Welcome to Hawk Rise Sanctuary, a 95-acre ecological preserve and wetland complex, which was carved out of a former landfill in Linden, New Jersey.
This park is open from dawn to dusk and includes a “double-legged" lollipop trail of about 1.5 miles that alternates between boardwalk and gravel paths. In addition to panoramic views of the Rahway River, trails are equipped with interpretive signage to provide visitors with habitat descriptions and information regarding over 120 species of birds and other wildlife that have been seen in the area.
The Forest Community
Healthy forests are comprised of native plants and they support a community of organisms. Healthy forests can change in composition over time without losing their integrity as forest ecosystems. While the forest at Hawk Rise Sanctuary has been greatly disturbed by people, invasive plants, and exotic wildlife, there are a number of native plant and animal species thriving here.
The Four Seasons of Deciduous Forests
Healthy deciduous forests are layered with large and small trees, tall and short shrubs and groundcover. The diversity of plant size and structure creates a variety of food and shelter sources for wildlife. Health forests must have some dead trees as well, to serve as habitat for wildlife and to recycle the nutrients plants need for growth. Because of human-related disturbances and activities, many forests throughout this region have only a tree layer. Without seedling trees and saplings establishing themselves, there is nothing to replace the older trees when they die.
Like salt marshes and wetlands, forests provide ecological services that enhance people’s quality of life. Besides creating green spaces that help moderate local climate, forests slow water runoff and help purify it as it passes through the soil into groundwater reserves.
During photosynthesis trees collect carbon dioxide, and while oxygen is released back into the atmosphere, carbon is stored in tree trunks, roots, leaves and soil. Holding carbon in trees prevents it from entering our atmosphere, helping to reduce global warming.
Green spaces, created by forests and other natural habitats, have also been found to actually reduce people’s stress levels. So, take a walk and reduce your stress!