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Princeton, NJ Non-Profit Press Releases

Teen Volunteers Help Save the Sourlands

Hopewell, NJ (August 7, 2017) –The Sourland Conservancy would like to thank the Center for FaithJustice in Lawrence, NJ. for sending sixty-two hearty teenage and adult volunteers to help eradicate invasive plants and shrubs this summer in Hopewell Borough Park.  "This is an introduction to stewardship work for many of these volunteers.  They were wary, at first, but they learned quickly and tackled the invasives with amazing energy and enthusiasm," said Roger Thorpe, Sourland Conservancy stewardship committee chair.

The ongoing effort to remove invasive plants in the park supports the American Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project, sponsored by Mercer County Park Commission, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) and the Sourland Conservancy. The Project's goal is to remove invasive vines, shrubs and trees, and plant natives to restore the ecosystem in the park to provide food and shelter to native and migratory birds, insects, pollinators, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. This summer's crew is targeting Japanese honeysuckle shrubs and vines, multiflora rose, autumn olive and barberry.  

Since November 2016, volunteers have planted over 700 native flowers, shrubs and trees the park including bayberry, buttonbush, red cedar, black chokeberry, elderberry, oak chestnut, northern red oak, white pine, spicebush, woodland sunflower, bergamot, blazing star, Joe-pye, mountain mint, milkweed, rose-mallow, grey dogwood, silky dogwood, arrowwood viburnum, pin oak, swamp white oak, and sycamore. A generous New Jersey Conservation Foundation Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant covered the cost for tools, supplies and 200 plants for the project. US Fish & Wildlife provided the additional 500 plants.

This is the second year that the Sourland Conservancy is partnering with The Center for FaithJustice to support the American Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project. With guidance from Mercer County Naturalist, Jenn Rogers, Sourland Conservancy representative, Laurie Cleveland, teaches ServiceworX volunteers how to identify the targeted invasives, then cut or pull them to allow native plants to thrive.  FaithJustice's Sabina Marroquin said, "Laurie is prepared, patient, and passionate. What a gift for our students to spend a few hours with her." 

The mission of the Center for FaithJustice is to inspire the next generation of leaders by creating programs to serve those in need and educate for justice in the Catholic tradition. Through their ServiceworX program, they design and run week-long, service immersion day programs at the participating parish or school with outreach to local social service agencies and non-profit organizations including the Sourland Conservancy, The ARC Mercer, Homefront and Enable, Inc.  This year's Sourland Conservancy volunteers are confirmation candidates from St. Charles Borromeo in Skillman, NJ. 

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