Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Treepedia Author to Speak at Veblen House--Sept. 24

Come this Friday, Sept. 24 at 6pm, for a free event next to Veblen House in Princeton. Author Joan Maloof is coming to Herrontown Woods to discuss her new book, Treepedia: A Brief Compendium of Arboreal Lore. The book has 100 short but stimulating profiles of extraordinary trees, forests, and the people working to protect them. 

The event will take place on the wooded grounds of Veblen House. The Friends of Herrontown Woods is hosting the event, which is sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Film Festival.

We're looking forward to meeting Joan and hearing about her book!

Labyrinth Books will be on hand at the event with copies of the book as well.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

"Among Trees" Theater Event July 15, and Weekly Yoga at Herrontown Woods

The Friends of Herrontown Woods will be hosting its first ever outdoor theatrical event, "Among Trees"--an evening of songs, scenes, and more--next to Veblen House in Herrontown Woods on Thursday, July 15 at 7pm. The event is free and all are welcome. Actors of some renown, Vivia Font and Ben Steinfeld, are organizing the event, which is co-sponsored by the Friends of Herrontown Woods and Princeton Public Library with additional support from The Lewis Center for the Arts and Small World Coffee.

Submissions of scripts are also welcome, due by July 5. Here is the actors' submissions request:
Share a short piece of writing (scene, poem, passage)--in english or espanol--on the Herrontown Woods, trees, nature, or conservation and if selected, have it performed by professional actors in a live celebration of nature and space at the Herrontown Woods in Princeton, July 15, at 7pm. Email submissions to Submissions accepted through July 5.

WEEKLY YOGA CLASSES: On July 3, Gemma of Gratitude Yoga will begin leading weekly yoga classes at Herrontown Woods next to Veblen House. The classes will be on Saturdays at 11am, and are free.  Registration is encouraged. All donations will go to support the work of the Friends of Herrontown Woods.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Walks Across Princeton A Big Success

On a glorious day last Saturday, perfectly timed with the emergence of dogwood flowers,
hikers converged on Mountain Lakes House
to partake of good company and food,
as the sounds of clarinet and harp (that's Janet Vertesi on harp, yours truly on licorice stick)
floated out across the water of Mountain Lake.

Sophie Glovier, who conceived the idea of having guided hikes of different lengths all converge at Mountain Lakes at 2pm for a social interlude, thanked everyone for coming. Sophie, the author of a popular guide to Princeton's nature trails, is on the board of Friends of Princeton Open Space, which hosted the event. With 150 people participating, it looks like the beginning of a Princeton tradition.

Thanks to Ivy de Leon for the photos.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mapleton Preserve Hosts Annual Arbor Day Celebration Saturday, April 21

The preserved Princeton Nursery lands in Kingston continue their steady transformation. Saturday's celebration, 2-4pm, will include a dedication of 6 new interpretive signs, and a guided walk. The signs, which feature the historic and cultural significance of the former Princeton Nurseries buildings and site, were conceived and researched by Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. There will be an annual tree planting, and free tree seedlings for attendees.

Further information: or 609-683-0483

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Women and Wildlife Awards Event Today

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation is having its annual awards event today in Stockton, from 2-5pm. My group, the Sustainable Jazz Ensemble, will be performing as part of the event. Information about the three women receiving awards for their work to preserve New Jersey's threatened wildlife can be found at

One of the women, Jackie Kashmer, has been doing heroic work to save bats, which are being devastated by White Nose Syndrome. The fungus, which was recently determined to have been introduced some years back from Europe, disturbs the bats' hibernation, causing them to run out of stored energy before spring arrives.

Jackie's 16 hour days devoted to helping bats survive the winter, detailed in a blogpost, are an example of the extraordinary amount of work and devotion required to counteract to any extent the destructive impact of imported organisms.

By coincidence, the NY Times article reporting on the fungus's European origins was accompanied by an article on the reintroduction of the American chestnut in Appalachia. It has taken many decades for breeding programs to develop native chestnut trees resistant to the Asian fungus that began wiping out the American chestnut tree more than a century ago. These are the sorts of quiet, awe-inspiring efforts that seldom make it into the news, but make all the difference in what sort of world we'll have in the future.

Friday, March 23, 2012

April 14 Event: Walks Across Princeton

Whether you know and love Mountain Lakes, or have somehow managed to remain unaware of Princeton's "central park", Saturday April 14 would be a great time to visit.

The Friends of Princeton Open Space--the quiet nonprofit that has done so much to preserve and manage nature preserves in Princeton--will host a series of walks on April 14 to celebrate Princeton's natural areas.

Three guided walks of differing lengths will be offered, all of which plan to converge at Mountain Lakes House at 2pm for refreshments.

The event is free and all are welcome. To register or get more info, go to

Friday, November 18, 2011

Walking Tour of D&R Canal in Trenton Sunday

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Watch will hold a free walking tour of the D and R Canal feeder in Trenton on Sunday at 10am, Nov. 20. The walk will explore the part of the canal feeder between Cadwalader Park and the junction with the main canal at Old Rose Street. 
      More info at the DR Canal Watch website.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sustainable Jazz Ensemble Demonstrates Note Upcycling

This month, during two Princeton performances of its original jazz and latin compositions, the Sustainable Jazz Ensemble will demonstrate the art of musical note recycling. Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 3, we'll be at the Labyrinth Bookstore, down in the book-lined basement.

