BCAS Annual Thanksgiving Morning Walk at DeKorte Park!

Get out into nature before settling in for the big meal! The Bergen County Audubon Society will lead their annual  Thanksgiving Day walk through DeKorte Park on Thanksgiving morning. The walk runs from 9 to 11 a.m.

Note: You will not be allowed access into the park after 9 a.m. Please plan to arrive by 8:45 a.m.

Contact: Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Time for Some Thanks

For many years at this special time of year I have sat down and wrote about all the many things I have been thankful for as our environment and the people around it are concerned. Last year at this exact time I was struggling to get through my hip replacement surgery and trying to deal with the pain and sitting in a chair most of the day trying to enjoy the outdoors through my living room window. Thankfully it all worked out well with the wonderful help of my family and the support of many great friends.

But to be honest when it came to writing about giving thanks this year my first thoughts were to just let it slide on by and forget about it, maybe until next year at least. After all, who could have imagined the devastation we as a people and a nation have gone through in such a short time and continue to go through every day. Add to that the political unrest, unchecked environmental issues, unemployment and it’s difficult to look on the thankful side of things.

And yet as we continued our struggle, and as we worked to keep our weekly nature walks in the Meadowlands going and as I talked to more and more of the wonderful folks that joined us I found it impossible not to be very thankful. After all, these are the very people that allow us to continue our daily lives by working in the retail stores and supermarkets and gas stations every single day.  I am sure some of the others that come out to enjoy the birds are first responders, postal workers,  health care workers and many others on the frontlines giving the rest of us the privilege of living our everyday lives. I am thankful to every one of them and very thankful I have the honor of helping them enjoy nature even just for a few hours each week.

 Through it all over the past months, despite the  uncertainty  and loss, the commitment and the caring about our local environment issues has not wavered and in fact in my opinion many more people have realized how important our birds, wildlife and environment truly are. The deep concerns by everyday folks on the health of our birds and the habitat they need to survive is both inspiring and moving, and worth more thanks that I can give or ever express .

The commitment people have shown, despite everything, to our environment cannot be overestimated or overstated and when we finally get to the end  of this nightmare we will be stronger than ever and understand more than ever before what is truly important and for that I will be forever thankful

And as a close friend just reminded me when discussing how the daily stresses are taking a toll on us all that he was very thankful  for our longtime friendship.  Now more than ever our friends and family are about our health and survival and getting through all this in one piece. I could never do what I do day in and day out with out the support of a great family and wonderful friends

 The kind words of encouragement , an occasional thank you, an emailed photo of a bird from a complete stranger that tells me they care gives me the energy to keep going , especially on days when its easy to be discouraged and disheartened, and to my good friends and family my thanks will never be enough . Please hang in there everyone. To say we will get through this together sounds like a cliché but at least for me I am depending on you all to be there. Have a great and safe Thanksgiving. We need each other now more than ever and for that I am forever thankful

See you in the Meadowlands

BCAS Annual Thanksgiving Morning Walk at DeKorte Park!

Get out into nature before settling in for the big meal! The Bergen County Audubon Society will lead their annual  Thanksgiving Day walk through DeKorte Park on Thanksgiving morning. The walk runs from 9 to 11 a.m.

Note: You will not be allowed into the park after 9 a.m. Please plan to arrive by 8:45 a.m.

Contact: Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Dee De Santis Wins First BCAS Jill Homcy Memorial Award

Dee De Santis

The board members of Bergen County Audubon Society are proud to announce that the winner of the first Jill Homcy Memorial Award is Dee De Santis, recognized for her tireless efforts to protect a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in Ridgefield Park.

This award honors Jill’s memory by recognizing a photographer or videographer whose skill and passion behind the lens has raised awareness to preserve and protect wildlife and natural habitat in our region.

Dee, the official Eagle Nest Monitor at the Ridgefield park nest for NJDEP, not only documents the nesting eagles behavior for the state but also reports problems and hazards at the nest site by photographing anything or anyone that might bring harm to these magnificent raptors.

Dee told me,  “I’m truly honored to receive the Jill Homcy Memorial Award. I deeply admire Jill’s wonderful photography and the dedication and passion she had for birds and nature.

“I learned how instrumental Jill was in documenting the Ridgefield Park eagles nest and also establishing it as a roosting area, key facts in saving the nest and protecting our eagles, who are very special to me,” Dee said. “I’ve been birding for about four years and this is my third year monitoring the RFPK Eagles, also a great honor.

“I love sharing my photos of not only the eagles but all of the amazing birds we have right here in Bergen County. I hope my photos inspire others to get in touch with birds and nature, while also helping raise awareness and protection for birds. Once again, thank you Bergen County Audubon Society for this wonderful recognition in honor of Jill Homcy.” 

Jill Homcy receives the Bergen County Audubon Society Conservation Award in 2015 from BCAS President Don Torino

Both Dee and Jill devoted a large part of their lives to bringing the love of nature to everyone and at the same time educating all of us on how and why we should all stand up to save the wildlife they both have loved.

Bergen County Audubon Society is very proud to honor Jill’s legacy and also to witness it be carried on so well into the future by Dee De Santis. If you know someone that uses their talents to preserve and protect our wildlife please let us know.

Reminder: Bergen Audubon Nature Walk at Mill Creek Marsh Tuesday (Nov. 17)!

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow

Come out to Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus, a great place for birding, on Tuesday (Nov. 17) from 10 am to noon for a nature walk led by the Bergen County Audubon Society. Keep your eyes peeled fo ducks, raptors , sparrows and other migrants. Contact: Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.