Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mentoring Youth at Herrontown Woods

It's been particularly satisfying to mentor youth at Herrontown Woods. Various projects have lent themselves well to this. For his public service project leading up to a bar mitzvah later this year, Jensen Bergman has been helping spread seeds of native grasses in a detention basin that catches water from the Smoyer Park parking lot, across Snowden Lane from Herrontown Woods. The basin was converted from turfgrass to native meadow this past summer, and through volunteers like Jensen, our nonprofit Friends of Herrontown Woods is applying the TLC (tender loving care) to better insure success.

These are seeds Jensen collected from last year's planting of Indian grass, a native of the tallgrass prairies that also is common in New Jersey's meadows.

Thanks to Jensen's mother, Nicole, for these photos, including the panorama below of the basin in early spring. As we add more species of wildflowers and grasses, the basin will become an oasis of native diversity within the surrounding expanse of ballfields and mowed lawn. The deep-rooted natives should do a better job of filtering out any pollutants that wash in from the parking lot.

Another project that Jensen has undertaken is the clearing of a new loop trail next to the Herrontown Woods parking lot. With signage, the trail will acquaint visitors with the preserve's ecology and the plantlife they might encounter on longer walks into the woods.

Jensen's father, Jeff, has been helping as well.

The Duke hat led to the realization that we share a past in Durham, NC.

Clearing brush offers some perks and surprises, like encounters with charismatic snakes (below).

This short loop trail had been in the conceptual stage for some time. Thanks to Jensen and his family for providing the impetus to bring it to reality.

Another recent cross-generation team effort was posted at the Friends of Herrontown Woods website.

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