Help Plant Hilltop Trees This Weekend

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The Hilltop Conservancy is looking for volunteers to help it plant trees by Prisoners Pond in the Hilltop Reservation this Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, from 9 a.m. to noon. The Hilltop Reservation is located just uphill from Verona’s Freedom and Liberty youth athletic fields on White Rock Road.

To participate, you’ll need to wear tough shoes and work gloves, and bring drinking water and a spade.

Prisoner’s Pond is on the border of Verona and North Caldwell, and the Essex County Prison Annex occupied the land around it for most of the 20th century. The all-volunteer Conservancy has been working on an extensive forest regeneration project around the pond because the trees had been damaged and killed by invasive plants and the emerald ash borer. The pond itself had become clogged by algae.

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Conservancy volunteers have cleared out the dead and damaged trees, but they must now plant new native trees in their place, including Silver Maple, Black Gum, Red Maple, Pin Oak, Basswood, and Tulip Poplar. The Prisoners Pond project is part of a broader reforestation program that the Conservancy has been working on for the past decade in 10 areas across the Hilltop Reservation.

For more information contact the Conservancy’s treasurer, Theresa Trapp, at 973 289-0619 or [email protected] .

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