Friday, Nov. 18 at 8pm we'll perform a concert at the Arts Council of Princeton, with their beautiful grand piano.

The group specializes in the so-called "upcycling" of notes, which involves fashioning fresh, new melodies out of well-worn C's, B flats, G sharps, what have you. Our sophisticated jazz technology allows us to even utilize an occasional C flat or B sharp--notes that might otherwise sadly end up in a landfill. As is well known, most note recycling these days is done by iPods and other mechanical devices. To see a Sustainable Jazz Ensemble performance is to witness an updated form of ancient note recycling techniques, performed by real people operating real note-regenerating instruments.

In a culture where so much goes to waste, it can be satisfying to hear notes getting recycled in melodious ways at sometimes dizzying speeds, right before your very ears. Audience members are encouraged to bring spare musical notes for reuse during the performance. All scale tones, numbers 1-7, are accepted.

To hear music selections:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Talk Tonight, 7pm, About New Mid-Atlantic Native Seed Bank

Here's a chance to hear about an exciting and timely new collaboration between the NY City parks dept. and DR Greenway, to develop native seed production locally and elsewhere along the mid-Atlantic. Plant species exhibit genetic variation across their ranges, and there is an effort to preserve the distinct traits of local populations. One approach is to have multiple nurseries along the eastern seaboard, each of which grows natives drawn from local wild stock. Ed Toth of NY City Parks will be the speaker. More info here, and below:

"DR Greenway's St. Michaels Farm Preserve is host to a new pilot project in native seed production that could change the future of conservation. The 13 species of native seeds being grown at the site, with support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be used to restore landfills in New York City and will contribute to a Mid-Atlantic Native Seed Bank. New York City Parks is our partner in this project, led by naturalist Ed Toth, Ph.D.

Seed is a critical natural resource that has been largely unrecognized, unprotected, and undermanaged. Locally adapted seed sources are widely acknowledged as critical for habitat restoration because they do not pose a genetic risk to surrounding native plant populations. However, our seed resources are in danger of being lost from misuse of non-local source seeds.Learn how to begin to wisely manage resources through seed banking and seed networks to prevent the extinction of these critical natural resources."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nature Walk This Saturday, 10am-noon, Herrontown Woods

For all those who happen to be fancy free and wanting to get out tomorrow, I'll be leading a nature walk through the color-coded forest at Herrontown Woods in the morning. Meet at 10am at the preserve's parking lot, which is at the end of the deadend road opposite the Snowden Lane entrance to Smoyer Park. Included in the walk will be a visit to the grounds of the Veblen Farmstead, and a discussion of recent progress towards preserving and restoring the long-boarded up buildings there.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Electronics and Hazardous Waste Collection Event Tomorrow, Oct. 1

It's time to fill up the old pickup truck with collected electronics and drive over to the Mercer County event to have them recycled. If you can't make it out there and want to drop something off for me to take along, give me a call in Princeton at 609 252 0724 or find my email address on the View My Complete Profile link. Here is a link to detailed information about what can be recycled at the event.

Of particular note, they recycle televisions, which people often put out on the curb, unwittingly violating a state law that is on the books but very hush hush.
For directions to the event, which is 9-2 this Saturday, use this address: 240 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-3308 (Lawrence Twp Public Works). There can be a line of cars there, but it moves along at a good rate.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dragonflies Dazzle in Local Parks

If you're out in a park tomorrow, take a look up in the air.

First, a memory: A couple years ago (will have to check what time of year), I chanced to walk into Potts Park--the little pocket park just off North Harrison Street--to find the sky filled with hundreds of large dragonflies. A closer look revealed that they were feasting on small winged, antlike insects streaming up out of the ground. The dragonflies zigged and zagged, snatching flies from just above the lawn up to sixty feet or so. Above them, in turn, was a flock of swallows trying to catch the dragonflies. A plain park of grass and play equipment had been transformed into a dazzling airborne foodchain of hunters and hunted, all precipitated by the hatching of a colony of insects that had probably been quietly living under our feet the whole summer. The plain lawn proved not so plain after all.

This memory came quickly to mind when today, returning home around 5:30pm, I found a phone message from Peter Wolanin, former collegue on the Princeton Environmental Commission. He had called to tell me dragonflies were swarming in Quarry Park. There had been lots yesterday, but still quite a few today. I got there in time to find about twenty large dragonflies, bluish in tint, flying above the lawn. What, don't you see them in the photo? I had about as much luck photographing their zippings around as the swallows had two years ago catching them for dinner.

