BBQ 2005
  BBQ 2004


Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 2017

Two crews tidied up Kingston on Earth Day weekend on both the Franklin and South Brunswick sides. A six person team concentrated on Laurel Avenue and the environs of Rockingham, while twenty-seven volunteers cleaned up the areas along Railroad and Greenwood Avenues, Ridge Road, and Divison Street. We are grateful to all these good folks for giving their time and energy to make the environment safer and more beautiful for all!

Rockingham Crew:

South Brunswick Crew:

And a big thank you to Scott of The Sentinel, who turned out on a Sunday to document our activities. His "action shots" may be viewed here: Photos by Scott of The Sentinel


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rick Henkel (at far right) and fall foliage walkers--Photo by Jonathan Michalik

In celebration of this 100th anniversary year of the founding of Princeton Nurseries, Rick Henkel led a walk through the Nurseries' Kingston site. Rick was formerly Sales Manager for Princeton Nurseries, where he worked for 32 years. After leaving the Nurseries, he founded Princeton Horticultural Services, which he continues to run. Rick has an extraordinary knowledge of trees, and knows the Kingston Site and its trees intimately.

View a gallery of photos taken by Jonathan Michalik: Fall Foliage Walk 2013

ANNUAL MEETING AND MOVIE--“Crash: A Tale of Two Species”
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For those who were unable to join us, the film "Crash: A Tale of two Species" is available from Netflix. It explores the fascinating, endangered relationship between the red knot, a South American shorebird which flies each year to the Arctic to mate, and the horsehoe crab, whose eggs fuel the most grueling portion of the red knot's journey north.

Courtesy of Conserve Wildlife

But now that humans are using the horseshoe crab for fishing bait and for medical purposes (its blue blood is pervasively used to test intravenous drugs, vaccines, and medical devices for bacterial contamination--see http://www.horseshoecrab.org/med/med.html for more information) the relationship has become increasingly endangered.

Maria Grace, the Education and Outreach Manager of Conserve Wildlife (Conserve Wildlife) fielded many questions raised by the documentary. Despite grim challenges to both species, there is some hopeful news--this short Star Ledger video provides some post-Sandy coverage: Researchers optimistic about Delaware Bay horseshoe crab spawn and shorebird migration


December 16, 2012


Trustee and Count leader Karen Linder reports that all told, the Kingston segment recorded 43 species and 2624 birds. Highlights of the day were:

**Two large flocks of snow geese flying over the seedbeds
**Three sightings of a single eagle (might be the same one or different birds--likely our local pair), including watching him/her bring a leafy stick to the new nest that is being built to replace the nest and tree lost to Sandy
**Two brown creepers
**Some very cooperative golden-crowned kinglets that showed themselves nicely

Missing were large numbers of yellow-rumped warblers (we saw only TWO!), and no cedar waxwings or bluebirds for this count. Robins were reduced in number relative to some years. Also missing were the black vultures we have seen in previous years. It was not a good day to be aloft, so perhaps they "slept in!"

After more than two years of community effort, fundraising and litigation, 14 wooded acres on the ecologically-sensitive Princeton Ridge have been permanently preserved by a partnership of public agencies and four nonprofits - New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Friends of Princeton Open Space, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and Kingston Greenways Association. The partners purchased the Ricciardi property on August 25th, 2011. Link here to the full story: Ricciardi News Release

Ricciardi Tract Dedication, October 2, 2011
Photo by Henry Horn
Saturday, October 15, 2011

Naturalists Henry and Betty Horn led forty participants on a walk through the Mapleton Preserve. Betty, an avid botanist with an intimate knowledge of local wildflowers, plucked asters, Queen Anne's Lace, goldenrod, porcelain-berry, mugwort, and other attractions from field and woodland, explaining their features, life cycles, and strategies for survival and propagation. Henry shared his learning and love of trees, and helped us see the half man-made, half natural environment of the Princeton Nursery Lands as a theater of intense competition for light, space, and life.
Henry Horn

Betty Horn

Photographer Jonathan Michalik documented the day:

Fall Foliage 2011 Gallery


Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Canal author and historian Linda J. Barth spoke to a rapt crowd about the D&R Canal, illustrated by an array of vintage slides depicting the Canal from end to end.

Below, Linda Barth demonstrates the method for giving a locktender advance notice of a canal boat's arrival.

More about our speaker's background and her books is available at http://www.lindajbarth.com/


Sunday, April 2, 2011

Nancy Derrico, our volunteer from the Mercer County Wildlife Center, shared her extensive knowledge and experience. The four birds who accompanied her vividly illustrated the characteristics of their species, and the range of mishaps that can befall wildlife when our worlds intersect. We learned, too, about the best ways to help sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.

This red-tailed talk, perched on the gloved hand of Nancy Derrico, is a perfectly healthy specimen of its species, but has been a long-time resident at the Wildlife Center because it became imprinted to human beings as a young bird.

