Archive for December, 2009
Filed Under (Activism, Brenda Jones, Environment, Forests, KAYAKING, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Preservation, protection, stewardship, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 29-12-2009
What’s “Out There” - sometimes a Fox on Ice
Fox upon Lake Carnegie by Brenda Jones
One of my cherished Packet Editors, Michael Redmond, who once asserted, as I rhapsodized about outdoors in New Jersey, “Ah, but Carolyn, I prefer concrete…”. Today, Michael sent this outdoor news, which I share it eagerly with NJ WILD readers.
National Wildlife Foundation commands: ‘BE OUT THERE!” - Exactly - you heard it here… you read it here, over and over and over. Now it’s a movement, building upon Richard Louv’s seminal book, Last Child in the Woods. Well, I’m writing about LAST GROWNUPS IN THE WOODS!
No, not the Ivory-Bill, the Pileated Woodpecker, by Brenda Jones
Looking back on accomplishments and challenges of the year just ending, I see — [what with interminable, even marathon packing and moving announced with a mere four weeks' notice, as well as generally dire weather in all seasons], in 2009, I was not OUTDOORS enough! Were YOU?
Here’s a whole movement announced by National Wildlife Foundation to counter the tragedy of too much indoorsness. I repeat, it’s not ONLY CHILDREN who NEED to get OUT in the WOODS and out in the air, especially the NIGHT air, with all its wonders!
February’s Moon, Brenda Jones
I’m hoping my words and the images of so many special photographers, especially Brenda Jones and Tasha O’Neill over the last year, have stirred YOU to more time in the woods and wilds. If not - here’s the antidote, thanks to Michael Redmond and the National Wildlife Foundation.
It should not be all right with any of us that children or adults now spend an average of four to seven minutes outdoors per day in our country. Don’t let the wondrous Ken Burns special convince you that the only outdoors is out West. New Jersy is rich in the wild. Get out there!
Male Cardinal in Winter, Brenda Jones
While I’m at it, in terms of resolutions, WHAT NON-PROFITS HAVE YOU JOINED lately? You know they’re suffering, rolling rocks uphill, reeling from the current financial climate and its effects upon individuals and organizations, especially government agencies, but even their usual grantors. If you don’t reach out to the land preservers in your midst, there won’t be land for leisure or for farming within a handful of years.
My only quarrel with NWF’s propositions is that they do not stress raising awareness of PRESERVING OPEN SPACE, IN ALL STATES, NOT JUST IN BELEAGUERED NEW JERSEY, SO THERE’S A WOOD LEFT TO ENTER. Support your local non-profit, especially D&R Greenway Land Trust - who have managed to save nearly 22 miles of land in their 20 years of contending against development of our beleaguered state. Bill Rawlyk, our Director of Land Acquisition, promises to make up for my having kayaked but twice in 2009, with what he terms, “Remedial kayaking.”
Fine! Take this up with me, as well as remedial strolling, remedial sitting on a bench by the D&R Canal and Towpath, reading in a meadow, hiking the Pole Farm any day now in search of short-ealed owls… GET OUT THERE! And preserve land to be OUT in.
Short-eared Owl Pole Farm 2009, Brenda Jones
A Different Kind of TIME OUT
A New Year’s Resolution Your Kids Will Appreciate
Be Out There Resolution To Know, Go, and Grow in 2010
December 23 (Reston, VA) — Many will once again resolve to get organized or lose ten pounds in the new year, but National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is recommending a resolution with profound impacts because it recaptures an essential part of childhood, outdoor play.
By making the 2010 Be Out There Resolution to spend more time outside in 2010, Americans will be making a resolution that’s both good for their families and fun to keep. Everyone who makes the 2010 Be Out There Resolution will receive the Know, Go and Grow Be Out There Toolkit with important facts, fun tips and interactive tools to help them keep the resolution.
Outdoor time significantly enhances children’s physical and mental well-being, but, sadly, today’s kids don’t get much. In the last two decades, childhood has moved indoors. While previous generations ran around in nature until called in for dinner, modern children spend only four to seven minutes outdoors per day.
