Saturday August 7, 2021, 10 AM-Noon

A scavenger hunt run by Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will be held at Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston, NJ. Teams will cooperate to find natural objects in a timed event. Digital or cell phone cameras or sketches will be used to record any items that are too big to “collect.”

Bring your family or form an adult team, meet new friends, and get your imagination working while exploring the fields and trails of Mapleton Preserve. The event is free, and participants of all ages are welcome to join in the fun, though children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult. All participants will receive a free FPNL tote.

Registration is requested for this event: Scavenger hunt registration



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


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!


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


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 


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:


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.”


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






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.


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!


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!




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.


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!



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.



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.


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!


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!



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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