Tis the season to be hopeful and thankful. And I am thankful Jackson Woods is being recognized by the Monmouth County Planning Board for the exemplary work being done on the revitalization project there. The Friends of Jackson Woods have worked diligently to reinvent these 13 acres and change their reputation into a community friendly destination, aesthetically beautiful, educational, environmentally sound and sustainable. Our work is far from done.
The Monmouth County Planning Board officially recognized our efforts at their meeting in Freehold on December 21. I will be receiving the recognition certificate in the mail shortly. I have invited them to find their way over to Jackson Woods in Spring when the daffodils are in bloom , the butterfly garden is planted, the new butterfly bench and brick walkway are installed and the trails and the DEP and engineering work is finally done. It has been a long wait, Over 18 months. Two babies could have been delivered by now.
I am also thankful for the audio tour of the park Phil Falcone has been developing. Nan Simone and myself have added historical information to Phil’s trail navigation and we continue to add nature information. It is a work in progress you can look at https://nearbyreality.com/Jacksonwoods/.
As you walk the park with your device connected you can hear the audio.
The Alliance for NJ Environmental Educators is including Long Branch’s Jackson Woods Park among 15 places statewide for in person site visits as part of its mostly virtual January 2021 ANJEE annual Winter Conference. The focus of the Jackson Woods visits will be Audio Tour Professional development for informal and classroom environmental educators.
I am also thankful for Samantha LaRocca, Americorps NJ Watershed Ambassador, who has offered support to the Jackson Woods cause and is looking into a topographical map and hosting an invasive species removal at the park. Looking forward to developing this partnership as well as working with Rutgers University, Chris Obropta, Liz Pyshnik, and Toby Horton.
Laura Newman from CME Associates reports the NJDEP requested another update to plan, but we expect the permit by the end of this year 2020. Once we have the permit, plans and specifications can be finished to bid and March construction is looking like a reality .
Thank you also to Sid Johnson for sharing info on the following grants. I am hopeful that our work on the 2020 Community Change Grant and the 2021 Application for Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program and a grant through NJ Healthy Communities Network will provide us with some needed funds for lighting, signage, a water source , new garbage and recycling receptacles and bridge repairs . The list goes on but I am hopeful we will be moving forward .
And so hopeful and thankful is the way the Friends of Jackson Woods are heading into 2021.
Enjoy the quiet winter months. Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year to all, and if you are feeling hopeful for the future of Jackson Woods and thankful for the work that has been done please consider a donation if possible of any amount to the Jackson Woods 501c3 account using the Monmouth Conservation Foundation website or sending directly to:
Monmouth Conservation Foundation, PO Box 4150, Middletown, NJ 07748
Thank you everyone for your interest, support, hard work, ideas…and enjoy your winter hibernation.
PS … we did start to name the trails and bridges and would love your input for other namesrelevant to Long Branch history.
So far, Haunted Bridge, Turtle Crossing Bridge, Hollywood Circle, Jackson Blvd., Green WaVe Trail, Slocum Alley, Northend Stroll, Pinsky Path, Steamboat Passage, Dorothy Parker Place, Farmhouse Way, Schoolhouse Trail. Visit the Audio tour to hear some history behind the name choices.
See you in Spring, Kathy Buchan
Friends of Jackson Woods, Rutgersu8@gmail.com, 908 581 7833