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COMING EVENTS

Thanksgiving Day Walk –Birds of a Feather

Thursday, November 24, 2022 10 to 11:30 AM

Join FPNL President Karen Linder for our annual Thanksgiving morning walk. This year, the walk will focused on birds of all kinds, including turkeys. (Yes, they can be found in the Mapleton Preserve!).We will talk about feathers, look for local birds and migrating flocks,
search for bird nests and the food that birds might eat at the Preserve. Hopefully, by the end of the walk, you will be grateful for birds (if you are not already). This program will begin at the Main Office for the D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. Suitable for all ages.
Free. All are welcome.

WREATHS AND GARLANDS!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2022, 1 3 PM

Make a seasonal wreath or garland to decorate your door for the holidays. Sue Maser will show us how to transform wisteria vines into wreath forms. Some greens and supplies will be provided, but you are invited to bring greens, pine cones or dried materials to share with the group. Please bring clippers, and any special ribbons or ornaments you wish to incorporate into your design. Cookies, cocoa and holiday music will round out the event. Come get into the holiday spirit!

Pre-registration is requested as space is limited. A $10 donation is suggested to cover the cost of supplies. Click on Donate/Join. After putting in the amount and form of payment, select “Add special instructions” and type “Wreath.”

AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Sunday, December 18th, 2022 7:30 AM–??

The Kingston segment of this year’s Audubon Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by Kingston Greenways Association, begins at 7:30 AM to catch the “early birds.” We will meet in the Mapleton Preserve at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston and bird until noon, when we take a break for lunch at the Palace of Asia on Route 27 in Kingston Center. The group then continues with the count in the afternoon. You can join us for morning, afternoon, or both.

If interested, call Karen Linder (609-683-0483) for more info. We would particularly appreciate help from experienced birders, but novices are welcome. It is a great way to build your skills and get to know the Nursery Lands better. Dress warmly, and bring binoculars if you have them!

RECENT EVENTS 

DEBBIE NAHA FORAGING WORKSHOP

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands’ fall foraging workshop and book signing at the Mapleton Preserve was led by Debbie NahaKoretzky, a naturalist and Master Gardener who holds a Master’s degree in Food and Nutrition from NYU. She has been foraging for decades and is the recent author of a book entitled Foraging Pennsylvania and New Jersey: Finding, identifying and preparing edible wild foods.

An indoor slide presentation was followed by a foraging walk and taste testing.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY CLEANUP

Saturday, September 24, 2022

 

A cheerful group met at the Mapleton Preserve for an afternoon of service–trail marking, mulching, butterfly garden maintenance, litter pickup, and more.

The weather was perfect, and much was accomplished. Many thanks to our public land lovers and caretakers!

 

 

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Our National Trails Day main event was the grand opening of the new “Bamboo Trail,” created by Mehul Khajuria of Monmouth Junction Troop 10 for his Eagle Service Project. After the ribbon cutting and award ceremony, Mehul led a walk on the trail. Scouts and volunteers stayed on to plant native plants along the new path which will be enjoyed year after year.

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands is deeply appreciative of the efforts of Mehul, his hardworking Troop 10, and all the local Scouts with whom we partner. We also appreciate the cooperation and support of D&R Canal State Park and South Brunswick Township, and Kirstin Ohrt for her splendid photos.

FPNL Trustee BreeAnne Lemmerling, who provided guidance to Mehul during the trail-making process, describes the trail as meandering through woodlands and a bamboo grove with the highlight being the stretches along the sparkling Heathcote Brook.  This trail offers visitors to the Mapleton Preserve an entirely different footpathing experience than the paths of the interior of the property.  The trail is augmented with boardwalks in the wet spots, and the improved access to Heathcote Brook will be helpful for summer programs that need good stream access.

We invite you explore the Mapleton Preserve’s newest addition to South Brunswick’s trail system, and to share in our passion to protect and preserve our local historic places and our vital public lands.

Says Mehul Khajuria: “Thank you to the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for providing me such an opportunity. The help they provided along with the help from my fellow Scouts from the Troop really helped the vision of this trail come to fruition. I really hope that this project works to provide enjoyment and lasting memories to any future generations that walk this trail that I helped to create.”

ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands hosted an Arbor Day celebration at the Mapleton Preserve, with a tree walk led by William (Bill) Flemer IV in the Flemer Arboretum, focused on trees developed and patented by the former Princeton Nurseries.  These special cultivars were  honored with new QR-coded identification labels designed by Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands.

