Archive for the ‘NJ’ Category
Filed Under (Activism, Adventure, Brigantine Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, Cumberland County, Farm Markets, Forests, Henry David Thoreau, KAYAKING, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Pine Barrens, Preservation, Revolutionary War, Solitude, The Seasons, Timelessness, Tranquillity, Trees, Wildflowers, habitat, protection, raptors, rivers, trails, wild, wildness) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 11-02-2012
Lake Oswego Peace — South of Chatsworth, Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Desperately seeking the wild, I’ve returned to my Edward Abbey collection, making my way through his work and others writing about this literary rebel, this self-proclaimed ‘desert rat’. It is essential right now that I live for awhile with ‘Cactus Ed’.
I need his crusty refusals of ‘growth and development’. I require his ecstasy in the face of cactus and rattlesnake. My healing leg ‘walks’ with Ed in these books — in his red rocks and among his cherished junipers, occasionally coming upon desert primrose, respecting the ever-present spider and viper.
But enough of this prickly Paradise. I have my own. And it’s in our state - in the spirit of Abbey, I defy myself to define Paradise, because mine is in New Jersey:
Lake Oswego Summer, South of Chatsworth, Pine Barrens (cfe)
shared with one attuned person or blessedly alone, sometimes with camera
there is sand, and/or marshland
Afloat, Lake Oswego — (cfe)
long silken grasses are kissed and rearranged by very varied tides
birds are ever present or possible: on the ground, in trees, ruffling the leaves, troubling the shrubs. Birds are overhead. They pierce tidal flats. Wings flat out, they harry and raptor. Some murmur, some croak. Everywhere I walk, there are whistlings, whisperings and rustlings. I am ever on the lookout for rails and bitterns, whether I ever find one or not. A bird is downing two snakes in the time it takes to type this (as did a great egret at ‘The Brigantine’ some years ago). A minuscule pied-billed grebe gulps a January frog, as happened a few weeks back.
Thistle Shimmer, Lake Batsto (cfe)
back roads get me to Paradise — hushed roads, where I am often the only car. Road edges are dusted with sugar sand. Forest understory (which must contain evergreen and the luminous black jack oak), switches from laurel to blueberry to fern to pine seedlings and oakthrusts, and back again.
New Jersey Paradise is especially defined by its people - who live by the seasons and the tides. The Abbey in me asserts, “not by the clock; and, by God, not by the Dow Jones Stock Index!”
the roads that lead to Carolyn’s Paradise must hold a beauty of their own, for at least 2/3 of the way. Pine Barrens and Salem and Cumberland County provide such aesthetic conduits, away from commerce, to wildest nature
Idyllic Batsto Lake, Pine Barrens (cfe)
roadways and destinations involve freshwater, saltwater, varying salinities, peatwater, whitewater, the stillness of the bays darkling streams wind alluringly back under the dark pines, tugging at the kayaker in me
the regions I am exploring involve bogs and fens, spongs, groves and copses
rare plants lurk right around the next bend — curly grass fern, swamp pink, carnivorous flowers who must lure insects for protein due to the strange ph of soils in Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise — sundew, pitcher plant — those ravenous ones… when least expecting it, I am to be knocked over by wild fragrance, such as sweet pepperbush, along the peatwaters of Lake Oswego south of Chatsworth rare lilies bloom in ditches as I drive goldenclub erupts behind a dam I would otherwise despise with Abbey - but it did create this ideal habitat for a plant I’d only known in the splendid nature books of Howard Boyd
Among the Rare Lilies, Brigantine Wildlife Refuge (cfe)
often in my wanderings to and through Paradise, I must come on mosses and lichens and occasional fungi. Although I long to devour each mushroom, this foraging remains virtual, ignorance being quite the barrier where these savories are concerned
Leeds Point - Hard-Shell and Soft-Shell Crabs cfe
quaint names are essential — alongside the back roads and out in front of farms, beside the waters:
“Troublesome Acres” “Heaven’s Way Farm” “Farrier” Dividing Creek “Bears, Bucks and Ducks” Shellpile Bivalve Caviar Ong’s Hat — some of these names go back generations and centuries, and only the locals may know how to find them, by a crumbling foundation or some domestic plant run wild in another kind of wilderness Applejack Hill’s name has been changed, for the tourists, to Apple Pie Hill — Abbey, are you listening? Applejack, of course, — talk about terroir!– was/is New Jersey Lightnin’ — each Piney tending his own still with attention, experience and a shotgun.
Sneak Boat Ready to Sneak - Leeds Point (cfe)
History must have happened in my Paradise — especially Native American and Revolutionary
Here a battle must have been fought and lost, such as the fiery Revolutionary fate of Chestnut Neck.
Here locals must have defied and overcome proud dazzlingly uniformed British, taking their ships and their stores inland from the coast, along the storied Mullica River - without which waters and watermen we would not have a nation today!
Clouds in the Water, Chatsworth Bogs (cfe)
Here salt hay must have been harvested by man and horse in the steamiest of seasons, and great whales tugged ashore and ‘tried’ for their various riches.
Here traitors must’ve conspired, smugglers rowed by night, bootleggers brought contraband ashore to sell and to imbibe.
Leed’s Point - Smugglers’ Haven - Living Fishing Port cfe
Here clammers still tug their rich provender onto deck and into seafood restaurants tethered to waterways, creaking boards hinting of sagas of old, as at Oyster Creek Inn at Leeds Point.
It helps that Leeds Point is the home of the Jersey Devil, whom I am still requesting to meet.
