Events 2015

First Day Hike – Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Hundred and twenty-two people turned out for our 1.5 mile loop hike through the Mapleton Preserve, into the fields on the other side of Mapleton Road, along the D&R Canal and back to the Preserve.  Getting that many into a photo was a new challenge for photographer Jonathan Michalik, but we think he did an admirable job!



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.





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!


P221017120150221_143043_resized_120150221_142530_resized                  Photos 1 and 2 by Tari Pantaleo; photos 3 and 4 by Jonathan Michalik

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. P4250207


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:


Annual Meeting – 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 ( and Charles Jencks (!the-garden-of-cosmic-speculation).

GardenOfCosmicSpeculation                                    The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Scotland

What Tree is That? A tree identification walk at the Mapleton Preserve – Saturday, August 8, 2015


P8080405P8080404Two 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.





Eno Terra Farm to Table Events – Sunday, August 16, 2015

P8160422Attendees 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!





Environmental Poetry Reading by Daniel A. Harris – Sunday, November 1, 2015

PB010729Daniel Harris gave an engaging reading, offering attendees a rare opportunity to listen, think, and share their experience of the poems with the poet and each other.

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

National Public Lands Day Volunteer Session – Saturday, September 26, 2015

P9260567Our 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!


P9260591We 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.”

link to more pictures:

Thanksgiving Day Walk -Thursday, November 26, 2015

PB260800Several 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!