The tree that we planted this year is known as the ‘October Glory’ maple. This tree, one of the most popular red maples, was developed by William Flemer III at Princeton Nurseries. A 6-foot specimen of this showy red maple was generously donated by Jeff Baumley of Baumley Nursery(Baumley Nursery). Baumley Nursery provides expert landscaping, gardening and planting products and services to Kingston and surrounding communities.

To learn more about the October Glory cultivar, please visit its tree page: Tree 29

Children of all ages had a blast dancing around a maypole with pastel ribbons. Many thanks to FPNL trustee BreeAnne Lemmerling for engineering this delightful spring attraction!

EARTH DAY CLEANUP

Saturday, April 23, 2022

An industrious and cheerful crew collected loads of trash in the Mapleton Preserve and along local roads in Kingston. We are grateful to all of these volunteers for their efforts!

 

 

TWILIGHT WALK IN THE MAPLETON PRESERVE

Friday, March 18, 2022

Nature reveals a different side at dusk; there is always something to discover. Karen Linder led a dozen participants on this one-hour walk between 7 and 8 PM. The timing turned out to be perfect, for the reward was the seldom experienced presence of two or three woodcocks, “peenting” and displaying! Peepers were calling in the distance but close ones were shy…

Photo of witch hazel by BreeAnne Lemmerling

WHAT’S UP, WOODCOCK? URBAN WOODCOCK RESEARCH IN NJ

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The woodcock, a harbinger of spring, is one of the first birds seen in the spring migratory
journey north. But why are they so seldom seen, and where and how can they be found?
Rutgers PhD candidate Kathleen Farley gave us
the inside scoop on the everelusive American Woodcock, shown below in this photo taken by Kathleen Farley.

Kathleen Farley’s research looks at how the woodcock copes with habitat options in New Jersey.  She has studied woodcock in different habitats from their traditional young forest haunts to urban brownfields in northern New Jersey.  She has been studying the factors that influence the usage and fitness of woodcock males on their singing ground sites, including a delineation of their home ranges, vegetation assemblages, food availability, and predator community. See her website Woodcock Watch NJ for more details on this work.

For fun, check out this clip of a woodcock doing its funky walk: Woodcock funky walk

Groundhog Day “Walk and Talk”

Saturday, February 5, 2022

We found a groundhog’s den with a freshly excavated second exit (a spy hole), and watched two red-tailed hawks courting. Circling one another closely in the sky, they were being harassed by a third red-tail that maybe wanted a piece of the action. We were also treated to the sight of three bluebirds glowing turquoise in the sun. A lovely walk!

FIRST DAY HIKE

Saturday, January 1, 2021

We had 15 to 20 people join despite rainy conditions. Karen stopped the walk at 1 PM to give those who wanted to bail out the chance to do so. Eight folks wanted to keep going, so the group headed to the Canal to explore the linkages. All told, that group did 2.78 miles and the walk ended at 1:30 by mutual consent. There was light rain throughout the day, with a nice mist on the turning basin. The fields were lovely.

TREE TRIMMING FOR OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Participants made edible ornaments for our feathered friends and used them to trim a tree in the Flemer arboretum,  or to take home for their own backyard birds. A wonderful time was had by all! Many thanks to our trustees and volunteers for organizing the event, and to Kirstin Ohrt for her terrific photos.

THANKSGIVING DAY WALK

Thursday, November 25, 2021

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Photos by BreeAnne Lemmerling, Robert von Zumbusch, and Kirstin Ohrt

Three cheers for the hardy crew of weed warriors, mulch movers and spreaders, hole diggers, vine wranglers, brush haulers, ace organizers, and keen observers who joined us for this work session! Participants learned some tree identification techniques as well as proper ways to fertilize and mulch. The trees of the Flemer Arboretum in Mapleton Preserve received a large dose of tender loving care, and the arboretum looks better than it has in years!

 

SCAVENGER HUNT

Saturday August 7, 2021

A scavenger hunt run by Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands drew a lively crowd to the Mapleton Preserve. For many, it was their first visit. Teams cooperated to find natural objects in a timed event. Thanks to all who participated, and for these great photos taken by FPNL trustees Gina Cuniere, BreeAnne Lemmerling, and Kirstin Ohrt!


“WE’RE BACK!” EMERGENCE OF THE BROOD X PERIODICAL CICADAS

Thursday May 27th, 2021

Professor George Hamilton, Chair, Department of Entomology and Director of the Rutgers Graduate Program in Entomology, spoke to us about the highly anticipated emergence of the 17-year cicadas in a fascinating illustrated slide talk.

