Preview a selection of recent projects — including botanical surveys, stewardship consulting, custom growing, and more. For brief descriptions of all our projects, see our annual Year-in-Review on our About Us page.
Johnson Lake Aquatic Surveys, 2018
Johnson Lake is a 37 acre waterbody in Sussex County, New Jersey. Wild Ridge Plants botanists Jared Rosenbaum and Kerry Barringer surveyed the lake by kayak during summer 2018. The purpose of the survey was to inform stewardship of the preserved lake's aquatic plant communities, particularly state-listed rare species, and to identify any areas of non-native vegetation that may require treatment or removal. Thirty-seven species of flowering aquatic plants were found including three state-listed species: purple bladderwort (Utricularia purpurea, (S3), Illinois pondweed (Potamogeton illinoiensis, S1, State Endangered), and spiny coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum, S2S3). Floristic Quality Assessment metrics were generated for fifteen 10 meter2 plots taken at varying depth areas of the lake.
Mount Rose Forest Monitoring and Restoration, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, 2016-2017
The goal of this project was to restore diversity to the forest's herbaceous and shrub layers within a five-acre deer exclosure on a nearly 400 acre nature preserve in piedmont region of New Jersey. We conducted a preliminary baseline plant survey both within and outside of the exclosure. One rare plant species was identified during the survey. We chose forty-four native species to augment the depauperate native understory in the restoration site. We propagated these species in our nursery. Each species originated from genetically diverse seed we collected in New Jersey, in keeping with current guidelines for appropriate restoration plant materials. Over 2,000 of our herbaceous and woody plants were installed in 2017. Subsequent monitoring will determine the survivorship and colonization of these plantings.
Custom Growing, Central Park Conservancy, 2013-present
In 2013, we began a three year custom grow-out of native Rubus species for the Central Park Conservancy's 80 acre Woodland Initiative. These native brambles are being used to deter foot traffic in sensitive areas of the park in addition to their ecological functions as nectaries, fruit sources, and soil builders.
Rubus species included Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), blackcap raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), red raspberry (Rubus ideaus var. strigosus), and purple flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus). The latter is being used more for ornamental purposes as it lacks prickles.
We also supplied a number of additional species, ranging from Gentiana andrewsii to Aralia racemosa, for restorations in New York's Central Park.
Stewardship Program, Sourland Stewards, 2015-Present
This innovative program brings materials and experiences to Sourlands residents exploring a nature connection as informed stewards. Wild Ridge Plants works with the Sourland Conservancy, a regional non-profit group, in creating the program and its events and publications.
The Sourland Stewards program offers several ways of learning within a stewardship community, including inspiring hikes exploring the deep ecology of our region, programs with experts on stewardship topics from native plants to water conservation to deer management, and stewardship publications with substance and user-friendly approaches.
Outoor classes known as Stewardshops are participatory learning experiences, where attendees plan and implement ecological restoration at actual Sourlands properties, guided by Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants.
At the core of the program is a social element, drawing residents into community with each other and with the natural world through shared experiences.
Food Forest, Great Road Farm, 2014-Present
We designed and led implementation of an ecological restoration project with a permaculture approach at this organic farm near Princeton, New Jersey. Using a native species palette, the site is being regenerated from a highly disturbed 4-acre woodland fragment to a food forest that will integrate with the existing vegetable farm in supplying a local farm-to-table restaurant.
Originating as a stand of conifers planted in the 1950s and largely blown down in Hurricane Sandy, the site presented numerous challenges including a highly disturbed ground surface and an understory dominated by aggressive weeds and invasive species.
We initiated site transformation with restorative earthwork, focused on water infiltration and aesthetic repair. Plant introductions proceeded, utilizing native seeds as well as planted materials of native woody plants and late-successional herbs.
Our planting design incorporates edible and medicinal species, as well as foundational species appropriate to the native ecology of the place. Our planning incorporates a successional model, introducing some species for their immediate utility in restoring the site, as well as others intended to increase in importance as the site regenerates and increases in complexity.
Botanical Survey, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, 2015
Wild Ridge Plants managed and performed comprehensive botanical surveys and drafted stewardship and rare plant management recommendations at this 3,600 acre nature preserve in the New Jersey Highlands, owned by the Morris County Park Commission.
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation is at the heart of approximately 20,000 acres of contiguous forest in northern Morris and Sussex counties in the New Jersey Highlands region. As such, it is a significant site within a region of widely recognized ecological importance.
The Reservation contains a wide variety of glacially sculpted habitats, including upland hills, glades, and outcroppings, a series of linear valleys containing streams and forested wetlands, and several bowl-shaped lowlands such as the one containing "Pine Swamp" and another with a sphagnum bog.
Botanical survey work performed from April - October 2015 yielded 786 vascular plant species and 91 bryophyte species. Thirty-two state-listed rare plant species were recorded, with 67 total occurrences.
Our stewardship recommendations addressed issues such as historical land disturbance, deer browse, invasive species, canopy tree dynamics, and rare species.
Park Enhancement Plan, Port Warren Park, 2015
We prepared a park enhancement plan for Port Warren Park, on behalf of the Warren County Department of Land Preservation.
Port Warren Park is an interpretative destination along the former Morris Canal, rich in historical appeal. For visitors, it is an ideal starting point and attraction along the Morris Canal trail system.
Our plan provides a conceptual framework and implementation details for a developed park that combines historical and nature interpretation with an ecologically sustainable, low management cost landscape design based around native plants.
Custom Growing, Bull's Island State Park, 2013
We designed a restoration palette, custom collected seed at Bull's Island, and subsequently grew out over 900 plants for an ambitious restoration project at this State Park.
Bull's Island State Park is located in the Delaware River and is notable for the Natural Area on its southern half, which features forests with old growth characteristics. This area suffered heavy damage in flood events in the early 2000s and subsequent plant invasion by Japanese knotweed and other species.
Local ecotype native plant species we grew included riparian species such as bladdernut, spicebush, wood nettle, wingstem, forest sunflower, Virginia waterleaf, and bottlebrush grass. The species palette included 23 species total.
Children's Book, The Puddle Garden, 2015
The Puddle Garden is Jared's children's book all about native plants.
Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, says of The Puddle Garden: "Read the Puddle Garden to your kids, but while you are reading, please hear its vital message yourself!"
In this children’s story full of native plants and wildlife, a lonely Bear Cub invites friends to his new home– by creating a Puddle Garden.
Featuring native wetlands plants such as cardinal flower and elderberry, this beautifully illustrated book introduces children to the local flora and fauna -- and to the practice of ecological restoration -- in a fun, narrative way.
Illustrated by Laura Rosenbaum.