Figures: UL – EcoPreserve Land Steward Kendall Eldredge with a drip torch;
UR – team of students that participated in the RxB decked out in protective gear;
LL – post-burn in the large meadow showing patchy nature of the fire.
Working with the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS), a prescribed burn (RxB) was conducted in the EcoPreserve on April 4, 2023. The RxB was centered on the large meadow (at the intersection of the Green and Orange Trails) and adjacent block of woodland and the small meadow (at the intersection of the White and Orange Trails). The objective was to reduce the amount of invasive woody plants in the meadows in preparation for planting of various native grasses and wildflowers to enhance the meadows’ value as pollinator habitat. Burning in the woodland was undertaken to similarly reduce the amount of invasive understory plants.
The RxB served as a learning opportunity for a team of students that were involved in the initial planning, as well participation in the actual event. Students installed a series of plots to sample pre-burn vegetation; these plots will be revisited in the coming weeks to gather post-burn information. A 4H STEM program will also be going out to collect post-burn drone imagery later this Spring.
Thanks to George Efinger and other personnel from the NJFFS as well as the Rutgers Emergency Management personnel who were on hand to ensure that the prescribed burn was conducted in a safe manner.