Research in the fields of public health, psychology, and medicine documents the toll an “indoor childhood” takes on kids. NWF launched the Be Out There movement (www.BeOutThere.org) to return to the nation’s children something they don’t even know they’ve lost, their connection to the natural world.
“To address childhood’s fundamental shift indoors, we are asking parents to make the 2010 Be Out There Resolution to Know, Go and Grow,” says National Wildlife Federation’s Vice President of Education, Kevin Coyle.
“We want them to know and understand the importance of outdoor time; to go outside more with their kids and grow the Be Out There movement by spreading the word and inviting friends along.”
Children reap wide-ranging and numerous benefits when encouraged to interact with nature in an outdoor setting, including better eyesight, enhanced physical fitness and less obesity, increased classroom preparedness and lower levels of stress and depression.
There’s a reason they call it the great outdoors™. NWF hopes parents will show their children what that reason is by making the 2010 Be Out There resolution at beoutthere.org/resolution. This is one Time Out kids will actually enjoy.
Visit www.beoutthere.org/resolution to learn more.
Press Contact: Mary Burnette, Burnette@nwf.org, 703-438-6097
One of the unintended results of humankind’s edifice complex is that birds sometimes fly into buildings.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk on the left had the misfortune of flying into a window in the same building as the Meadowlands Commission’s Business Accelerator on Chubb Avenue in Lyndhurst, not far from Giants Stadium.
Jonathan Martin of the Accelerator staff called NJMC naturalists to check the bird (he also took the picture above). The game plan was to take the Sharpie to the Raptor Trust in Millington if it did not recover in short order.
The good news is the bird did regain its senses and fly off. NJMC naturalists say the bird should be fine.
Click here for photos of a Sharp-shinned Hawk banded this fall in the Meadowlands.
Click here to find out what to do if you find an injured wild bird. The link is to the Raptor Trust, a wonderful place.
Brenda Jones’ Healthy Juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk
probably at the Pole Farm, near Lawrenceville
Filed Under (Activism, Animals of the Wild, D&R Canal & Towpath, Environment, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, stewardship, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 23-12-2009
Nature and Human, alongside D&R Canal State Park, Princeton
Eagle and Sculler, by Brenda Jones
Dear NJ WILD readers — I’ve ‘given’ Sierra Club and Audubon memberships to dear ones this year. To me, it is imperative to give BACK to Mother Nature! See what Sierra has done with and for us, for Mother Nature, in 2009.
What are your gifts to nature, of nature? What have you done in the wild, for the wild?How has your awareness of nature expanded? What have you generated or amplified re PRESERVATION AND STEWARDSHIP?
On behalf of Mother Nature, I salute and thank you.
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee, Carolyn
From securing the protection of 2 million acres of natural spaces to helping pass clean car standards to stopping over 100 dirty coal plants to taking over 90,000 kids fishing, it has been an astounding year of accomplishment for the Sierra Club.
And it’s all thanks to people like you.
Together we’ve done so much this year — we’ve taken actions online to contact Congress, we’ve invited people into our homes to talk to watch documentaries and hold discussions, we’ve rallied in our communities and more.
You’ll love the inspiring stories we’ve collected of the hard work and dedication of Sierra Club members and supporters all across the country.
Thank you for all that you do to make the Sierra Club the place to explore, enjoy and protect the environment.
Filed Under (Animals of the Wild, Birds, Forests, NJ WILD, Native Americans, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, South Jersey, Trees, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 14-12-2009
A Winter’s Gift: Trumpeter Swan Lifting Off
As each year winds down, I seem to become ever more frantic for the return of the light. Interestingly, mysteriously, light begins its return when everything seems darkest and coldest. Oddly enough, I forget this reality, year after year.
For me, the diminishing of the light starts at what others insist is Midsummer’s Night. The world rejoices at what they see as summer’s genesis. To me, June 20/21st means sunlight begins to shrink. For me, this nightmare will not begin to dim until the deep in December.
