Archive for the ‘Delaware Bayshores’ Category
Filed Under (ART, Climate Change, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, Global Climate Change, NJ WILD, Native Americans, Nature, New Jersey, Oceans, Tom Brown, Tracker School, Trees, rivers, trails) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 07-12-2012
Rainbow Before Sandy, The Berkshires cfe
NJ WILD readers know, at October’s wild end, I was led to the Berkshires, in Western Massachusetts. i was only to stay two days. My purpose was to hike in wooded hills and re-experience the finest arts at the Clark Institute, the Williams College Museum and Bennington’s, As complex 2012 wound down, mountains, art and limitless vistas had become more essential than usual.
Sandy had other ideas.
Green Mountain Trees Await Sandy cfe
My brief mountain getaway stretched to more than a week, with no heat or water in this Princeton dwelling, and major trees down along routes I needed in order to return home.
Long-time friends from corporate America laughed in unison when I referred to myself as a refugee. But what else are you when you can’t go home?
The mountains had many messages for me, which I assiduously reported in my journal.
Sandy Approaches Williamstown cfe
Above all, ‘Sandy’ is far too trivial a name for a natural event of that magnitude. Even though this Storm King lived up to its moniker, burying Jersey Shore cars well inland in sand like blizzard drifts.
Though cradled in the Green, the Berkshires, the Catskills and in the shadow of Mt. Greylock, this Jerseyan was haunted by a Shore town’s name, “Sea Girt.” Girdled by the sea. I do not know the fate of that oceanside haven, but it probably is not good. The truth is, we could change the name of New Jersey to Sea Girt.
NJ WILD readers have ‘heard’ me all these years, insisting, “It’s not Mother Nature, Folks. It’s US!” This has now been demonstrated to the entire world, irrevocably, inescapably. On the heels of a political campaign in which catastrophic climate change and environmental perils, let alone carbon footprints played no role.
Are we facing the truth now? Or are we all caught up in REBUILD and THE NEW NORMAL?
What ‘Sandy’ revealed was the fate of all our coasts.
What Sandy scrawled was the signature of sea-level rise.
Vanishing glaciers mean more water in oceans, which means more ‘fuel’ for storms whether rain, snow or wind.
Where I Read Storm News, Williamstown: The Chef’s Hat cfe
In the mountains, reading local papers and the New York Times, welcomed like a local, comforted as the refugee I had become, the scariest reality had to do with my beloved trees. One estimate, early on, was that we lost, in those few Sandy hours, 2 million trees. Think “2 million carbon sinks” everyone, two million living, breathing entities that used to absorb the CO2 we insist on pumping into the greenhouse called Earth.
What the mountain newspaper asserted was, “This was not a storm of floods nor even of winds — this was a case of trees-turned-weapons.”
Sandy Fury North Williamstown cfe
Drive anywhere, without even leaving Princeton. Toppled tree roots tower over dwellings of increasing magnitude. Even Morven itself is dwarfed by roots of the downed conifer in its front yard. Get out of the car to meet friends in the most privileged enclaves. Hear the tumultuous ripple of ‘tarps’ over roofbeams. Try to speak and hear above the roar of chain saws and tree-devourers.
Calm Before Storm, Bennington VT cfe
Sandy is no respecter of history, pedigree, address, or life station.
Years ago, I completed Tom Brown’s Tracker School. Ralph-the-Seneca was one of the participants, needing to learn Indian ways, especially foraging for wild foods, as intensely as I did. Ralph had been brought there to teach us the art of bow-making. At the end of making fire, Ralph took me aside, in the opening of a sturdy barn. “We are poisoning Mother Earth,” he intoned solemnly, back in 1983. “And she will do what any healthy animal does under those circumstances. She will vomit us out.”
Although I was far from Tracker School and our beloved Jersey Shore - in fact, from New Jersey’s three unique coastlines — that battered Shore, the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay, i experienced Ralph’s prophecy’s being fulfilled.
Climate change has never been a factor of ‘belief’! It’s here, now, big-time. Are we big enough to face it?
Filed Under (Agriculture, Birding, Birds, Brenda Jones, Butterflies, Cumberland County, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Indians, NJ WILD, Oceans, Pollution/Poisoning, Revolutionary War, Salem County, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 01-09-2012
SALEM COUNTY’S BUCOLIC HISTORY - ALLOWAY CREEK cfe
NJ WILD readers know my favorite places to travel are the wild ones of New Jersey, –especially central and southern–, particularly near water, salt and fresh.
Often in quest of birds, rare yet plentiful.
You also know that the places I choose are havens on many levels.
