Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category
D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center - 1900 restored Robert Wood Johnson Working Barn
I began and sustain our Willing Hands Volunteer programs (www.drgreenway.org), to assist with mailings of invitations and newsletters and appeal letters and to help put on wine and cheese receptions for art opening and simpler receptions accompanying science programs keyed to each art show.
(JOIN US October 1 for the next Artists’ Reception - on Salem County in the Delaware Bayshore region, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public - just call 609-924-4646 to register.) The art of Salem/Mannington ranges from paintings through sculpture to fine art photography, with a rare and prize-winning decoy exhibition on loan.
All art is for sale, (many sold at our recent Gala), with a proportion of the proceeds supporting D&R Greenway’s Preservation and Stewardship Mission.
I have the images of the Salem art at work - will have to send home to share with NJ WILD Readers.
But since, thanks to preservation and restoration of habitat Salem County is rich in birds, especially raptors, I’ll give you this from Rod MacIver of Heron Dance on-line magazine. The excellence, drama and evocation of nature of this vivid scene will surround you on all sides at D&R Greenway, as the art remains on the walls of our circa-1900 barn through October 15. Come business hours of business days, calling to be sure our Marie L. Matthews Galleries are not rented at the time of your arrival.
Here is WATCHING, by Rod MacIver
Salem County has our state’s Highest Concentration of nesting American Bald Eagles
Brenda Jones Immortalizes Moonlight Migration of Geese
I should apologize to NJ WILD readers. For, impassioned as I am about our New Jersey, I am not Thoreau, not Leopold, not Beston, let alone the redoubtable John Muir. I need all their gifts to convince most people that New Jersey is worthy of constant nature exploration and preservation. I need their inspiration, to say nothing of their eloquence, as I ponder the miracle of autumn migration through and from our state.
In my ‘other life’, I spent summers in a small cottage in Chatham, Mass., where rare birds came to us. The insistent questions of my daughters led to my buying and seriously memorizing the first Peterson’s Guide (to the birds).
Every August, as shore birds begin to move South, I am reminded of our Chatham life. Without it, I’d not have turned into birder or amateur (”avocational”, in the words of Packet Editor Michael Redmond naturalist. I miss our daily strides — at least one and sometimes three–, to Harding’s Beach Light.
We’d go at low tide, for the swift-walking pleasure of hard-packed sand. We’d return by the high road, among beach heather and horned larks. Down at the point, among streamlets and packed peat, we’d come across the vivid oystercatchers and hideous but endearing sea robins. We could hold a blue-eyed scallop on a flat palm as we waded, marveling at all those eyes. Then tenderly tuck him back into lapping waters, where he’d would squirt brilliantly away. I miss tough Scrabble by firelight, moonlit wading, reading while Hudsonian Godwits tiptoes around our beach towels. I miss my most expected young love, a bard, himself, who added lustre the Cape never required. I miss staying up there alone in a hurricane so I could learn what it’s like. (That one turned out to be wilder after the storm, than during.)
Henry Beston’s Cape Cod Cottage Before Blizzard of ‘78
When this mood comes upon me, I have to re-read Henry Beston. The girls and I would make pilgrimage each year to his weathered Outermost House at Nauset - [until the blizzard of 78, that is, washed it into true outermostness.]
Beston managed what I longed to do, to see the seasons round on that upraised arm out into the North Atlantic, experience Mother Nature at her most sublime and often furious.
Right now, he was doing what I’d be doing then, as I lengthened our stays into September — watching bird migration. Chatham taught us curlews and phalaropes, immature common eiders and long-tailed jaegers. On our beach I learned how furiously crows protest the presence of eagle.
Eagle Intent, by Brenda Jones
Henry writes, “Early in September, Hudsonian curlews arrived at the Eastham Marsh. To see them, I began going to Nauset through the meadows, rather than by the beach.” He could hear them “calling, each to each”, as Eliot has written of mermaids. “And then there would be silence,” Henry Beston notes. “And I would hear the sound of autumn and the world.”
He writes of the first of the warblers, an invasion of juncos, a ’sparrow hawk’s’ successful capture and devouring of one of the latter.
