Exploring Extraordinary Opportunities in NJ

May 19, 2010

If you’ve followed this blog for the last few weeks you know that we’ve begun preparing our rooftop garden and are working to source native plants as part of this exciting rite of spring.

Spring is a time of re-creating our connections with our land in many ways. Even a simple walk in one of our state’s parks or nature preserves reminds us of the extraordinary living systems around us.

Last week we caught up with one of our partners, The Nature Conservancy, for yet another reminder of just how awe-inspiring our natural systems are here in New Jersey.


Barbara Brummer, New Jersey State Director
The Nature Conservancy

The Arctic Meadows Nature Preserve, one of 37 preserves The Nature Conservancy owns and manages in New Jersey, is nestled along the Kittatinny Ridge in Sussex County, between the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Trout Brook Wildlife Management Area. It shelters an abundance of life.

Among its treasures are patches of a rare flower that thrives on the area’s cool, acidic waters. Many other flowers thrive in this environment – including gaywings (also called flowering wintergreen; Polygala paucifolia) and dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius). Bald eagles, songbirds, long-tailed salamanders, wood turtles, and brook trout inhabit the area. Pileated woodpeckers punctuate the forest, and a tapestry of mosses, liverworts, ferns and lichens thrive along the cool forest floor.

Arctic Meadow Nature Preserve NJ

A patch of a rare flower found only in the Kittatinny Ridge & Valley area of New Jersey

While access to this preserve is limited because of the fragile nature of its plant communities, the Conservancy has helped increase access to many of its preserves in the area and around the state. The public is taking advantage of this, and the scientific community is appreciative of the partnering opportunities with the Conservancy. Last week at Arctic Meadows, for instance, two botanists from the renowned Brooklyn Botanic Garden visited to study rare plant species on the property. The scientists were delighted to share their immediate observations with staff and supporters on the walk.

Each preserve plays a special role in protecting the state’s natural systems. Arctic Meadows, for instance, helps connect other protected lands in an area of the state where large expanses of forest produce the freshwater that supports plants and animals and provides water that people depend on for drinking and other needs.


Attendees of a recent walk hosted in New Jersey by The Nature Conservancy listen to a botanist from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Each preserve also offers a unique opportunity to study, or just enjoy. From New Jersey’s forests in the northwest to our protected areas in the northeast to our expansive and delicate Delaware Bayshore, our natural systems are within reach of all of us.

Whether you are alone on a walk, or accompanied by land stewards and scientists such as those participating in the Conservancy’s preserve tours, it’s only natural to seek out spring’s glories.

For more on The Nature Conservancy’s work in New Jersey, including its activities and tours, you may visit this link.

Yours in conservation,