Male 17-year periodical cicada Magicicada septendecula.  Image from wikimedia commons.

This summer, billions of cicadas emerged in a dozen eastern U.S. states, including hot spots in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This group of cicadas, known as Brood X, has been living underground, feeding on tree sap since 1987.  They usually emerge when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees.  For this region, that generally happens by the third week in May.

The cicadas live only a few weeks above ground, during which time they molt, mate, and die, but only after males have wooed the females with ear-splitting calls, and the females have laid their eggs under the bark of tree twigs to start the cycle anew.

VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING: An evening with Anne Price of the Plainsboro Preserve

Thursday, May 6, 2021 via ZOOM

Anne Price has been teaching environmental education since 1987. In 2020, Anne joined NJ Audubon as Manager and Naturalist at the Plainsboro Preserve. The preserve is a unique property. Formerly a quarry, this 1,000 acre property is now a nature preserve managed cooperatively by NJ Audubon, the Township of Plainsboro, and Middlesex County. Anne discussed the history of the Plainsboro Preserve and NJ Audubon’s role there, talked about its trail system, and shared with us some of the exciting flora and fauna to be found on the property.

Plainsboro Preserve

SPRING CLEANUP

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Scout Troops 10 and 102 and other volunteers teamed up to clean up trails and clear brush and vines from trees surrounding a vernal pond at Mapleton Preserve. It is hard to believe how much was accomplished in just a few hours by these cheerful and energetic workers! And they look forward to doing more to improve and enhance the Princeton Nursery Lands. Our heartfelt thanks to all!

One exciting discovery was a mallard couple’s nest at the edge of the pond containing thirteen eggs. Once observed, participants were careful to keep their distance so as to allay the parents’ anxiety and encourage their return when the session was over–which they did!

Tyrranosaurus Rex Spotted in Mapleton Preserve!

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, January 18th, 2021

We had a great turnout and a very productive afternoon with path clearing, litter cleanup, and vine chopping. Families made it more fun by turning debris into outdoor art! Our thanks to all who pitched in to work on our public lands and enjoy the fresh air, and also to BreeAnne Lemmerling, Kirstin Ohrt, and Charlie Dieterich for their photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Wisteria vines on fence, before and after

FPNL ANNUAL MEETING & PROGRAM ON THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Following a brief business meeting, Mike Aucott gave an illustrated presentation on the American chestnut.  He spoke about the American chestnut’s glorious past, its grievous near-annihilation by blight, and the passionate movement to re-establish its place in our forests.

“Gathering Chestnuts,” by J.W. Lauderbach, from The Art Journal of 1878

 

About our speaker: Mike Aucott retired from his position as a research scientist for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in 2012. He has a Ph.D. in environmental science from Rutgers University, and now teaches chemistry part-time at The College of New Jersey. He is also a consultant on energy and air pollution issues. Mike is a member of the Hopewell Township Environmental Commission and of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and has helped organize plantings of over 250 American chestnuts in Hopewell Township, NJ, with the hope that some of these may be useful in future breeding efforts. Mike is also coordinating the monitoring and management of 20 orchards, totaling over 5000 trees, of second-generation hybrid chestnuts as part of a TACF breeding program. Mike has been hooked on chestnuts since 5th grade, when a leaf from a stump sprout became the prize of his leaf collection.

Learn more about the American Chestnut Foundation at: American Chestnut Foundation 

PRINCETON NURSERIES PEOPLE, MACHINES, & PROCESSES IN ACTION

Four 4-minute videos are now available to view on youtube:

Reel 1: Bare root planting; tractors and a horse

Reel 2: Packing shed; bare root harvesting by hand and with tractor: https://youtu.be/IbKYeMl6ME8

Reel 3: Shipping with Vespa; high clearance tractor

Reel 4: Hydraulic digger:

https://youtu.be/HmL2Mq5pBXc

Bill Flemer had this to say about the hydraulic digger seen in action in Reel 4:

“The hydraulic ball digger was designed by my dad and built by the Princeton Nurseries welders in the ‘60s, before the commercially available tree spades were introduced. The tree spades quickly replaced hand digging of B&B [balled and burlapped] trees in the industry, except at Princeton Nurseries. While Dad’s machine worked well, and produced a better-shaped ball than the early tree spades, Princeton Nurseries found it more cost-effective to continue with contract hand-diggers, of which we had a good supply.”

