Flora and fauna: A look at the Pinelands’ ecosystem

The township library will educate the community about nature in the South Jersey area by hosting “Flora and Fauna of the Pinelands” on Wednesday, April 3.

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The 7 p.m. program will focus on the Pines’ 1.1 million acres, according to VisitNJ.org. Known as the Pine Barrens, the area’s ecosystem of plants and animals will be among subjects of the library presentation.

“The Pine Barrens are home to unusual animals, rare plants and beautiful habitats not found elsewhere in the state,” reads a description of the free event on the library website.

Addressing the library program will be Allison Hartman, director of education for the Pineland Preservation Alliance. The organization is dedicated to preserving the resources of the Pinelands by protecting them from abuse by what the agency calls “sprawl” and “poorly designed development.” Other dangers include damage from infrastructure – such as pipelines – and illegal, off-road vehicles.

That topic will be one of many the alliance will discuss at the library event, which will also emphasize the library’s partnership with the community read program at Longwood Gardens, the Pennsylvania attraction that houses one of the largest gardens in the world.

“As part of the program, we want to educate our community on different aspects of nature in the South Jersey area,” explained Adult Services Librarian Debbie Drachman.

The program aims to educate participants on nature preservation by featuring books that the Longwood Gardens selects every year. This year’s titles are “The Last Garden of England” and “The Secret Garden.”

“The Last Garden of England,” by Julia Kelly, focuses on a garden that connects generations of gardeners and teaches them important life lessons.

“‘The Last Garden in England’ exemplifies the meaning that we can all find in gardens,” notes the Longwood Gardens website. “Just as Longwood Gardens has brought beauty to the lives of generations, so too does Highbury House, whose lovely gardens are at the center of this historical fiction spanning three generations.

“Taking place in 1907, 1944 and present day, this novel connects five women – from the gardens’ original designer to the modern-day designer charged with restoring their beauty – who find true meaning and solace in the gardens.”

“The Secret Garden” is a picture book take on the novel of the same name and tells the story of young Mary Lennox as she finds comfort in a foreboding manor house’s garden, a reprieve from her strange new home.

“Flora and Fauna of the Pinelands” registration is required in advance on the GCLS website.

“On April 3 we will be hosting the educational director of the Pinelands Adventure Organization to give a talk on the unique properties of this region including its wetlands, forests and animals making up over one million acres,” Drachman said.

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