Watching these arrivals, Beston wonders “where it was that she forsook her familiar earth for the grey ocean, an ocean she perhaps had never seen. What a gesture of ancient faith and present courage such a flight is, what a defiance of circumstance and death — land wing and hostile see, the fading land behind, the unknown and the distant articulate and imperious in the bright arterial blood.” He names and treasures all the sparrows, then announces, “Mid-October and the land birds have gone.”
Barrow’s Goldeneye in Flight over Delaware River by Brenda Jones
Beston goes into raptures over what comes next: “Now come the sea fowl, and the wild fowl to the beach, from the lonely and darkening north… Over the round of earth, down from the flattened summit, pour the living stream, bearing south the tribes and gathered nations, the flocks and families… There are many streams [of migrant birds], and it is said that two of the greatest bear down on Cape Cod.” He goes on with his watery image, inevitable upon that spit of sand he then called home: “These streams immix their multitudes, and south to New England moves the great united flood, peopling with primeval life the seacoasts and the sky.”
In these very weeks, when you are driving about in New Jersey, keep a sharp eye on the skies and on wires, where migrants are staging for migration. Attune your ears — song you have not heard since spring breeding season may recur in your yard, as has the peewee here this week. Waken on purpose in the middle of the night, ears as well as eyes to the sky. Most non-raptors migrate at night, filling the airwaves and radar that tracks them, with the music of their passage. Beston also dares to reveal, “I hear birds talking.”
Tune your ears to absences, as well. I haven’t heard the miraculous towhees who successfully bred on my hill, not for a number of weeks.
Oystercatcher at Barnegat Light, Brenda Jones
If you can get yourself down to the Delaware Bayshore, look not only up but out, over the reeds and phragmites that fringe South Jersey rivers. Swallows and purple martins by the YES hundreds of thousands float/drop in just before sundown. Evening after evening, these blue-black relatives will bend the reeds, then ‘do a flycatcher’ out for one last insect before dark. Any day now, they’ll all lift off in a blue-black river, coursing southward, southward.
Brenda’s Swallowtail on Purple Loostrife
You’ve seen them, but do you know what they’re up to, the butterflies? The yellow tiger swallowtails and the ubiquitous but so endangered monarchs (by genetically engineered crops involving poisons that murder their caterpillars.) They’re setting out for regions beyond belief, Mexico among their winter havens. In Cape May and at the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, I have watched delicate volunteers weigh and band monarchs before the impossible journey. Weight, gender and a site code are entered on minuscule tags that do not interfere with flight. These experts teach us much we could not know, including the fact that the females have thicker dark stripes, to keep the eggs warm. To Henry Beston suddenly realizes that “the strangest and most beautiful of the migrations over the dunes was not a movement of birds at all, but of butterflies.”
Henry did not have to fret as we do this year, over ceaseless drought that has made nectar scarce, nectar needed for their voyage.
Let alone dread that the travelers will land in oiled marshes, where they need to buttress themselves nutritionally for their long flights to Mexico and South America.
I cannot summon words effective enough to convey my passion for New Jersey and all her treasures, especially what the Lenni Lenapes called ‘The Winged’ in these autumnal days and nights. You’ll just have to go out there and see for yourselves. Then write ME about it.
Henry and Henry and Aldo and John, I salute your miraculous ways with words!
(Cedar Ridge Preserve, Hunterdon County, New Jersey)
“grove and glade”
“thicket and copse”
“hummocks and vanished hummock sedge”
following the ardent preservationist
we threaded Cedar Ridge
in morning mist
and spitting rain
savoring his redolent phrases
when out of the mist
strolled autumn’s hunter
– sharp bow at his waist
– arrows like semaphores
– jacket, cap and leggings
thick with camouflage
aflutter like moths
with each stride, he rippled
breaking up his silhouette
so he could bring home the deer
when 75 hunters
rebuilt the stone wall
– dividing property from property
– ‘30s field from ‘70s
our guide had urged,
“Release your inner mason”
sinuous and gleaming
beneath tall boundary trees
their stone wall led us
from meadow to thicket
black web, hunter-spun
it links as it separates
“mature forest” from “early successional”
weaving all of us forward
– toward owl haunt and refuge of turtle
all hands blessed the monarch
of that remote glen:
the ancient oak silvery
in October spurts of light
coiled roots sheltering
mushrooms soft as feathers
our hunter faded to shadow
exultant in good works
– vernal pools dug
– the building of bridges
– invasives untangled
– rough rocks settled
into that masterful fence
above all, the thinning of herds
that devour both cedar and ridge
in our New Jersey
that bow at his waist
moved at its own pace
as though Robin himself
strode with us that day
through Hunterdon’s greenwood
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
For Lucy Graves McVicker’s “Fragile Connections”
October 3, 2009
Dedicated to all the organizations throughout the United States who preserve open lands, preserving habitat for creatures of the air land and water, and for retore our souls.
