Fourteen Princeton University students camped at the Watershed this week as they helped remove invasive plants such as multiflora rose and Japanese stilt grass as part of their Sustainability Trip during their orientation week.
A dozen 2021 students became adept with loppers, clippers, and fencing as they helped protect a patch of native forest understory from deer grazing as part of their required community action work with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. Two 2020 trip leaders supervised and coordinated the group’s weeklong immersion activities.
“These guys already are getting to really know a dozen students by working alongside and camping together,” said trip co-leader Akash Pattnaik, 19. “This is a more genuine connection than what would occur at a social mixer.”
The Princeton University group assessed biological and chemical water quality on the Stony Brook and removed encroaching non-native plants on the northernmost portion of the 950-acre Watershed Reserve.
Jim Waltman, Executive Director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and a Princeton grad, explained the green features of the LEED Platinum-certified Watershed Center.
He provided background on the group’s activities and the Watershed’s mission to protect and restore water and natural environment through conservation, advocacy, science, and education.
Steve Tuorto, Science Director, Allison Jackson, Senior Naturalist, and Erin Stretz, Assistant Director of Science and Stewardship, lead the group on their outings- providing guidance on various plant species and activities.
During their off hours, the group caught butterflies, hiked on the ten miles of trails and explored the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House.