However, I may not have emphasized enough that one can visit NJ WILD sites, even on major ‘Holidays’, without crowds.
Hancock House Historic Outbuilding - Revolutionary Site — cfe
If you pull up NJ WILD, it has a search feature. Write in ‘Brigantine’ or ‘Pine Barrens’; ‘Sourlands’ or Sandy Hook; Bull’s Island, the Delaware River, Island Beach, etc. You’ll be given a string of posts on their wild beauty, and directions are often part of the saga. For deepest solitude, plan birders’ hours — first light and last light.
In general, Take The Pretty Way, the back roads.
Salem Preserves — cfe
Tomorrow, a friend and I will launch her new Prius into Salem and Cumberland Counties. We’ll be treated to golden stretches of marshland; to shimmering rivers with splendid Indian names, such as the Manumuskin. We’ll ride on and laugh at the sound of Buckshutem Road. We’ll wonder, as you always must down there, where on earth will we eat? Of course, there’ll be the freshest of Jersey Fresh produce on weathered stands in front of farmhouses of other centuries. Of course, we’ll slide coins into Trust Boxes, as we settle agricultural jewels into our sustainability bags to take home.
We’ll see rare birds, especially eagles. Salem County held our only productive eagle nest during the grim DDT years, which my county (Somerset) is about to reinstitute, as it ‘adulticizes’ mosquitoes in the week ahead. Now, I am not kidding, in Salem and Cumberland Counties, we could see more eagles than we can count.
American Bald Eagle Floating - Brenda Jones
Osprey Claiming Nest, Brenda Jones
Cabbage Whites Nectaring — Brenda Jones
Especially ditto purple martins, but they had all left the Brigantine the last time I was there, weeks ahead of schedule. Theory is that our drought hinders the insect population to such a degree that martin migration is over. I’ll know tomorrow. If not, there could be hundreds of thousands of them, bending the marsh grasses, then darkening skies, along the Maurice River.
Alloway Creek, site of British Massacre of Colonial Soldiers, Salem County — cfe
Look up these sites, and find them for yourselves. There won’t be anyone else on most of the roads to the unknown, actually usually forgotten, Delaware Bay.
Salem County, Tranquillity Base cfe
This is truly NJ WILD - my encounter with a snake whose species was new to me, in The Glades, in the Delaware Bayshore Region.
This poem is quite literal — I truly did come upon this gleaming creature, with two friends who advised caution, shall we say. In effect, they were convinced we needed to turn around. My response was quite different.
I have never seen a more irresistible reptile. Now I understand Eve…
I am in love with
the black rat snake
sinuous and glossy
as though sewn of patent leather
very much at home here
twined among tree roots
in the preserve called “Glades”
near our Delaware Bay
I never knew
how dark could gleam
my friends flinch
as I bend toward him
it’s all I can do
not to trace
each brilliant facet
reach toward the surge
that was his morning meal
all that keeps this handsome fellow
somnolent and near
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
Black-Crowned Night Heron by Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers know I have been to ‘the Brig’ (Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at Smithville above Atlantic City) in virtually all conditions. Literally, fire and ice. Snow, of course. Fog.
The fire was a controlled burn to remove phragmites (tall blinding invasive grasses that alter food supplies for birds ‘the Brig’ was created to attract and protect.) The ice was Mother Nature at winter normal, making the dike roads too slippery for entry. Fog is heaven, though birds scarce — because you can’t see Atlantic City looming.
Yesterday, Tasha O’Neill, a fine-art photographer and dear friend and I deliberately traveled to ‘the Brig’ in rain. Both of us had been incarcerated at our desks for a ‘rosary’ of crisp sunny days. When freedom arrived, rain came with it. ‘The Brig’ holds miracles anyway. (It used to be called Brigantine Wildlife Refuge, and is in NO WAY connected, save visually across water, to cheek-by-jowl developed Brigantine Island).
Waterlilies welcomed us, half-open upon arrival because of the dearth of sun. But waterlilies are rewards in any weather.
Waterlily in Rain by Tasha O’Neill
Among the “miracles anyway” was a red knot — our most tragically scarce bird. They used to feed by the hundreds of thousands on 100s of 1000s of horseshoe crab eggs. But developers, along with exploiters of horseshoe crab for bait and fertilizer, have had their way with this lustrous bird of far-flung migratory habits, all centered on our Delaware Bay this time of year. To see any red knot is to see the NJ equivalent of the passenger pigeon, the ivory-billed woodpecker. Any year now may be their last.
