May 18, 2022

PEC Thanks Those Who Helped Make Community Science Day a Great Success

To the Editor:

The Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC) would like to extend many thanks to the Princeton Public Library and the Friends of Rogers Refuge for their collaborative efforts to help make the Cole Morano Community Science Day at the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, May 1, a great success. We would also like to thank all participants, individuals, and families who took the time out of their Sunday morning to enjoy nature with us.

In total, there were about 40 participants who stopped by to chat with us, take guided tours, and collect data using the citizen science application, iNaturalist. This event is proposed as a pilot for a year-long data collection project for the Municipality of Princeton’s Environmental Resource Inventory, which is led by Open Space Coordinator, Cindy Taylor.

Participants were guided on their walks by Winifred Spar and David Padulo of the Friends of Rogers Refuge. During these walks participants learned about the history of Rogers Refuge and about the native plants and animals. We were delighted to hear the participants were able to spot several birds such as the bald eagle, different species of warblers, and a pileated woodpecker! Participants were also able to spot a garter snake in the trees of Rogers Refuge. Additionally, participants spotted an abundance of skunk cabbage, mayapples, and violets in bloom.

We would like to extend our gratitude to PEC commissioner Don Deieso for his generous donation that made this event possible. Kim Dorman, Martha Liu, and Susan Colon of the Princeton Public Library (PPL) were instrumental in collaborating with PEC to augment PPL’s Nature Explorer Backpack program, which is for adults and young people. Councilwoman Eve Niedergang was among our leaders who helped us set up and check in participants the morning of the event. We also thank Sustainable Princeton for loaning tables, bike racks, and water containers for the event.

PEC hopes that the activities initiated on the day of the event will continue independently throughout the end of the year. It is enriching to learn about one’s community and Mother Earth, and the knowledge the community develops will be beneficial for PEC in our advisory efforts going forward.

Given the excellent turnout for the first event and the feedback from several participants, PEC anticipates expanding the Cole Morano Community Science event into a seasonal effort both in Charles H. Rogers Refuge and also other open spaces across the municipality.

Once again, we would like to thank all of those who joined us to commune around the natural communities of the Municipality of Princeton. Please keep your eyes out for future community science opportunities throughout the rest of this year. Additionally, please be sure to visit Princeton Public Library to check out a backpack and continue learning!

Harrison Watson
Commissioner, Princeton Environmental Commission

Tammy L. Sands
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission