End the Vandalism at Rogers Refuge

Princeton’s Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge has endured an ongoing campaign of vandalism over the past several years. The Friends of Rogers Refuge, the volunteer organization that has stewardship of the refuge, is seeking to open communications with the party responsible for the destruction of our works to see whether we can come to an understanding.

Rogers Refuge is recognized throughout the state as a key site for migrating birds. It is located off West Drive on land adjacent to the Institute for Advanced Study. Though the land belongs to New Jersey American Water, an environmental easement to the former Township of Princeton was established several decades ago in order to preserve the abundant wildlife of the refuge’s marshes and wet woodlands.

Since the refuge was first founded, the Friends of Rogers Refuge have worked to preserve and improve wildlife habitat through such actions as invasive species removal. We also seek to make the refuge more welcoming to human visitors through building and improving trails and other infrastructure, such as observation platforms, bridges, and a parking area. Our activities are supported by donations from people who love Rogers Refuge and generous assistance from Washington Crossing Audubon Society, the Municipality of Princeton, and New Jersey American Water.

For several years now, we have struggled under a disheartening load of vandalism at the refuge, which has strained our straightened budget and cost our volunteers much wasted effort. Trail markers have repeatedly been pulled down as soon as they were put up (resulting in complaints from visitors that they are unable to follow the trails). Signs have been vandalized.

When we lay out changes to our trails, the flags indicating the new route are removed before we can do the work to move the trail.

In February, after we refurbished the refuge bulletin board, it was torn apart in less than a week, leaving us with no posters and only a pile of Plexiglas shards.

Even so small a touch as a single small flag indicating the best place to watch for the refuge’s famous red-headed Woodpecker (who has a favorite tree) has been removed repeatedly.

It appears to us that this vandalism is a concerted campaign by somebody in the community who disapproves of our stewardship of the refuge. If this is the case, we would very much like to discuss the matter. I can be reached by email at lee.c.varian@me.com or by telephone at 609-924-7031.

People who are interested in the Refuge can join our email list by sending email to listserv@princeton.edu making the body of the mail SUB RogersRefuge <full name>

Lee Varian

Chair, Friends of Rogers Refuge

Capital Philharmonic Brought Down the House

As biased as I may be, considering that I am the president of the board of trustees of the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey, Keith Spencer, and his show, “Brothers on Broadway,” brought the house down, Saturday evening, February 22, at Patriots Theater of the Trenton War Memorial.

1,016 people bought tickets to experience Keith Spencer’s tribute to the many African-Americans who have made it to Broadway.

This show was a debut, of sorts, because it is the first time ever that this show was performed with a symphony orchestra — the Capital Philharmonic.

An eclectic group of sponsors and patrons made up the audience. They were all colors, ethnicities, and ages.

There were large representations from Shiloh Baptist Church, Union Baptist Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Ivy League Educational League, UIH Family Partners, First Tee of Greater Trenton, Run Free Ranch, Urban Promise, Ann’s Choice, Traditions at Washington Crossing, and the Present Day Club to name a few. Many came by the busloads.

The performing arts scene is alive and well in Trenton. We at CPNJ can’t thank the attendees enough for their support that made possible the second highest attended CPNJ show since CPNJ’s initial concert, New Year’s Eve 2013.

Part of CPNJ’s mission statement speaks to using the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey as a catalyst for the redevelopment and renaissance of Trenton’s downtown. The War Memorial is the perfect home for the performing arts in Trenton; not to mention, it is an architectural jewel. Since CPNJ’s founding in 2013, it has been a tough slog, but Keith Spencer’s amalgamating with CPNJ gives us all hope that Trenton can be returned to its rightful place as an arts center. CPNJ is committed to the success of this mission.

I direct you to www.capitalphilharmonic.org for more information. Again, thank you to all who made this breakthrough a reality.

Gloria S. Teti

Chair, Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey

Editor’s note: For more on Teti and the CPNJ, see “Former Opera Singer Gets in Tune With Capital Philharmonic Orchestra,” U.S. 1, October 11, 2017.

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