Accompanying the knot, and then sprinkled throughout our day, was a profligacy of ruddy turnstones. I’ve been in love with their yes ruddy patchwork backs, their dapper jet ascots and cummberbunds, since I met turnstones at our Chatham, Mass., shore house. They, too, feed at nearby Reed’s Beach, Fortescue and others in Salem and Cumberland County, on whatever horseshoe crab eggs there may be.
My co-birder that day was fine art photographer, Tasha O’ Neill. Weather made seeing out of the windows chancy, let alone photographing, but she did her best. She found the black-crowned night heron off to our left - standing bolt upright as I have virtually never seen them. Hunkered in shrubs over water, breeding plume reaching the water below; settling into taller trees for the night; posing like a football on rocks by a channel — these are usual BCNH positions in my experience. Not sentinel-straight. Not marching like a soldier at the changing of the guard.
Rain-Drenched Black-Crowned Night Heron at Brigantine, by Tasha O’Neill
I never found a harrier, my signifying bird at Brig. But Tasha found two definite red-tails in a dead tree before we were even off 206, and I saw one quartering a field like a harrier somewhere near Tabernacle. It’s always good when your birding starts off before the sanctuary.
Willets were quieter than usual at the Brig — otherwise they generously call out, “I’m the Willet! I’m the Willet!”, as they prance, pounce, then lift off. These birds the color of light toast turn snappily black and white as they lift off over the impoundments.
We were there at low tide - best for shorebirds. A couple of black-bellied plover did not impress my co-birder, wanting them to match their full breeding plumage in my Sibley Guide. It’s not quite time yet for turnstones, or for black-bellies, to be completely in the full black splendor of what always looks like formal evening attire, lacking the patent dress shoes. Stars of low tide for both of us, however, were black skimmers - only two in total, and not performing their Balanchine skimming act in such low water. But handsome and dapper and inescapable with those formidable red-orange beaks.
Skimmer in the Air, by Brenda Jones
We had one golden plover, stately as Tutankhamun, amongst a host of busy ‘little grey jobs’, busy as pyramid builders stoking up before the carry. I have friends who have mastered sandpipers; ditto sparrows. I’m slowly learning sparrows at their hands (we had a nearby chipping sparrow, down on the ground where he belongs, rusty little head pouf very visible, early on); but I remain hopeless with sandpipers. Dunlins?
We found longbilled dowitchers and a lovely curved-bill whimbrel, looking classic against dark peat and green marsh grasses.
Great Egret Fishing in Rain, Brigantine, by Tasha O’Neill
Egrets were stately, immaculate, and the rain-wind generously blew their full breeding plumage, so that they resembled ladies in Dress Circle, sporting plumes for a new diva’s Traviata — back in the days when egrets were killed for these immensely long, pristine feathers. The snowy egrets’ breeding plumage turned them into bleached female mergansers — who always look to me as though they’ve their toes stuck in an electric socket for the effect on head feathers.
Fish crows mourned overhead. There was a scarcity of osprey, though some on nests. Most nests stood empty. One was adorned with all sorts of human detritus — from a float for a lobster trap to orange construction netting. One or two nests showed sitting females, the male on the nearby feeding platform. We did not hear that plaintive delicate osprey call we’ve come to cherish.
Osprey Returning to Nest, by Brenda Jones
Tasha was delighted with a levittown of horseshoe crabs, each defending his domicile with an ivory-hued larger claw, all the rest of the crab invisible in subeterranean safety.
No swans that day.
One SNOW GOOSE! — yes, indeed, white with black feathers and that characteristic rosy beak. Have you EVER seen a solitary snow goose?
Tree swallows, then barn swallows — virtually the only bird call we could hear.
One scowling snapping turtle, resembling an armored tank on a forested road.
Early stars and late, the angular glossy ibis. Even in the half light, their forest green and buffed copper highlights gleamed.
However, I have to admit, the highlight of this journey was coming home through the Pine Barrens, studded with just opening rosy-to-pale-pink mountain laurel, deep into the pinewoods.
Laurel in the Mist, Sooy Place, Pine Barrens, by Tasha O’Neill
And, as I’d hoped, jewels encrusting the north side only of Sooy Place off 563, goat’s rue. Tasha had never seen it. I’ve probably been lucky enough to be their for its brief rare bloom five times total. Its foliage is icy green and lacy, its little face like a snapdragon sticking out its saucy fuchsia tongue.
Goat’s Rue in the Mist, Sooy Place, Pine Barrens, by Tasha O’Neill
It’s not often that the birds of Brigantine are eclipsed (pun intended). But May 21, on the day after the solar eclipse (only seen in Albuquerque, I gather), birds took second place.
Every trip to the Brig is different. Get DOWN there.
Remember, we have that sanctuary because of people with high and deep commitment to preservation!