“Ready to Roll” cfe
Intriguing restaurants must be nearby. Farmers’ Markets must be open, and people must be selling the spring’s first asparagus, sliced from that meagre soil, at roadstands with a little box for the money for this treasure beyond price. Russo’s Market in Tabernacle must have its spicy applesauce apples outside in thick plastic bags, next to the honesty box, at the beginning of winter.
Only people who treasure timelessness and tranquillity need apply for such journeys.
A day in the Pines will require about 200 miles of driving, longer if we detour to Tuckerton, formerly Clamtown. Why Tuckerton? Because great and little blue and tri-colored herons may stud the grassy reaches, depending on the tide, as we tool along Seven Bridges Road. Because there’s a place along there, –out on a somewhat suspect roadway–, where one can stop for the freshest clams, unless one has wriggled them out personally, using one’s own toes. Because at the end of this road, (and HOW I LOVE Land’s Ends!), there used to be an island village, now sea-claimed. Here, in season, one can find the vivid oystercatchers in full breeding plumage, turning over the few rocks on the sandy approach to the bay.
Life of the Seasons and the Tides Leeds Point cfe
Because closer to town, one can happen to be there when evergreens are studded with black-crowned night herons, squawk-murmuring to one another as sun drops into autumnal waters.
Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise has to include kayaking possibilities, for her physical therapist is promising ‘back in the craft’ by April. If so, there is above all the Wading River to paddle and many ‘liveries’ to make these delicate journeys possible. There is always the exquisite Barnegat Bay in Island Beach’s back reaches - those paddles used to be free, with naturalists leading us among the Sedge Islands. There a feast of shore birds includes black skimmers not only skimming, but doing their odd sand squiggle on their bellies, when it’s just too hot.
Black Skimmers in Flight, Brenda Jones
I deeply understand Cactus Ed’s passion for the sere landscape of Arches and Canyonlands. I relish, with him, the silence. I don’t have rock formations in my Paradise, nor the song of the canyon wren and the slither of sidewinder. His Paradise is red and pink and magenta and ochre and burnt sienna and irreplaceable.
Mine is mostly forest green, toasty oak, sometimes ruddy blueberry leaves, interspersed with limitless stretches of flooded cranberry bogs, throwing back the sunset. In the distance, there is salt tang. Close up, there is the sibilance of peatwater.
If Ed had known the Pine Barrens, –especially her crusty inhabitants–, I think he’d've approved. Maybe only if he found it before Arches and Canyonlands. He might’ve kayaked the Sedge Islands, and even boarded the restored oyster schooner down at Bivalve, and helped tug the sails into the sky while singing sea chanteys.
Revolutionary Massacre Site - Alloway Creek, Salem County — (cfe)
He’d probably hang out overnight, black flies and greenheads or no, on the sands of Reed’s Beach when it’s studded with courting, mating horseshoe crabs and whatever red knots and ruddy turnstones remain on our planet.
Bucolic Salem County, where Rebels Countered Redcoats and Prevailed cfe
Paradise — for Ed and for me — seems to require a dearth of humans. It need not be awash in critters, but there needs to be that ever-possibility. Even the new health of New Jersey oysters, “Cape May Salts.” Even the restoration of sturgeon to the Delaware River and elsewhere along this state of three coasts — once so enormous and plentiful that there is a mystery town still known as Caviar along the Delaware Bay.
An essential quality of Paradise, however, is that it cannot be explained.
So, inexplicably, I assert, New Jersey, especially South Jersey (and also Sandy Hook) holds varying versions of Paradise, all of them yours for the seeing. And none of them seasonally-dependent. Go for it!
Salem Preserved cfe
AND, ABOVE ALL, SEE THAT ALL VERSIONS OF NEW JERSEY PARADISE ARE PRESERVED!
Lest, like Thoreau, we find out we had not lived…
Henry David Thoreau re Walden Year(s):
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”
Filed Under (ART, Activism, Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, D&R Canal & Towpath, Delaware River, Destruction, Environment, Global Climate Change, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Pollution/Poisoning, Preservation, Restoration, Tranquillity, Winter, World Trade Center, raptors, rivers, trails, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 28-11-2011
One of the Many Forms of “A Beautiful Day…”
Upon reading “Her Idea of a Beautiful Day”, in My Story As Told By Water, my first thought was, ‘Well, what would be MY idea of a beautiful day?’ Its subjunctive question immediately appeared - ‘What is YOURs?‘ – readers of and cherished commentors upon NJ WILD–, what renders a day beautiful in your life, at this moment in time?
My Story as Told By Water is a riverine memoir by David James Duncan. This man is a modern bard, in prose and diatribe, of the endangered American West, –particularly its rivers, especially of its salmon. Over and over, Duncan teaches, “As salmon go, so go the rivers.” And the indigenous people whose lives since time immemorial have depended upon the rivers and their creatures. With salmon and salmon people go the state, the region, the nation and ultimately the globe. Especially here in the east, we do not GET it about the peril of and the implications of industrial murder of salmon.
Sunfish, Baldpate Mountain Pond, Brenda Jones
Edward Abbey taught us first the evil of dams. David James Duncan blows on Abbey coals. My Story As Told By Water is my favorite title of the genre, the way Dickens’ “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is my favorite opening line of any novel. Young Duncan fell in love with water using a garden hose in his childhood driveway. His first love was abruptly relinquished for the real thing, when the boy fell INTO his first trout stream, discovering crawdads and fish. Duncan’s chapters tango between ever increasing passion for natural waterways, and fury at all who would destroy them. His rage and eloquence increase exponentially in our era of greed-enthronement.
