Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

January 18, 2006


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Cliff Miles, Phil Notestine, Louise Davis, Linda Spencer-Green, Bob Dewing, Laurel Durenberger, Jerry Uhrig




Laurel Durenberger attended as a representative of the Environmental Committee to discuss how we might collaborate on the invasive plant problem.


Louise is our new Borough Council representative.






Phil reported that there are no additional deer reports since the last meeting. Hunting activity was essentially suspended over the holidays.  For the year 2005 there were a total of 3 deer deaths as a result of cars, much lower than the previous years.  Bow hunters will be active until the season ends next month.  Both Phil and Cliff reported that in their walks in the woods they have seen much less deer browse and many more buds on the stems.  It was reported that the Environmental Commission wants to do another infrared survey this spring to update the earlier data.   Jerry mentioned that there were concerns about the count last year. The number seemed to be too low, and in some cases the deer were in the wrong places. A state Fish and Wildlife biologist told us that Essex County had similar problems. The state biologist is no longer recommending the firm we used, Hot Shot from Colorado. The recommended firm is now Davis Aviation from Ohio. They (Larry Davis) can be reached at 330-677-8612.




Laurel is writing an article on invasives for the February issue of the Home and School Bulletin.  Jerry stated that the invasives problem is much too big for one single committee to handle. Broad cooperation is needed.  The emphasis will be on an educational approach to the public.  Laurel felt that the focus should be placed on removal of the plants from particular sites.  The public needs to have the problem identified for them and then given specific methods on how to remove and rid the site of the plants.  The approach must be simple and user friendly.  Jerry handed out an overview of the Woodlands Management Committee’s website.  This was then gone over with Laurel and specific issues were discussed.  Jerry asked any or us if were had read or seen the book: Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden, a Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook. Linda mentioned that she would be able to get this book if Jerry wanted it. 


The topic of edible invasive plants was suggested as a means of fostering public interest and involvement.  An excellent resource for such information can be found at




The garlic mustard pesto recipes distributed last year were suggested by way of example.  The “Garlic Mustard Round-Up” event held last year was discussed as a means of getting volunteers.  Laurel suggested a hike to collect and eat invasive plants, perhaps offering it on Earth Day as an event.


It was noted that we have a lot of Japanese knotweed, which is edible, along Pocono Road mostly opposite the Borough Garage and we did have some adjacent to the Birchwood parking lot until Jerry removed it. We will have to watch this year to see how successful the removal turns out to be.


We also mentioned that the Woodlands Restoration Demonstration Project on West Shore Road illustrates how common landscaping plants, lamium, pachysandra, and myrtle, can become troublesome invasives in our woodlands.


It was suggested that the Garden Club could help us to inform the public as to invasive plants that should not be planted in town. 


Jerry then mentioned that the New York/Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has information regarding invasive plants that can be accessed from the Woodlands website. The URL is




They group plants into three categories: Invasive Species, Potentially Invasive Species, and Watch Species. Invasive Species are clearly invasive in the New York metropolitan area. Potentially Invasive Species are reproducing in the wild, but more monitoring is required to determine how invasive these plants are in the New York metropolitan area. Watch Species are found in the wild but currently do not appear to be invasive in the New York metropolitan area. However, they are invasive in other regions and therefore are considered species to watch.


Phil suggested that we budget herbicides into our budget next year to spray the borough lots for garlic mustard control. The Borough crew would have to be trained to use the chemicals. Cliff said that only certain chemicals would require that training, Round Up does not require special training for usage but, as with any herbicide, you have to follow directions carefully.   Louise suggested creating a test plot to explore different methods of eradication; however, Jerry said that he has pretty much done that. Due to the vast number of seeds distributed by each plant and the persistence of the seeds, it takes a long time - up to 10 years - for complete eradication.


Phil suggested that using the Home and School Bulletin as our forum might help to educate the community.  Jerry explained that the Woodlands Committee space allocation for the Home and School Bulletin is 3 pages per year. So if we used ½ page notices we would be able to reach the community 6 times a year out of the 8 issues each year.   This would enable us to keep the community informed of new efforts required over the year and also encourage residents to use the Woodlands Website as a resource tool.  Jerry showed us the “Calendar for Invasive Removal” that Lynn Uhrig had begun to develop.  Jerry also handed out a list that Lynn created of invasive exotic species control methods that she put together after attending a lecture by Rob Jennings.  It was very impressive and it was felt that whatever we do must be easy for the public to use.