In Celtic times, Winter Solstice was celebrated with bonfires calling to one another upon every hillside, especially in England’s Cornwall and Somersetshire, lands of Arthur the King…
I return NJ WILD readers to last year’s Solstice post, remembering another kind of fire. This was one of the precursor poems of a great and unexpected love. Interestingly, that adventure began on Midsummer’s Day.
the fox began it
that long-legged adolescent
who appeared to my song
in the time of beach plums
and first frosts
but now it is snowing
and the ruddy one
curves - half cat, half pup -
about my calves to tug me
to the cave
this floor’s fur-lined
warmth like flames
reflecting on his pelt,
those snappy eyes,
the glistening nose
his long lush tail
curls across my eyes
as I recline
to puzzle at the rustle
I kneel, then sit back on my heels
to face you as the gods
have always planned
the fox twines ’round your hips
stares with sweet command
into my startled gaze
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
Cool Women, Volume II
Trumpeter Swan in Flight, Bill Schmoker
once in New Jersey
we stopped the car
in the middle of a Pine Barrens highway
because swans, huge swans
decked with black, not orange,
were rising over the hidden lake
as dusk and winter arrived in tandem
and the swans
created a raucousness
as though Boy Scouts were running
through the wild woods
which is one way we knew
that these were not mute
and it had been so long
since they had been heard in New Jersey
that these wild swans were nowhere
in any of our legendary bird books
Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Filed Under (Adventure, Agriculture, Brenda Jones, D&R Canal & Towpath, Environment, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Food, Harvest, Local Food, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Poetry, South Jersey, The Seasons, Trees, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 10-12-2009
Carnegie Lake in Winter, D&R Canal State Park, by Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers remember that my mandate from Ilene Dube, Princeton Packet Time Off Editor, was to write about nature, to urge preservation, and to include poetry.
After a heady night at Labyrinth Books, with a panel discussing the interface of science and poetry, I come home starved for more poetry and less science. I especially winced at talk of ‘teaching’ intuition.
Any woman knows, intuition is innate. There is no teaching of it. There can be killing of it, as throughout my long-ago Catholic so-called education.
I am beyond nuns now. If people ask my religion, which they absolutely HAVE, I prevent further questions by answering, “I am a devout pagan.”
And though flip, it is true. I believe in the spirit of rocks and trees, the divas of oceans, rivers and bays. My church is our Towpath and Canal and the wild creatures who course along each, –seen and unseen.
I wish I’d lived in the old days, when people lit signal fires on hillsides to welcome the Solstice, the Equinox. Maybe I did…
Tonight, craving poetry and nature equally, I give you Excursion to the Barrens.
NJ WILD readers know I cherish our Pine Barrens, would rather be there than anywhere in America. Here is the fruit of one such journey.
Although this poem was written at the time of the vernal equinox, I send solstice blessings to you all.
Celestial Great Egret, by Brenda Jones, NH’s Pine Barrens: Brigantine/Forsythe Refuge
EXCURSION TO THE BARRENS
I like to watch old farms wake up
ground fog furling within the turned furrows
as dew-drenched tendrils of some new crop
lift toward dawn
three solid horses bumble
along the split-rail fence
one rusting tractor pulsing
at the field’s hem
just over the horizon
the invisible ocean
paints white wisps
all along the Pinelands’
blank blue canvas
as gulls intensely circle
this tractor driver’s
frayed straw hat
from rotund ex-school buses
long green rows are suddenly peppered
by their vivid headgear
as they bend and bend again
to sever Jersey’s bright asparagus
some of which I’ll buy
just up ahead
at the unattended farm stand
slipping folded dollars
into the ‘Honor Box’
before driving so reluctantly
away from this region called ‘Barren’
where people and harvests
still move to seasons and tides
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
May 30, 2005/July 19, 2006
Loss, of course, is universal. Why is it so much harder to bear between Thanksgiving and the New Year?
