The Watershed Institute – One location with many (many!) things to do!

The Watershed Institute is located on Titus Mill Road in Pennington, NJ.

Link to the Watershed Institute’s Website.


Well, as I learned in my high school freshman english class “The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry” which I had always though was from the book “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, but apparently it was an adaptation from the poem “To a mouse” by Robert Burns.  I suggest you try giving that poem a read…  I could barely make head nor tail of it 😉

Anyways, I digress.  The point being, I had planned to get up early with the wild boys to take them to the Watershed Institute to explore before it got too hot out, but they slept in until 9:30am!!  It was obscene really… They usually never sleep that late, but of course because I wanted to get out of the house early they wouldn’t get up at a convenient time.   Digression again, so lets get started on our albeit short outside adventure at the Watershed Institute!


We have been to the Watershed Institute a couple of times, but we had never adventured out on the trails.  It was a scorcher of a day, so we tried to make quick work of the raised trail.  Littlest is starting to walk and this raised trail was easy for him to walk on and was a fun perspective to look out on the meadow.


Big Dude wanted none of our slow walking nonsense!


Littlest modeling our Sourland Conservancy hat that can be purchased here!


The Wild Boys causing a ruckus as per usual!


Echinacea or cone flower, Echinacea purpurea, one of my favorite summer flowers.  These flowers are just stunning and whenever I see them I just have to stop and gaze for awhile.  When I was a child my mother used to make herbal tinctures from Echinacea to boost our immune systems when we had a cold.


Broad Leaf Cat tail, Typha latifolia, another favorite from my childhood.  I spent part of my childhood in a small town in Virginia, and I remember going to the park and picking cat tails and pulling all the seeds out and watching them drift slowly away in the air.


A bumble bee, Bombus spp., on butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa.  First off, lets just appreciate the awesomeness of this flower?  I love the intensity of the orange!  Bumble bees are important pollinators and one species of bumble bee native to NJ just got placed on the endangered species list.  Read more about the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee here.


Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum, a native commonly found in full sun.  This plant contains the same toxic elements, cardiac glycosides, as milkweed and has a similar milky substance within its stems.


Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, in bloom!  Important for pollination and as a food source for caterpillars.


Queen Anne’s Lace or Wild Carrot, Daucus carota.  Wild carrot and the cultivated carrot that you eat at home belong to the same species, Daucus carota, but the cultivated species we eat is part of a sub-species, Daucus carota sativus.


Escaping the heat to see the exhibits inside!  My big dude loves snakes!


Future scientist honing his microscopy skills.


Whoo Whoo made that sound?


Littlest loved pushing the buttons and lifting the flaps.  I mean, who wouldn’t???


I loved all the sensory exploration the Watershed Institute had for the children.


Sourland Conservancy represented at the Watershed Institute!


Blazing Star, Liastris spicata, a beautiful native loved by many a pollinator and person a like!


Dawn Red Wood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, a deciduous conifer.  While this tree is non-native, it is not considered to be invasive.  There are only a few other deciduous conifers that live in this area; Eastern Larch, Larix laricina and Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum.  


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