Mountain Lakes, part of 400 acres of preserved land between 206 and the Great Road, is a popular hiking spot for Princetonians. Home base of the Friends of Princeton Open Space, its habitat is in great need of ecological restoration.
On September 7, 100 Princeton Day School freshmen and accompanying faculty arrived at Mountain Lakes for their second annual community workday. PDS has informally adopted the area in the upper right of the photo, stretching upstream along the two creeks that feed the lakes.
Using loppers, the students broke up into workgroups and took on the thorny multiflora rose that has displaced native species from floodplains in Princeton, as it has all over the eastern U.S.
Two hours later, large piles of the cut invasive rose were amassed in the woods, and native species like blackhaw Viburnum, sassafras and spicebush suddenly had more room to grow.
The students showed great perseverance and teamwork in achieving an impressive transformation of the landscape.
Here, two students push the thorny shrub's branches out of the way with garden rakes, allowing another student to reach in and cut the stems at the base with loppers.
After lunch, the students returned to learn more about the ecological forces at work in the preserve.
During the past couple Aprils, the ENACT environmental group from PDS, led by Liz Cutler, has also come to Mountain Lakes to help with invasive species control.
Thanks to all the students for their hard work. And thanks to Mark Widmer for coming by to take photos.