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 (Activism, Adventure, Birds, Brigantine Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, Delaware Bayshores, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Pine Barrens, Poetry, Preservation, South Jersey, Spring, The Seasons, protection, raptors) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 24-04-2011
NJ WILD readers know I tend to flee to ‘the Brig’ every chance I get, to find out from the birds what season it is.
A week ago, (yes, and again yesterday), I went to the wildlife refuge otherwise known as Edwin B. Forsythe, with friends new to the place. Afterwards, I ‘turned them loose’ in the Pine Barrens and they sent back images to share.
‘The Brig’ can be ‘lovely, dark and deep’, if one is lucky enough to get in there before the sun rises, molten and seemingly dripping, out of the sea and over its bays and impoundments.
We were somewhat later both weeks, due to the essential stop at the Bakery, for hearty real breakfast (eggs that taste like egg, homemade, hand-seasoned sausage patties, endless mugs of fragrant steaming coffee by a window giving onto Tomaselli [Pinelands] Winery and the historic Smithville Inn.)
The greatest gift of ‘the Brig’, for me, is surprisingly not its birds. Rather, limitlessness!
Dike Road Leads on Forever, by Sharon Olson
New Jersey readers will know that I am not making this up - that my drive down to meet fellow poet, Sharon Olson and her husband, Bill Sumner, at 9 a.m. was smothered in snow, flakes that quickened and thickened at the 206/70 traffic circle.
At ‘The Brig’, there was no more snow. However:
Lone Snow Goose, by Sharon Olson
We thought we were seeing the last snow goose, However, we were wrong. I heard the unmistakable musical muttering of hordes of snow geese. Sure enough, we turned a corner to
White Flecks, Snow Geese by Thousands, practically all the way to Tuckerton -by Sharon Olson
What do they know (about lands north of here) that we do not know.
This weekend, I photographed two snow geese at the Brig - the latest ever:
Last of the Snow Geese, April 9, 2011 (cfe)
April 9 View from Gull Pond Tower (cfe)
Another sense of Brigantine limitlessness.
Plus view of my trusty car, in which I proceed on all these jaunts, safely and comfortably, so I can share them with you.
Brooding Scene of Immature Red-tailed Hawk at Brig, April 9, (cfe)
From the Gull Pond Tower, we saw two (mute) swans at the nest, necks twining in a dance that leaves Swan Lake in the shadows. It may well have been their courtship - an aspect of swan behavior about which I know zero.
I don’t have the kind of camera that can capture distant swans, nor even do a very good job of this majestic raptor. He had all the presence of a golden eagle, clearly claiming this tree on Gull Pond Road, and the wide open spaces behind it over to Leeds Eco-Trail, for his new territory. We hope spring brings him a mate for life, to share the Brig’s bounty, beauty and safety. The red-tail opened and closed this week’s Brigantine adventure.
Great Egret in April Water by Sharon Olson
These images come to me through Sharon’s Picasa account — if anyone can tell me how to enlarge, I’ll be glad to learn. It was a treat coming upon so many great egrets and some greater yellowlegs. In each case, nature wasn’t generous enough to provide other versions (of egrets, of yellowlegs), so we could be absolutely sure of that ‘great’ appendage. I did recognize the song of the greater yellowlegs, however, so we were pretty sure about these singletons on sandbanks.
Here’s Brenda Jones’ Brigantine Egret in Full Breeding Plumage at Brig
With great egrets, one can tell them from snowies because the ‘greats’ move with great serenity and dignity, as do great blue herons. Snowies (whose distinguishing field mark yellow feet are usually hidden in water) move about nervously, stirring up bottom-dwelling nourishment with those ‘golden slippers.’
Three Views - The Mirror, the Impoundment, and (arrggh!) Atlantic City! Sharon Olson
The rear-view mirror reminds me to look back, to marvel that these two new friends took to birding, well, like ducks to water.
Learning the vivid and unique shovelers early on, they took great delight in coming across and calling out the perfect name, from then on. Shovelers are russet and green and blinding white, with spade-like beaks that literally shovel under low-tide mud to find their favorite delicacies.
We were treated to elegant, spiffy (quiet) brant, a red-winged blackbird or two (there should be hundreds, and even the females by now. We did not see (they fan their tails) nor hear their territorial ‘okaleeeeee’ because there weren’t enough blackbirds worth territorializing about!
They were good about opening the bird tally (available in the Edwin B. Forsythe/Brig’s new Visitor Center, and vigorously remembering and marking each species seen. They also took time to fill out the visitor query form, being from Connecticut. Bill explained, “Figure they don’t get too many from our zip code…”
I’m not a lister (as in one who will go anywhere, pay any price, bear any burden to see and tally rarities). I’m a thousand times more interested in finding creatures of New Jersey who migrate through our state, and the occasional accidental. I’m not going to Costa Rica nor even to the Platte for cranes. If I find them at the Brig, or in Salem and Cumberland, that’s another story!
