Friends of Princeton Open Space (“FOPOS”) is pleased to announce that it has recently received its third Franklin Parker Excellence Grant, through a grant program administered by New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Previous grants were used for projects in the 400-acre Mountain Lakes Open Space Area that surrounds FOPOS’s headquarters at Mountain Lakes House, and included installing native plants, constructing deer exclosures to protect native trees, shrubs and plants, and removing invasive species.
This year’s grant will be used to purchase resources to teach children from local schools and summer camps the importance and wonder of the natural world. The children will be able to use equipment such as microscopes, insect nets and water quality testing kits to study plants and animals in our parks, and will also be given supplies for activities to do at home.
Since receiving the grant in June, FOPOS has already hosted 36 children from the Princeton YMCA Outdoor Living Skills camp. FOPOS Natural Resources Manager Jeff Geist, along with summer interns Anna Korn and Katrina O’Donnell, gave the children a guided hike, pointed out edible wild berries, identified trees and wildlife, and taught basic outdoor first-aid. FOPOS hopes to partner with many other school and camp groups to continue its environmental education work with the new equipment.