Ready to Roam – Young Monarch on the ‘Eve’ of Migration
Making the World Safe for Butterflies - the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House
at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
Two Allisons are naturalists with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Educated and experienced in the wild and wildness, they can identify the age of butterflies inside Kate Gorrie Butterfly House: “Third generation, all they want to do is mate. Fourth generation, LEAVE!” This Monarch, above, a fourth-year, is electrifyingly ready to roam. [http://www.thewatershed.org/]
I was blessed to be at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association last weekend to hike to the Hobbit Tree with author, Sophie Glovier; photographer, Bentley Dresdner, of “Walk the Trails in and Around Princeton”. This compact guidebook to 16 trails upon preserved land, features the Hobbit Tree, to which we headed on a blustery, overcast morning.
There was an Allison at both the head and the tail of our trail queue, –each a naturalist, each brimful of energy and enthusiasm.
A few nights before our trek, one of the Allisons had harvested the wine-red berries of trailside autumn olive trees. A vigorous (seemingly malevolent) invasive species, seeds inside those berries can leap from sprout to tree in one summer. With no natural enemies to compete, autumn olives out nourish themselves, outgrow and therefore shade grasses and flowers that belong in our meadows. Including those wildflowers which shelter and sustain butterflies.
Eating the berries, and/or making a tart and gemlike jam of them and discarding the berries, as Allison did, keeps that many bird-fertilized seeds from germination.
People of all ages were on that walk, and all were full of questions. The Allisons had answers for most, manifesting eagerness to find answers for the others (mostly mushrooms, in this rainy summer).
At the end of our journey, sharp autumn sun welcomed us out of the woods and into a meadow studded with dark purple New York asters and gold-glimmering goldenrod. The fulness of these two species sent the two Allisons into rapture. “Asters and goldenrod!,” they exclaimed, like teens over a rock star. “What does that mean?”, they asked us - and we had no idea beyond beauty. “Monarch migration!”
New York Aster and Goldenrod
Kate’s Welcome Sign
Kate Gorrie’s Memorial Butterfly House and Sky
So they took us into the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House, identifying winged miracles large and small. They amazed us with the age/interest connection among the monarchs. Out came a butterfly net, supple and soft, yet right out of a cartoon or a caricature. With a deft twist of her young wrist, Allison 1 (who had headed the walk) scooped the most energetic orange and black butterfly from the ceiling into its pale folds.
Current Residents List
Alison 2 (tail of the walk, the jam-maker) had pen, paper and near-weightless tags ready. The tag would go onto a non-primary wing, where it wouldn’t interfere with flight. Its number and the fact that ‘our’ monarch was male - identified by two pheromone dark spots on certain wings, would be noted, and the date of release. It was as hushed as first communion in Kate’s memorial shrine.
At D&R Greenway Land Trust, I am blessed to work with Meg Gorrie, Kate’s mother. Volunteers Meg and Tom both contribute so much to nature at D&R Greenway and at the Stony Brook. Their daughter, Kate, a Hun student fascinated with nature, perished in a car driven by a friend, who had swerved to avoid a deer.
Kate’s Trail for us and the Butterfly House for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, keep Kate’s memory and her passion for nature alive among family, friends and strangers, to this day and beyond. New life takes place because of the death of young Kate.
Statue, Child with Butterfly, in Bee Balm
Appropriately reverent, the Hobbit-quest group followed the two Alisons outside. The pictures tell all but the end of the story.
Departure was completely up to our orange and black hero. He’d spent four years in that house, and yet, right after the final picture, up up and away! DUE SOUTH. Toward Mexico. Unerringly. With amazing energy, considering that butterflies don’t like cold, are known to consider the 70’s cold. It was barely 70. Yet instinct was fully operant. Kate’s monarch is on his way.
NJ WILD readers know that I ‘get on my high horse’ about preservation, stewardship, gardens with insect-friendly plants, native species, non-poisonous realms, (and you haven’t even heard me on genetically modified corn which contains a chemical that destroys the intestinal systems of caterpillars. Remember, this monarch was a caterpillar.