Having new birders fill out the tally afterwards cements all they learned, giving them those species as permanent impressions for all time to come.
I’ll End with the Red Knots, by the late Theodore Cross
whose splendid waterbird images we showed at D&R Greenway Land Trust last year - only weeks after his impossible death
we should be seeing throngs of red knots soon
under the full moon of May
along all-too-slender Reed’s and other Delaware Bayshore beaches
but whom we may no longer see because we have destroyed their sole nourishment
the horseshoe crabs
Sharon Olson’s crisp view of the Horseshoe Crab Alert
at the end of Seven Bridges Road
near the Cousteau Society
in a former Coast Guard Building
if enough of those horseshoe crab signs are posted and heeded
the knots and the turnstones could return
in the meantime, knot populations are down 75%
because of human greed
Only Connect is a mandate I usually honor.
I’ll alter it on this subject:
Filed Under (Activism, Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Brenda Jones, Cumberland County, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Henry David Thoreau, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Pine Barrens, Preservation, Restoration, Tasha O'Neill, protection, rivers, wild, wildness) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 27-03-2011
“The Practice of the Wild” by Gary Snyder delights me right from the preface - fairly unique, in my experience. The poet writes (in prose) of “appreciating the ferocious orderliness of the wild.” He speaks of his own path as “connected to animist and shamanist roots.” Snyder praises the arts as “the wilderness areas of the imagination, surviving like national parks.” I had not seen that arts connection, although I spend my life at D&R Greenway Land Trust weaving the arts into preservation of New Jersey lands. Snyder sums up his preface musings: “the wild… is actually, relentlessly, beautifully formal and free.”
As I step out along the Gary Snyder trail, I learn that to him, the words “wild” and “free” are inseparable. How tragic that freedoms are becoming more and more imperiled in our once abundant land, along with our once abundant land. Gary, thank you for articulating what I know, but could not put into words. Thank you for showing this Sagittarian (whose motto is “Don’t fence me in!”) why the wild is essential in my life. Because wild is free and free is wild.
I thought I was hoping to go to Bowman’s in search of spring. I now see, I am seeking the wild and the free. What are you seeking?
Coursing Waters: DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
A recurrent bout of flu deleted all my weekend excursions, including, especially, my first (!) trip this year to Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, just across our Delaware River, just below New Hope, to see if anything normal, natural and native had sprouted.
WILD DELAWARE, Brenda Jones
I knew, of course, skunk cabbage would be up. But what about bloodroot, twinflower, those fragile early heralds? Who knows? When will I know?
SKUNK CABBAGE, FIRST GLIMPSE, (Last Spring - March cfe)
First Ferns, which might be up now, for all I know! (cfe last spring - March)
Confined to quarters as I am, and despite lifelong scorn for television, this weekend I came to rejoice that NJN is spending this month on WILDERNESS. I became a couch potato watching WILD.
ISLAND BEACH FISHERMAN DAY AFTER WILD NOR’EASTER (cfe)
NJ WILD readers may remember my meanderings (mental) about the meaning of WILD, especially in this century, particularly in this, our most populous state.
TRUE WILDNESS, Fox at Twilight, Brenda Jones - I think Griggstown Grasslands
I’ve spent intervening years defining and redefining WILDERNESS (Henry David would have us say, WILDNESS, which is in even shorter supply).
CARNEGIE LAKE WILD - Cormorant/Gull/Fish Battle: Brenda Jones
National photospectaculars define wilderness in word and image. With some of which I agree. Some I seriously disagree. For example, every scene so far has been in the WEST.
KEN LOCKWOOD GORGE, NJ, WILD - Weighty Trout, Tasha O’Neill
NJN itself is great about celebrating New Jersey. Night after night, I see images NJ WILD has brought to you - the Pine Barrens, Salem and Cumberland Counties, the Delaware Bayshore, wild geese on the Delaware, a practiced fly fisherman in our very own Ken Lockwood Gorge, which could be the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for unrelieved wildness and the fight in those trout! (WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LET’S SAVE NJN!)
What makes me cross, couch potatoing in quest of wilderness, is that national filmmakers don’t know WE have a corner, in New Jersey, on Wildness.
STORM SURGE, LAVALETTE, Day After Nor’easter cfe
In the Western Wilderness series, listening to boys and girls, mostly inner city, taken to WILDERNESS the first time, their first reaction is nearly universal:
“It’s so peaceful here.” Wild = Peace.
