I apologize for the severely delinquent agenda for tomorrow’s SR meeting at Duke Farms.   As with many of you, things have been quite hectic with spring arriving and it slipped my mind.  Anyway; here it is:

10am-  Quick overview of DF.  Where we were and where we are and how we got there.  (in classroom)

10:30-  Begin tour of facility (start at Farm Barn Orientation Center –briefly discuss the sustainable features)-  Walk to Hay Barn to jump on Tram to see the 640 acre park and restoration practices

Discussing success and setbacks etc.

11:30-12:00 Return to FB

I am not sure how long these meetings usually are scheduled for but if some would like to see some of the western conservation grasslands, we could caravan out there to see some of that as well.

For directions to the Orientation Center at the Farm Barn click here.

The classroom, where we will meet, is on the first floor of the Farm Barn.

I have also attached a peer-reviewed article on evaluation of organized hunts in suburban “habitats”  that we might discuss during the day.

I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow and again, my apologies for the tardy agenda.

Thom Almendinger

Director of Stewardship

Duke Farms Foundation

1112 Duke Parkway West

Hillsborough, NJ 08844



Jonathan Woods, Denville, NJ after Superstorm Sandy.

Superstorm Sandy changed many forests throughout New Jersey.  The way these forests recover can provide insight into how forests regrow given the unique conservation threats we face; how will overabundant white-tailed deer, non-native invasive species, air pollution deposition, and climate change affect forest regeneration?  Answering these questions will be critical if we are to move forward in a thoughtful and scientific way with active management of our natural resources.

Blowdown from Superstorm Sandy at India Brook Park, Mendham, NJ

Blowdown from Superstorm Sandy at India Brook Park, Mendham, NJ

The focus of the next Stewardship Roundtable meeting will be to discuss these issues and determine what we may be able to do to monitor forest recovery after Sandy.  Given this unprecedented opportunity, what questions can we begin to answer? With limited stewardship resources, can we develop a monitoring program that answers our questions and is low cost and consistent across sites?

The meeting will be on Monday, January 14 2013 from 10AM to 12:30AM at NJ Audubon’s Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary.  We will first meet indoors to broadly discuss this topic and then we will visit a nearby blowdown.

The next Stewardship Roundtable meeting will be held on Thursday, July 19th from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.

The meeting will be a field visit to William Wyman’s exclosure in Hunterdon County, portions of which have been deer-fenced for almost twenty years. The property has been managed to increase native populations by planting as well as removing some invasive species. The Floristic Quality Index is one of the highest in New Jersey, and the property is spectacular in its diversity.

Topics for discussion will include regeneration, restoration and monitoring of plant communities, in the context of protection from deer. The floor is also open for updates and other discussion items, please send any ideas along with your RSVP.

I apologize for this belated invitation to the meeting. The walk-through is limited to 20 guests so please sign up as soon as you can. Please reply to me, Leslie Sauer, at the address above, <>. The address of the site is 69 Raven Rock Road, Rosemont NJ, 08556. Please park across the street in the parking lot for the Westcott Preserve.

The rain date is the following Thursday, July 26, 10:100-12:00. The walk will be postponed if the trails are soggy.

– Leslie

What better way to address some of the philosophical and practical issues facing land managers in New Jersey than collaboratively developing a land management plan for a spectacular property? The next Stewardship Roundtable meeting will be held on April 18, 2012 at Ridge and Valley Conservancy’s Gnome Hollow Preserve.  This will be a “working” meeting where we will help Ridge and Valley Conservancy develop a Forest Stewardship Plan for this gorgeous preserve.   If you haven’t been in the woods in this part of New Jersey, you are in for a treat.  

The meeting will start at 10:30 10:00 and go until 1:30 PM.  We will meet at  Johnsonburg Town Hall (Frelinghuysen Township), Route 661 (Main Street), just west of the intersection with Route 519.  Ridge and Valley will be providing lunch, but you are also welcome to bring your own.

Click here for a link to a Google Map to get directions.  Note that this map also shows the property shapefile, so if you end up late you can meet us there instead.  

Please RSVP to me directly at so we know how many people are attending.

This is how Ridge and Valley describes Gnome Hollow  on their website:

…[it] is primarily deciduous hardwood forest, but it contains a small former Christmas tree farm.  Ms. Johansen sold trees and gave the proceeds to charity.  The property has a mix of native hardwoods, including mature oak and black birch, hickory, and emerging sugar maple.  Several vernal pools, which flood in spring then drain in summer, are found throughout the forest. These pools are important habitat for reptiles and amphibians, which can breed in them without having fish, eat their egg. The vernal pools are also important recharge areas for the aquifers.

RVC is in the process of developing a forest stewardship plan for the property to help demonstrate how landowners can manage local woodlands for maximum conservation value and forest health.  Plans call for thinning of the Christmas trees to allow development of individual trees, encouragement of sugar maples on south-facing slopes to develop a “sugar bush,” such as those used in sugar mapling, controlled burns, and reintroduction of native trees, especially near vernal pools.  There is a trailhead on the property at Stillwater Road. The preserve is open from dawn to dusk, but nighttime use is permissible if one notifies RVC.

Here are a set of planning maps that I put together.  Click on the link here or the image below to download them.

Gnome Hollow Map Set 1

Here is the Google map:

 I attended this course the last time it was offered and it was excellent.   I highly recommend it!

Seats are still available to attend the 


Pittstown, New Jersey 

April 27th, 2012

9:00 am to 4:00 pm EDT

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Rutgers University, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are pleased to announce an upcoming Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course in New Jersey. This full day training will provide you with the latest science-based approaches to reversing the trend of pollinator declines, and will equip you with the recipes necessary to protect and manage habitat for these vital insects.


  • Identify approaches to increase and enhance pollinator diversity on the land
  • Knowledge of current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators
  • Identify bees and distinguish them from other insects
  • Understand the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline
  • Knowledge of the current Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions in programs such as WHIP, EQIP, CSP, and CRP
  • Ability to assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies
  • Ability to make recommendations to farmers and land managers that conserve pollinators (including subjects such as tillage, pesticide use, burning, grazing, and cover cropping)
  • Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements



Snyder Research & Extension Farm
140 Locust Grove Road

Pittstown, NJ 08867


April 27th, 2012    9 am to 4 pm EDT 


Thanks to Dr. Rachael Winfree and USDA-NRCS for making this course affordable to the public.

Registration is $45 per person and includes lunch and refreshments.


Registration is required for this course. Click here for more information and to register online. For questions, please contact Ashley Minnerath, Pollinator Program Assistant, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, at or (855) 232-6639 ext. 102.

For NRCS personnel registration, please contact:

Jolie Goldenetz-Dollar
Pollinator Habitat Restoration Specialist
(609) 465-5901 or

Hurry, space is limited!

This Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is made possible with the support of a USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) awarded to Dr. Rachael Winfree of Rutgers University. Additional support for this training is provided by the following: USDA Northeast Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) program, CS Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, Turner Foundation, Whole Systems Foundation, and Xerces Society members.

Special thanks to Cape-Atlantic Conservation District, North Jersey Resource & Development, New Jersey NRCS, Rutgers University, and USDA-NRCS Cape May Plant Materials Center for helping to make this course possible.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration is holding their annual conference at Brooklyn College on March 23 to 24, 2012.  If the line-up is anything like last year, it could be very worthwhile to attend as many of the presentations were focused on issues that we face while managing our preserved lands in New Jersey.  Let me know if you are thinking of attending and perhaps we can carpool.