Following is a list of the Hilltop Conservancy's accomplishments in 2011.
Bravo to all who helped make this impressive list a reality.
Let me know if you have any questions.
The Hilltop Conservancy, Inc.
Hilltop Conservancy, Inc.
Acomplishments for 2010
- Awareness-Raising Events and Efforts:
- January : Installed scout-constructed and donated kiosk at eastern entrance
- May : Conducted "Family Bike Hike"; presented meadow restoration project history and progress report to Fyke Association (Celery Farm, Allendale, NJ)
- June : Hosted beekeeping demonstration by Hilltop Honey; hosted North American Butterfly Association butterfly walk
- August : Conducted "Hilltop Grasshopper Bike Race for Kids" event; awarded certification by the University of Kansas Monarch Watch program of the meadow as a "Monarch Waystation"
- December : Awarded certification by the National Wildlife Federation of the Hilltop Reservation as a "Wildlife Habitat"
- Throughout the year : Posted articles, posters, art and announcements in kiosks at eastern and western entrances; responded to inquiries and requests for additional information from park and website visitors
- Trails Network:
- Continued membership in the NY-NJ Trails Conference
- Initiated interpretive signage project to develop and install two National Park Standard pedestals that will describe the meadow site's history and its eco-system
- Throughout the year : Cleared trails and storm damage, installed wooden bridge over stream on Spruce trail and re-built older bridge, continued improvements to trail marking and routing; opened and marked two new trails - one above Verona apartments and one parallel to Spruce and Old Hilltop trails
- Wildlife Habitat Restoration:
- Meadow restoration : Led volunteer teams to remove garlic mustard and transplant native wildflowers; trimmed back path overgrowth, applied topsoil to stony areas; conducted Ricoh-USA volunteer event to resurface path; received, potted up and stored more than 200 clumps of native wildflowers, for spring 2012 transplanting into the meadow; developed plan to restore 3-acre site just south of watersphere, and initiated project with Verona Township to bring in wood chips and topsoil to create growing medium over stony areas
- Forest health restoration : Assisted forest ecologist with assessing deer browse damage to red oak seedlings planted in December 2010; worked with NJ Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST) to map and treat new foreign invasive plant infestations, via Essex County partnership and funding; conducted site visits to South Mountain and Eagle Rock Reservations to review deer exclosures and discuss potential funding sources
Western Entrance and Route:
- Awarded $275,000 Green Acres grant to improve public access from western side (waiting for Essex County match from Open Space Trust Fund)
- Installed member-donated dog waste bag dispenser near entrance kiosk
- Reported yard waste dumping near intersection with Hilltop Drive -- Requested County to install gate to block dumper access to park interior; requested North Caldwell to block dumper access to rest of route (chain installed across Hilltop Drive near intersection with Arbor Road)
- Park Maintenance and Security:
- March : Reported eastern entrance kiosk vandalism (windows smashed); reported erosion damage on western route from detention basin maintenance
- April : Conducted 8th annual spring clean-up around Prisoner's Pond
- March / April / May : Conducted site visits and meetings with County Parks personnel to review and document multiple access, safety and clean-up issues
- June : Conducted clean-ups of northeastern slope with Scouts from Cedar Grove Troop 65 and volunteers from Northern New Jersey Cachers (NNJC) group
- July : Reported fires and other meadow area vandalism to Sheriff's Dept.
- September : Stopped and reported attempted hawk trapping to Sheriff's Dept. and surrounding township police departments
- October : Worked with Roseland Properties, Essex Fells Water Dept., Verona DPW, KHovnanian and County representatives to address access issues with gate behind Highlands apartment complex; installed park identification and rules signs at southern and western entrances
- Conservancy Management / Administration:
Appointed Jeff Tilley as Vice President of Projects and Gail Moxley as Secretary,(resigned 9/6/2012) to begin terms January 1, 2012