Now over 400 acres, the St. Michaels property, which was preserved in 2010 and expanded in 2017, is an expanse of farm fields and forests on the edge of Hopewell Borough. From many parts of this preserve the visitor has long views, lending the preserve a wonderful expansiveness which promotes a sense of well-being in anyone who walks its many farm roads and paths. From 1896 until 1973 this was the home of St. Michael’s Orphanage and Industrial School which was operated by the Catholic Diocese of Trenton. After the orphanage was closed, the building where the children lived and went to school was torn down and most of the land was leased to a local farmer. Before the diocese divested themselves of the property through development they offered one last chance for preservation if D&R Greenway could raise the funds to purchase the property. Over $11 million was raised, and in 2010 D&R Greenway succeeded in purchasing the land through a public/private partnership. It is now preserved as open space forever.
This audio trail is designed to help you give children ways to find a home in nature. Children for whom nature is a home have a place where they feel free to explore, to express themselves and to learn about the creatures, birds, rocks and water that share our planet. Explore the tour below!
Exciting things are happening at St. Michaels Farm Preserve!
Remembering Jackson McGrath Place
The popular audio tour of St. Michaels Farm Preserve has been updated with a new tribute to Jackson Place. This informational and meditative tour is designed to help children find a home in nature and now includes a story about “Jackson’s Place.”
Even as a young child, Jackson was fascinated by nature and loved insects, especially spiders and pollinators. He was proud to be from Hopewell and loved taking walks, seeing butterflies, and watching sunsets at St. Michaels Farm Preserve.
“Looking out on a field full of butterflies, bees and purple martins, Jackson’s Place is a beautiful place to relax and contemplate the life-giving qualities of nature. We are grateful to John and Karen and their family for sharing Jackson’s love of nature with the community at St. Michaels Farm Preserve.” ~~ Linda Mead, D&R Greenway Land Trust
Jackson’s family is pictured with a kiosk next to the “Jackson’s Place” memorial gazebo and bench dedicated on EarthDay 2021. Take a walk and stop by to enjoy a long view of a pollinator field, just below the Charles Evans Overlook.
Listen to a story about a young man named Jackson Place and his love of nature in our St. Michaels Farm Preserve TravelStorys audio tour.
To experience the tour, download the TravelStorysGPS mobile app found at the App Store and Google Play Store, and search for “St. Michaels Farm Preserve.” Once downloaded, the geotagged stories will play automatically as you walk around the preserve. To listen to the tour remotely, visit this link.
NOTE: Those who have already downloaded the St. Michaels tour in the TravelStorysGPS app will have to redownload the tour in order to experience the new Jackson’s Place story. Go to the Settings button in the top right corner of the app, then click “Manage App Storage.” Swipe right on the St. Michaels Farm Preserve story and click “Delete.” Then close out of the app, reopen it, and download the tour again. This will allow access to the updated version.
Click Here to learn more about St. Michaels Farm Preserve and an Innovative Climate Project with Soil Carbon Partners