“GETTING BY: SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR MAKING IT THROUGH THE WINTER”

Saturday February 1, 2020

Led by Karen Linder, this walk in the Mapleton Preserve focused on how wild animals (including insects, birds, and even groundhogs) make it through the winter in New Jersey.

Photo by Kirstin Ohrt

 

 

 

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Photos by Jason Rand

A determined group of volunteers worked overtime to complete the cleanup of the Preserve’s signature and beloved ginkgo row. Three cheers for this vigorous crew and their accomplishment!

 

 

 

 

The trash effort focused on the Preserve itself and along Division Street, and Ridge and Mapleton Roads. Most abundant litter, in descending order: drink containers (coffee and plastic cups, plastic water bottles, milk jugs, liquor and beer bottles, beer and soda cans), food containers and snack wrappers, snuff tins (!), plastic bags, car debris (from accidents), and styrofoam. Most unusual item found–a single high-heeled shoe. Most toxic–a car battery. Most endearing–an upside-down metal baking pan in the woods that turned out to be a mouse house! When the pan was lifted and three field mice scurried out of their cozy digs in terror, it was decided to leave the roof over their heads. Thank you to all who participated, collecting eight big bags of trash!

This year, our work session honored our friend Daniel Harris, who passed away peacefully on December 26th. Daniel was a loyal and active member of Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. He participated in many events over the years, picking up trash, cutting back invasives in the Mapleton Preserve, serving as registrar, and giving an environment-themed reading of his poetry for us. He was a passionate advocate for the environment and for sustainability, and also a committed crusader for social justice.

FIRST DAY HIKE

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Over 100 people (and several dogs) joined us for a First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve. The walk was brisk, as the day was cold! Many stayed to warm up and socialize in the Education Building after the walk. It was a marvelous way to begin a new year!

THANKSGIVING DAY NATURE WALK: LOOK CLOSELY!

November 28th, 2019

Karen Linder and an enthusiastic group explored the Mapleton Preserve on our annual Thanksgiving Day walk. With the aid of magnifying glasses, we sought out often overlooked natural things, and enjoyed the subtle beauty of late fall. Our thanks to Kirstin Ohrt for the wonderful images below!

 

 

FPNL ANNUAL MEETING & TALK BY BILL FLEMER

Thursday, October 3, 2019

In 1913, William Flemer Sr. bought three farms in Kingston to expand his Springfield, NJ nursery. From that beginning, Princeton Nurseries grew to become one of the world’s largest and most respected producers of ornamental plants. Four generations of the Flemer family, together with many of their Kingston neighbors, lived and worked there. William (Bill) Flemer IV shared their story.

We are indebted to Bob Barth for recording Bill’s talk. The video can be viewed at https://archive.org/details/fpnl_flemer2019

About Bill Flemer: William Flemer IV was born in Princeton and grew up on his family’s Princeton Nurseries property in Kingston. He attended Nassau Street School and Princeton Country Day School, and graduated from Princeton Day School in 1971. He worked on the family nursery during his summers from age 10 on. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied horticulture. He returned to the family nursery full time in 1978, where he rose to become vice president.

Bill moved to western North Carolina in 1987, where he started his own small nursery, Earthshade Nurseries, growing native woody ornamental plants. In 1992 he returned to Princeton Nurseries, then later co-founded Mapleton Nurseries in Kingston with David Reed on former Princeton Nurseries land.

A New Jersey Certified Nurseryman and a New Jersey Certified Tree Expert, Bill has served on both the Borough and Township Shade Tree Commissions in Princeton. He is currently employed at the D&R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton as site manager for the Trust’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell. His main focus there has been the management of a pilot project growing large quantities of native grasses and wildflowers for their seed, a collaboration between D&R Greenway and The Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island, a division of the Parks Department of the City of New York. He is responsible for stewardship of the land and trails that are enjoyed by the public.

A guitarist and vocalist, his other passion is playing bluegrass and country music with a variety of local bands.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Photos by Kirstin Ohrt

A lively crew, including a group from the YingHua School in Kingston, weeded the butterfly garden, then planted pollinator-attracting plants or seeds–milkweed, butterfly weed, and bee balm. A hardy group addressed vines and shrubs climbing and crowding the ginkgos in the Preserve’s signature tree row.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other volunteers tended trees in the Flemer Arboretum and around Park headquarters, weeding and mulching around them, adjusting plastic fencing to guard against “buck rub,” and pulling off excessive Virginia creeper.