The boy describes having been stunned by his grandmother’s rabid devotion to her job as a real estate agent: “Her idea of a beautiful day was one that increased the likelihood of her selling a house.” Nature, to Duncan’s grandmother, “had an unwashed, unsaved ring to it.”
Needless to say, “a beautiful day” to this author involves water, usually fresh, with the promise of fish. David James Duncan forces me to consider my own definition of a beautiful day. The instant answer is any day with friends, sharing nature with the perfect blend of passion, knowledge, and curiosity. Remarkable food is often involved, and frequently art. But if I had to choose but one factor for “my beautiful day”? NATURE.
I was frankly stunned to discover that “my beautiful day” need not be fair. “A beautiful day” to me is something that hardly ever happens any more — a time of long soft soaking rain. Gentle in quality and quantity, lowering a scrim over the harsh world. Rain that whispers, at most sizzles. This precipitation is neither so white and stiff as was my bridal veil, nor so dense and weighty as Jacqueline Kennedy’s widow’s veil — which cast a pall over my life, and was first worn in the impossible aftermath of this very day, November 22, in 1963. The most beautiful day to me now, in New Jersey, in the year 2008, is rain that tiptoes along the thirsty earth. It simply nourishes seeds, –without dislodging soil, let alone removing pebbles. A beautiful day’s rain never topples trees because of both quantity and intensity, without even factoring in damaging wind. What I require now is rain as it was before global warming.
Lately, as NJ WILD readers know, I’ve learned to be out in what the Brits call “a mizzle of rain.” There’s a blessing in it — tactile, even spiritual. I may prefer the days of rain and fog because they soften the impossible harshnesses of the 21st Century. You also know, nature is my church, and the Towpath and Canal in particular. David James Duncan says it better: “Church became a place where I waited for rain.”
“Pine Drops” hold the rain, by Lauren Curtis
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed Under (Activism, Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, D&R Canal & Towpath, Destruction, Environment, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Poetry, Preservation, Winter, stewardship, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 21-11-2011
Olga Sergyeyeva’s Fine Art Photography evokes my beloved D&R Canal and Towpath.
Olga Sergyeyeva’s Masterpieces evoke autumn along my “Dear Canal and Towpath”:
Here is a poem which Rich Rein, founder of US 1 Newspaper, published when they honored me with an entire calendar (2006) of my canal and towpath photographs. They were slides — remember slides? So I cannot add those images to this post. But I can give you the culminating poem - perhaps the first - to grace a US 1 Calendar.
I have lived beside you
four long decades
walked there with daughters
tugging myself away
too long after sundown
into you, my tears have dropped
and I have dipped hot hands
to rest from paddling
until this gelid day
have I slid down your brief bank
–setting first one boot, then the other
onto your glimmer of surface
walked out to where it seemed I saw
your great heart pulse
and, deep in darkness,
the quicksilver of fish
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
Filed Under (Animals of the Wild, Birds, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Poetry, The Seasons, Weather, Winter, books, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 14-11-2011
As a child, a favorite in my Childcraft book of children’s poetry, had to do with, guess what! - nature. The American robin was the not-very-imaginative state bird of my Michigan. So this ‘jingle’ really spoke to me back then, in little Lathrup Village, near Detroit:
The north wind doth blow
and we shall have snow
And what will the robin do then,
But sit in the barn
to keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing
And what does the cardinal do ‘then’, do when north winds increasingly take over our world? A very brief answer from Brenda Jones is:
Brenda Jones Finds Cardinal Puffed Up for Winter
One of the most amusing/diverting/compelling aspects of my late-life hobby of birding is that one is always/always learning. Just when you get all the colors down, a first-year bird shows up and throws you back into uncertainty. Black-capped chickadee calls were easily mastered, and then the Carolina chickadee moved north with its more nervous vocalizations. Shapes were pretty much early in my learning process, for some reason. But, as you may have noticed, shape tends to change significantly on cold, let alone winter-windy days. Puffing their feathers adds air to down as ideal insulation.
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed Under (Animals of the Wild, Birds, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Brenda Jones, Butterflies, Climate Change, Global Climate Change, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Preservation, Trees, Weeds, habitat, stewardship) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 03-07-2011
Drama in Your Own Backyard
Fox Listening for Vole, Pole Farm, Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers know my enthusiasm for everything wild, everything nature in our state, which is far more beautiful, natural and wild than anyone realizes.
Fierce Great Blue Heron, Brenda Jones
You’re also pretty familiar with my choice in reading: anything about nature, especially New Jersey, and always lately, catastrophic climate change. Now even the Weather Channel is admitting that “This year, everything is a record.” Of course, they’re still blaming that on Mother Nature, not on human greed…
Never lose sight of the importance of countering climate change - particularly for the sake of New Jersey’s wildflowers and elegant pollinators:
Cabbage White Butterfly Nectaring, Brenda Jones
On the subject of that partnership, a new publication crossed my D&R Greenway Land Trust desk this week. It’s the spring newsletter of The Native Plant Society of New Jersey: www.npsnj.org. They were kind enough to give inside front cover placement to a vivid description of our April Native Plant Sale here, which was so well attended and patronized. Princetonians are eagerly taking to heart our Native Plant Nursery’s lessons on natives in the home garden.
Dogbane/Indian Hemp Brenda Jones
Pamela Ruch authored the newsletters column, titled Learning Tolerance for Native Weeds. Her first line grabbed me: “Keeping a field journal is a discipline that does not come easily to me.” Frankly, it never occurred to me. Even though a birder, I am not ‘a lister’, what the Brits call ‘a twitcher’. But wouldn’t it be grand to have a notebook chronicling the arrival of each flowery sign of spring, against which to compare next year and next year and next year? Admittedly, it could give evidence of catastrophic climate change. But how valuable and pleasurable such a diary would be! And the process carries hidden benefits at many levels.
