Susan Allen Stockton University/Stockton University Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Matthew Olsen (left) and senior Environmental Science major Kyle Caccamesi take Atlantic white cedar seedlings to be planted in the cedar swamp at Stockton.

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Stockton University is contributing to state efforts to repopulate Atlantic white cedar trees in New Jersey by replanting a section on the university’s campus.

Last spring a cedar swamp was cleared for the purpose of replanting new cedar seedlings. Over several days this fall, some 2,500 cedar seedlings were planted on the wetlands clearing.

​​The replanting was coordinated by Matthew Olsen, ​​assistant professor of Environmental Science, Kyle Caccamesi, a senior Environmental Science major, and Bob Williams, of Pine Creek Forestry. The trays of seedlings were donated by New Jersey Audubon and grown by Pinelands Nursery.

The team also worked on creating a barrier out of fallen trees to protect the new seedlings from deer that may eat the seedlings. They have also discussed the possibility of adding a fence.

“We know that a lot of cedar will come naturally, but we want to prevent any uncertainties. It’s insurance against Mother Nature throwing us a curveball. There are a lot of deer that like to devour cedar,” Olson said.

The New Jersey Forest Service has also allocated $20 million to restore 10,000 acres of cedar forest over the next decade. In a research article that Stockton Professor Emeritus George Zimmermann contributed to, the authors estimate that Atlantic white cedar covered 115,000 acres in New Jersey prior to European settlement and is now down to roughly 25,000 acres.

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.