For those who wish to support or get involved with the Mercer County Wildlife Center, many options are offered at http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/about/community/wildlife/help.html


Sunday, December 19, 2010

We counted close to 2000 birds and observed 34 different species in this year's Kingston segment of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Many thanks to our five field counters and one feeder watcher! We are also grateful to Princeton Forrestal Associates and Mapleton Nurseries for allowing us to bird on the lands formerly owned by Princeton Nurseries.

A few favorite moments from Karen Linder, segment leader:

* Five black vultures perched in one tree along Mapleton Road, resting up from a venison dinner (with plenty of leftovers on the ground below the tree).

* Twelve goldfinches on a single plant -- one bird hanging onto the tip of each wiry stem, the stems bent down under the weight of "their bird." They were intent on feeding, so did not fly away as we approached, but just bobbed, stretched, and hung upside-down as they feasted.

* A red-bellied woodpecker drumming his heart out on the huge wooden doors at the far end of the large warehouse building at Mapleton Preserve. The afternoon sun caught his bright red head just right, and the noise generated from the 20-foot tall doors was spectacular!


Saturday, October 23,2010

Rick Lear, naturalist with Middlesex County Department of Parks and Recreation, Stephanie Fox, D&R Canal State Park naturalist, and Vicki Chirco, D&R Canal State Park historian, offered their observational skills and expertise on a leisurely loop walk through parts of the Mapleton Preserve, the Rail Trail, and Heathcote Meadows.

For more scenes, click here: Fall Foliage Walk 2010


Sunday, May 2, 2010

KGA member Roland Machold, assisted by his wife, Pamela, took sixty lucky people on a tour of Marquand Park, one of Princeton’s special treasures. Located at the junction of Stockton Street (Route 206) and Lovers’ Lane, it serves as a public park, arboretum and recreational area. In 1842, Judge Richard Field purchased a 30 acre farm, and, impressed by the horticultural discoveries of 19th century explorers and the landscaping of the great estates of England, he began the collection of trees and shrubs that was continued by subsequent owners. In 1885, the property was purchased by Professor Allan Marquand, whose wife Eleanor bequeathed it to Princeton Borough in 1954.

For more photographs from the tour, click here: Marquand Park Slide Show

A guide to the park (available at Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street in Princeton) lists 173 varieties of trees and shrubs in the park, including spruces, firs, cedars, oaks, magnolias, tulips, ash and maples, and rarities such as the dove tree and the franklinia. The trees and shrubs in the park are maintained by the Marquand Park Foundation, whose Chairman is Kingston’s own Sam deTuro of Woodwinds.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

With kick nets, seining nets, and magnifying lenses, D&R Canal State Park Naturalist Stephanie Fox introduced us to a teeming, fascinating universe of aquatic macroinvertebrates.
Specimens were collected in the Millstone, by the Route 27 underpass.

We found examples of four of the aquatic macroinvertebrates that have the lowest tolerance to pollution:
Caddisfly larvae, Mayfly nymphs (which have three tails and gills!), water pennies,
and a Hellgrammite, the larval form of Dobsonfly. Their presence is indicative of clean, high quality water.

From the medium tolerance range, there were sowbugs, aquatic snails, and freshwater scuds (related to shrimp).

In the high pollution tolerance category we netted and examined aquatic worms, leeches, and crayfish. Freshwater clams and an eel were also scooped and studied.

The discovery of a "hatching log" bearing unhatched eggs along with the exoskeletons of hatched caddisflies helped us understand the life cycle of these creatures.

A gallery of Stream Stomp images is here:
Stream Stomp Gallery

For an identification chart of aquatic macroinvertebrates, click here:



When Tracy Lee Sullivan attended our Insect Songs program in August 2009, she had no
way of knowing that she would soon have a prolonged close encounter with an insect who was not a singer--
but a DANCER!

"He came to my front window on a Friday...the next day, Saturday, I stepped out onto my deck. He was clinging to the door, just inches away, level with my HEAD! I didn't see him UNTIL I shut the door...I had to get my camera!!! I squeezed past him TWO MORE TIMES, in, then out again, with my camera. I held my BREATH to pass all 6 inches of him.

"I took a ton of photos. He held me captive, slowly walking up and down the door edge for about a half hour...swaying one step at a time. I startled him at one point, and he opened his two front legs as if he was gonna karate chop me! I just stayed still...and waited until he relaxed again, then started shooting more photos.

"He stayed until Tuesday or Wednesday. I'd check on him every so often, getting up to see if he was still there--it was fun! There is a flower pot that he had tried to reach once before...and fell. So he climbed up a second time (this try is in the video)... and I realized he was attempting the same path. Knowing he wouldn't be able to reach, I pushed him closer...just a fun moment... helping a small creature in his journey."

See the video here: Buddha the Praying Mantis
To respond to her movie, you may email her by clicking here:Tracy Lee Sullivan

Photographer Jonathan Michalik uses his camera to give us some rare and beautiful glimpses of the creatures that share this part of the planet with us. To see much more:

Jonathan Michalik Photo Gallery

To comment or ask questions, please email him at:

Photographer Brenda Jones has been "stalking" beavers along the canal with her camera, with stunning results. To see the rest of her photos, please click here:

Beaver and Muskrat album

To comment or ask questions, please email her at:
Brenda Jones


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Mercer County Wildlife Center is a state and federally licensed facility that cares for injured, ill, and displaced native wildlife. The Center provides these animals with medical treatment and a temporary refuge before releasing them back into an appropriate wild habitat.

As human development continues along the east coast corridor, suitable habitat available to wildlife decreases. This leads to more human contact, resulting in an increased risk of injury to both animals and humans. A group of animals with permanent disabilities is sheltered and cared for at the Center. These animals travel to schools and community events throughout the year, acting as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. The KGA program featured four animals, which, for various reasons, are not releaseable back into the wild. The birds that accompanied MCWC volunteer Nancy Derrico had lessons for us about their species, their stories, and our interface with their world.





His left wing was irreparably damaged, but his right works just fine!

For more information, please go to Mercer County Wildlife Center


Sunday, October 21, 2007

This year, over forty people turned out for our leisurely fall foliage walk, which originated in the parking lot of the John Flemer Preserve on the southbound side of Route 27, and wound through the woods and up to Rockingham, Washington's Revolutionary War Headquarters in Kingston. Our walk leaders were George Luck Jr. and Sam deTuro. George Luck, who has lived in Kingston all of his life, is a passionate history buff, and well-known for his historical talks and ghost walks in the Kingston area. Sam deTuro, the arborist who founded Woodwinds (a Kingston-based tree service that celebrated its 40th anniversary this year) shared his knowledge of trees and shrubs we saw along the way.

Click here:
Fall Foliage Walk 2007


On Sunday, September 30, 2007, Kingston Greenways Association hosted a leisurely walk through the newly opened Griggstown Native Grasslands Preserve at 1091 Canal Road in Griggstown. The Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve was one of two grassland habitats recently established in Griggstown through the cooperation of New Jersey Audubon and Franklin Township. A 102-acre section of the property was plowed and planted with native grasses and wildflowers to provide habitat for birds that require grasslands for breeding.

Click here for a slide show of scenes from the walk: Grasslands Photos

For more information about the Grassland Preserve, visit http://www.njaudubon.org/Conservation/Griggstown.html


This walk led through the Princeton Nursery Lands. KGA helped to champion the acquisition of the property, as it is a critical component of Kingston's greenbelt. Two very special co-leaders--KGA Trustee and nurseryman Bill Flemer IV, and Jim Consolloy, the Head Grounds Manager for Princeton University--shared their enthusiasm and expertise. Bill is a member of the Flemer family, which founded Princeton Nurseries, so he has an intimate knowledge of the wholesale nursery business that once thrived at this site. Jim Consolloy is responsible for maintaining Princeton University's 2300 acres and over 400 species of trees.

The 50 people who attended the walk were treated to a wealth of Princeton Nurseries History, and tips on tree identification, highlighting not only native trees, but also specimens of Princeton Nurseries' unique cultivars, such as the 'Princeton Sentry' Ginkgo, and 'Bonfire' and 'Goldspire' sugar maples, aflame in their glorious fall colors.

To view more Fall Foliage Walk photos, please click here

Jim Consolloy, Head Groundskeeper for Princeton University
Nurseryman William Flemer IV


The Christmas Bird Count is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society. It is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers count every bird they see or hear all day in a specified area. It’s not just a species tally—-all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. More than 50,000 observers participate each year in this all-day census of early-winter bird populations. The results of their efforts are compiled into the longest-running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. Simply put, the Christmas Bird Count, or "CBC", is citizen science in action. KGA has supported this effort by participating in the last nine counts.

The primary objective of the Christmas Bird Count is to monitor the status and distribution of winter bird populations across the Western Hemisphere. When these data are combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, we gain a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The information is also vital for conservation. For example, local trends in bird populations can indicate habitat fragmentation or signal an immediate environmental threat, such as groundwater contamination or poisoning from improper use of pesticides.

Here are the final results of the Kingston segment of the 2006 Christmas Bird Count. We had an excellent year - 51 species (a new high), 6 new species, high counts for 11 of the species that we had on our cumulative list, and a respectable 3720 total of birds!

2006 Christmas Bird Count Results

   Kingston resident Cathy Pavelec took this photograph of a turkey vulture sitting on top of the basketball hoop pole at the Laurel Avenue School. "Because the sun was behind him," she says, "you can see how beautiful his feathers are. Their wing span can be as large as 6 feet, and this one's was at least in the 4 to 5 foot range. They're quite majestic and are very peaceful creatures." Karen Linder commented, "It adds new meaning to community use of the school playing fields!"