Photos below of ginkgo row courtesy Jason Rand

 

Butterfly gardeners experienced an exciting moment–observing a praying mantis eating a bee!

Photo by Kirstin Ohrt

Thank you to everyone who came to help. A wonderful time was had by all!

TWO-FOLD SPRING CELEBRATION:

A WALK AND A “BOOKNIC”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

On a fair spring day, over 50 people came to the Mapleton Preserve for a celebration of the season. Some went for a walk through the former Princeton Nurseries site with Rick Henkel, formerly Sales Manager for Princeton Nurseries, for which he worked for 32 years. Rick graciously shared his extraordinary knowledge of trees and of Princeton Nurseries.

Others enjoyed dancing around a beautiful maypole hand-crafted by trustee BreeAnne Lemmerling. There was also a table loaded with nature-themed books loaned by South Brunswick Public Library, so families could select a book, find a tree, and have a good read in the beautiful Flemer Arboretum. And president Karen Linder supplied fanciful materials for participants to doll up for the occasion.

“BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE” –

TREE ID USING BARKS AND BUDS

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ginkgo buds–Photo by Tari Pantaleo

Ten people spent three intensive hours with Karen Linder using field guides and keys to hone their skills at identifying trees without their leaves, using clues found in buds, fruits, leaf scars, branching patterns and bark.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, February 18, 2019

(POSTPONED from January 21st)

We are grateful to the two hardy crews who helped free the trees in the ginkgo row of vines and invasives, and collected trash along Mapleton Road. A special thank you goes out to our registrars Beryl and Robert, and to our president Karen Linder for providing hot cider and other welcome refreshments. The weather was chilly and breezy, but the atmosphere was warm with energy and fellowship!

FIRST DAY HIKE

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Well over one hundred people walked with us on New Year’s Day, through the Mapleton Preserve, across Mapleton Road to the path between the D&R Canal and the former seedbeds of Princeton Nurseries, on to the turning basin and the Locktender’s House, and back along what we like to call the osage orange trail. Photographer Laura Hawkins captured these terrific photos. A big thank you to her and all who participated for starting the new year off on a bright note!

 

THANKSGIVING DAY WALK

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A score of people turned out for our annual Thanksgiving Day morning exploration of the Mapleton Preserve, despite the bitter temperature, to search for signs of our local wildlife and what they might be having for Thanksgiving dinner–a rather different menu from ours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Baumley Nursery!
 
 

We are very grateful to Baumley Nursery, Landscaping & Garden Center (Baumley Nursery) for this very generous donation.  For more than 30 years, owner Jeff Baumley has offered a splendid array of trees, flowers and plants in all colors and sizes. Their Garden Center at 4339 Route 27 just a few miles north of Kingston looks lovely right now. Stop in and say thanks, and have a look around!

RECENT EVENTS 

EARTH DAY CLEANUP

Saturday, April 23, 2022

An industrious and cheerful crew collected loads of trash in the Mapleton Preserve and along local roads in Kingston. We are grateful to all of these volunteers for their efforts!

 

 

TWILIGHT WALK IN THE MAPLETON PRESERVE

Friday, March 18, 2022

Nature reveals a different side at dusk; there is always something to discover. Karen Linder led a dozen participants on this one-hour walk between 7 and 8 PM. The timing turned out to be perfect, for the reward was the seldom experienced presence of two or three woodcocks, “peenting” and displaying! Peepers were calling in the distance but close ones were shy…

Photo of witch hazel by BreeAnne Lemmerling

WHAT’S UP, WOODCOCK? URBAN WOODCOCK RESEARCH IN NJ

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The woodcock, a harbinger of spring, is one of the first birds seen in the spring migratory
journey north. But why are they so seldom seen, and where and how can they be found?
Rutgers PhD candidate Kathleen Farley gave us
the inside scoop on the everelusive American Woodcock, shown below in this photo taken by Kathleen Farley.

Kathleen Farley’s research looks at how the woodcock copes with habitat options in New Jersey.  She has studied woodcock in different habitats from their traditional young forest haunts to urban brownfields in northern New Jersey.  She has been studying the factors that influence the usage and fitness of woodcock males on their singing ground sites, including a delineation of their home ranges, vegetation assemblages, food availability, and predator community. See her website Woodcock Watch NJ for more details on this work.

For fun, check out this clip of a woodcock doing its funky walk: Woodcock funky walk

Groundhog Day “Walk and Talk”

Saturday, February 5, 2022

We found a groundhog’s den with a freshly excavated second exit (a spy hole), and watched two red-tailed hawks courting. Circling one another closely in the sky, they were being harassed by a third red-tail that maybe wanted a piece of the action. We were also treated to the sight of three bluebirds glowing turquoise in the sun. A lovely walk!

