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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Duke Farms, Hillsborough, New Jersey, USA

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Duke Farms, Hillsborough, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: December 2009
City/Town/Province: Hillsborough
Posts: 1
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The goal of my project, A Forest Restoration Plan, was to restore the native understory of an underdeveloped forest for the purposes of research and development by Rutgers University and Duke Farms. The project took place in Nursery Woods, a nine-acre plot of land fenced in to keep deer out so that my project, and other research projects, can jump start the native understory. The major question being asked is whether or not a forest, once completely destroyed, can return to being healthy. Upon my continued visits to Nursery Woods I noticed that my plants were thriving. The naturalist, Mr. Almendinger, confirmed that my plants’ survival rate is over 90%, a phenomenal number that is highly unusual for a project of this type.

It is my hope that anyone viewing the details of my complete project will be inspired to go out and duplicate my results in other locations. What we learn from my project can benefit all people, and enable me to share my love of the outdoors in new ways beyond leading backpacking, hiking and camping trips.

Thank you for considering me for the NWP Ecologist award.
Eagle Scout Proposal
Final Write-up
For Nicodemus Wilderness Project
A Forest Restoration Plan

Troop: 489

Scoutmaster: Gary

Advancement Chairperson of the Committee: Marcie

Chairperson of the Committee: Mitchell

District Advancement Chair: Alana


History of Forest Restoration at Duke Farms
Project Outline
How will these Groups Benefit?
Leadership Plan (The Method)
Training Session Lecture Outline
Safety Plan (Safety and Hazards)
Actual Safety and Hazards Encountered
Personal Log


You could say that my love of the outdoors goes back to the days at the environmental center that I attended in elementary school. There we learned about natural camouflage, birds, human-environmental interactions, and trees. When I was about seven years old my dad found a maple sapling growing under the garage door and instead of pulling it out and throwing it away, he and I planted it in our front lawn and the tree and I grew up together. It is now about four times my height and healthy. This is why, when I was faced with the epic task of selecting an Eagle project I chose to start a project centered on trees and creating a healthy forest.

I had also been exposed to the outdoors as a cub scout and later as a boy scout in our many activities including nature hikes, camping, and discussing nature.

History of Forest Restoration at Duke Farms

Have you ever driven along New Jersey’s highways and looked into a stand of trees? Typically you will be able to see through the trees. This is a sign of an unhealthy forest. “Healthy forests filter water, remove air pollution, sequester carbon, and provide homes for wildlife.” ( Much of the understory of New Jersey forests have been devastated by the large numbers of deer populating continually shrinking open space land. The deer are particularly fond of new saplings and bushes and with the large number of deer populating the area’s diminishing open land they devour more of the understory layer and don’t allow new saplings to grow.

For the past four years the researchers at Duke Farms have placed deer fencing around a 33 acre property called Nursery Woods. They, along with researchers from Rutgers University and other environmentally-oriented organizations, have studied the impact of a deer-free environment on this area. They have observed a number of new saplings growing; however, a major detriment to their growth has been the encroachment of non-native invasive plants (i.e. Japanese Barberry) crowding them out.

In 2004, Eric Munley from Somerville completed his Eagle project of invasive species removal. He removed the invasive plants, mainly the barberry in Nursery Woods (a research area at Duke Farms), and made space for the return of native plants and animals, which had left due to lack of food and living space. My project will be to recreate the native understory by planting a number of different native species which will bring back the biodiversity required to make a healthy environment. It will give animals a place to live, grow, and flourish; and leave behind a healthy forest.

Project Outline

1. Think of Idea
a. Forest Restoration At Duke Farms
2. Discuss Idea
a. Meet with Thom Almendinger, Dr. Forup
i. Discuss location of project
ii. Discuss what types of plants needed for Project
1. Discuss how to get plants
a. Contact Nurseries
i. Pinelands Nursery
ii. A Wild Bird Oasis
b. Which Plants
i. Ilex verticillata (Winterberry Holly; Black Alder)
ii. Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel)
iii. Lindera benzoin (Spicebush)
iv. Vaccinium corymbosum (High-bush Blueberry)
v. Viburnum dentatum (Southern Arrowwood)
1. Native
2. Grow understory
3. Food for animals
4. Home for animals
iii. Discuss tools needed
1. Who will supply them (Duke)
2. How many
iv. Discuss Money (Scout Supplied)
b. Pictures (Before)
3. Proposal
a. Write It
b. Get it Approved
i. By Mr. Almendinger, Dr. Forup, Advisors
ii. Mr. Bouwmans, Scoutmaster
iii. Troop 489 Committee
iv. District Committee
4. Fundraising
a. Applebee’s
b. Nursery Defrayments
c. Total of 740 dollars
5. Work
a. Work Schedule
i. Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday
ii. Troop Roster
1. Scouts
2. Scoutmasters
iii. Other Workers
b. Planting
i. Tools
ii. Training
1. Outline
2. Safety
iii. Plants
iv. Pictures
1. During
2. After
v. Advisors
1. Mr. Almendinger
2. Dr. Forup
vi. Required Scoutmasters (+2)
6. End Write-up
a. Changes
b. Ending


The outline above is a brief sketch of my project, including what is planned, and what I have already accomplished. The outline starts with “Think of Idea” and finishes with “End Write-up”. So far I have accomplished up to letter 3biii (Troop 489 Committee Review/Approval). This has included meeting with representatives from both Duke Farms and Rutgers University to discuss plants, planning, tools, and money. At these meetings I discussed the details of the project with Mr. Almendinger and Dr. Forup.

