Families can help kick off the Roebling Park restoration project at River Days, featuring trail activities, crafts and food, on Saturday, Sept. 15. (Photo credit: Mary Leck)

The Mercer County Park Commission and D&R Greenway Land Trust will celebrate River Days on Saturday, Sept. 15, from noon to 3 p.m. The free family-friendly event will take place at the Tulpehaking Nature Center with trail activities, arts and crafts, a raffle and a neighborhood cookout on the back lawn of the nature center.

“This event kicks off efforts by Mercer County and the Park Commission to restore the wetlands in Roebling Park,” county executive Brian M. Hughes said, adding that they’re inviting the community to participate in activities to help monitor the wetlands restoration. With the guidance of naturalists, visitors can search for birds and aquatic insects that can be found in Roebling Park, and also learn about invasive plant species and help remove them from the park. Pictures will be taken to document the wetland restoration progress.

The Tulpehaking Nature Center will host lunch from noon to 3 p.m. Free hamburgers and hot dogs will be available to the first 100 visitors; additional meals will be available for purchase. Families can enjoy weaving with reed grasses, examining marsh plants under a microscope and taking their picture with an air boat. There will also be a chance to win a bike or kayak by entering a free raffle.

“The Abbott Marshlands has one of the most diverse ecosystems in Mercer County and is an important part of our park system,” park commission executive director Aaron T. Watson said. “River Days will be an excellent way to provide an educational approach to the restoration, and provide insight on the natural functions of the marsh.”

Other activities will include the Guerrilla Haiku Movement, a national community art project. This new installation will be an exhibit by the people, expressing visitors’ personal stories and impressions about water through the simple poetic form of haiku.

“Our goal for this restoration project is for the community to be engaged as changes take place,” county naturalist Jenn Rogers said. “Visitors will have their voices and personal stories of the aquatic environment reflected in this Guerrilla Haiku exhibit. In a way, this is their chance to leave their mark on the nature center.”

For more information about the nature center, programs and schedule of events, go to mercercountyparks.org.