What could be more important, essential? Especially now that we are engaged in three wars nobody wants and nobody seems to be able to stop. I remember when wars had to be run past Congress, something termed “the consent of the governed”, a.k.a. “the advise and consent” of our elected representatives. I am terrified by the voicelessness of the people in our land now.
All that heals me is the WILD.
However, for boys and girls who’ve never spent a night outdoors, the WILD can be terrifying in concept. To their amazement, over and over again, peace was the gift of the WILD.
WILD PEACE — RESTING TREE — Deep in D&R Greenway’s Cedar Ridge Preserve, cfe
What do my wild havens have in common?
Someone’s PRESERVED them!
What are you doing to keep New Jersey Wild and Scenic, as my Bucks County Congressman Peter Kostmayer once insisted our river be designated for so much of its beleaguered length such blessed terms still apply?
NJ WILD readers know my contenders for havens of WILD PEACE:
The Pine Barrens
Ken Lockwood Gorge, up near Clinton
Island Beach, especially in and after storm
Sandy Hook, especially in winter
Our D&R Canal and Towpath
Anywhere in the Delaware River Basin
Anywhere in Winter:
WILD WINTER SKIES, Sandy Hook Light, cfe
WHAT ARE YOURS?
WRITE YOUR FAVORITES in the COMMENTS
TEACH ME YOUR Favorites!
Our Exquisite Atlantic Ocean, in Solitude: This is New Jersey
Something startling, sent by a college friend who is now a nun,
honoring the recent weekend known as All Hallows Eve and so forth.
My sentiments, precisely! I have had enough of graves and graveyards. Those two final phrases are my mantra.
Not mountains, but New Jersey calls to me — from wind-strafed dazzle of Bay to tumultuous oceans and rivers on either side of Sandy Hook. All day Friday, all day today - Saturday — New Jersey at her scintillating best.
Not for me grey yards with serried rows of crooked stones, incised with worn-out words, with names no longer useful
Never, please, fading plastic bouquets.
We know the dead aren’t there! The dead know they aren’t there.
Why must there be graveyards? It’s not the grave that awaits: it is LIGHT.
For the dead, death is not loss but birth. The dead aren’t lost, they’re home.
Meanwhile and forever, I borrow from Adelaide, and give you most of her stirring lines below.
But with a spirit all unreconciled
Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.
Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,
Better it is to laugh and leap and sing,
To know the open skies of dawn and night,
To move untrammeled down the flaming noon,
No, I will NOT LIE STILL!
There are WORLDS out there!
“Life piled on life were all too few!”
To The Dead in the Graveyard Underneath My Window
by Adelaide Crapsey
Written in A Moment of Exasperation
How can you lie so still?
All day I watch
And never a blade of all the green sod moves
To show where restlessly you toss and turn,
And fling a desperate arm or draw up knees
Stiffened and aching from their long disuse;
I watch all night and not one ghost comes forth
To take its freedom of the midnight hour.
Oh, have you no rebellion in your bones?
The very worms must scorn you where you lie,
A pallid mouldering acquiescent folk,
Meek habitants of unresented graves.
Why are you there in your straight row on row
Where I must ever see you from my bed
That in your mere dumb presence iterate
The text so weary in my ears:
“Lie still And rest; be patient and lie still and rest.”
I’ll not be patient! I will not lie still!
There is a brown road runs between the pines,
And further on the purple woodlands lie,
And still beyond blue mountains lift and loom;
And I would walk the road and I would be
Deep in the wooded shade and I would reach
The windy mountain tops that touch the clouds.
My eyes may follow but my feet are held.
Recumbent as you others must I too Submit?
Be mimic of your movelessness
With pillow and counterpane for stone and sod?
And if the many sayings of the wise
Teach of submission I will not submit
But with a spirit all unreconciled
Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.
Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,
Better it is to laugh and leap and sing,
To know the open skies of dawn and night,
To move untrammeled down the flaming noon,
And I will clamour it through weary days
Keeping the edge of deprivation sharp,
Nor with the pliant speaking on my lips
Of resignation, sister to defeat.
I’ll not be patient. I will not lie still.
Filed Under (Activism, Animals of the Wild, Brenda Jones, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, Garden State, Government, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Oceans, Politicians, Pollution/Poisoning, Preservation, Revolutionary War, South Jersey, native species, protection, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 04-11-2010
Historic D&R Canal Towpath, Haven of Beauty, Source of Water
A national organization just sent a bulletin of good news for our environment, all too scarce in MY book!
In fact, among all the ‘Talking Heads” to whose palaver I was subjected this week, I heard the word ‘environment’ but once, in a tragically dismissive tone.
