D&R Greenway News

First Phase of Carbon-Sequestration Process to Slow Climate Change Completed at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 30, 2021, Princeton ~

The first phase of an  innovative carbon sequestration project at D&R Greenway’s
St. Michaels Farm Preserve has been completed, according to the project leaders
from Soil Carbon Partners (SCP).

Growth of lush forage grasses exceeds expectations, in fields fertilized with a special mix of organic materials and minerals. Despite significant spring rains, followed by a hot, dry spell mandating irrigation, just two weeks after planting, production was twice that of grasses grown in control areas, and has been increasing since the first test results. Three independent researchers, including from Princeton University and the University of Vermont, are evaluating results in the amended fields compared with control areas not treated with SCP’s natural, organic soil amendments.

In May, SCP’s special mix of soil fertilizer, an organic blend of minerals and microbes—was spread on fifty acres of fields on D&R Greenway’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve. The first phase of the project, that included deliveries and mixing of materials, and spreading organic elements on the fields, is now complete. The goal is to increase productivity exponentially to expand the ability of the plants to sequester and store carbon from the atmosphere. If successful, the science will demonstrate how agriculture can be managed to diminish catastrophic climate change.

Truck Spreads Soil Amendments at St. Michaels Farm Preserve
Lush forage grasses via Soil Carbon Partners organic amendation at St. Michaels Farm Preserve

SCP will bring a small herd of cattle to selected fields this summer. This experiment replicates grasses and processes of the healthy ecosystem that nourished long-ago bison on Western prairies. Cattle nourished on SCP’s fertilized forage grasses, fed by nutrient and mineral-rich soil, are expected to produce significantly less methane than is typical today. The impact of St. Michaels Farm cattle upon the climate will be tested. Daniel Rubinstein, Ph.D., of Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology will focus his research on the impact of this system on the animals. His expertise is founded on an individual animal’s foraging, mating and social behavior. At St. Michaels Farm, Dr. Rubenstein will measure methane emissions, which are expected to be reduced as the cattle consume nutrient-dense forage growth from SCP-enriched pastures.

The trails at St. Michaels Farm Preserve remain open as always, and visitors are encouraged to enjoy the lush, green views. D&R Greenway and SCP asks that, later this summer when the cattle arrive, walkers maintain a “Cattle-Distance” of at least 6 feet from any fenced fields where cattle are grazing.

The amenities at D&R Greenway’s signature preserve were recently enhanced with a new, rustic three-sided bench structure, Jackson’s Place, on top of the hill near the Charles Evans Overlook. Visitors can enjoy a wide view of pollinator fields and Hopewell Borough from this vantage point, accessed from Aunt Molly Road or by walking across the stream on the trails from the main parking area. The total preserve is 415 acres, with this scientific study taking place on a total of 60 acres.

Click HERE where you will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Soil Carbon Partners and the carbon sequestration project.



D&R Greenway Land Trust, an accredited nonprofit, has saved over 22,000 acres of New Jersey land since its founding in 1989.  Preserving land for life and creating public trails grants everyone the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The land trust’s preserved farms and community gardens provide local organic food for our neighbors—including those most in need. D&R Greenway’s strategic land conservation and stewardship combat climate change, protect wildlife, and ensures clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway’s mission is connecting land with people from all walks of life.

D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, home to its art galleries in Princeton, is currently closed to ensure health and safety due to COVID.  Our outdoor trails and labyrinth are open. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages and www.drgreenway.org to learn about the organization’s latest news and virtual programs. D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540.  The best way to reach D&R Greenway staff is by sending an e-mail to info@drgreenway.org or by calling D&R Greenway at 609-578-7470.

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