And, now that we’re sending more troops to Afghanistan, not only to be in jeopardy of death, but also to be taught how to kill — there will be hundreds if not thousands more to whom this ‘modern parable’ will need to be sent. Do what you can, hot-link-wise to remind our leaders of the lessons of Korea and Vietnam.
On this day of all days, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I must add, “Days that live in infamy are no longer limited to the Japanese.”
Doesn’t anyone see that far more of our brothers and sisters have died in these vengeful wars than in the World Trade Center disaster? What good is war? All my life, I have sen only harm.
This essay appeared in The Times of Trenton, on the OpEd Page, some Christmases ago. I feel it is always in order to remind people that this time of year, meant to celebrate the return of the light, can truly strafe those who have experienced unbearable loss. Reach out to those you know, for whom this is the case. Reach out in empathy:
HOLIDAY LOSS – a modern parable
Here they are again, the relentless “Holidays”. Season of the return of the light for so many people of so many faiths. But, for those who have lost the very dear, this time can wear a dark cloak.
This Season, luminous for others, looms for the bereaved. Attention should be paid to those who mourn while others rejoice. The grieving need to be reassured that surviving holiday loss is possible. No, it’s not easy. And yes, there will be fascinating blessings in this seemingly impossible journey. Some days, the sad person must hammer out a way. Other days, the way simply unrolls, when and where least expected.
There are certain steps which assist in this process. A motto of the 1940’s instructs, “When you’re blue, little girl, when you’re blue – do something for somebody, do.” That works. So does creating one or two small celebrations: not only when the heart is not in it, but BECAUSE it is not! It is hard to believe that a heavy heart can generate glows in holiday faces, but this does indeed happen. Deep inside, no matter the sorrow, light remains.
Visiting a video store which encourages the taking out of many films for many days can bring inner miracles. Old favorites are helpful. Even more astonishing can be the gifts in movies never seen, possibly never even heard of. The 1992 film, “A Midnight Clear”, carries the viewer to a time of global bereavement. Its literally stellar cast includes Gary Sinise as Vance (“Mother”) Wilkins. Set in a mountain fastness in 1944 France, an American Intelligence squad, –chosen, ironically, for their intelligence (I.Q. scores)–, encounters a German platoon. Simplicity of setting sets the drama’s outstanding acting into high relief. Its final moments bear guaranteed relief, along with a healthy dose of reordering of priorities.
One can be on the lookout for the Southern tradition of “Little Christmas”. This can arrive on any date after Thanksgiving. It happens whenever the Holiday Spirit surges, –unexpected, even startling. Perhaps unwelcome, at first. I first experienced this phenomenon when a newcomer to Savannah invited me to her first caroling party. It was so hot, we didn’t even need coats. I didn’t feel one whit of Holiday spirit. After singing to a very surprised new neighborhood, my generous friend served cocoa and cider and cookies to the soft-spoken families who had helped create that musical offering. Afterwards, I helped my friend ‘put the house to bed.’ As we walked to my car, we were given “a rainbow ‘round the moon.” When I told my hostess that this, to the Indians, is great good luck, she announced, “Well, then, this is Little Christmas!”
Sometimes others provide the lift, having no idea that one’s heart is leaden in this season. Last year, I stopped to talk with the man from Vermont who sells trees across from Montgomery Cinema. “I usually get my greens for the table here, but today I don’t see them,” I blurted. (It was not his fault I was blind…) “Right over there, ma’am,” he said, brightly. “Please, help yourself!” Soon my car was awash in fragrances of pine, spruce and balsam. He would not accept a penny for his greens. That was last year’s Little Christmas. December 15.
Sometimes, the only avenue open to the grieving is to flee scenes shared with the lost ones. Other times, it helps enormously to take others — to Nutcracker at McCarter, Messiah at Richardson. Once I persuaded a new widow to join me at the latter performance. Reluctantly she agreed – and found herself transported, just walking up the circular staircase she had trod so many times with her husband. It was her first pleasurable outing since his death, many months before.
