Conservancy Projects

The Brookdale Park Conservancy focuses on park improvement projects intended to restore and enhance Brookdale Park's Olmsted Brothers' Master Plan while keeping our modern-day park community’s needs and long term sustainability in mind.

Professionally trained and highly skilled Conservancy volunteers lend their landscape, construction and project management expertise to help develop an ambitious yet feasible roadmap for park improvements each year. 

Current Projects

Pollinator Garden & Monarch Waystation

A new pollinator garden and registered waystation #3132 for Monarch butterflies has been established in the heart of Brookdale Park and continues to expand in scope and beauty each year under the leadership of Jean Greeley through the Environmental Stewards Program with Rutgers Master Gardeners of Essex County. This project is supported by the Conservancy and is partially funded with generous donations from our supporters.

Overlook & Streambed Restoration

This hidden gem from Brookdale Park’s Olmsted Brothers 1930s master plan is currently being restored under the leadership of David Wasmuth and Jose German through the Environmental Stewards Program with Rutgers Master Gardeners of Essex County. This project is supported by the Conservancy and is partially funded with generous donations from our supporters.

Wildlife Habitat Enhancements

A ongoing park-wide effort focused on enhancing the park's natural habitat by offering much needed sustainable sources of food and shelter for our local birds and wildlife. Focus areas rotate throughout the park as conditions and funding permit.

Upland Woods

Currently in danger of becoming overrun with aggressive, invasive plant species including Norway Maple, Oriental Bittersweet and Japanese Angelica Tree, Brookdale Park’s unique 10 acre wooded area is in need of restoration. Invasive management work is underway at this time with gradual replanting being done as conditions and funding permit.

A Word About Invasive Plant Species Management

The Brookdale Park Conservancy partners with a number of professionally trained volunteer organizations to proactively implement invasive plant species identification and management practices. Measures are taken so that the work our supporters so generously fund and that our volunteers commit time to is both improving the park landscape's general aesthetic and is also environmentally responsible and proactive in dealing with the rapidly increasing number of invasive plants in the park. Our ongoing work is done with approval and frequent assistance from the Essex County Parks Department.

As to our process, after invasive plants are cleared out of designated project areas, the Conservancy is able use supporter funds as well as environmental grants to replant the park's landscape with trees and shrubs that offer year round habitat and healthy food sources for our park's wildlife. Plant selections are carefully made by a Landscape Architect and many trained Horticulturalists to best respect the 1930s Olmsted Brothers' master planting plan. The Conservancy consults regularly with a nationally recognized birding expert, Rick Wright, as well as with Essex County Environmental Center staff, to ensure that any disturbed habitat is replaced with one that will be more valuable to our local wildlife and that invasive clearing work does not occur at a time when our resident birds and animals are actively nesting or raising their young.

Last, the Conservancy's invasive management projects are purposefully limited in size. Partly so that any displaced wildlife can more easily move along to a nearby mature tree/understory area but also out of a sense of responsibility. Invasive plant management is incredibly labor/time intensive, replanting can be expensive and our organization is dedicated to being able to finish what we start.

To support our efforts to manage invasive plants in the park and to help restore the landscape through thoughtful replanting projects, support the Brookdale Park Conservancy today.

Recently completed Projects

Crabapple Grove

The restoration of this flowering tree grove from Brookdale Park's original Olmsted planting plan offers casual and active park goers four seasons of interest with white, soft pink and deep pink flowers budding out in the spring, summer fruit that persists into winter and golden fall leaf color. 

Redbud Hill

This new native understory grove will introduce the beautiful and hearty ornamental Redbud species to Brookdale Park and bring with it a stunning, colorful flower display early each spring. Multi-stemmed trees nestle into an existing shade tree canopy of Beech trees on the west side of East Circuit Drive with “cast off” trees complimenting the main grove from east side of the street. 


The Cherry Lawn

A breathtaking feature of Brookdale Park’s Olmsted Brothers designed master plan, the lawn area south of the modern day dog park was once edged with nearly two dozen flowering cherry trees. The few remaining cherry trees, far past their prime, were joined by a dozen new sizable cherry trees planted in an arrangement reminiscent of the original planting plan.