Over the summer, the New Jersey School of Conservation made a few exciting discoveries of endangered or rare, insects and plants living on our campus!
An exceptional find was by Bruce Taterka, a retired environmental science teacher at Mendham High School in Mendham, NJ. He spotted an Endangered Gray Petaltail Dragonfly, which is the state’s only endangered dragonfly. This discovery was impressive because this species relies on the highest water quality possible, and that is found in the Flat Brook River here at NJSOC! Its presence is a testament to our campus’ healthy wetlands and high water quality.
Three rare plants were also found here at NJSOC: the Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid, Narrow-Leaf Meadow Sweet, and the Linear Leaf Willow Herb (pictured below from left to right)!
Allyson Lance, an Environmental Education Coordinator here at NJSOC, discovered the Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid, which needs wet, shaded woods to grow. This rare plant can grow up to three feet tall! The name comes from its fringed petals, which emulate the shape of a butterfly. Its pollinators are butterflies, skippers, and moths. Dave Snyder, a New Jersey State Botanist, discovered the Narrow-Leaf Meadowsweet and the Linear Leaf Willow Herb. The Narrow-Leaf Meadowstreet is part of a larger plant family native to the Allegheny Mountains and other parts of eastern North America. Its shrubs can reach a height of eight feet and take over generous portions of the ground it is rooted in. The Linear Leaf Willow Herb requires extremely moist areas to thrive and is also native to the eastern and northern regions of North America. This herb can grow up to a meter tall!
We are thrilled about these findings and are proud to continue maintaining our School of Conservation because its incredible and diverse environment is what allows these rare species to flourish and thrive. Stay up to date with the NJSOC blog for more exciting updates about the discoveries we make on campus in the future!