There were no swallows this time, but I was able to track down the source of the small insects the dragonflies were catching. They were emerging out of a plain patch of mowed grass and mugwort near a stormdrain.
These, too, were hard to photograph, but you can see their antlike shape and wings. They crawled around on the grass blades until ready to fly. Some appeared much smaller than the others.
They're tiny, but apparently worth the while for the dragonflies. It's a scene not unlike the hatching of sea turtle eggs on a beach, where the baby turtles then have to run the gauntlet from nest to surf before getting snagged by a seagull.

Though the dragonflies' approach could seem helter skelter, they will sometimes assume a very systematic search pattern. Staying head height off the ground, one will fly thirty feet in a straight line, then make two perfect 90 degree turns to return in the opposite direction, exactly parallel to its previous path, offset about five feet. The pattern seldom lasts long before they break it to snag another insect.

A few dragonflies were also found patrolling above Potts Park today, a quarter of a mile away, where a similar hatch must have occurred.

More distant memories of dragonfly swarms were more likely associated with migration, such as when I saw thousands of them flying what must have been north, above the freeway that parallels the shoreline in Chicago.

There are many, many videos of dragonflies swarming on youtube. Here's one from "thedragonflylady."

Searching for Pettoranello Gardens

One of Princeton's secret, verdant enclaves is Pettoranello Gardens. If you not only know where it is but can also spell the name correctly, you are truly among a select few. It's a bit like the word "Wednesday", which refuses to spell itself the way people say it.

The Gardens can be found just down the paved trail from the Community Park North parking lot, off Mountain Avenue at 206.

Though the setting looks natural, it was reportedly once a dump. After a great deal of cleaning up, ground was pushed around to form a berm to buffer the Gardens from 206, and a pond was created, fed by a stream diverted from its original course.

The grounds are tended by volunteers with the Pettoranello Foundation--Pettoranello being Princeton's sister town in Italy, from whence many Princetonians originally came. They traditionally have workdays early on Sunday mornings, assisted by township staff.

The centerpiece of the Gardens is Pettoranello Pond, a manmade impoundment with a maximum depth around 8 feet.

An amphitheater looks out over Pettoranello Pond. This performance space used to host Shakespeare plays in the summer, but now is mostly used for periodic musical performances, and just today by the local Stone Soup Circus. I believe the Princeton Township recreation department oversees programming.

A dense planting of alders along banks breaks up the view of the water, but no doubt helps support the banks next to the paved trail.

Though the pond was dredged not long ago, it's upstream end is already filling with sediment from the feeder stream. I wish there were a way to periodically dig the sediment out, so as to postpone the next dredging, but in the meantime the shallows are great habitat for turtles. The pond is fed by two branches of Mountain Brook, one that comes tumbling down from the Princeton Ridge next to 206, the other beginning at the north end of the high school grounds, along Guillo Street.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free-Range Musicians To Perform this Thursday and Friday

Unlike industrially raised music, the original compositions of the Sustainable Jazz Ensemble are performed by musicians who live their lives roaming freely outside of cages. In addition to the obvious benefits for the performers, music performed by free range musicians is said to be higher in nutritive value.

You can sample locally grown compositions like Scrambled Eggs and Lemon Merengue while eating lunch on Palmer Square tomorrow (Thursday) from 12 to 2pm, as part of Palmer Square's Lunchtime Music on the Green series. Thanks to Palmer Square for having us.

We'll also be performing for free this Friday from 6:30 - 8pm, surrounded by and taking inspiration from books in the basement of Labyrinth Bookstore. The trio is composed of Jerry D'Anna on bass, Ron Connor on piano, and myself on saxophone, clarinet and woodpile.

Note: To supplement your musical diet, you can hear selections from our repertoire at Upcoming performances are usually listed here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two Talks Tonight

As mentioned prior, a butterfly talk at DR Greenway tonight, with the actual talk beginning at 7pm. Meanwhile, a talk on raingardens that I just found out about will begin at 7:30 at the library tonight. The raingarden talk is by Curtis Helm, a former Princeton resident whom I helped to install the raingarden on Harrison Street (click here to see previous posts about the raingarden). Both talks should be great. I'm going to try my best to be at two places at once. Info from respective websites below:

Family-Friendly Butterfly Talk
Thursday, March 10, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Award-winning author and butterfly expert Rick Mikula will teach us how
butterflies interact with the plants in the meadows and grasslands that sustain
them. Rick will provide guidance about how everyone can play a vital role
in ensuring that these habitats meet the nutrition, shelter, and connectivity
needs to support a butterfly population that will continue to give us beautiful
delights for all the senses.

The program will be held at DR Greenway's Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton. All programs are open to the public, and registration is helpful by calling 609.924.4646

7:30 p.m. Princeton Public Library
Talk: Rain Gardens
The rainwater that runs off of roofs, roads, driveways and sidewalks carries pesticides, fertilizers, oil and sediments into the nearest storm drain. The next stop is the nearest stream or river, and this contributes to pollution, flooding and erosion. A rain garden captures and filters the rainwater before it can runoff to the nearest storm drain. This reduces flooding and pollution, and provides a  wildlife habitat. Curtis Helm, Project Coordinator, Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management of Philadelphia's Department of Parks and Recreation presentation, will talk about basic principles and methods for constructing a rain garden of your own. Community Room