2002-04-25 / Bulletin Board

East Brunswick’s butterfly park unfinished, but open

Staff Writer
By vincent todaro

EAST BRUNSWICK — The first municipal butterfly park in the state was officially opened Sunday, but residents shouldn’t go looking for exotic butterflies just yet.

The township held the park’s groundbreaking, thereby opening the door for the establishment of an area that will include passive recreation and an assortment of various beautiful butterfly species. However, while most of the plans are in order, the physical aspect of creating the park is only beginning, according to township officials.

The park comprises slightly more than 10 acres and is adjacent to Great Oak Park, off Ryders and Rues lanes in the center of the township.

It has been planned by the Environmental Commission for over a year. Township Council Vice President Saul Fink, who sits on that commission, said the butterfly park was the idea of commission member David Moscowitz, who works in the environmental field.

"The environmental commission has done a great job putting all this together, but David should get a large part of the credit," he said.

The park is very much in its beginning stages, however, as the township is still preparing to clean out the overgrowth and brush from what will be the park’s main area, officials said.

"More than a year in the planning by the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, and much more than a butterfly park, the park is the first municipal park in the state and possibly the nation dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of butterflies," officials said in a press release.

The park’s main attractions will be wildflower meadows and plantings that will be intended to specifically attract various types of butterflies. The centerpiece of the park will be a wildflower meadow designed and managed specifically to attract butterflies.

Park-lovers will be able to get easy access to the wildflower patch by walking along a cinder-block path, which will provide access to the meadow from Great Oak Park. There will also be walking trails providing access to other areas of the butterfly park.

Fink said the park’s completion will be a long-term project, but it is hoped that most of it will be finished this year.

"Over the years, we’ll just add to it," he said. "We’re hoping to have a good bit of it done this year."

Among the chores remaining to be carried out before the park is fully operational are brush-clearing, planting and installing the cinder-block path. Fink said the township will rely heavily on volunteers.

"We’re looking for sweat equity and donations," he said.

Some funding for the park is already in place as part of the council’s recently passed 2002 capital budget.

There are already some butterfly species that call the park home, and the plantings will help to attract more of these, he said.

"The natural plants are conducive to having butterflies hang out there," Fink said. "We just want to enhance that."

Those seeking some passive recreation will be glad to know the park will have benches placed along its trails to provide opportunities to observe the butterflies and their habitats.

Those looking for a quick education in butterfly facts will be able to visit a kiosk that will have information and photographs on commonly seen butterflies.

Officials are hoping the park can be completed during "community days," which will be organized and planned by the township.

While much of the physical labor will be done by Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the East Brunswick Youth Council, township officials are trying to get other residents involved as well. They are also seeking donations of plant materials donated from local nurseries.

Fink said the park will be geared toward people of all ages.

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