Mr. Almendinger is a Naturalist Researcher at Duke Farms and Dr. Forup is a Professor and Fulbright Fellow at Rutgers University. We talked about which jobs I was to do and what Duke Farms would supply.

The Project is the second stage of a long task to recreate a healthy forest with all the layers that it should have. These layers include an emergent layer, canopy, understory, shrub layer, and forest floor. The first stage was started by Eric Munley who cleared away Barberry and other invasive species. My project will be to replace the now cleared area with plants such as Witch Hazel, Winterberry Holly, Spicebush, High-bush blueberry, and Southern Arrowwood. To get these plants I have started to send emails and call nurseries to see if they have the plants I need. In order to raise enough money I will have at least two car washes at Applebee’s, a local restaurant on the dates in the schedule page. Each car wash should yield $375, meaning that in order to raise the $740 I need, I will need two car washes. If these car washes do not yield this amount, a third car wash will be scheduled. If there is any additional money I will donate it to Troop 489 to give to other scouts needing money for their Eagle projects. The calculations for costs are on the cost page. For a car wash to be successful it needs two different groups of people. One group of three people and two adults will be standing outside of Applebee’s on the street with signs showing where to go and for what purpose. The other group will be those people washing and drying the cars. The more people the better.

The tools will be provided by Duke Farms. The plants are tublings and should be planted in early fall (see schedule). Tublings are 2-4 inches tall. The plants are going to be delivered by FedEx to Duke Farms. During planting time I will need two scouts per shovel and at least two available scoutmasters. The location and plant patterns will be determined by Dr. Forup and Mr. Almendinger.

Mr. Almendinger and Dr. Forup will be onsite at all times for security reasons and to make sure the other research projects do not get damaged. Each hole made should be about the diameter of the shovel and slightly deeper than the roots to provide for aeration. The dirt should be broken up and placed back in the hole.


1.) Duke Farms Foundation
80 Route 206 South
Hillsborough NJ 08844

2.) Rutgers University
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
1 College Farm Road
New Brunswick NJ 1582

3.) People of Somerset County

How will these Groups Benefit?

1.) Duke Farms will have a restored forest. It will also allow them to conduct research on the effects of manual restoration versus natural restoration of an understory and its impact on the entire ecosystem.

2.) Rutgers will be able to publish its research and allow its students, both undergraduate and graduate, to get hands-on field experience.

3.) The people will benefit because the area will become healthy, allowing for plants and animals (other than deer) back into the ecosystem. They will also be able to view and experience a healthy forest ecosystem.


This concept was discussed with my unit leader on 8/15/05


Leadership Plan (The Method)
During the course of this Eagle Scout project I will provide leadership to a group of people to accomplish a task for the good of Duke Farms, Rutgers University, and the people of Somerset County. Over several dates I will need to be able to take charge and lead a group of boys, girls, and adults to accomplish the task of revitalizing a forest by planting an understory and running car washes. It is up to me to find out what to do, how to do it, and where to do it. I then have to instruct my helpers to accomplish the task safely.

Training Session Lecture Outline
1. Introduction
a. Why everyone is there
b. What we’re trying to accomplish
c. Why now is the best time for restoration
2. Proper Clothing
a. Long pants (light colors) tucked into socks
b. Close-toed shoes
3. Hazards
a. Ticks (reason for light pants tucked into socks)
i. Show tick pictures
b. Poison Ivy- technu product in first aid kit
i. Describe it
ii. Avoid it
c. Stinging nettle
i. Describe it
ii. Avoid it
d. Wasps
i. Benedryl in first aid kit
ii. Not common this late in season should be too cold
e. Dehydration
i. Water On Site at Visitor Center
ii. Drink fluids
4. Jobs
a. Describe jobs
i. Flag-finders
1. Find flags
2. Lay down plants
3. Followed by shovelers
ii. Shovelers
1. Dig plants
2. tell Depth, width
3. how close to other plants should be
b. Adult supervision
i. Adults within eyesight
ii. Travel around
5. Mr. Almendinger/ Dr. Forup Speaks

Safety Plan (Safety and Hazards)

I am trained and certified by the National Safety Council in First Aid/ Adult CPR. At all times during the Project I will have a First Aid Kit (see tools list). I will have two adults on site at all times. A Duke Farms representative such as Mr. Almendinger will have a radio to contact Duke Security in case of emergency and will always be onsite and present. As part of the training session and before departure people will be encouraged to check themselves for ticks after leaving and to take precautions before arriving (wear long pants, light colors, wear tick repellent). Sunscreen will also be suggested. For poison Ivy scouts will be reminded of calamine lotion and products such as Tecnu (poison ivy lotion).

