In 2022 we launched an outdoor education program with the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic. We visit the club throughout the spring to teach them about pollinators, and then in July the children visit South
Branch Preserve to get hands-on with nature, planting milkweed seedlings and touring City Green Farm. We
are currently working on expanding this program to work with other groups so even more kids can learn about and experience the importance of nature.
South Branch Preserve Farm
In 2018 we partnered with City Green, a nonprofit that offers equitable access to healthy food while promoting environmental stewardship and ecologically sustainable
communities. City Green has been farming organically on 12 acres of our 29-acre farm at South Branch Preserve ever since. In 2022 they produced 51,000 pounds of tasty, nutrient-dense organic food for those who can use it most.
West Brook Stream Restoration
The West Brook is a major source of clean water for the Wanaque Reservoir, which 2 million New Jersey residents rely on for drinking. A major restoration to redirect and cool water temperatures in the brook is ongoing. Ultimately more water will flow into the reservoir during dry periods, erosion will be reduced, native plant species will flourish, and it will once again become a healthy habitat for the imperiled eastern brook trout.
Reviving the American Chestnut
American chestnut trees were plentiful and useful to humans and wildlife alike, until a blight fungus killed them off more than a century ago. Today, TLCNJ is part of a multifaceted approach to bringing back the American chestnut—planting trees with Antinanco at South Branch, working with Rutgers to study mycological solutions using mature trees on our property in Mahwah, and making sure all of the chestnut trees in our care remain healthy.
Our Stewardship Team has established trails through South Branch, South Branch South, Yards, Creek, and Nancy Conger West Brook preserves. These routes lead visitors on a journey through the different environmental features and habitats in each landscape. You may find a stream, or a bird blind, or a grove of pawpaw trees. Some trails feature QR codes that teach you about the flora and fauna you encounter.
In an effort to nourish dwindling native pollinator populations like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, we have planted 8,000 trees and shrubs on 37 acres of former cornfields at South Branch Preserve, restoring them to native forest and providing a buffer for the South Branch of the Raritan River. Every year we save wildflower and milkweed seeds to sow in the nearby butterfly meadow to attract and support monarch butterflies, with the aim that the meadow will eventually become self-sustaining.
We have been working with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for years. Many of the improvements on our properties are made by hard-working young people who want to do good in their communities. The QR codes on the nature trails, birdhouses, blueberry bushes, horseshoe pit, and land art at South Branch Preserve are all excellent examples. Our preserves are better because of them.