Swede Run Fields
Both sides of Westfield Rd, between Swede Run & Stanwick Glen on the west side & straddling the creek on the east side
Formerly the Benner Farm, this 130-acre open space is by far the largest chunk of open space in Moorestown. Swede Run Fields is comprised of a sewered 90-acre parcel, zoned R2, west of Westfield Road next to Stanwick Glen and a 40-acre unsewered parcel, zoned R1 on the east side of Westfield Road. The larger parcel has a wooded portion of Swede Run as its boundary. The stream separates Swede Run Fields from the Wexford subdivision, the Maybury low/moderate housing site, and Allen’s riding stable and kennels. This open space can currently only be accessed via Westfield Road. Previously access was available through a 7-acre Stanwick Glen detention basin lot at the end of Ashley Court, but this access is currently blocked by invasive vines including Oriental Bittersweet and Porcelain Berry.
The smaller, 40-acre parcel which is on the eastern side of Westfield Road is transected by Swede Run and backs up to Moorestown Hunt. One of the unique features of this lot is the historic stone building that stands near a large maple tree as you enter the site.
The site also houses a dog park. In June of 2021, STEM and many volunteers installed a native pollinator garden that surrounds the old stone building. This beautiful garden houses over 1,200 plants made up of ten native species and covers over 4,000 square feet. As Swede Run traverses the smaller 40-acre parcel, it is bordered by brush wetlands and flood plains. Although generally open in appearance, this open space site provides diverse opportunities for wildlife habitat and a somewhat natural area to enhance the quality of water in Swede Run.
STEM, in conjunction with Moorestown Township and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is working to establish a 70-acre native grass and pollinator field on the western side of Westfield Road. In addition to the native grasslands, the site will also feature two vernal pools. These pools will be created by enhancing the two wet areas that exist on the property. These shallow, seasonal pools will provide critical habitat for migrating ducks and shorebirds as well as provide breeding grounds for frogs and (hopefully) salamanders. This project will greatly enhance the value of this property for both resident and migrating birds and other wildlife. It is hoped that Grasshopper Sparrow, a threatened species in the state of NJ will begin to use this property for nesting. Planting of the site should occur in the spring of 2022.
The site was purchased in 2001 for $7,315,000 by funding from Moorestown Township, Burlington County, and New Jersey Green Acres. The tract was farmed by a local farmer until 2017.
Pollinator Garden Planted at Swede Run Field
June 2021- STEM recently completed the installation of 4,500 square foot native pollinator garden at Swede Run Field. The garden surrounds the historic stone building and is adjacent to the dog park. This beautiful site now is the new home to over 1,200 plants. STEM won a grant for the plants from the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife thorough the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. The plants were provided by Pinelands Nursery. STEM was one of 46 organizations that were awarded a grant of plants.
STEM and its friends and volunteers worked over 100 hours designing, preparing, and installing the garden. A crew of volunteers are also lined up to make sure the garden is tended during the hot summer months.
STEM would like to thank Diane Walker of Colorstone Gardens for the design and preparation work, Matt Severs for the site preparation, Leonberg Nursery for the mulch, and Katie Leakley for coordinating the volunteers. A big shoutout to the 30 plus volunteers who came out to help us turn this project into a reality.
I hope you will all have a chance to get out to the garden and enjoy it’s beauty. The plants are small now, but with lots of TLC and a little luck they will continue to grow and thrive.
Mark Pensiero, President, STEM
Mark Pensiero, President, STEM
Update on the Swede Run Fields Pollinator Garden
September 2021- The recently installed pollinator garden at Swede Run Fields continues to grow and flourish. STEM would like to thank all the individuals who worked so hard to plan, plant, water, weed and mulch their sections of the garden. Without your dedication, the young plants would never have made it through our very hot summer.
A special thanks to everyone who managed one of the garden zones - Ruth Larkin, Avery Thomas, Ellen Bleidorn, Linda Porter, Dina Thomas, Mark Hickman, Nancy Fife and Linda Burns and Mark Pensiero. A big thank you to Katie Leakley for managing the volunteers, tracking the hours, and finding backups when the plot leaders were away.
This past week (9/6) large numbers of monarch butterflies have shown up at the garden. They have been enjoying the butterfly milkweed. While I have not seen any caterpillars yet, I expect them to start showing up shortly. If you haven’t been to the garden recently, I highly suggest a visit. Right now, the blue mist flowers, black-eyed Susan, blue aster, and butterfly weed are all in bloom. The false sunflower should be blooming in the next couple of weeks.