Friends of Princeton Open Space wishes a very HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY TO HELMUT SCHWAB!

Long-time FOPOS board member and trustee emeritus Helmut Schwab turned 90 on January 5th, and the Board takes this occasion to congratulate and thank him. Helmut has been a thoughtful, innovative and generous supporter of Friends of Princeton Open Space, and a true friend to the cause of environmental protection. Among his many accomplishments over the years are the following:

Conservation Easement on the lands of the Institute for Advanced Study:

When the Institute made known its desire to develop its land along Quaker Road, Helmut showed his tremendous ability to organize and motivate people. He quickly set up a meeting at his home of a group of interested parties, which included people with knowledge in many pertinent fields, and developed strategies for channeling their expertise into coordinated action to protect all of the Institute’s lands apart from the core campus. Later, once FOPOS, the Watershed Institute, D&R Greenway, the town and the state reached the framework of an agreement with the Institute, Helmut tirelessly prodded friends, neighbors and acquaintances to donate money to purchase the development rights. Of course, he and his wife Eva were also generous donors.

FOPOS Trail Linkages Initiative:

Helmut was instrumental in organizing an initiative to link Princeton’s open spaces through a system of trails running between the parks. He devised exploratory trail route assignments for other board members and pressed them to think of ways of linking existing open spaces and to anticipate where trail connections could be made in the future. Helmut then helped put those reports together into a cohesive plan.

The Stony Brook Trail and Footbridge:

Responding to the almost fantastical suggestion (or so it seemed) that a pedestrian bridge could provide the critical link in a Stony Brook trail from Rosedale Road to Route 206/Stockton Street, Helmut took it upon himself to make it real. He harnessed a Princeton University engineering professor who tasked his students with formulating a design, and followed up with a tempest of presentations, phone calls and email lobbying of Princeton Township officials. Helmut also helped to fund work on a trail from Rosedale Road to the bridge, and helped to get the Hun School on board with a spur of the trail coming through their campus.


Over the years, Helmut has written many letters to the editor on environmental (and other) issues, sometimes on behalf of FOPOS and sometimes on his own behalf. These were often bold and even courageous pieces that prodded the community to think harder, or in a different way, about open space and quality-of-life matters here. By his respectful and well-reasoned approach, Helmut helped move public opinion in a positive direction.

Happy birthday, Helmut, good Friend of Princeton Open Space!

Wendy Mager, FOPOS board president, and Helmut Scwab on the Stony Brook footbridge

Wendy Mager, FOPOS board president, and Helmut Scwab on the Stony Brook footbridge

Holiday Open House

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As you enjoy the miles of wooded trails in the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Friends of Princeton Open Space invites you to their annual Holiday Open House at the Mountain Lakes House to warm up with cider, treats and a holiday themed art activity. Stop in anytime between 1PM and 3PM. This family-friendly event is free and open to everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 1-3PM
57 Mountain Avenue
Princeton, New Jersey

While this event is free, please consider pre-registering to help us plan for attendance. For information about Friends of Princeton Open Space, please visit For questions about this event, please email

Photo Contest: Give Thanks For Nature


November 23 is also the kick-off of the Friends of Princeton Open Space annual Give Thanks for Nature Photo Contest. Professional and amateur photographers alike, are encouraged to take their best shot of all that the Mountain Lakes Preserve has to offer, and submit a photo for a chance to win nature-themed prizes.

Files must be in JPG format. Any aspect ratio is acceptable, but please size the file so that the longest dimension is 1500 pixels and set the quality to “high.” Filenames MUST include photographer's name and name of image: JoeSmith-Oak tree.jpg. In order to ensure anonymous judging, please include no signatures or watermarks that would reveal the name of the photographer on the photo itself. Entries must be submitted by midnight, December 15, 2018, via email to, with “Photo Contest” in the subject line.

Winners will be contacted by January 15, 2019. The photographer retains full copyright to his or her images. However, participation in the contest requires the contestant to give Friends of Princeton Open Space permission to use the photographs without compensation on the website as well as in news releases which may appear in print or on third party websites for the purpose of publicizing the contest. Friends of Princeton Open Space will always include the photographer's name when using a photograph for any purpose. Special thanks to REI for the donation of prizes for the contest winners!

For questions, please contact