2021 STEM Wrap-Up
While the Covid pandemic refused to go away and did its best to keep us from having a “normal” year, STEM did its best to stay focused on maintaining and improving Moorestown’s many beautiful, preserved open spaces in 2021.
While the pandemic limited our ability to do Natural Area Care (NAC) projects we still did manage to tackle a few undertakings. Working with students from the Moorestown High School’s Outdoor Service Club we removed many bags of Garlic Mustard from South Valley Woods. This was the second year that they helped us remove this nasty invasive. I am happy to report that we’ve made a real dent in this invasive. Hopefully we’ll be able to attack it again this spring.
With the generous support of Moorestown’s Department of Parks and Recreation who provided the materials, we were able to install eight elevated walkways, four each at the Esther Yanai Preserve and South Valley Woods. The Youth Group from the First United Method Church of Moorestown provided the labor for installing six bridges while the Outdoor Service Club from MHS provided the labor for the other two. With these eight walkways, a total of twelve walkways have been at these two open spaces over the last two years. These walkways have greatly improved the walkability of these two open spaces, particularly during the wetter seasons.
STEM also led two projects designed to improve the habitat at Swede Runs Fields. The first project saw STEM and its volunteers install and maintain a 1,200 plant native plant pollinator garden that surrounds the old stone building adjacent to the dog park. STEM partnered with the Xerces Society, a non-profit whose primary mission is improving the habitat for pollinating insects. The project was a great success, primarily the result of the many volunteers who watered and weeded their sections of the garden during the long, hot summer. Through the generosity of a STEM member, we were able to install a beautiful interpretative sign at the garden explaining the importance of pollinators and how native gardens can help them thrive. The second project was a joint project with STEM, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Township of Moorestown to turn the 75 acre parcel across from the dog park into a meadow of native grasses and pollinator plants. The field was planted in the fall, and we should start to see the fruits of our labors in the spring.
While I am proud of our 2021 accomplishments, there remains much to be done. I want to send out a big, heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us accomplish so much in 2021. I hope that you will continue to support STEM in the future. We couldn’t do it without you. I think there is no better way to do that than to take a walk in the woods, and we are blessed in Moorestown’s to have so many beautiful open spaces where we can do just that.