For the third straight year, 9th graders from Princeton Day School helped the Friends of Princeton Open Space restore habitat as part of the school's Sept. 5 Community Day activities. This time, the 100+ students and 9 faculty took to the weed-infested woods of the township's Community Park North, and proceeded to cut and pile unprecedented amounts of invasive shrubs.
The students took to the intimidating task with impressive spirit, perseverance and teamwork. Along the way, they learned to identify some of the native and exotic plants in the forest, and gained some expertise in the safe use of loppers and garden rakes. Each of the PDS staff members led a work group, while FOPOS volunteer Kim Frances and I helped with plant ID.
With so many exotic shrubs cut down, visitors can now see farther into the forest, and native species have a better chance to grow. One unexpected bonus was that many of the participants discovered the existence of Pettoranello Gardens, home to landscaped walkways and summer concerts--a spot many longtime Princeton residents are unaware of.
Thanks to PDS and the class of 2012! And thanks to Kim Frances and Clark Lennon for helping out on short notice.