Rahway River Corridor Study: Maplewood, N.J.

The goal is to provide safe access along the river for pedestrians and where possible bike paths, and to ecologically restore the riverbank with low impact methods and native vegetation. Our Study encompasses an approximately 38 acre area along the Rahway River that connects two municipal parks. We evaluated land use, infrastructure, circulation, vegetation, slope, ecological context and other aesthetic values for concepts to rehabilitate the riverfront. The project included several meetings with the community included in the design process.

Peckman Preserve, Little Falls, N.J.

A study to recapture fallow land for a nature preserve in a highly populated suburb in northern New Jersey. Our concept is to work within the ecological context of the preserve. Open space areas will be transitioned to meadows, gardens that minimize disturbance to wetlands and wildlife which inhabit the land. Low impact paths can be established to interact with the distinct ecotones and river estuary. New access points can be created and a potential footbridge over where the river bends. The main river access can also be located at the river bend along a new river walk and a smaller access at the south end of the preserve. Low maintenance perennial gardens will greet visitors at the entrance and river access pathways. Seating will be provided throughout the preserve for resting and viewing.

South Mountain Elementary School Sustainable Garden, Millburn, NJ

As a project for our community, we  designed the Sustainable Garden at South Mountain School as a place for children from Kindergarten to 5th grade can grow vegetables and herbs and maintain a Wild flower garden.  Ms. Rafel  facilitated a workshop with the school administration and PTO to create a design that is  supported by the community.  The new garden also acts as an Outdoor Classroom. The garden is constructed of recycled materials of wood, stone, brick and mulch paths and rain barrels are connected to the roof leaders to collect water for irrigation.