Friday, July 10, 2015

Veblen House Hosts Rotary Club Youth Exchange Students

New experience, new friends, new spaces, new plants--that was the outcome of an afternoon spent on the Veblen House grounds with participants in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. The Friends of Herrontown Woods teamed up with the Rotary Club of Princeton to play host to eighteen of the volunteers—from Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, India and South Korea—all of whom are staying in the U.S. for a year with the help of four Rotary clubs in New Jersey.

My group bravely took on an intimidating stand of multiflora rose in the lower field, cutting back the tangle and hauling the thorny branches off to the woods. The object was to make room for some hazelnut sprouts rescued from a nearby construction site.

Metaphorically speaking, we took a couple lemons (a patch of invasive shrubs and a roadside hazelnut cut down to make way for a house) and made some lemonade,

and had some fun along the way. The eight hazelnuts have all since sprouted and are growing, protected from deer by some fencing.

Meanwhile, other students did some habitat restoration deeper into Herrontown Woods,
and cleared wisteria that had overgrown a the large circular stone wall where horses were once exercised next to the Veblen House. The cleared space within the horse run made a good gathering spot for a group shot. 

All in all, an exhilarating and productive afternoon. Thanks to all the students, and to the Rotary for making this possible.

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