SAVE THE DATE!
ANNUAL MEETING AND PROGRAM:
Tyler Christensen on the Northern Copperhead Snake
Thursday, June 7th at 7:30 PM in the Education Building, Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters at 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston
The Northern Copperhead is a reptile of surprising docility, beauty, and complexity, despite its reputation for aggression and perniciousness. It is one of two venomous snakes found in New Jersey (the other being the Timber Rattlesnake), both of which are imperiled in the state. This presentation will highlight an ongoing radio-tracking study of Northern Copperheads taking place in the Sourlands of central New Jersey. Their astonishingly cryptic pattern and behavior render them nearly invisible among the leaf litter on the forest floor, making their life histories difficult to study. Radio telemetry has allowed individual snakes to be tracked over multiple seasons, and has revealed a great deal about the state’s southernmost population of these remarkable forest vipers.
Tyler Christensen manages a radio-tracking study of Northern Copperheads through his company, Piedmont Ecological Services, LLC. Tyler is the director of the non-profit Wild Bird Research Group, Inc., through which he coordinates bird banding research on nearctic-neotropical migrants during the winter months in Costa Rica and Northern Saw-whet Owl migration and winter ecology in New Jersey. He is currently a Land Steward for Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and a board member of the Washington Crossing Audubon Society.
The meeting is open to all, and refreshments will be served.
Dirt bikes, four-wheel drive vehicles, and vehicles cutting through the Mapleton Preserve during rush hour are dangerous and destructive. South Brunswick Township and NJDEP regulations prohibit unauthorized motor vehicles in the Preserve. The Township and the State Park Police will work together to address these violations, with extra South Brunswick police patrols focusing on the Preserve.
Please report any such unauthorized traffic you observe in the Preserve to the NJDEP Hotline at 1-877-927-6337. You may also call the South Brunswick Township police, or contact us (link at the right) so that we can pass along the information. Date, time, description of vehicle(s), and photos, especially, are helpful.
ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Karen Linder led a brief tree appreciation walk featuring flowering trees, and a beautiful memorial redbud was planted with a lot of help from our friends! Dance groups Handsome Molly and the Griggstown Lock Rapper Sword Dancers provided music and dance to revel in the season. Our thanks to all who made this a festive celebration of Arbor Day.
WEEDS, WILDFLOWERS, AND WILDLIFE IN WINTER
Sunday, February 18, 2018
The old Princeton Nurseries fields are full of grasses, wildflowers and wildlife. In the snow-coated fields, Karen Linder and a dozen participants learned to identify plants in the “off-season,” and looked for evidence of the wildlife that lives in the Preserve.
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION
Monday, January 15, 2018
Two dozen volunteers of all ages took part in a cleanup session in the Mapleton Preserve. Crews collected many bags of trash, tires and other big debris within the Preserve and along Mapleton Road.
A vigorous team took down vines, shrubs and small trees around the Propagation House, which will be the first building to be rehabilitated. Asbestos remediation is expected to begin soon, and then the restoration process can at last commence. We thank all who proved that energetic stewardship is important, fun, and a good way to keep warm on a sub-freezing day!
Propagation House Team
Photos by BreeAnneLemmerling & Tari Pantaleo
FIRST DAY HIKE
Monday, January 1, 2018
Over forty hardy souls and three dogs took a brisk loop walk through the Mapleton Preserve on the first day of the new year. Participants enjoyed the subtle colors of winter vegetation, tree silhouettes, animal tracks, birds in flight, and the sun shining brilliantly on the snow.
THANKSGIVING DAY WALK IN THE MAPLETON PRESERVE
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Our thanks to Laura Hawkins for providing these fine photos she took on our annual Thanksgiving Day morning exploration of the Mapleton Preserve.
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY VOLUNTEER SESSION
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Three cheers for the vine-cutting and trash collecting crews! Much was accomplished, and a wonderful time was had by all. Photos courtesy of Poonam Abbi.
ANNUAL MEETING AND TALK ON BLUEBIRDS
Photo by Susan Liddle
Allen Jackson, president of the NJ Bluebird Society, gave a presentation on bluebirds, highlighting biology, bluebird boxes that meet design standards (and ones that don’t!), and best management practices with the goal of fostering a healthy and productive bluebird population in our state.
Bluebirds subsist mainly on insects, but will eat berries during the winter months. The male does the “house-hunting,” then sings to attract a mate (and ward off other males). The female does most of the nest building, and lays three to six eggs which will hatch within a couple of weeks. Both parents share the feeding and housekeeping duties. Fledging occurs about two and a half weeks later.
To learn more about bluebird boxes, their placement, care and monitoring, and for information about predators of bluebirds and how to minimize their impact, please visit NJ Bluebird Society
ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION AND LICHEN WALK WITH DR. JAMES LENDEMER
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Dr. James Lendemer, a lichenologist from the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, gave a slide presentation on lichens and then a lichen walk in the Mapleton Preserve. He identified and taught us about these unique and fascinating organisms. For those who could not join us, you can get a sense of the experience participants had by watching this short video: Science Friday Video–“Hunting the Wild Lichen”
SIGNS OF LIFE IN THE WINTER LANDSCAPE
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Mugwort, broom sedge, grease grass. Field cress, plantain, sphagnum moss. Autumn olive, witch hazel, and white pine. Scarlet oak, dogwood, dawn redwood, juniper, and weeping cherry. Scat of deer, fox, and perhaps coyote. Red-tailed hawk, cardinals, and turkey vultures. These were some of the signs of life in the Preserve explored by a dozen people and two dogs. All five senses came into play–taste, only for the cress!
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY OF SERVICE
Monday, January 16th, 2017
Over forty volunteers attacked intrusive small trees, brush, and vines, and picked up trash in the Preserve on a fair January day. Trails were cleared between some of the old tree rows, and leaves piled up along the fence were amassed for later collection. We extend our hearty thanks to our cutters, rakers, litter collectors, bushwhackers, registrars, photographers, and two people who took on special tasks–the poison ivy ambassador and the hose king! Photos by Laura Hawkins.