My theory is that all this GURD, all these intestinal problems, acid reflux and the rest, which never existed in my childhood, is the result of human manipulations of natural systems.
I’m on that ‘high horse’ for the sake of the monarchs. What will YOU do to make the world safe for butterflies?
BRENDA JONES’ EGRET WITH FROG IN PRINCETON’S ROGERS REFUGE
REMINDS US OF NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
Well, NJ WILD Readers,
You and I are not the only ones aware of National Public Lands Day. Think back to a year ago, and try to imagine these words flowing from the White House. Rejoice with me!
(bolds mine, needless to say…)
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS RECOGNITION DAY, 2009
Borne out of a commitment to protect and preserve our natural treasures, America’s public lands are an indispensable component of American life. As we work to protect their integrity for future generations, vast expanses of land remain available for the use and enjoyment of all who visit them.
Today, from the largest National Parks and Forests to neighborhood playgrounds and urban parks, 130,000 volunteers are working on over 2,000 public land improvement projects across the Nation.
Committed individuals, including participants from schools and universities, private businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, are continuing the American tradition of stewardship through their service.
Dedicated to improving all aspects of our natural environment, this year’s Public Lands Day focuses on water. Across the country, volunteers are highlighting the need to protect our Nation’s water bodies by monitoring water quality in rivers and lakes, restoring wetlands, preventing stormwater runoff and erosion, cleaning up trash from shorelines, and learning techniques to conserve water at home.
Public lands help preserve our Nation’s quality of life, offering fresh water, abundant natural resources, and educational and recreational opportunities.
I was proud to sign the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to add to our Nation’s treasured landscapes and build on our rich history as guardians of our natural environment.
Today, we affirm our resolve to conserve these cherished spaces for our enjoyment and for that of future generations.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 26, 2009, as National Public Lands Day. I invite all my fellow citizens to join me in a day of service for our public lands.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
(Original Post, pre-National-Public-Lands-Day) Dear NJ WILD Readers,
You know my constant drive to expand awareness and protection of our land, especially its lakes, rivers, forests, coasts and trails.
Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day. Going out INTO Nature with your friends and family will remind you of her peril at our hands, of the essentiality of open space.
Public Lands are crucial for the plants and creatures who live there;
for modulation and protection of our climate, air and water;
and, –beyond even their blessings to human fitness–, public lands nourish the spirit.
They MUST be preserved, for their own sakes, as well as for the well-being of our children’s children.
You can go out to Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed tomorrow (see previous post) and walk with Sophie Glovier, author of “Walk the Trails In and Around Princeton”.
You can log onto the Kingston Greenways web-site and join vital President, Tari Pantaleo, in service to the land. www.kingstongreenways.org
You can kayak or canoe at Princeton Canoe and Kayak, off Alexander Road in Princeton.
You can write checks to your local land trusts, such as D&R Greenway Land Trust, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and Friends of Princeton Open Space, Kingston Greenways, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands. www.drgreenway.org
From Kingston Greenways:
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY KGA WORK SESSION: Saturday, September 26, 1 to 4 PM
Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands, Kingston Greenways Association, and the D&R Canal State Park will jointly sponsor a work session in the Mapleton Preserve. Meet at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston, and choose the task that suits you. Litter removal, Vine clearing, Bamboo and brush cutting, Tree planting, Photo documentation
Some tools available on site, but participants welcome to bring their own favorites. Work gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats advised. For more information, contact tari, or call the Park at 924-5705.
National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with three federal agencies and 700 volunteers. In 2008, 120,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, removed trash and invasive plants and planted over 1.6 million trees.
It keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that worked from 1933 to 1942 to preserve and protect America’s natural heritage.
This annual event:
* Educates Americans about critical environmental and natural resources issues and the need for shared stewardship of these irreplaceable lands;
* Builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America’s public lands;
* Improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.
To learn more, please visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/
You can write your senators and representatives, urging the protection of Mother Nature.
One person does make a difference.
“All that it takes for evil to happen is for good people to do nothing…”
Here’s Defenders of Wildlife with their easy National Public Lands Day ritual - a hot link to reach politicians who hold our open land in their hands. Who counter the depredations of developers.