes using only what nature provides.
At the end of every February, there is an absolute explosion of creativity as builders from all over fly in to construct fairy homes in the Village during the annual Fairy House Festival! But you don’t have to wait until then to build your own fairy home; visit Latta anytime to explore the Village or build a tiny home in your own backyard. And be sure to keep your eyes open the next time you go for a walk in the woods- you never know what you’ll see!