Dreaming up anti-grief rituals is every bit as important as wrapping presents, maybe more-so. Most of the time, I’ve made it work. But there was a year, 1990, when I crumpled at the first string of Christmas lights, spurting along a white porch railing. “Oh, no!,” I cried out in my empty car. “I’m not ready!” My dread lay deep, far below tears.
In my dark car, in ponderous tones, I was suddenly corrected: “Who are you to place your daughters before My Son?” Although a poet, no, I do not customarily hear voices. There was no mistaking this intense challenge. It was painful, as though someone had lanced a boil without anaesthesia. I apologized to the Presence whom a humorous friend names “The Great Whomever.” Each year it seems that decorations go up and carols descend, ever earlier. However, also every year, that reminder of priorities returns and works its cure. And every year, there is the prospect of noticing “Little Christmas.”
Filed Under (Adventure, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Brenda Jones, Destruction, Environment, Fishing, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Poetry, Preservation, Solitude, Tranquillity, protection, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 01-12-2009
Sunset Eagle of Lake Carnegie, late November 2009, by Brenda Jones
Photographer Brenda Jones, as you know, is a great gift in my life. We met ‘by chance’, –she and her husband Cliff and I–, on the D&R Canal and Towpath near the Mapleton Fishing Bridge. Our encounter took place in last light, such as that reflected on ‘our’ eagle above Lake Carnegie. This took place before the Packet Publications asked me to create a blog; before I’d ever even SEEN a blog.
Brenda and Cliff and I were searching for beavers. They quietly introduced me to the lodge that looked (effectively for beavers) like nothing but landslide! Evening after evening, Brenda and Cliff kept vigil there above Mapleton, rewarded by mother beaver with young, beavers dining, beavers carrying twigs and branches home. One night, I saw a beaver swim from the fishing bridge to the lodge, carrying a branch in full green leaf — “Burnham Woods to Dunsingame” and all that… I couldn’t see the beaver, only the greeny branch moving determinedly up-canal! Without Brenda and Cliff, I’d not have been out there to see that miracle of NJ WILD.
Ever since, every time I open my e-mail, I never know what stunning scenes Brenda and her artist’s eye, her naturalist’s drive, and now a new camera, may have in store for me.
Here’s what they found Thanksgiving weekend - I’m calling this “The Eagles’ Thanksgiving”. You read my musings on what the Pilgrims really ate. We KNOW what ‘our’ eagles devoured on Thanksgiving Weekend. Brenda caught the hunt and its outcome, everything but the feast - all the while apologizing, hoping I am not over-eagled!
Brenda speculates that the cacophonous wide-ranging construction all along US 1 near Harrison, –not only hospital buildings but also highway changes–, are disrupting the Eagles of Carnegie. Remember, it is only recently that this healthy and beautiful pair have come to us, having successfully mated, nested, laid and hatched eggs, raised and fledged young for almost 6 years . Brenda, Cliff and I wonder if the eagles’ more constant presence at the Lake signal the search for a new nest site, away from ever-present human destruction.
We have to caution ourselves not to become complacent about this miracle of WILD NEW JERSEY. Eagles need peace and quiet, even more than poets! For us, yes, it’s creativity at stake. And that feels vital. For eagles, it’s survival itself.
I never did understand why construction was permitted so near that Sarnoff nest. Before The Eagles of Carnegie, nesting of rare owls prevented the Bypass, near that same Sarnoff property. In the Pine Barrens, construction of a major bridge was stopped every year during eagle-mating and -nesting season. That nest was far from the Chestnut Neck Bridge, whose builders honored wild nature. That nest was never visible without the best binoculars and a local’s pointing out the significant grove of trees.
We can be thankful for this feast, because it means Lake Carnegie holds healthy fish for these discriminating hunters and parents.
Could our state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife really have approved destruction in the name of construction, at the very hem of ‘our’ eagles’ nesting habitat?
I’m hoping that ‘our’ eagles can remain thankful that they came to Princeton, that their search for privacy for the furtherance of their race is lastingly successful.