Pamela discovered that “observing, drawing, putting details into words,” she made surprising discoveries. Such as the fact that many of the plants that we term ‘weeds’ are native plants, not to be sneezed at, pun intended.
Yellow Warbler with Insect, Brenda Jones
Your plants that feed the insects feed the birds and their young…
NJ WILD readers have ‘heard’ me ad infinitum on the value of native plants. Our Stewardship Staff here at D&R Greenway spend hours ‘in the field’ in all seasons and most weathers save ice, removing invasives and planting natives.
Black Swallowtail Among the Loosestrife (Invasive…), Brenda Jones
One of the main reasons for doing so is that native plants evolved with our regional animals and insects. Our Stewardship Staff has taught me that, if you see leaves uneaten in the fall, they’re invasives and of no use to the creatures who evolved to be nourished and sheltered by them.
Other reasons include the fact that natives can withstand drought, as intensifying climate change renders this facet more and more crucial.
Natives can better deal with other extremes, as well, such as needing less water and less nourishment, because they were ‘born’ to these soils.
The one factor with which natives cannot deal is invasives, who crowd out everyone by a whole ‘raft’ of means and measures. Who, having no enemies here, soon eliminate even young hardwoods. Japanese stilt grass alone can prevent the hardwood forests of our future.
Native plants attract pollinators, such as butterflies, worthy rivals of the vivid flowers upon which they suckle, then go on to propagate.
Courting Cabbage Whites, Brenda Jones
Our compromised bees need the flowers of native plants, as well
Birds need natives as nest sites, as well as food suppliers.
Puffed December Mockingbird, with Berries, Brenda Jones
Migrant birds depend upon inner compasses, forged millenia ago. You could see birds as winged GPS systems. Birds chose their routes in ancient times, based on the presence, for example, of native berries.
Ripe native fruit, signaled by early red leaves, provides crucial calories/stamina/sustenance/energy for autumn migration.
Birds count upon native insects, who count on native plants in spring migration, and to feed vulnerable young after successfully breeding here.
Home gardens can be as important as woods and fields to certain avian species.
And, according to Native Plant Society of New Jersey’s columnist, Pamela Ruch, if you keep a Field Journal of your garden, you’ll make discoveries: What the French call la richesse, richness, of plants will be revealed, that you never otherwise might have known. She writes, for example, of discovering, describing and researching wild lettuce, which provides pollen for bees and seeds for finches.
Pamela reports a major advantage of Field Journaling: “I took away a more thoughtful posture toward my landscape.” She vows not to focus so exclusively upon her “garden vision that I would refuse [natives] space to provide for the many creatures, seen and unseen, that live among us. I will also try to refrain, starting now, from calling them ‘weeds’.” …Noble discoveries and declarations which any of us can emulate, for the betterment of the natural world in New Jersey.
Golden-Shafted Flicker Feeding Young, Brenda Jones
What Pamela teaches is that, what seem weeds to us are life preservers for wild creatures. Even aged and compromised trees, become cradles for life.
Pamela ought to know: She serves as horticulturist at Morven Museum and Gardens, where the Stocktons presided before and after our sacred Revolution. You’ll likely see the fruits of her studies and labors if you visit Morven for a quiet, historic celebration of Fourth of July.
Lambertville Fourth of July, 2010, Brenda Jones
You may also meet and even purchase native species here at D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nurseries — sometimes we sell between our major seasonal sales; and always at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve below New Hope.
Filed Under (Activism, Brenda Jones, Delaware River, Government, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Politicians, Pollution/Poisoning, Preservation) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 01-07-2011
Fog Along Delaware, Brenda Jones
This just in - good news and bad news, from Michael Redmond just now, Packet Lifestyle and Time Off Editor, who knows how I AM about NJ nature!
Rejoice in the wisdom of our state, NJ WILD readers. However, write Governor Christie to insist he sign this crucial legislation.
Do whatever you can on any and all fronts to preserve her wild spaces, including RIVERS!
See how our government protects these polluters of our sacred spaces!
bolds mine, as usual
“I’m just wild about natural destruction” cfe
American Bald Eagle Successful Dive for Fish, Brenda Jones
And No One Mentions Effects of Fracking Chemicals Upon Fish in Delaware, etc…
June 29, 2011
NEW JERSEY STATE LEGISLATURE FIRST IN U.S. TO PASS BILL BANNING DANGEROUS GAS DRILLING TECHNIQUE
Trenton, NJ - On Wednesday, in an unprecedented and pioneering move, New Jersey’s state legislature became the first to pass a bill to enforce a statewide ban on a controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking. The legislature was unanimously in favor of the bill, which passed the state Senate 32-1 and the Assembly 56-11.
“Today, New Jersey sent a strong message to surrounding states and to the nation that a ban on fracking is necessary to protect public health and preserve our natural resources,” said Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen).
“Any benefits of gas production simply do not justify the many potential dangers associated with fracking such as pollution of our lakes, streams and drinking water supplies and the release of airborne pollutants. We should not wait until our natural resources are threatened or destroyed to act. The time to ban fracking in New Jersey is now.”
Fracking involves injecting water, sand and toxic chemicals deep underground to break up dense rock formations and release natural gas. Opponents of fracking cite the high potential for water and air pollution as a leading reason to ban the practice. Over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been reported near fracking sites.