The committee has decided that we will begin to use our Home and School page allocations beginning with Laurel’s Invasive Plants notice. Someone asked if we had approached Town Club for funding for public awareness campaigns?  We could use that extra funding to buy more pages for public education awareness.


February 10, 2006 is the copy submission deadline for the next issue of the Home and School Bulletin. Laurel will be providing the copy on invasive plants.  She also suggested getting Lynn Uhrig’s calendar for Earth Day and the Trout Derby as a handout.  We could have a table at the Trout Derby with information and plant examples of Invasives.  This year we could have students be the leaders of the Eco Hike.  They could lead other students on these hikes at the high school.  As for volunteers, we should contact the volunteers from last year’s Garlic Mustard clean up and offer possible training.  These volunteers were Mary Ellen Theel 8 Center Drive and Zack Armstrong 10 Roberts Drive.  Martha has additional information to contact them (phone number and e-mail).  The Goal is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.




Cliff updated us as to who to notify if any tree infestations are spotted: Rutgers Cooperative at 973 285 8300.


Other topics


            Bird Houses

Cliff mentioned that he had seen a flock of bluebirds near the playing fields at the high school and wanted to know if he could locate some bluebird boxes in the reforestation area to encourage the birds.  Louise suggested that he speak with Gary Webb and perhaps consult with the schools if the bird houses were to be on school property. In any case, we might ask the schools to involve the students in building them.  Bob said that he would contact the Boy Scouts about this project.


It was also suggested that martin houses might be suitable for the Wildwood parking lot.  But then there was a discussion about the fact that martins eat dragon flies, which in turn eat mosquitoes, and thus by attracting martins you would probably increase the mosquito population. 


            Vernal Pools

Phil also mentioned the vernal pools and felt that they should be in very healthy condition this coming spring.  The season for the vernal ponds life cycle begins in late February.  Jerry mentioned that there are pools that are not on the Rutgers maps that are located both in Mountain Lakes and in the Tourne.  The herptile count (frogs, toads, turtles, salamanders, lizards, and snakes) was down last year. A discussion of this problem and possible causative factors can be found at the website mentioned below.


There was a conversation about trying to make the frog and toad call CD accessible from the Woodlands website. It turns out that there are at least two sources that we can link to.

An on-line guide to New Jersey herptiles, including frog and toad vocalizations,

can be found at





The vocalizations are a shortened version of the ones on the training CD "Calls

of New Jersey Frogs and Toads." The complete CD can be purchased for $10 at





A really excellent website that includes some of the New Jersey amphibians and addresses the broader issues of declining amphibian populations can be found at




            Borough Newsletter

Phil asked if there was a possibility of the Borough reinstating the Borough Newsletter and Louise explained that because the town has joined with the Home and School to reach the community that the Borough would not be likely to print a separate newsletter.  It was mentioned that many people read the Neighbor News,  and Laurel suggested that perhaps there could be a biweekly column on Invasive Plants, again Louise said to go through Garry Webb.


            Native Plants

It was asked if there are Native Plants that we want to “celebrate” and highlight so that people begin to know what to look for in native plants: wintergreen, orchards and jack-in-the-pulpits were a few mentioned.  Cliff mentioned that he had seen an American chestnut in Valhalla Glen still producing chestnuts.


            Pocono Site

Jerry mentioned that George Jackson has spoken of the Borough site across the street from Borough Garage and the need to have it cleaned up.  We want to talk to the Shade Tree Commission about some restoration work they had done at the site.  It was stated that there is waste soil and dead deer being dumped there.



There was a question as to whether the lawn services were being updated with information in regards to trees. Perhaps it can be addressed at our joint meeting with Shade Tree in February.


For our joint meeting next month, Linda said that we should do a series of short presentations for them to begin a dialog on topics of mutual concern. Linda will be the organizer of the meeting.  We should plan to speak about 5 minutes on each topic. The topics and speakers are:


DVD Presentation Overview                 Linda

Invasives                                              Martha and Jerry

Threats and Diseases                            Cliff

General Forestry 10 years out               Bob (a list of trees that should be encouraged)

Deer                                                     Phil

Vernal Pools                                         Phil