May 24

Photo Contest Focuses In On Preservation Success Story in Great Swamp

Great Swamp Watershed Association will host first public event at 113-acre Primrose Farm on June 8.

Great Swamp Watershed Association board members and staff hike Harding's newly preserved Primrose Farm property, January 2013.

Great Swamp Watershed Association board members and staff hike Harding’s newly preserved Primrose Farm property, January 2013.

Morris County boasts a brand new destination for those who love the outdoors.

Primrose Farm, a 113-acre tract of wetlands, fields, and forest in Harding Township, was once slated to become a 13-lot residential subdivision. After years of advocacy work by a coalition of non-profit and community partners, and the application of more than $9 million in municipal, county, and state funding, the property was successfully preserved as open space in December 2012. Now, under the auspices of its current owners at Harding Land Trust, the site will remain wild—providing vital habitat for endangered species like the Indiana bat, and a large area of porous land capable of recharging local groundwater supplies and the nearby Passaic River.

Primrose Farm is also open to the public for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor recreational activities.

The first organized public use of the site will take place on June 8, 2013, when the Great Swamp Watershed Association holds The Essence of Primrose, a special photo contest aimed at capturing the quintessential spirit of the newly preserved property.

Photographers of all ages and skill levels are invited to visit Primrose Farm any time between 10:00 a.m. June 8, and 10:00 a.m. June 9 in search of one photograph that they think best represents “the essence” of this diverse and beautiful landscape. Naturalists and professional photographers will be on hand between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on June 8 to help contestants tour the property and provide photography tips.

Following the photography period, contestants will have 7 days to sort and process their work before submitting a single photo for contest consideration. The deadline for submission is 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 16, 2013.

A jury consisting of professional photographers, naturalists, and others selected by the Great Swamp Watershed Association will judge each work and announce winners in three different age group categories on June 25, 2013.

Winning photographers will receive a special prize from Winning photographs will be professionally printed by Madison PhotoPlus (Madison, NJ), framed by The Image Maker (Mendham, NJ), and publicly exhibited for one month at Somerset County Park Commission’s Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge.

Public access trail at Primrose Farm in Harding

In anticipation of June’s photo contest, the Great Swamp Watershed Association and its volunteers built this public access trail at Primrose Farm in Harding on May 17. This is the first official trail to appear at the site since its preservation in December 2012. Photo by Great Swamp Watershed Association, 2013.

“I am proud to say that, back in 2008, we were the first community stakeholder to recognize the intrinsic natural value of Primrose Farm,” said Sally Rubin, executive director of the Great Swamp Watershed Association. “We were excited when Harding Land Trust, the Trust for Public Land, and other partners answered our call to preserve this special place; we were eager to contribute to its purchase and protection; and, now, we are thrilled to be the first to introduce it to the public through this special photo contest.”

The Great Swamp Watershed Association contributed $200,000 to the purchase of Primrose Farm through New Jersey’s Green Acres program, and recently engaged a group of volunteers to build the first access trail onto the property (see photo). The organization will continue to assist the Harding Land Trust with future maintenance projects.

Groups contributing to the initial Primrose Farm preservation effort included the Great Swamp Watershed Association, the Harding Land Trust, the Trust for Public Land, the Harding Open Space Trust, the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund, and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Association.

For more information about the photo contest (including a complete schedule of events, rules, and photo submission guidelines) please visit online or call 973-538-3500 x22. To be eligible to compete, all photographers must check in with the Great Swamp Watershed Association at Primrose Farm — located at approximately 15 Brook Drive, South, Harding, NJ — between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Visit for a registration form. Registration is free; however, voluntary donations to the Great Swamp Watershed Association are gratefully accepted.

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