Baldpate Mountain View, Brenda Jones
(at least Baldpate itself is Preserved!)
Public opposition to fracking has escalated in recent months, with concerned residents and environmental and consumer advocacy groups campaigning against the practice in New Jersey and the surrounding states. Gas companies have been ramping up plans to drill in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation which extends up the East Coast. Fracking operations in Pennsylvania alone are expected to create 19 million gallons of wastewater.
“Fracking is a man-made disruption to the environment, many times on large-scale proportions,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen). “We’ve already seen a number of eco-casualties from this practice in surrounding states. It would be irresponsible to leave the door open for this practice to be pursued in New Jersey.”
“The New Jersey Legislature is taking the pro-active step of preventing contamination of our drinking water and environment, the only sure way to protect our residents from fracking pollution. This is a great day for the state’s present and future generations”, said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
According to Food & Water, at least 61 localities across the U.S. have passed measures against fracking. On June 16, the Trenton City Council passed a resolution calling for a statewide ban, and earlier this year, Highland Park, NJ became the first town in the country to call for a state and national ban on fracking.
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s signature is all that is necessary now for this critical and timely statewide ban to go into effect,” said Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director of the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “If he approves it, New Jersey will be the first state to stand up against the devastating environmental and public health impacts of fracking, which have wreaked havoc on other states across the U.S.”
In the Midwest, where fracking is increasingly common, residents have reported complications ranging from headaches and blackouts, noxious odors in the air and sudden blindness and hair loss among their livestock – concerns which led those living in Dish, Texas, a town located near 11 natural gas compression stations, to hire a private environmental consultant to sample the air. The consultant found that it contained high levels of neurotoxins and carcinogens, including benzene.
A 2011 Cornell University study found that the process of fracking also releases methane, which according to the EPA, is 21 times more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Similarly, a study released by researchers at Duke University in April found methane levels in shallow drinking water wells near active gas drilling sites at a level 17 times higher than those near inactive ones.
“This bill is a great victory for clean water in New Jersey and we believe it will be a national model,” said Jeff Tittel Director NJ Sierra Club. “We hope this bill sends a message to the governor to oppose fracking in the Delaware Basin and protect New Jersey waters.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. House and Energy Commerce Committee determined that 14 oil companies had injected 780 million gallons of fracking chemicals and other substances into U.S. wells between 2005 and 2009. This included 10.2 million gallons of fluids containing known or suspected carcinogens.
The companies, however, are not required to disclose the chemicals in fracking fluid, which they claim should be protected as a “trade secret”. They are also exempt from seven major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act.
Scientists at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange who tested fracking fluids found that 25 percent can cause cancer; 37 percent can disrupt the endocrine system; and 40 to 50 percent can affect the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.
Earlier this month Food & Water Watch released a report entitled The Case for a Ban on Fracking. The report reveals that the natural gas industry’s use of water-intensive, toxic, unregulated practices for natural gas extraction are compromising public health and polluting water resources across the country.
The Case for a Ban on Fracking is available here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/the-case-for-a-ban-on-gas-fracking
A map of municipalities that have taken action against fracking is available here:
Filed Under (Animals of the Wild, D&R Canal & Towpath, Delaware Bayshores, Destruction, Environment, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ State Parks, Native Americans, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pennsylvania, Preservation, habitat, native species, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 28-06-2011
THIS JUST IN: Steve Hiltner’s marvelous Sustainable Jazz Ensemble will be playing at Labyrinth Books every other Friday in July - July 1, 15, 29. Labyrinth is at 122 Nassau, and the music takes place downstairs. Steve’s inimitable humor assures us that “no virgin timbres are harvested for these performances.” Michael Redmond, Lifestyle and Time Off Editor of the Packet, urges, in his Packet Pick: “Be There or Be Square.” The time is 6:30, and BYO is o.k., says the Packet Pick.
On Another Note Altogether, Steve and I are in synch. I have his permission to use his Princeton Nature Notes posting on the beavers of Princeton:
Steve Hiltner, of Friends of Princeton Open Space, writes of a joyous beaver memory within a moonlit pond, hoping that such scenes “can serve as a bridge of kinship between people and nature.” Recently, that bridge was seriously shattered in our community.
I am fascinated to see results, when I Google, Princeton, Beavers, on electronic sites, showing that others are still disturbed that the lovely waters of Pettoranello Gardens proved fatal rather than life-sustaining to our Princeton beavers.
Steve maintains a charming blog, Princeton Nature Notes, which I have quoted here in the past. He officially linked to NJ WILD recently on the beaver tragedy.
Steve is also a superb musician - whose jazz last Friday graced Labyrinth Books, in their summer Friday jazz program. I so enjoyed it many Fridays last year - hearing jazz with friends surrounded by books — what could be better. Keep an eye on the Labyrinth web-site, to see when we can hear Steve’s jazz anew.
I was at the Brandywine Museum that night for Jamie Wyeth’s opening of his farm art. More to come on that after I download pictures from his father’s beloved Kuerner farm site, setting the tone for Jamie’s impeccably rendered farm creatures.
Here’s Steve’s wise reading of the beaver situation. Thanks for linking, Steve, to NJ WILD and to D&R Greenway, which shares your preservation mission in our region.
The killing of two beavers at Pettoranello Pond two weeks ago brought into the spotlight two sharply contrasting views of the animals. Beavers are adorable, and impressive in their craftsmanship. One of my most serene memories is watching a beaver swim peacefully across a moonlit pond. Their approach to living–find an auspicious spot, transform it to your needs, and make a living there–has parallels with ours, and so can serve as a bridge of kinship between people and nature.