Our Congressman, Rush Holt, is a friend of the environment without peer. As a naturalist and conservationist, I am profoundly relieved that he won this, his only narrow victory in all these terms.
While thankful to learn the news they conveyed, I felt compelled to write back to the national organization, alerting them to our Congressman Rush Holt’s ENVIRONMENTAL VIGILANCE in our state, in the Capitol. I share some of my response with NJ WILD readers.
As I bolded line after line in Rush’s web-page on environmental matters, –even I, loyal constituent so long as I have known this man–, learned ways in which our Rush Holt tends to Nature.
It is particularly significant that this former rocket scientist continues to instruct Washington to base environmental decisions upon sound science, not upon politics, not in reaction to special interest groups who continually despoil our land.
What I treasure about Rush is that he’s out there noticing what’s wrong, facing problems, solving problems, not merely reacting/vouchsafing sound bites, as do so many politicians…
Lavalette, New Jersey: Calm After Storm
You’ve read my anguished posts and my Packet article on the peril of birds in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. (from his web-site) Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
He weaves the young into his work: Holt is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
(from his web-site) On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee
For this alone, I’d have voted for Rush: Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
And this: Rep Holt is committed to the preservation of America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives.
And this: Rep. Holt does all in his power to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas.
When I think of Rush, I experience him as listener – need I remind how rare that quality is in politicians in our time?
Our Congressman is also known for his strong historic perspective, terrifically important in this, our most populated state, where not even the events without which we would not be/have a nation, do not effectively protect sites where these events transpired.
Rush remembers and dynamically teaches the remarkable truth: Ours is the state in which the highest percentage of successful Revolutionary War battles took place, –two in nearby Trenton and the significant one here in Princeton on January 3, 1777.
How many realize that that sacred battlefield could be developed even now by of all entities, the Institute for Advanced Studies?
Rush also knows that lands held open for historic purposes also protects and enhances life chances for native species.
History & Beauty - Historic Batsto Preserve
Pine Barrens of New Jersey - Former Iron Forge Town
His commitment to clean water is vital, as our Canal serves the water needs of millions. Rush is well aware that New Jersey is the ONLY state with THREE coastlines - Atlantic, Delaware Bay and Delaware River. He is determined to maintain these treasures at the highest level, not only because of tourism dollars, but due to their essentiality to humans and native species on all levels.
Rush remembers, reminds others, and acts. All that, and he writes personal thank you’s, even for my minuscule contributions.
From Congressman Rush Holt’s website page on Environment: http://holt.house.gov/ Issues - Environment:
John F. Kennedy said in March 1961, ‘It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.’” –
Rush Holt Rep. Rush Holt has stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and is committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. He supports efforts to clean up our air, land, and water, and to preserve open space.
A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, he is a leader in promoting environmentally sound alternative energy sources that do not harm our environment. For his work, Rep. Holt has earned a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and its State Assistance program, which provides matching funds to states and communities to preserve open spaces. Early in his career, he was able to restore the state-side grant portion of the program, and he has since fought to retain and increase funding for it.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Holt led a bipartisan coalition that helped secure $125 million for the LWCF and $25 million for the state-side grant portion. He is leading the effort to secure LWCF in the current Congress as well. The LWCF State Assistance program has aided local recreation projects in over 98% of all U.S. counties, including the preservation of over 73,000 acres of land in New Jersey alone. This is land that otherwise may have been developed for private use or otherwise rendered unusable. Due to the crucial work done by the LWCF, Rep. Holt has fought for full LWCF funding every year.
In July, Rep. Holt voted for and the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). In addition to fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill would raise operations standards on offshore drilling, making it safer for workers, as well as for our environment.
Northern Gannet at Cape May -
CMBO Picture –
One of most devastated birds during and after BP Oil Catastrophe in Gulf
In light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the CLEAR Act adopts a provision written by Rep. Holt to hold oil companies accountable for the damage they inflict, should an accident occur. The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.
Black Skimmer Glory by Brenda Jones
Bird deeply endangered by oil in water - as it skims waves to feed on resident fish
Rep. Holt supports states’ rights to lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. He has supported legislation to allow states such New Jersey to create stronger regulations regarding vehicle emissions.
Rep. Holt strongly supports efforts to protect the Clean Water Act. He has cosponsored legislation that would reestablish the original intent of Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act, ensuring that it applies to all water of the United States.
