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Lenape Storytelling set for D&R Greenway’s Discovery Center at Point Breeze


The public is invited to enjoy an afternoon of storytelling in the tradition of the Lenape, the First People, at D&R Greenway’s Discovery Center at Point Breeze from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28.

Located at 101 E. Park St., Bordentown, N.J., the Discovery Center was created by D&R Greenway Land Trust in a renovated historic home that belonged to the exiled King of Spain Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte’s gardener in the early 1800s. The house will be open with exhibits about the history, land and people of Point Breeze, including the Lenape and Bonaparte, birds and the Delaware River watershed. Visitors can learn about the Three Sisters garden, indigenous and heritage crops that are grown in the Historic Garden at Point Breeze.

“Wintertime is when indigenous peoples gather to tell stories,” said Barbara Michalski, known as Chief Bluejay. Of Lenape descent, she is Chief, Keeper of Culture, Storyteller and Public Speaker for the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. She is a talented storyteller who shares the traditions of the Lenape to remind people that “we are still here.”

Bluejay provided advice to D&R Greenway in development of the Peoples Room inside the Discovery Center at Point Breeze. There, visitors will learn about Lenape language and read stories about land and water stewardship. Chief Bluejay’s intention is “to stress how we should take care of Mother Earth.”

A landmark positioned in front of the Historic Garden at the Discovery Center at Point Breeze is a life-size sculpture of an Atlantic Sturgeon. These huge creatures, that can grow up to 14 feet in length, were once abundant in the Delaware River but were taken to the brink of extinction due to loss of habitat. They depend on clean water to spawn in the Delaware River.

Native Americans fished these creatures for food and used the remains as fertilizer for agricultural crops. Visitors to the open house will have an opportunity to color Sturgeon cards provided by the Delaware Riverkeeper. The cards will be hung on the tree inside the Crown Jewels Gallery to transition the holiday tree to a “Sturgeon Family Tree” and share wishes for protecting the Atlantic Sturgeon and the Delaware River.

In the Natural World Room visitors will find wood carvings for sale by artist Jane “Walkingstick” Roop, of Lenape descent. Walking Sticks, Spirit Sticks, and various carvings are available for prices ranging from $35 - $225, with a portion of the sales supporting programs at the D&R Greenway’s Discovery Center at Point Breeze.

“This special opportunity celebrates a community of people and special features of the Delaware River watershed that are truly treasures,” said Linda Mead, D&R Greenway’s president & CEO. “Working in partnership with Chief Bluejay, Jane Walkingstick and other members of the Lenape Nation has been an honor for me and carries out D&R Greenway’s mission to protect land and water and inspire a conservation ethic.”

Admission to the Storytelling program and the Discovery Center at Point Breeze is free. A suggested donation of $10 provides the donor with a souvenir magnet or bag, and supports programs and exhibits.

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