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First watch online any time! 
 Then start hiking those trails and exploring the parks and historic sites!  
 Go full screen by clicking the icon in the right corner of the video to the left of the “V” for Vimeo.

Join host Megan Gunning as she hikes, bikes and explores these scenic and critically important green places that offer a New Jersey you might not know existed.This half-hour program featuring Morris County, NJ, is the first episode in the Open Spaces & Historic Places series.  GNJP filmed at national and county parks, gardens, a wildlife refuge, trails and historic sites in Morris County. These parks, refuges, historic sites, greens and other sites were preserved because dedicated and determined  individuals and organizations worked to preserve them.   

Come be surprised by the beauty and variety of the wildlife of the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge Area that was to be paved over for an airport, which was stopped by local residents.  See where the telegraph clicked into life at Historic Speedwell.  Bike with cyclists through the historic Jockey Hollow section of the Morristown National Historical Park.  Visit a peaceful green in the middle of a bustling town square.  And walk through gardens bursting with native and exotic plants. This program is chock full of good places to visit from easy walking to more strenuous activity.

 Funding was provided by the F M Kirby Foundation, S Dillard & Adrienne Kirby, the S Dillard & Adrienne Kirby Philanthropic Fund of the Community Foundation, and Kim & Finn Wentworth.

 These parks, refuges, historic sites, greens and other sites were preserved because dedicated and determined individuals and organizations worked to preserve them.

Let’s honor their work by getting outside and appreciating the sites.

See you on the trail!


Premiere at the Morris Museum

Adrienne and Dillard Kirby hosted a wine and appetizers reception and screening of the program at the Morris Museum on the evening of Friday, March 28.  More than 300 people enjoyed reception in the galleries and filled the auditorium to watch the program. 

Production Team

Producer: Bob Szuter
Videographer: Joe Conlon
Host: Megan Gunning  
Environmental Advisor: Michael Catania, Board Chair, GNJP
Parks Advisor: Greg Marshall, Secretary/Treasurer, GNJP
Executive Producer: JoAnne Ruscio, President, GNJP


For more information on what to see in Morris County, visit the Morris County Tourism Bureau. 

The places we visited

Cottage Gardens & Rolling Hills 

The GNJP crew and host Megan Gunning met up with Dave Helmer, the executive director of the Morris County Park Commission, at the Willowwood Arboretum.  We filmed in the meadows, which were lively with birds, cicadas and other insects and then moved on to the cottage gardens where Kate Gutierrez and her volunteer gardeners were weeding and trimming.

Early Communications

Did you know the telegraph was invented in Morris County, New Jersey? For this segment in the show, we’ll take a look at how the telegraph was invented by Samuel F B Morse and Alfred Vail, and the human story behind the scientific one at Historic Speedwell.

Cycling through History

Megan had a chance to cycle with the Morris Area Freewheelers through Jockey Hollow (Morristown National Historical Park) to Lewis Morris County Park.  Thank you to the Freewheelers for spending their morning with us.  We also stopped by the Wick House to talk with historian Eric Olsen.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Nearly fifty years ago, a site composed of forested acres and ponds created by the Wisconsin Glacier and dotted with small towns was dedicated officially as the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  Megan Gunning talked with environmentalist Dave Moore about the jetport that could have been but wasn’t thanks to the actions of the determined and dedicated residents of the area in the 1960s. Instead of runways, the nearly 8,000-acre refuge provides critical resting and feeding habit for more than 244 species of birds as well as a variety of wildlife.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

On Earth Day in April 1998 at Fosterfields, Governor Christie Whitman signed three bills providing $22.5 million for the acquisition of development easements on 57 farms in 14 counties and stressed the importance of retaining a strong agricultural land base. This fall, GNJP board chair Michael Catania and Governor Whitman returned to Fosterfields to discuss efforts to preserve farmland in the Garden State – then and now.  Filming also took place on Patriots Path and the Columbia Trail.

The Morristown Green

This two-and-half-acre beautifully landscaped green in the middle of Morristown has witnessed life at all levels: political and civic activities as well as daily life from concerts and plays to the simple act of lunching on a park bench. Arnold’s Tavern and the Morris County Courthouse and Jail once stood at the edge of the green, which now is a verdant oasis in a bustling town. On a perfect fall day in October, Megan talked with Glenn K. Coutts, the president of the Trustees of the Morristown Green, Inc., the stewards who keep the green attractive and inviting, about its rich history and importance today.

The objective of the Open Spaces & Historic Places series is to develop an awareness of and appreciation for the natural and historic sites in the Garden State and to encourage individuals, families and groups to get out and enjoy their own state by presenting the information in an entertaining, informative and lively fashion with enthusiastic hosts. Viewers learn how easy it is to find a place to be outdoors either 15 minutes from their home or on a day trip.

Photo Gallery

Enjoy some of the photos taken at parks, historic sites and trails in Morris County as part of our advance work. Photos include Willowwood Arboretum, Bamboo Brook, Historic Speedwell, Patriots Path, the Columbia Trail, the Wick House at Morristown National Historical Park and other sites.


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