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Grants Aid Forest Preservation


January 06, 2022

GC of Princeton Supports the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve

The Garden Club of Princeton (GCP) recently secured two generous grants to help with an eighteen-acre forest restoration project at Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. The grants, $9,500 from the New Jersey Committee (NJC), an area committee of The Garden Club of America, and $2000 from Partner for Plants (P4P), will enable Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) to purchase plant material and aid with forest restoration. GCP has partnered with FOPOS for decades and this restoration effort is part of a larger collaborative project. 

The project has many phases, ranging from removing invasive species, cutting down a canopy of dying Ash trees, installing an eight-and-a-half-foot-tall deer exclusion fence around eight acres, and planting over 8,000 native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. The NJC grant helped with the planting of fifty species, including eight large specimens of 100 percent genetically blight-resistant American chestnuts.  

GCP members are hands-on with the project, collecting and propagating seeds in the fall to plant next spring. With the P4P grant, the club is purchasing materials for propagation—potting soil, germination trays, flags and labels, and deer caging for plant protection. The grant also helped pay FOPOS Director of Natural Resources and Stewardship Anna Corichi to advise GCP members on proper propagation techniques. Seeds collected for propagation include Beardtongue, Bottlebrush grass, Indian tobacco, Jewelweed, Joe Pye weed, Spotted St. John’s wort, Virginia knotweed, white wood aster, Wild Senna, and wood reed grass. Future plans include restoration of twenty five riparian acres.


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