He also supports efforts to fully fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Holt also is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
On his web-site, you can read Rep. Holt’s work on clean energy, including his efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Rep. Holt supports the “polluter pays” principle that the financial burden to clean up toxic pollution at Superfund sites should not fall on the backs of taxpayers. Congress created the Superfund in 1980 to clean up the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. Congress placed the financial onus for cleanups on polluting corporations. [This system worked as it was intended until 1995 when the 105th Congress let the Superfund revenue authority expire.]
Superfund still had funding until the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. Yet, the Bush Administration failed to request renewal of the Superfund taxes in any subsequent budget, resulting in the Superfund running dry. This has stalled cleanup efforts in Superfund sites throughout the country, including in Marlboro, NJ, which had waited for the clean up of the Imperial Oil Company site for more than 25 years, until finally receiving approximately $25 million for cleanup from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Rep. Holt continues to work to reinstate the Superfund tax on corporate polluters.
Rep. Holt has led the effort in Congress to preserve historic lands, as he believes that preserving historic spaces is essential to educating the current generations and future generations and about our rich cultural heritage. This year, he reintroduced the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation that would help preserve open spaces by authorizing additional funding to protect historic sites dating from these two wars.
Pre-Revolutionary Blue Mill, Blue Mill Pond, Walnford Village NJ
Additionally, in 2007 Rep. Holt secured $150,000 in federal funding for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which he helped to create in 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution highlights the role of New Jersey during the American Revolution and brings protection to many historic landmarks, including battlefields, lighthouses, mills, wells and the other Revolutionary War area sites in New Jersey. Crossroads of the American Revolution is headed by D&R Greenway Trustee Cate Litvack, who has become a friend and member of my Willing Hands Committee at the Land Trust, regularly arriving early for events to greet our guests.
Representing a state that is highly dependent on the ocean for its economy, tourism, and recreation, Rep. Holt is committed to ensuring that our coasts and oceans are clean.
Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
Where History and Waters Meet
Calling to Migrant Birds…
Cape May Light and Ocean Beach in Winter
Cape May Bird Observatory Photo
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the School Building Enhancement Act, legislation that would help schools implement energy saving measures to reduce their energy costs. Energy bills are the second-highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs, with the annual spending by schools on energy at $8 billion in 2007. Holt’s bill would authorize $6.4 billion over five years for school construction, including funding to help schools become more energy-efficient.
On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee.
WILD (literally! & SCENIC DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Holt has worked to preserve America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives. The bill preserves New Jersey’s heritage as one of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution by creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park and the Edison National Historic Park.
Rep. Holt has led efforts to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas, including: In 2007, Rep. Holt led an effort, with 86 of his colleagues, to urge the Secretary of the Interior to oppose increased snowmobile use – which can damage the air and land - in Yellowstone National Park.
In December 2007, Rep. Holt spearheaded a successful effort, with 57 other Members of Congress, asking the Obama administration to overturn a last-minute decision by the Bush administration to auction off pristine public land in Utah’s Wilderness to oil and gas companies.
In 2007, Rep. Holt successfully offered an amendment to the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act that would ensure that national parks are protected from the hazardous byproducts of hardrock metal mining.
Rep. Holt opposes proposals to drill for oil within sensitive environments like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that we should harm irreparably the nation’s remaining wilderness in order to produce oil that will not meet the demand for energy.
Rep. Holt believes it is important for the federal government to designate and protect critical habitats that are vital to the continued survival of endangered and threatened species.
He strongly supports allowing scientists - not politicians - to identify what is needed to enhance and de-list endangered species. Holt is working to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and has participated in a number of hearings on this issue as a senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Fox on Ice, Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Rep Holt believes that the humane treatment of animals is a mark of civilized society.Because of his efforts on behalf of animal rights, Rep. Holt was awarded an A+ from the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2008.
Rep. Holt has cosponsored legislation to prohibit the use of birds in animal fighting, to ban the riding of captive elephants in road shows, and to require wounded livestock to be humanely euthanized, rather than be left to suffer a slow and painful death.
Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
Rep. Holt has introduced the Fox-Penning Prohibition Act, legislation which would prohibit the transport of foxes and other animals for the purposes of “wildlife penning.” “Wildlife penning” is an inhumane treatment of animals by which they are put in fenced enclosures where wild animals are ripped apart by packs of dogs in competitive animal fights — they are torn apart by dogs in an escape-proof enclosure. “I have introduced legislation to stop this practice by outlawing the transport of animals for the purposes of fox penning.”
Filed Under (ART, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Delaware Bayshores, NJ WILD, Preservation, Restoration, South Jersey, Volunteering, protection, raptors, stewardship) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 26-09-2010
NJ WILD readers know that I spend a good part of my life at D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I do what it takes to bring superb regional artists to our nature-themed art exhibitions.
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