FIRST DAY HIKE

Saturday, January 1, 2021

We had 15 to 20 people join despite rainy conditions. Karen stopped the walk at 1 PM to give those who wanted to bail out the chance to do so. Eight folks wanted to keep going, so the group headed to the Canal to explore the linkages. All told, that group did 2.78 miles and the walk ended at 1:30 by mutual consent. There was light rain throughout the day, with a nice mist on the turning basin. The fields were lovely.

TREE TRIMMING FOR OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Participants made edible ornaments for our feathered friends and used them to trim a tree in the Flemer arboretum,  or to take home for their own backyard birds. A wonderful time was had by all! Many thanks to our trustees and volunteers for organizing the event, and to Kirstin Ohrt for her terrific photos.

THANKSGIVING DAY WALK

Thursday, November 25, 2021

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Photos by BreeAnne Lemmerling, Robert von Zumbusch, and Kirstin Ohrt

Three cheers for the hardy crew of weed warriors, mulch movers and spreaders, hole diggers, vine wranglers, brush haulers, ace organizers, and keen observers who joined us for this work session! Participants learned some tree identification techniques as well as proper ways to fertilize and mulch. The trees of the Flemer Arboretum in Mapleton Preserve received a large dose of tender loving care, and the arboretum looks better than it has in years!

 

SCAVENGER HUNT

Saturday August 7, 2021

A scavenger hunt run by Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands drew a lively crowd to the Mapleton Preserve. For many, it was their first visit. Teams cooperated to find natural objects in a timed event. Thanks to all who participated, and for these great photos taken by FPNL trustees Gina Cuniere, BreeAnne Lemmerling, and Kirstin Ohrt!


“WE’RE BACK!” EMERGENCE OF THE BROOD X PERIODICAL CICADAS

Thursday May 27th, 2021

Professor George Hamilton, Chair, Department of Entomology and Director of the Rutgers Graduate Program in Entomology, spoke to us about the highly anticipated emergence of the 17-year cicadas in a fascinating illustrated slide talk.

Male 17-year periodical cicada Magicicada septendecula.  Image from wikimedia commons.

This summer, billions of cicadas emerged in a dozen eastern U.S. states, including hot spots in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This group of cicadas, known as Brood X, has been living underground, feeding on tree sap since 1987.  They usually emerge when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees.  For this region, that generally happens by the third week in May.

The cicadas live only a few weeks above ground, during which time they molt, mate, and die, but only after males have wooed the females with ear-splitting calls, and the females have laid their eggs under the bark of tree twigs to start the cycle anew.

VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING: An evening with Anne Price of the Plainsboro Preserve

Thursday, May 6, 2021 via ZOOM

Anne Price has been teaching environmental education since 1987. In 2020, Anne joined NJ Audubon as Manager and Naturalist at the Plainsboro Preserve. The preserve is a unique property. Formerly a quarry, this 1,000 acre property is now a nature preserve managed cooperatively by NJ Audubon, the Township of Plainsboro, and Middlesex County. Anne discussed the history of the Plainsboro Preserve and NJ Audubon’s role there, talked about its trail system, and shared with us some of the exciting flora and fauna to be found on the property.

Plainsboro Preserve

SPRING CLEANUP

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Scout Troops 10 and 102 and other volunteers teamed up to clean up trails and clear brush and vines from trees surrounding a vernal pond at Mapleton Preserve. It is hard to believe how much was accomplished in just a few hours by these cheerful and energetic workers! And they look forward to doing more to improve and enhance the Princeton Nursery Lands. Our heartfelt thanks to all!

One exciting discovery was a mallard couple’s nest at the edge of the pond containing thirteen eggs. Once observed, participants were careful to keep their distance so as to allay the parents’ anxiety and encourage their return when the session was over–which they did!

Tyrranosaurus Rex Spotted in Mapleton Preserve!

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, January 18th, 2021

We had a great turnout and a very productive afternoon with path clearing, litter cleanup, and vine chopping. Families made it more fun by turning debris into outdoor art! Our thanks to all who pitched in to work on our public lands and enjoy the fresh air, and also to BreeAnne Lemmerling, Kirstin Ohrt, and Charlie Dieterich for their photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Wisteria vines on fence, before and after

FPNL ANNUAL MEETING & PROGRAM ON THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Following a brief business meeting, Mike Aucott gave an illustrated presentation on the American chestnut.  He spoke about the American chestnut’s glorious past, its grievous near-annihilation by blight, and the passionate movement to re-establish its place in our forests.