Actual Safety and Hazards Encountered

Due to careful planning and vigilance there were no safety hazards encountered.


Personal Log

Hours I spent Planning the Project: 24:35
Hours I spent Carrying out the Project: __12:25____
Hours I spent Working on the Project: ___37:00____

(Date, change and reason for change)

The largest change to my project was the fact that my project needed only one day of planting to complete it. I attribute this fact to several circumstances including the weather, a light rain, perfect for planting and eliminating the necessity of watering the plants, a project that would have taken a lot of time. The second reason for this time was the estimate about how long it would take to dig each plant. This too was helped by the light rain that made the ground softer. Perhaps the biggest reason for the speed of its implementation was the number of workers who came and the number of shovels and trowels available.

The second change to my project was the time that it took to raise the money I needed. My first car wash yielded a total of 537 dollars due to the generous contributions of people as well as the expediency of the cars washed. During the next car wash I therefore only had to raise the other 150.50 dollars.

The other minor change to the project was when we brought two ladders so that the people working on the car roofs could reach.

(to be completed after project finish)

September 17- Car Wash I

Today was the first day of my actual Eagle Scout project. After arriving early with all the necessary gear we began to set up. The people at Applebee’s were as friendly as they always were and they showed me how to work everything before the scouts arrived. I had informed my helpers to get there a half hour early so it would be easier for me to assign jobs and get the gear together. Over the past week I had gone through the scouting directory and called up all the scouts and although I didn’t like it at the time, I was glad when the car wash came when I had thirty-one people there. Another fact which contributed to this was the number of girl scouts who came throughout all three days of my project. I also had several friends show up to lend a hand.
The car washes went well. I was in charge of collecting the money and supervising the process. The system we created went like this; there were two hoses and two “stations”. The first station was the soap station. There were two people with tire brushes on each side who, as the cars rolled up, would clean out both tires and soap them up. Then there was one person for the back of the car, and one for the front. There was at least one person with a ladder working on the roofs and two on each side working on the body of the car. The cars were initially sprayed by a hose person. The second station was the drying station. After the soapy cars went here they were rinsed, and then dried by six people, two on the sides and one on the back and one on the front.
The 17th was the busiest day and I was surprised by the amount of money we made. At some points the line was so long it stretched through the parking lot of Applebee’s. After seeing the amount of money we made (over 2/3 of my goal) I decided that we didn’t have to go for nearly as long the next week.

September 24 - Car Wash II
Today was the day of the second and final car wash. Needing only to raise 150.50 dollars the time was slated to start 10:30 with the carwash starting at 11. The day went as busy as ever with less people showing up but still more than enough to finish the job. We utilized the same system as before. At one o’clock as we were packing up it began to rain. After counting I found I had five dollars over. This went into paying for gas.

October 1
Looking outside my window at the rain that was falling I had a bad feeling about the day. I bundled up and headed over early though so we could move around the plants before everyone arrived. Mr. Almendinger, my advisor at Duke Farms and I put down the plants at the beginning location. He also told me that the rain was a good thing; we didn’t need to water the plants. This cut back drastically on the amount of time we needed and led to the fact that we weren’t out in the field another day.
The pre-planting session was held inside a tarp that usually served as the food tent. We went over how to plant and what we were doing. After arriving at letter A on the Map, we began. Progress moved along rapidly and by one o’clock we were done with the initial planting. We then moved over the area again looking for any missed plants or any that weren’t planted correctly. By 1:45 we were done.

How Did the Scout Benefit?
At the beginning of my Eagle Scout Project I had no idea what I was in for; I had previously thought about a cemetery restoration project and various other things. When this project came along it seemed a great fit for my love of the outdoors and catered to both my strengths and weaknesses. Over this time I greatly benefited by the increase in my self-confidence that comes from doing a huge project from start to finish that I created with huge amounts of help from all my friends and fellow scouts, both male and female. This project also fulfilled my goals of having an impact upon the environment. I can also see this project as being beneficial to me in the future. I can always come back and show people my project and show them where I planted those plants so long ago. Perhaps the greatest way that I benefited was that I began to get to know and like the different members in my troop more. After working together and having them pitch in to help me I got to know and appreciate each of their skills.

What Would Be Done Differently?

If I had to redo this project again I would do very few things differently. The project was more of a success then I thought possible. It may even be said that the success of my project was in some part due to two lucky accidents. Right after my second car wash it began to rain; after going inside I found that I had exactly the amount of money I needed; the morning of my planting it rained, making the ground softer and making it unnecessary to water them.

I think that by calling all the scouts beforehand, following the exact plan that was laid out in this packet, and allowing extra time and room for errors made the success of the project assured.
· Date: December 30, 2009 · Views: 3823 · File size: 28.8kb, 216.2kb · : 720 x 540 ·
Hours Volunteered: 304.7
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 10 to 60
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 3.6
Native Trees Planted: 550
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