HOPEWELL: Count the species during the ‘bioblitz’ at Mount Rose Preserve

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Nature enthusiasts participate in a nature preserve hike at the Mount Rose Preserve in 2016.

By Andrew Martins, Managing Editor
Nature-minded people will be taking an inventory of the local flora and fauna at the Mount Rose Preserve this weekend when the New Jersey Conservation Foundation hosts a free “bioblitz” with experts., Starting at 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, the community is invited to help inventory the preserve’s species of wildlife, ranging from birds and mammals to amphibians and mushrooms., Organizers said the day will be comprised of a series of hikes throughout the preserve., “We invite the public to join our experts as they walk through the woods and fields identifying as many plants and animals as possible,” Bill Lynch, an organizer for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said. “Attendees can go on as many hikes as they want. It will be a fun day for nature lovers of all ages.”, One hike will be a special children’s program with Dr. Emile DeVito, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s staff biologist, and Jeff Hoagland, education director at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, who will show youngsters how to catch insects in sweep nets in the field., Bioblitz hikes include a pair of two hour long hikes to categorize the local birds from 6-8 a.m. and 8-10 a.m.; a hike for reptiles and amphibians from 9-11:30 a.m.; a hike for fungi from 9:30-11 a.m.; a plant hike from 10 a.m. to noon; a kids’ insect program from 10:30 a.m. to noon; a butterflies and dragonflies hike from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; an invasive species hike from 12:30-2:30 p.m.; another reptiles and amphibians hike from 12:30-2:30 p.m.; and an invertebrates hike from 1-2:30 p.m., All hikes will begin at New Jersey Conservation’s tent at the preserve entrance, located across from the office building at 350 Carter Road., The Carter Road property was preserved in April 2015 by a partnership of more than a dozen public agencies and nonprofit organizations, as part of an innovative project to convert a 1950s corporate campus into a public park., The land was originally developed as a multi-building Western Electric/AT&T corporate park, and at the time of the sale belonged to Equus Capital Partners. Equus and its predecessor, Berwind Property Group, proposed to redevelop the property for more than 800,000 square feet of commercial space., Had the land not been preserved, the development would have added up to 4,000 vehicles a day to rural Carter Road., Mount Rose Preserve land is owned and managed by New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Mercer County, Hopewell Township and the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space., It was preserved in partnership with the following additional organizations: Hopewell Valley Citizens Group Inc., NJ Green Acres Program, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Lawrence Hopewell Trail, Hopewell Borough, Pennington Borough, Friends of Princeton Open Space, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Lawrence Township and Princeton., Participants are requested to register in advance for planning purposes, but walk-ins are welcome on the day of the event. To register online, go to njconservation.org/MountRosePreserveBioblitz.htm. For more information, contact Lynch at [email protected] or 908-997-0725., Attendees should dress appropriately and wear proper footwear for hiking, as the ground may be wet.