Save the Environment of Moorestown (STEM) invites the community to celebrate its 50th anniversary at Pompeston Park on Oct. 2.
The event will start with a tour of preserved open spaces in the township, followed by activities that include live music, children’s events and a bee-keeping presentation.
Founded in 1972 by Barbara Rich, Esther Yanai, Kay Smith and Renee Boulis, STEM – a community-based organization dedicated to addressing environmental issues – has preserved and protected more than 275 acres of land in Moorestown, including South Valley Woods, Strawbridge Lake Park, Waterworks Woods and Stokes Hill.
“Probably the number one thing is really their advocacy for preservation of open space,” said organization President Mark Pensiero. “ … STEM donated $50,000 to help create the Esther Yanai preserve, which was really a key aspect of making that happen.”
“STEM does many, many things to enhance the open spaces by maintaining trails and trying to keep invasive species under control,” he added. “Over the last two years, we’ve had the two big projects – the native pollinator garden and the establishment of the big, native grass and pollinator field.”
According to stemonline.org, installation of the 4,500-square-foot pollinator garden adjacent to the dog park at Swedes Run was completed last year after STEM won a grant for plants from the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.
The garden is home to roughly 1,300 plants spread among 10 species and continues to thrive.
“The garden, just as we expected and hoped for, required far less work this year,” Pensiero noted. They’re super well established (and) they have super deep roots, so they don’t require the intense watering they needed last year.”
“The other thing that’s really neat is, you’re seeing a lot of the seedlings growing this year …” he added. “That garden continues to get better, to get fuller and I think next year it’ll be interesting, because we have this native plant sale every year during Moorestown Day, and I’m sure we are going to be harvesting some of (those) plants and selling them.”
Pensiero also recognized the township’s ongoing support of STEM.
“It’s been a nice partnership through a lot of the things we’ve done with the township,” he explained. “When we did the big field, the township was supportive of that, and the pollinator garden …
“It’s this nice relationship where they help us do the things we want to do to make Moorestown better, because we all benefit from that.”
The 50th anniversary celebration will be held at the big field in Pompeston Park at the end of Georgian Drive from noon to 4 p.m.
“ … To recognize the projects that we’ve done over the years … it gives an opportunity to (honor) the people that started the group and all the wonderful results that the group has had,” Pensiero said of the celebration.
“Hopefully for the next 50 years it will continue.”
For more information on the event, visit STEM’s official Facebook page.