Recently, the Program Coordinators and HOS took a walk with Patricia Shanley, co-leader of the Ridgewood Conservancy, through the Ridgeview Woods, which are directly across from our property. This is significant as our school will have future opportunities to help develop this conserved historical site and protected forest and also use the trails for educational studies, solace in nature, and community service. We are very excited to have this opportunity for our students right in our front yard!
Last year, this small yet remarkable piece of the Princeton Ridge was secured for permanent conservation by a consortium led by The Watershed Institute, Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), and Ridgeview Conservancy. Together with other properties, that string together to make the ‘Emerald Necklace’ of conserved land in Princeton, the 20-acre wetland structure provides a critical habitat and migratory corridor for wildlife. It also plays a key role in stormwater runoff and is a much-needed link between preserved lands in the Ridgeview Woods, Mountain Lake, and Woodfield Preserve. In addition, Lene Lenape and colonial remains have been discovered on this land, which helped lead to its preservation.
“There are many layers of remarkable history right across the street from your school! Our dream is that students and families will be able to walk a one-mile time trail through US history, covering geologic events (Africa and North America pulling apart), the Late Woodland Indian settlement, post-colonial and slave history, Upton Sinclair’s writing of the Jungle about worker’s rights, and another author who wrote a best-selling book that led to pandemic preparedness!
After dialogue and negotiations, we are hoping that the various owners involved will decide to sell to conserve, rather than to develop the land for homes. Toward this end, I am preparing what may become a trail from the lot across from PMonts towards our already established 55-acre trail network called Ridgeview Woods, owned in part by the NJ Conservation Foundation and managed by Ridgeview Conservancy.” ~ Patricia Shanley, co-leader of the Ridgewood Conservancy