One of the volunteer groups making the swallow boxes installed this year is Spectrum for Living, a New Jersey not-for-profit organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities get housing and clinical services. Residents from six group homes constructed nest boxes to be used in the field. But they also gave themselves an extra challenge with a bird house competition. Each group contributed one competitor. They were all fun, creative, and well-constructed. The winner was the group from Haledon, whose box, covered in natural bark and including a side porch, made great use of natural materials. Sadly, a late entry (below) from Edison did not arrive in time for the judging.
Spectrum residents and staff came to DeKorte Park on Tuesday for the competition, as well as to cheer on NJMC’s Gaby Bennett-Meany as she staked their (plain) boxes in the mudflats west of Lyndhurst Nature Reserve. Spectrum for Living has partnered with the Meadowlands Commission for close to ten years. That’s a lot of bird houses!
Here’s a peek at what’s been happening behind the construction fencing. This photo shows fiberglass sheet piling, which is being used to stabilize the steepest areas being repaired. The piling will be further ‘vibrated’ in until only six inches is visible above ground. The adjacent red gravel trail surface will be restored as well.
The work is progressing on schedule: we expect the trail to reopen by Labor Day.
The meadowlands probably has the highest concentration of tree swallows in the region. This is due in part to the NJMC’s long-running practice of installing nest boxes throughout key meadowlands sites. The birds are so excited about their new homes that they circle nearby as the boxes are being installed. They may take ownership within seconds of the box’s placement.
Gaby Bennet-Meany, Brett Bragin, Amanda Iveson and Drew McQuade went by foot and by boat to place this year’s boxes at DeKorte Park, Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek Marsh, Skeetkill Marsh, the Kane Natural Area, and Marsh Resources mitigation area. The boxes are donated by volunteers from the surrounding communities.
We had two walks scheduled for Sunday May 3rd at Losen Slote – one at 8 and one at 10. We are combining the two sessions into one which will begin at 9:00 am. Meet in the public parking area near the tot lot (left side of the skating rink).
If you’ve never walked these woods before you are in for a treat. This type of woodland is rare in the meadowlands and contains many species not found nearby. Come see for yourself.
For the fifth year in a row, a team representing the meadowlands will take part in the national World Series of Birding.
The World Series is the country’s largest and most prestigious birding competition and provides participants and sponsors with a fun and interactive way to raise money for critically needed conservation priorities.
Over the past thirty years, this event has brought birding to the attention of the media, and has raised close to $9 million for bird conservation.
Thanks to your support over the past four years we’ve been able to help complete some great projects in around DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Projects include establishing a new butterfly garden along Disposal Road and enhancing native plantings at the Kingsland Overlook and Harrier Meadow. (These projects also received funding from Bergen County Audubon Society.)
Our local team, known as the Meadowlands Marsh Hawks, consists of Mike Newhouse, Chris Takacs, and Mike Wolfe, three top-notch birders. Let’s support our local wildlife by supporting our local team!
The link to the Meadowlands Marsh Hawks page is here.
Volunteers are needed at Skeetkill Creek in Ridgefield for a cleanup this Saturday. Please meet at the site at 9:00 am. Find directions in the column on the right side of this page.
Spend whatever time you can, just be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring a pair of work gloves. You are sure to be rewarded with some great wildlife sightings.
Read Don Torino’s inspiring post for Earth Day 2015 on Wild New Jersey.
He remembers the very first one…so do I.
The first Earth Day ~ April 22, 1970, NYC
“The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.” – The Earth Day Network
And it’s grown ever since. Celebrate with the NJSEA and BCAS by taking a guided nature walk in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst starting at 10 am. Meet in the MEC parking lot.
Another historic nugget – Walter Cronkite reporting on the first Earth Day for CBS news April 22, 1970.
Hector Vilches took these amazing photos on our Sunday walk in DeKorte Park.
Thanks for sharing, Hector!
The third Tuesday walk will be at Harrier Meadow tomorrow. Trails could be muddy after today’s rain. Temperature should be 60-62 degrees.
Meet at 10:00 in the Environment Center parking lot. Please don’t drive directly to Harrier. We’ll car-pool to minimize the number of vehicles parked there. Construction work is still taking place along Disposal Road and at the PSE&G substation, so safety is our big concern. See you then!