Their inclination to change their surroundings, as in the sticks and mud they were using to obstruct water flow under this bridge, also triggers a distinctly negative view of beavers as nuisance animals. People get a pond just the way they want it, plant some pretty trees, and then a beaver comes along, changes the water level and starts eating the trees. That’s what was happening at Pettoranello Pond. Of course, if beavers are stigmatized for changing the environment, imagine what an animal community that could form and hold opinions would be thinking about us.
Beavers have been living in the canal and Lake Carnegie for a long time, and I had been wondering why they hadn’t made it up Mountain Brook to Mountain Lakes and Pettoranello Gardens. Now that they have, I’d expect more will come. My hope would be that some way could be found to accommodate the beavers while keeping the pond level stable and any valuable trees protected. There are devices that allow water through dams without the beavers being aware. In my opinion, the beavers would do Pettoranello Gardens at least one favor by thinning out its thick stands of alder along the water’s edge. If the beaver’s additions to the dam obstructed storm flow, then a spillway for heavy runoff could be dug somewhere along the bank. The pond already has a bypass upstream of it for storm surges.
Filed Under (Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Brenda Jones, Indians, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Sourland Mountains, books, habitat, native species, protection, trails) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 21-06-2011
Wood Duck - Brenda Jones - Frequently Mentioned in Hopewell Valley Trail Guide ponds
NJ WILD readers are accustomed to my urging exploration, in search of the wild, the beautiful, adventure in our region. I recently was brought a thorough and beautifully written trail guide by Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space. I read and underline a few trail ‘chapters’ every night at supper. Virtual hikes…
Below, find Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space’s launch release. I requested it, once I started paging through this Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley.
We’ll soon have the Guides at D&R Greenway Land Trust. Call me at 609-924-4646, Monday through Thursday, and I’ll let you know if they’re in. This is your Open Sesame to “thousands of acres of preserved open space” — free for the hiking, in the legendary next-door Sourland Mountains Region.
Baldpate Mountain View, by Brenda Jones
The Hopewell Valley is due west of us, over Route #518 or Carter Road into Hopewell, then up Greenwood Avenue to my favorite Sourlands Hike. Those ‘mountains’, to me, are a land of history and mystery, miraculously still green and rocky and vibrant, despite the 21st century’s ever-strangling rings of concrete.
The Guide celebrates the partnership of FOHVOS, Mercer County, Hopewell Township, Pennington Borough, Hopewell Borough, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work. Among them, some seventy miles of trails are open, blazed and maintained so that all of us may experience the wild.
Blue-winged Warbler, Baldpate, last week, by Brenda Jones
The point of preservation, however, in MY book, is not human need. It’s the essential habitat requirements of animal, vegetable and yes even mineral - those splendid, monumental Sourlands rocks! Sit upon some of those boulders, in the middle of a hike, and feel the sustenance and even electricity of the earth herself, buttressing you and thanking you for your appreciation.
My Sister, Marilyn Weitzel, Being Sacajawea, Sourlands - cfe
For birds, above all migrant songbirds, these contiguous preserved acres provide meat, drink, sanctuary and flyways. Legendary Sourlands naturalist, Hannah Suthers, bands ‘passerines’ during spring and fall migration, checking their health as well as their numbers. She began counting migrating birds on horseback along Featherbed Lane. Thanks to Hannah, proof exists of the importance of preserved open land to thousands of winged creatures alone, especially on journeys and often for breeding and successful raising of young.
Essence of Hopewell Valley’s Sourlands cfe
What this splendid book, with handsome color photographs of Hopewell Valley scenes, and stunning nature drawings by Heather Lovett, sings to me is, “Whose woods these are, I think I know…” (Robert Frost, of course - this is virtual Frost country.) Whose woods these are, are YOURS.
Come claim your woods and mountains, through these 19 numbered, illustrated, mapped and memorable pages!
Fox Kit at Baldpate last week, by Brenda Jones
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space
P.O. Box 395
Pennington, NJ 08534
For immediate release
Contact: Patricia Sziber, Executive Director
(609)730-1560 – office
(609)203-4720 – cell
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space Trail Guide Published
Just in time for National Trails Day, which was celebrated on June 4th this year, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) has produced a Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley. The 28-page booklet features locations, maps and descriptions of 19 trails open to the public for hiking and enjoyment of nature. Design and printing of the guide was made possible by a generous donation from Pennington residents Jim and Rhonda Vinson, long-time advocates of open space preservation and walking trails for residents in our region.
Mr. Vinson suggested the guide to the Friends in January and FoHVOS Vice President Tom Ogren took the lead on the project. He recruited Hopewell Township resident Mahlon Lovett, Director of Multimedia Design in Princeton University’s Office of Communication, for layout and design. One of the first steps was to decide on a format that would accommodate all of the graphics and descriptive information that would help people locate and enjoy the trails. In addition to the trail maps, the 10- by 7.5-inch booklet includes street locations of the trail heads, trail length and GPS coordinates for the parking areas, plus photos and artwork.
The guide includes seven trails on preserves owned by FoHVOS, as well as those owned or managed by Mercer County, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the State of New Jersey and Hopewell Borough—approximately 70 miles of trails in all. Most of the trails provide opportunities for relatively easy walking; the trails on Baldpate Mountain offer a longer and more challenging hike.
