I had the pleasure of a day of tree planting with nearly 20 graduate students, their partners, and Laura de Olden of the Graduate Program Office on Saturday, Oct. 10. This was one of many community building events our graduate students are participating in this year – connecting with each other and with staff and faculty outside the (often) virtual classroom.
We worked in shifts for nearly five hours at the Cedar Ridge Preserve in Hopewell, a beautiful green space right in Princeton’s backyard. This event was part of a series of tree plantings organized by the local D&R Greenway Land Trust, which conserves more than 20,000 acres of land in central New Jersey.
The habitat in Cedar Ridge Preserve is important for migratory birds traveling from as far away as South America, but the ecosystem has been degraded over time and lacks an understory of younger trees and shrubs to fill in when the older trees fall.
Together, we carefully dug holes, planted several varieties of trees and shrubs — including oak, cherry, and blueberry — and secured them with wire cages to protect them from being eaten by deer. While many of us were new to tree planting, we learned quite a bit! I believe it’s always good to work with your hands, especially when it benefits the local community.
The second tree planting will be held on Friday, Oct. 16, at Kunkel Park in Pennington, New Jersey. (Students can sign up by contacting Laura De Olden).
I want to give a special thanks to Riley Edwards MPA ’21 and Lauren Clark MPA ’21, community service co-chairs, who helped organize this event and have been connecting our graduate students with service opportunities throughout the year. They also lead the annual service auction to benefit Isles, a community development nonprofit in Trenton.
Save the Date!
Our annual service auction will be held virtually this year on Friday, Dec. 4. Items will be available for bidding beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1.