Following is a list of the Hilltop Conservancy's accomplishments in 2012.
Bravo to all who helped make this impressive list a reality.
Let me know if you have any questions.
The Hilltop Conservancy, Inc.
Hilltop Conservancy, Inc.
- Awareness-Raising Events and Efforts:
- Made presentation at Verona town council meeting on 3-acre meadow restoration project and its benefits to the Hilltop and the Township
- Conducted "Family Bike Hike"
- August - Conducted "Hilltop Grasshopper Bike Race for Kids" event
Made presentation to H. B. Whitehorne 8th-grade classes about the Hilltop, including its wildlife, eco-systems and current challenges
- Conducted guided hike for H. B. Whitehorne students, teachers and parents
Throughout the year-
- Posted articles, posters, art and announcements in kiosks at eastern, southern and western entrances
- Responded to inquiries and requests for additional information from park and website visitors
- Trails Network:
- Continued membership in the NY-NJ Trails Conference
- Developed and installed interpretive signage (using National Park Standard pedestals) describing the meadow restoration site's history and current eco-system
- Throughout the year
- Cleared trails and storm damage (over 100 hours of work to clear, re-route and re-build after Hurricane Sandy, work still ongoing)
- Ongoing marking and maintenance of existing trails
- Wildlife Habitat Restoration:
- Commissioned ecological assessment to guide future restoration efforts
- Reviewed requirements with FWS and NRCS
- Conducted Hilltop site visit with foresters from Gracie & Harrigan Consulting
- Conducted Hilltop site visits with Mike Van Clef of Ecological Solutions
- Foreign invasives management
- Continued efforts to control tree-of-heaven, gloss buckthorn, common privet, Siebold’s viburnum, Japanese aralia infestations (via basal bark application)
- Conducted site visit with Dr. Mark Mayer of the NJ Dept. of Agriculture to assess mile-a-minute infestation and control by introduced weevils
- Deer population management
Sumer / Fall - Worked with South Mountain Conservancy to establish online petition to continue the County’s sharpshooting program, publish op-eds on the importance of managing deer populations, and analyze the unit cost and effectiveness of 3 control methods: sharpshooting, immunocontraception and surgical sterilization
- December - Conducted volunteer event to assist forest ecologist with planting plots of red oak seedlings to monitor deer browse damage throughout the park
3-acre meadow restoration
- February / March - initiated project with Verona Township to bring in mulch and clean fill, and then spread it to create future growing medium
- April - Led Conservancy volunteer teams to water the new site, seed native grasses and wildflowers, and apply straw to conserve moisture
- October - Led Seton Hall Prep volunteer teams to seed more native grasses and apply mulch
- 10-acre meadow restoration
- Spring - led volunteer teams to limb up trees, remove weeds and clear fallen branches
- Summer - Trimmed back overgrowth along wood chip path
- Fall - Applied topsoil and mulch to stony areas to promote growth
- Forest health restoration
- February - Applied for Green Acres grant to fund deer exclosures
- November / December - Initiated project to restore forest understory in 7-acre woods north of 10-acre meadow restoration site
- Western Entrance and Route:
- January - Worked with volunteer to define restoration plan for detention basin
- March - Followed up with North Caldwell DPW to replace cut chain across Hilltop Drive and halt landscaper dumping in the Reservation
- April - Led Conservancy volunteers to clean up old debris and dumped materials behind Hill Street and Glenview Road homes in North Caldwell
- August - Cut back overgrowth along western route
- October - Led Seton Hall Prep volunteers to clean up old debris and dumped materials behind Hill Street and Glenview Road homes in North Caldwell
- Park Maintenance and Security:
- January - Worked with Roseland Property, Verona DPW / Emergency Services, Essex Fells Water Department and the County to resolve security and access issues at the eastern and southern entrances (all parties now have procedures, their own padlocks and each other's contact information)
- March - up with Century 21 / Roseland Property to clean up construction-related trash east of the Highlands development site
- April - Reported grass fire and new graffiti to Sheriff's Dept.
- Worked with Verona Township to remove graffiti on 3 retaining walls
- Met with County Parks Department to discuss longer-term issues and priorities for the Hilltop Reservation
- December - Filled County-provided dumpster with old demolition debris
Number of Mailing List Subscribers:
187 by 2012 yearend
Acomplishments for 2011