FoHVOS President John Jackson remarked, “The trail guide would not have been possible without the hard work and contributions of so many people, whose enthusiasm for the project has resulted in this beautiful booklet. We want to thank the New Jersey Trails Association, D&R Greenway and the GIS Center for the maps and many of the trail descriptions. Special thanks are due to Simcha Rudolph who customized the maps and Chris Berry who verified much of the location information. We also thank Heather Lovett for her wonderful artwork and, especially, Jim and Rhonda Vinson for their inspiration and generosity…and their faith in FoHVOS to carry the project through.”
The Guide to the Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley will be available at all three municipal buildings in the Hopewell Valley, public libraries and other locations. Residents may also request a copy by sending an e-mail with their name and mailing address and “Trail Guide” in the subject line to email@example.com.
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space President John Jackson (left) presented the first copy of the group’s Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley to project sponsors Rhonda and Jim Vinson at the entrance to Curlis Lake Woods near Pennington.OH
Filed Under (Adventure, Agriculture, Climate Change, Delaware River, Farmland, Farms, Food, Forests, Migratory Flocks, NJ, NJ WILD, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, Solitude, Timelessness, Wildflowers, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 17-06-2011
NJ WILD readers may remember this from the ‘dog days’ of last August. As we endure triple-digit heat days in JUNE, no less (while politicians debate the reality of Catastrophic Climate Change, I find myself newly compelled to seek out dappled roadways.
We, in Princeton and near, are blessed with places where shadows caress windshields and shiny metal hoods of vehicles. Sometimes, we can even drive where trees hold hands over our cars. On Pinelands roads, we may enjoy shadowed beauty and solitude even on Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day and the like.
Come DAPPLE with me!
In this summer of drought, when enormous swathes of corn have turned the color of camels on either side of Route 518 West of Princeton, I have had to develop a new modus operandi for driving. To evade that broiler-sun, I have come deliberately to tool along, up hill and down dale, on the outskirts of towns, and through the middle of small ones, as far as possible from highways, let alone anything named ’super’. I have to go in search of dappled roads.
This searing summer, I have been taught that shade is far more important than elapsed driving time.
When I endured 1988’s Provencal August, I wrote a poem beginning, “the sun strikes its flat sword blade…” I never before knew sun as enemy. As a child, my parents would sing, “Rain, rain, go away. Little Carolyn wants to play.” And this was perennially true. Now I feel I should do penance for this wish — now I find myself singing, “Sun, sun, go away.”
Day after day, “severe thunderstorms forecast”. Night after night, I carry my too-heavy new watering can around the rudimentary garden outside my new apartment on a wooded hill. Sometimes my parched plants cry out for me to repeat this procedure in mornings before work. People near my Canal Road dwelling have been saying, “We to live in a valley, a valley where it always rains on either side of us.” The ground outside is hard as concrete. Water from the golden can skids off the soil like mercury, like a garden snake, hurrying elsewhere, not sinking into roots.
I’ve had to find ways to escape the searing sun. I drive the dappled roads.
Blue Hills Above the Delaware from Hunterdon County
One of my all-time favorite books is William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways. I turn to it over and over, like Thoreau and Beston, Leopold and Abbey. W.L.H.M. took off in a van on the day he lost both wife and job, traveling the blue highways of our land, the ones without ’super’. He sought out cafes, measuring them by the number of photo calendars they displayed near their cash register. He brought to life each bossy waitress, each curmudgeonly fellow traveler at a stool at his side at the counter. Moon was not on a gastronomic quest, as I often am. Rather in search of humans, real people, what we used to call Americans before a certain recent president made ME ashamed to BE one… That simple travelogue held its place on best-seller lists for months. That basic journey sustained me in many a challenging ordeal of life.
“Where ya goin’?,” a fellow feeder asked William L.H. Moon. “Dunno,” he truthfully answered. His interrogator grinned: “Can’t get lost then.”
When I travel the dappled roads, it doesn’t matter if I get lost. On the dappled highways, still green and feathery above, the smokey wash of shadow alters both my car’s blinding finish and my own dessicated mood.
Provence didn’t have shadows. I never realized shade was essential. The most important description of any Inn was “terrace ombragee”. Until I sat at on those shaded terraces, surrounded by white linen and heavy silver and Provencal specialties beneath leather-leaved plane trees, (our sycamores) I didn’t know how priceless is shade. In Provence, I tried and failed to remember a favorite poem, “Glory be to God for Dappled Things.”
This summer, I learn the value of shadows in our own country. Without linen, without silver, sans cuisine.
When you travel ombragee’d roadways, you’ll either be pretty much alone, as in the Pine Barrens. Or you’ll be surrounded by people in a pretty good mood, soothed as shade comes and goes, as the road rises and falls, as trees create sanctuaries of silence.
Dappled roads don’t just funnel one - dappled roads lead somewhere.
As to rivers - the Wading, the Delaware. As to forests — Wharton, Brendan Byrne. As to mountains, so they say, as in Sourlands. Past a funny old road house, beloved of locals. Alongside farmstands, “cucumbers, 50 cents each”. “Our own fresh eggs.”
As you drive along dappled roads in South Jersey, you can check on the blueberry crop, the busy-ness of rented bees among tiny white cranberry blossoms. If you ‘dapple’ West, you’ll study the state of the sorghum crop, and puzzle as to whether corn tassels out later, the closer you get to the Delaware River (my theory. In this year of the drought, the later-tasseling corn is faring better.)
I’d far rather know how the sorghum’s doing, than the latest catastrophe of some celebrity of entertainment or politics (it is becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference.) I can stop thinking, for a few hours, about the perilous migratory journeys of all our New Jersey birds headed toward and over the Gulf.
