Local Scenes
Kingston Greenways Association

Wonderful news! Parks will reopen on Saturday, May 2 at dawn. Just be sure to keep these five things in mind so that everyone can enjoy parks safely:

Practice social distancing
Stay close to home
Wear a face covering
Avoid playgrounds
Avoid gathering in groups


We decided to cancel our Earth Day event that had been scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, in accordance with the closures of state and county parks and historic sites, and our commitment to public safety during the pandemic.

However, we urge all of you to take some time to clean up in your own neighborhoods, while enjoying fresh air and the sights, sounds, and scents of spring! Every day can be Earth Day! And do please visit the Earth Day website for 22 virtual ways to celebrate Earth Day! Earth Day Challenge

The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For more about the history of Earth Day--how and why it came about--go to Earth Day History


No, that is not a misspelling! CHANJ is an acronym for Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey, an effort to make our landscape and roadways more permeable for terrestrial wildlife by identifying key areas and actions needed to achieve habitat connectivity across the state. A lot of time and effort has resulted in the creation of an amazing mapping tool--https://njdep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=53339ff12f27488d8462e5e2c4c21b5c--

with a mapping tutorial accessible on youtube: CHANJ Mapping Tutorial

For a general overview, please check out the CHANJ website at CHANJ


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Wet weather persuaded us to begin the event with a talk by Railroad Historian John Kilbride in the Locktender's House--but then Mother Nature turned off the rain and the sun came out, so we walked along the bed of the former Rocky Hill Branch Railroad while enjoying fall colors.

KGA trustee Ksenia points out a railroad tie still visible in the old railroad bed.

About John Kilbride: Now retired from a 34-year (Amtrak) railroad career, John is the moderator of the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historians and Railroads of Trenton (FaceBook) groups, studying the C&A since moving to New Jersey in 1979. Raised on Long Island, the LIRR was an early interest; college and USAF assignments led to wider railroad interests. Historical research and writing remain his strong interests on a variety of railroad topics, including an article on a unique passenger train for a national publication. He has started research on a book focusing on the electrification of the Long Island Railroad, and another on NJ's “Joint Companies.” He advises local historians on specific historical aspects of both the C&A and the Pennsylvania Railroad in New Jersey. He seeks to travel by train whenever possible!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Photo by Kirstin Ohrt

On the banks of the Millstone River in Kingston, D&R Canal State Park Naturalist Stephanie Fox introduced participants to a teeming, fascinating world of water critters, and explained how they can be indicators of water quality. With nets, magnifying lenses, and aquatic macroinvertebrate charts, "stompers" had a cool time in the water!

Photos by Colleen Schantzer:



Photos by Kirstin Ohrt:



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Jim Barg of the NJ Mycological Association presented “A Brief Introduction to Finding and Identifying Wild Mushrooms,” a look at what mushrooms are, how they grow, and how beginners can go about starting to identify the mushrooms they find. Jim is a semi-retired graphic designer who is currently employed as a freelance wild food and mushroom forager for several restaurants in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. He is a past President of the New Jersey Mycological Association and is one of their veteran mushroom identifiers. He also serves as art director for the Association’s bimonthly newsletter. In addition, Jim is a consultant to the New Jersey Poison Control Center, acting as one of several mushroom identifiers who are called in cases of suspected mushroom poisonings. A short summary of his talk follows.

Jim used the words mushroom and fungi interchangeably in his talk. Fungi cannot make their own food, as plants do, so they rely on their substrate (that on which they grow) for sustenance. The business end of the mushroom is IN the substrate. What is visible is the fruiting body, which produces spores--like single-celled seeds. Spores under the right conditions form hyphae, similar to a cotton ball in appearance, which is the way fungi achieve growth. Spores can be dispersed in a variety of ways. For instance, the dog stinkhorn attracts flies to its viscous spore mass, which then spread its spores when the flies die and disintegrate.

Spore prints may be made by placing the mushroom cap on a piece of white paper, covering it with a bowl, and waiting for the spores to drop. The prints can be beautiful as well as useful in identification, due to their distinctive appearance.

Fungal cells are similar in composition to those of shrimp and crabs, as they are made of chitin, and not lignin. Fungi either assist the growth of plants, or hasten plants' breakdown by extatcting nutrients. Parasites feed on plants, eventually killing the plants and themselves, making way for the decayers. But the majority of fungi are mycorrhizals that have a symbiotic relationship with their trees. As the fungi thrive, they serve the vital function of keeping moisture going into the trees.

Tree identification is an asset in mushroom identification, as most fungi are only able to grow under or near specific trees. For example, the prized morel is found only under tulip poplar, white ash, dying apple trees, or dead elms. Hen of the woods is a parasite of oak.

In attempting to identify wild mushrooms, it is crucial to be obsessively observant. There are lots of look-alikes. The macro characteristics must be looked at in detail. These include the general shape or profile or silhouette--cap, stem, and base-- as well as the texture, color, appearance of the bottom, the underside of the cap, gill formation, odor (fresh specimens only),and the presence of a ring or veil.

Where is it growing? On the ground? On a tree? Under a tree? On another fungus? (The medicinal mushroom cordyceps grows on dead caterpillars!) Is where it's growing dry or wet, sunny or shady? What is the soil like? What kind of trees are nearby? What season is it? All fungi have their own season. Is it growing singly, or in groups? Edible chanterelles grow under beech and black birch in summer, and singly--but a close look-alike, Jack-o-Lantern, grows in a mass attached at the base and is poisonous. (True to its name, it also glows in the dark!)

If there are gills, are they attached to the stem, or not? Does the mushroom change color when stroked or cut? Does it produce "milk"?

The Amanita family of mushrooms all exhibit a swollen base that looks like a cup or vase form which the stem rises. This is a valuable characteristic to observe because of Amanita's highly toxic nature. A common mushroom in our area, Amanita amerivirescens,or the "Destroying Angel," is considered one of the three deadliest in the world. There are the "Foolproof Four" edible mushrooms--Puffball, Chicken, Morel, and Inky Cap--but mushroom seekers should heed Jim's advice:

"When in doubt, throw it out!"

Anyone wishing to go deeper should consider getting a mushroom identification guide, and to visit the NJ Mycological Association's web site: http://www.njmyco.org/

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Our thanks to the volunteers who joined us to celebrate Earth Day by removing garbage from our open spaces, woods, and roadsides. The cleanup of Laurel Avenue and the environs of Rockingham Historic Site was ably undertaken by the morning crew.

In the afternoon, volunteers collected litter in areas adjacent to Mapleton Road, Division Street, Heathcote Road, Ridge Road, Greenwood Avenue, and Railroad Avenue.