MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY OF SERVICE WORK SESSION
Monday, January 18, 2016
Sixty-plus volunteers reported for duty in the Mapleton Preserve in sub-freezing temperatures and sunshine to make this our most productive Martin Luther King Day of Service ever! They removed small trees, brush, and vines from around the nursery buildings and chain link fencing, gave breathing room to ginkgos and bonfire maples, cleared a swath of bamboo (in anticipation of running a new electric line to the Propagation House to power a security system), and collected trash in the Preserve and along Mapleton Road.
Our hardy corps included FPNL members and perennial Day of Service participants, neighbors, four students from Rutgers, a large, cheerful group from HOPE worldwide, and newly elected Assemblyman (and South Brunswick resident) Andrew Zwicker. Bob Wells and employees of Wells Tree and Landscape volunteered their time and equipment to do some serious chipping of the fruits of our labors. We are deeply grateful to all of our enthusiastic volunteers for all that they accomplished.
Below, some of the HOPE worldwide volunteers warm up in the Education Building (formerly Princeton Nurseries’ blacksmith shop) after their prodigious efforts!
FIRST DAY HIKE
Friday, January 1, 2016
Three score and ten walkers and five dogs joined President Karen Linder for a hike in the Mapleton Preserve on the bright and chilly inaugural day of the year. The walk started with a loop around the Princeton Nurseries warehouse buildings and propagation house, followed the ginkgo row to a left along the nursery road that runs alongside the Arboretum, and continued across Mapleton Road to the former nursery seedbeds. The return route skirted the D&R Canal to the turning basin, and led back to the Preserve along the path that should be called the “Osage Orange Trail” due to the profusion of osage oranges littering the ground!
Photo by Rich Cleary
THANKSGIVING DAY WALK
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Several families and individuals joined FPNL president Karen Linder for a Thanksgiving Day morning exploration of the Mapleton Preserve. We searched for items on the menu for the wildlife of the Preserve, such as seeds, berries, bark, insects, and leaves. Some of our special finds were bark fragments beautifully etched by bugs (think hieroglyphics!), plate-sized leaves shed by a London plane tree, a patch of very lively grasshoppers, scores of neon green osage oranges, a perfectly round hole in a fallen oak leaf (the work of a katydid), a clump of teasel, and for one very young lady, some choice puddles!
ENVIRONMENTALIST POETRY READING BY DANIEL A. HARRIS
Sunday, November 1, 2015
The audience had many reactions, insights and questions that evoked stimulating discussion, as well as the poet’s thoughts about the poems during their creation and maturation.
Daniel A. Harris is a nationally published poet. His second collection of poems, Random Unisons (2013) followed Loose Parlance (2008). Formerly an author of literary critical studies and a teacher of 19th and 20th century poetry, Daniel Harris turned to writing his own poems upon retirement.
For the past decade he has also worked on numerous environmental issues in Princeton, and is currently focusing on regional land-use issues and sustainable urban planning. For more information, please visit http://www.danielharrispoet.net/
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY VOLUNTEER SESSION
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Our goal was to remove brush, vines, invasive saplings, and blown roofing material from alongside the large warehouse complex in the Mapleton Preserve. When our session began, this was the prospect that greeted us. Armed with hand saws, loppers, and an inspiring esprit de corps, here is how it looked two hours later!
We are deeply indebted to our clearing crew, and also to five other volunteers who collected trash in the Preserve and along Mapleton Road. Click on the link below to see what happened between “before” and “after.”
ENO TERRA FARM TO TABLE EVENT
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Attendees enjoyed a buffet of delectable dishes prepared by Eno Terra, and also had the opportunity to tour the garden–just a half mile away–were many of the restaurant’s fresh ingredients grow in a two-acre plot in the former seedbeds of Princeton Nurseries. Guided trips through the Mapleton Preserve, the heart of the preserved Princeton Nursery Lands, were also offered.
This year, half of the net proceeds from the event will be donated to the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. We deeply appreciate the generosity of all the Eno Terra folk–the Momo brothers, their staff (who volunteered their time), and the vendors who donated food and beverage. We also thank all those who supported our efforts by attending this summer celebration!
WHAT TREE IS THAT?
A tree identification walk at the Mapleton Preserve
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Two dozen participants learned some of the basics of tree identification at the Mapleton Preserve using their powers of observation, keys, and reference guides. President Karen Linder began with a discussion of leaves (simple or compound, alternate or opposite, symmetrical or assymetrical, toothed or smooth-edged, etc.), flowers, fruiting bodies, and bark, using fresh branches taken from a variety of trees. A walk down a nursery path allowed plenty of opportunities to appreciate and learn more about some of the planned and naturally occurring trees of the Preserve–among them, ginkgo, elm, zelkova, witch hazel, beech, maple, linden, redbud, oak, willow oak, weeping cherry, and arbor vitae.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
“From Witches to Windrows: The Culture of Landscape”
Aura Star, Professor Emerita of Botany, The College of New Jersey, gave an absorbing illustrated talk to a packed house about landscape architecture and the culture of landscape. On a journey from Stonehenge through Versailles and Central Park to Princeton and Trenton, she talked about changing concepts and styles, and some of the notable architects of the world’s great parks and gardens–among others, Capability Brown, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Beatrix Farrand–and gave us a glimpse at post-modern landscape design by such luminaries as Martha Schwartz (http://www.landscapeonline.com/research/article/11728) and Charles Jencks (http://www.charlesjencks.com/#!the-garden-of-cosmic-speculation).
EAT YOUR WEEDIES FORAGING WORKSHOP
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Debbie Naha, a foraging expert and naturalist who holds an MS degree in Food and Nutrition from NYU, gave a fascinating indoor slide talk followed by a foraging walk and taste testing in the Mapleton Preserve.
Participants identified and tried many wild edible plants, such as bitter cress, wood sorrel, wild strawberry, cinquefoil, lambs’ quarters, garlic mustard, violets, dead nettle, greenbriar, redbud blossoms, and Japanese knotweed. To learn more, visit Debbie’s web site: http://www.wildediblesnjpa.com/
SIGNS OF LIFE ON A WINTER’S DAY
Saturday, February 21, 2015
On a cold, snowy afternoon, Karen Linder led a walk through the fields of the Mapleton Preserve, observing signs of life in the winter landscape–buds, insect galls, animals and birds, evidence of feeding, tracks, and scat. The Princeton Nursery Lands are a beautiful place to wander in winter!
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY VOLUNTEER WORK SESSION
Monday, January 19, 2015
On a brisk but sunny afternoon, an enthusiastic crew took on multiple tasks–clearing of vines and brush from an overgrown tree row, cleaning up the butterfly garden, cutting back wisteria along the fence opposite the ginkgo row, removing invasives adjacent to the Education Building, and collecting litter.