Here’s a selection of some recent projects of ours — including botanical surveys, stewardship consulting, custom growing, and more.
Botanical Survey, Schooley’s Mountain County Park, 2020
In 2020, Wild Ridge Plants, LLC surveyed the vegetation of Schooley’s Mountain County Park, Morris County, New Jersey. This report summarizes the findings of that survey. The Schooley’s Mountain County Park Floristic Inventory and Stewardship Assessment was commissioned by the Morris County Park Commission (MCPC) to inform stewardship of the ecological and recreational resources found in the park.
The park contains 823 acres with habitat types including upland forest on Schooley’s Mountain and lowlands in the stream valley of the South Branch of the Raritan River. Open habitats include several high quality meadows as well as numerous weedy thickets and young woodlands.
Botanical survey work performed from April – October 2020 found 519 flowering plant species, 21 ferns and allies, and 93 bryophyte species. The park hosts seven state-listed rare plant species.
Botanical Survey, Watchung Trap Rock Glades, 2019
This report assesses the botanical diversity and ecological character of the trap rock glades in the Watchung Reservation, Union County, New Jersey. The trap rock glade/rock outcrop community at the Watchung Reservation is a globally imperiled, state endangered ecological community. The open glades are found on thin soils over basalt, and host diverse communities of xeric-adapted and mafic geology specialist species.
This report is based on survey work performed in 2019 by botanist Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants, LLC, with the intent of characterizing the current status of the glades and supporting ongoing stewardship activity by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Surveys performed from May to September 2019 yielded 134 vascular plant species, including 119 native species and 15 non-native species. Of these, nine species are listed by the State of New Jersey as endangered or plant species of concern.
Aquatic Botanical Surveys, Johnson Lake, 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, FOHVOS, 2016-2017
The goal of this project, led by FOHVOS, 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.
Custom Growing, Central Park Conservancy, 2013 – 2018
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 idaeus 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.
Resident Stewardship Program, Sourland Stewards, 2015-2020
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.
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, 2014-2016
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.
The Puddle Garden, Children’s Book, 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.