When you choose dappled roads, even in town, as in Princeton, you’ll pass homes and graveyards of any number of signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the imposing residence of the current governor. Signs exult, “Tree City”. Oxymoronic, to be sure, but I’m grateful for every monarch of old, waving leafily, dreamily above my sheltering car.
When you drive shadowed south Jersey roadways, you course along beside pristine sugar sand. Here and there will be spurts of blinding ferns despite apparent lack of water. This year, you’ll read Smokey Bear signs with exclamation points after the single word “WILDFIRE!”, where fire danger used to be listed as low, medium or high. When you drive shadowed roadways west, you see gleaming silos like cathedrals in the distance. White horses and black-and-white cattle stand so peacefully, lessons in tranquillity. Red barns and redder farmhouses rise like exclamation points in the surrounding text of crops. You’ll clunk over a white covered bridge (as in Sergeantsville).
If I’m lucky, I can take dappled roads BOTH into and out of Sergeantsville, coming and going from my shadow-quest.
Shade will bless you as you pass any number of Washington’s Headquarters, perhaps pondering the fate of America without those stony shrines and their plain but brilliant occupant during the 1770’s and 80’s…
The edges of dappled roads could have been embroidered. This morning, bright sturdy chicory lined my path all the way to Stockton, like blue French knots embroidered by impeccable seamstresses. Here and there, a brook would keep me company, its quiet gleam no match for the bonniness of chicory. Behind the blue ‘knots’, entire fields of white lace, –yes, Queen Anne’s, short and tough yet delicate–, nodded in the half breeze.
An entire field of sunflowers, right west of here on #518, caused homesickness for France, for Arles, for Vincent, sane or mad, but no better chronicler of roadside flowers in the history of art.
Blessed by leaf-flicker, I am far from matters troublous. Weaving through Washington-shrines, I either forget the nightly news, or set it firmly in perspective. Taking the shady roads, I also manage to avoid most who exhibit road rage, although there was one harsh driver at the gas station at dawn for whom the attendant apologized three times. “He is not nice, that one…”
Dappled roads are nice. Good for the soul. Gateways to the beauties of New Jersey of which so many are absolutely unaware, and even the best of us can tend to forget, in hurly burly or in drought.
On dappled roads, embroidered roadways, weekend errands don’t even feel like tasks.
Find the Photographer - Anne Zeman - at her task…
Filed Under (ART, Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Brenda Jones, Environment, NJ, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Preservation, habitat) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 17-05-2011
These pictures are the fruits of Brenda Jones’ one day of birding at what used to be called Baldpate Mountain, and is now “The Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain”. If you seek a reason for preservation, look below…
When Baldpate Mountain Country Park was renamed, Mercer County Executive, Brian Hughes, announced this significant christening at Ted Stiles’ memorial, attended by more than five hundred whose lives have been enriched by this splendid preservationist, and greatly diminished by his absence.
“Even while Ted was fighting for his life, he was working on open-space preservation projects,” Mr. Hughes revealed. “The preservation of Baldpate Mountain was noteworthy in that it was an extremely difficult proposal to put together. It took a person whose expertise was second to none. It took Ted.”
Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Full Breeding Plumage - Brenda Jones
Some people take pictures, such as yours truly.
Some create art - Brenda Jones’ forte, as NJ WILD readers know.
Scarlet Tanager, Brenda Jones
Some cherish birds.
Some immortalize them.
American Redstart, Brenda Jones
Brenda and Cliff Jones went to Baldpate Mountain recently, a place in whose preservation, of course, D&R Greenway Land Trust had a significant hand. A place dear to the heart of the late Ted Stiles, whose impossible death still stuns, but whose lifework lives on wherever there is wild New Jersey, especially Baldpate Mountain.
Black and White Warbler, Brenda Jones
(These electrifying creatures bop down trunks like nuthatches.
preferring deep forest…)
BRENDA’S BALDPATE MASTERPIECES:
American Goldfinch, Brenda Jones
(New Jersey’s State Bird)
Remember, without preservation, there would be no habitat for these winged jewels of springtime.
Baltimore Oriole, Brenda Jones
(despite their being Princeton colors, this bird is named for the colors of Lord Baltimore, Brenda notes)
Chestnut-sided Warbler, Brenda Jones
(I’ve never even seen one, except in bird books and magazine…)
Without preservation, there would be no habitat in which artists like Brenda can work photomagic.
Veery, Brenda Jones
(I’ve heard Veeries, in Sourland Mountains, at Marsh - but not seen…)
Without preservation, there would be no wide open, nor shaded, nor climbing settings in which NJ WILD readers can seek and achieve their own restoration!
Black-throated Green Warbler from below, Brenda Jones
(I know, where’s the green? — bird names can be amusing/frustrating…)
Black Vulture, Brenda Jones
(Brenda honors vultures)
Red-eyed Vireo, “Singing Its Heart Out”, Brenda Jones
(The whole point of these songs and raiments is to convince prospective mates.)
Chipping Sparrow, Brenda Jones
(This dapper little fellow is usually found on ground, even on your lawn, energetically feeding.)
Hooded Warbler from below, Brenda Jones
(One bird name that works!)
Eastern Towhee “In His Tuxedo” — Brenda Jones
(This is the bird that fought his rival in my parked car’s rear-view mirror last week!)
Brenda Jones is always in the right place at the right time - see this black-throated green with its prey in that tiny beak — good provider!
along with another good provider, the Magnolia Warbler with a caterpillar
and this black-and-white with its spider
A TREASURY OF BREEDING WARBLERS BY BRENDA JONES
made possible through the preservation of treasured
NEW JERSEY LAND!