“Gathering Chestnuts,” by J.W. Lauderbach, from The Art Journal of 1878

 

About our speaker: Mike Aucott retired from his position as a research scientist for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in 2012. He has a Ph.D. in environmental science from Rutgers University, and now teaches chemistry part-time at The College of New Jersey. He is also a consultant on energy and air pollution issues. Mike is a member of the Hopewell Township Environmental Commission and of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and has helped organize plantings of over 250 American chestnuts in Hopewell Township, NJ, with the hope that some of these may be useful in future breeding efforts. Mike is also coordinating the monitoring and management of 20 orchards, totaling over 5000 trees, of second-generation hybrid chestnuts as part of a TACF breeding program. Mike has been hooked on chestnuts since 5th grade, when a leaf from a stump sprout became the prize of his leaf collection.

Learn more about the American Chestnut Foundation at: American Chestnut Foundation 

PRINCETON NURSERIES PEOPLE, MACHINES, & PROCESSES IN ACTION

Four 4-minute videos are now available to view on youtube:

Reel 1: Bare root planting; tractors and a horse

Reel 2: Packing shed; bare root harvesting by hand and with tractor: https://youtu.be/IbKYeMl6ME8

Reel 3: Shipping with Vespa; high clearance tractor

Reel 4: Hydraulic digger:

https://youtu.be/HmL2Mq5pBXc

Bill Flemer had this to say about the hydraulic digger seen in action in Reel 4:

“The hydraulic ball digger was designed by my dad and built by the Princeton Nurseries welders in the ‘60s, before the commercially available tree spades were introduced. The tree spades quickly replaced hand digging of B&B [balled and burlapped] trees in the industry, except at Princeton Nurseries. While Dad’s machine worked well, and produced a better-shaped ball than the early tree spades, Princeton Nurseries found it more cost-effective to continue with contract hand-diggers, of which we had a good supply.”

“GETTING BY: SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR MAKING IT THROUGH THE WINTER”

Saturday February 1, 2020

Led by Karen Linder, this walk in the Mapleton Preserve focused on how wild animals (including insects, birds, and even groundhogs) make it through the winter in New Jersey.

Photo by Kirstin Ohrt

 

 

 

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Photos by Jason Rand

A determined group of volunteers worked overtime to complete the cleanup of the Preserve’s signature and beloved ginkgo row. Three cheers for this vigorous crew and their accomplishment!

 

 

 

 

The trash effort focused on the Preserve itself and along Division Street, and Ridge and Mapleton Roads. Most abundant litter, in descending order: drink containers (coffee and plastic cups, plastic water bottles, milk jugs, liquor and beer bottles, beer and soda cans), food containers and snack wrappers, snuff tins (!), plastic bags, car debris (from accidents), and styrofoam. Most unusual item found–a single high-heeled shoe. Most toxic–a car battery. Most endearing–an upside-down metal baking pan in the woods that turned out to be a mouse house! When the pan was lifted and three field mice scurried out of their cozy digs in terror, it was decided to leave the roof over their heads. Thank you to all who participated, collecting eight big bags of trash!

This year, our work session honored our friend Daniel Harris, who passed away peacefully on December 26th. Daniel was a loyal and active member of Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. He participated in many events over the years, picking up trash, cutting back invasives in the Mapleton Preserve, serving as registrar, and giving an environment-themed reading of his poetry for us. He was a passionate advocate for the environment and for sustainability, and also a committed crusader for social justice.

FIRST DAY HIKE

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Over 100 people (and several dogs) joined us for a First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve. The walk was brisk, as the day was cold! Many stayed to warm up and socialize in the Education Building after the walk. It was a marvelous way to begin a new year!

THANKSGIVING DAY NATURE WALK: LOOK CLOSELY!

November 28th, 2019

Karen Linder and an enthusiastic group explored the Mapleton Preserve on our annual Thanksgiving Day walk. With the aid of magnifying glasses, we sought out often overlooked natural things, and enjoyed the subtle beauty of late fall. Our thanks to Kirstin Ohrt for the wonderful images below!

