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Growing Nature’s Classroom: Lawrenceville Expands Outdoor Learning Opportunities
Christina Conner

The Lawrenceville School will soon be expanding student outdoor learning opportunities through a new land stewardship plan that is in development in partnership with the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS).

Director of Sustainability Steve Laubach notes that FoHVOS program director, ecologist Mike Van Clef, and FoHVOS land stewards Dana Christensen and Cory Snyder, will be leading the effort to conduct an initial survey of the School’s 640 acres and develop a comprehensive 10-year stewardship plan for this land. Their survey will focus on both the core campus in locations such as the Bowl Woods forested stream corridor and in more distant locations that include forests, wetlands, and meadows near Princeton Pike. The project involves development of prioritized recommendations and specific goals aimed at maintaining and enhancing the conservation value of natural and semi-natural areas on campus. It will be implemented alongside a campus water monitoring program begun in the spring of 2020 with support from the Stroud Water Research Center and the Fair Play Foundation through Blaine Phillips P’22.

As part of the plan, students will participate in ongoing ecological field work pioneered by Lawrenceville alumnus and renowned ecologist Aldo Leopold (Class of 1905), including forest health enhancement, tree plantings, and wildflower meadow restorations. This work will benefit area plant and animal populations at a time when habitat loss and climate change are threatening wildlife at all scales from local to global. School undeveloped land forms a key area wildlife corridor that connects nearby locations such as Mercer Meadows County Park and Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.

Through coursework, summer internships, and other opportunities, students will participate in mapping native and invasive species for use in developing the stewardship plan. Plant surveys will help identify any state rare or endangered species that inhabit the property and foster an appreciation for the variety of species and habitats on School-owned land. Students will also learn how their work in applied environmental science and biology relates to careers in field ecology, ecological restoration, and sustainability.

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.

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