Friends of Jackson Woods on mission to make park shine

Long Branch — Kathy Buchan of Friends of Jackson Woods recently released an update on what has been happening at the park lately. New structures and plantings are planned.

Volunteers help out at Jackson Woods Park.

“It has been a little over a month since our June cleanup and the heat has slowed us down a bit outside, but behind the scenes things are happening. Meetings have taken place with the Monmouth County Conservation Foundation, Senator Vin Gopal, the Dodge Foundation, Gold Coast Garden Center and others all interested in helping to create a park like no other,” she said.

The Friends of Jackson Woods now have a mission statement: “The Friends of Jackson Woods are local volunteers committed to the revitalization of the 13 acres of wetlands known as Jackson Woods in the North End of Long Branch, New Jersey. Our mission is to transform this land into a unique, innovative, and sustainable urban park. By working collaboratively in a public-private partnership with the local government, businesses and non-profit organizations we hope to preserve the parks unique ecosystem and the habitat it provides for local wildlife. We want to create for residents and visitors a serene and aesthetically pleasing area for passive recreation, environmental education, promotion of the arts and the preservation of Long Branch’s rich history.”

The Friends are looking for help with their mission. They are currently seeking donations for daffodils for the fall cleanup and planting, and plan to place them at all the entranes to the park..

They could also use some volunteers to stop by the Tom Booth Garden and the sensory garden on the Avenel entrance to the park and pull a few weeds. The Friends have cleaned an area for the butterfly garden and the butterfly houses are in place thanks to Public Works Director Stan Dziuba.

In addition, Buchan says they are looking for local artists “to create unique one of a kind benches to be placed throughout the park.”

They also have someone building a bug house for the park to house ladybugs and other insects. Bug houses, sometimes called insect hotels, are often used to attract bugs which fertilize gardens or protect areas from pests. The Friends ask people to start saving wine corks, broken flower pots, birch logs, bamboo pieces, and pine cones to be placed in the finished product.

The Friends also now have a way collect funds for projects. The Monmouth Conservation Foundation has offered to help the Friends of Jackson Woods acquire tax deductible donations. Donations can be sent to: Monmouth Conservation Foundation, PO Box 4150, Middletown, NJ 07748

Friends of Jackson Woods are building a bug house for ladybugs.

Please make sure you enclose a brief note indicating that the funds are earmarked for Jackson Woods Development, or indicate that in the notes section of your check.

Online donations will be available thru a dedicated portal soon. “Jackson Woods is a labor of love, sweat equity, and joy. It will be a park like no other with the help of each and everyone of us,” said Buchan.