 

 

FPNL ANNUAL MEETING & TALK BY BILL FLEMER

Thursday, October 3, 2019

In 1913, William Flemer Sr. bought three farms in Kingston to expand his Springfield, NJ nursery. From that beginning, Princeton Nurseries grew to become one of the world’s largest and most respected producers of ornamental plants. Four generations of the Flemer family, together with many of their Kingston neighbors, lived and worked there. William (Bill) Flemer IV shared their story.

We are indebted to Bob Barth for recording Bill’s talk. The video can be viewed at https://archive.org/details/fpnl_flemer2019

About Bill Flemer: William Flemer IV was born in Princeton and grew up on his family’s Princeton Nurseries property in Kingston. He attended Nassau Street School and Princeton Country Day School, and graduated from Princeton Day School in 1971. He worked on the family nursery during his summers from age 10 on. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied horticulture. He returned to the family nursery full time in 1978, where he rose to become vice president.

Bill moved to western North Carolina in 1987, where he started his own small nursery, Earthshade Nurseries, growing native woody ornamental plants. In 1992 he returned to Princeton Nurseries, then later co-founded Mapleton Nurseries in Kingston with David Reed on former Princeton Nurseries land.

A New Jersey Certified Nurseryman and a New Jersey Certified Tree Expert, Bill has served on both the Borough and Township Shade Tree Commissions in Princeton. He is currently employed at the D&R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton as site manager for the Trust’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell. His main focus there has been the management of a pilot project growing large quantities of native grasses and wildflowers for their seed, a collaboration between D&R Greenway and The Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island, a division of the Parks Department of the City of New York. He is responsible for stewardship of the land and trails that are enjoyed by the public.

A guitarist and vocalist, his other passion is playing bluegrass and country music with a variety of local bands.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Photos by Kirstin Ohrt

A lively crew, including a group from the YingHua School in Kingston, weeded the butterfly garden, then planted pollinator-attracting plants or seeds–milkweed, butterfly weed, and bee balm. A hardy group addressed vines and shrubs climbing and crowding the ginkgos in the Preserve’s signature tree row.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other volunteers tended trees in the Flemer Arboretum and around Park headquarters, weeding and mulching around them, adjusting plastic fencing to guard against “buck rub,” and pulling off excessive Virginia creeper.

Photos below of ginkgo row courtesy Jason Rand

 

Butterfly gardeners experienced an exciting moment–observing a praying mantis eating a bee!

Photo by Kirstin Ohrt

Thank you to everyone who came to help. A wonderful time was had by all!

TWO-FOLD SPRING CELEBRATION:

A WALK AND A “BOOKNIC”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

On a fair spring day, over 50 people came to the Mapleton Preserve for a celebration of the season. Some went for a walk through the former Princeton Nurseries site with Rick Henkel, formerly Sales Manager for Princeton Nurseries, for which he worked for 32 years. Rick graciously shared his extraordinary knowledge of trees and of Princeton Nurseries.

Others enjoyed dancing around a beautiful maypole hand-crafted by trustee BreeAnne Lemmerling. There was also a table loaded with nature-themed books loaned by South Brunswick Public Library, so families could select a book, find a tree, and have a good read in the beautiful Flemer Arboretum. And president Karen Linder supplied fanciful materials for participants to doll up for the occasion.

“BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE” –

TREE ID USING BARKS AND BUDS

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ginkgo buds–Photo by Tari Pantaleo

Ten people spent three intensive hours with Karen Linder using field guides and keys to hone their skills at identifying trees without their leaves, using clues found in buds, fruits, leaf scars, branching patterns and bark.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION

Monday, February 18, 2019

(POSTPONED from January 21st)

We are grateful to the two hardy crews who helped free the trees in the ginkgo row of vines and invasives, and collected trash along Mapleton Road. A special thank you goes out to our registrars Beryl and Robert, and to our president Karen Linder for providing hot cider and other welcome refreshments. The weather was chilly and breezy, but the atmosphere was warm with energy and fellowship!

FIRST DAY HIKE

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Well over one hundred people walked with us on New Year’s Day, through the Mapleton Preserve, across Mapleton Road to the path between the D&R Canal and the former seedbeds of Princeton Nurseries, on to the turning basin and the Locktender’s House, and back along what we like to call the osage orange trail. Photographer Laura Hawkins captured these terrific photos. A big thank you to her and all who participated for starting the new year off on a bright note!

 

THANKSGIVING DAY WALK

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A score of people turned out for our annual Thanksgiving Day morning exploration of the Mapleton Preserve, despite the bitter temperature, to search for signs of our local wildlife and what they might be having for Thanksgiving dinner–a rather different menu from ours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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