In addition to helping the Township acquire and preserve open space, FOWWOS has been active in planning active and passive recreational uses for existing open space. The most notable example of this is the Ron Rogers Arboretum, dedicated in April 2001. Commemorating Ron Rogers, a life-long conservationist and founding FOWWOS trustee, this 28-acre property is located on the corner of Clarksville Road and Route 571, just across from the High School South.
The Arboretum was specifically designed to feature oaks, which were Ron Rogers’s favorite trees. In addition to specimen oak trees, it includes groves of other native trees, which are connected by an asphalt path. Included in the path are decorative brick paving stones which have been inscribed to honor a person or commemorate an event. Also in the pathway are engraved bluestones which identify the specimen trees by both their Latin and English names. Where specimen oaks have been dedicated in someone’s memory, that fact is noted on the markers. Space has been allocated for future expansion of the Arboretum to include additional pathways, trees and other enhancements
The focal point of the Arboretum is the Ron Rogers memorial. This features a granite obelisk topped by a bronze replica of Ron’s favorite hat, which he always wore.
After the tragic events of 11 September 2001, the Township resolved to construct a memorial dedicated to those West Windsor residents who perished on that horrific day. The memorial itself consists of two connected reflecting pools made of the essential elements of life: water, air and vegetation. It is a space for quiet contemplation. A handmade bridge crosses the waterfall between the two ponds. Pond plants and fish decorate the ponds and trees and ornamental shrubs surround them. Benches are provided for viewing and reflection.
The 9/11 memorial was dedicated in April 2002 in a ceremony that honored the 9/11 victims and their families. The memorial was made possible by donations from West Windsor residents, families and friends of the victims, and the “in-kind” efforts of local developers. These developers supplied the labor and equipment to dig the ponds, create the landscaping around them, provide electricity and water, and construct the benches.
The bridge, itself, was designed and constructed by Richard Snedeker, a FOWWOS trustee, using donated materials. The overall design, construction and coordination of the memorial was completed by the Arboretum Committee of FOWWOS, headed by Harley Pickens. Township Landscape Architect Don Dobromilsky was responsible for integrating the 9/11 memorial into the overall plan of the Arboretum.A gazebo was built in the summer of 2003 in memory of Lisa McNair Woodbury as a further enhancement to the Arboretum. Funds for the gazebo and surrounding landscaping were contributed by Lisa’s family and friends.
The Arboretum and its components have been designed as a perpetual growing place for all to enjoy. When new features are approved they will be tastefully integrated into the existing plan. The Arboretum will endure and prosper as a tribute to nature and a memorial to special residents of West Windsor.