Monthly Archives: February 2009

Here Comes the Sun

   A colleague at the Meadowlands Commission has been bugging us for a "sunny" photo for him to use as a screensaver. Today  was finally sunny enough to help the poor guy out.
  We hope he likes the photo.

Changing seasons

    We are seeing some changes in bird activity in the Meadowlands — lots more Red-winged Blackbirds, for example, and far fewer Rough-legged Hawks (above).

   In the DeKorte impoundments, we saw the usual raft of Canvasbacks, many Mallards, several Buffleheads, a few Black Ducks and some Northern Pintails.

The Coots of Kearny

    We did this very short (34-second) video for tonight’s talk at the Kearny Library. We made the video a week or two ago at the Gunnell Oval. The water segment was videoed at the nearby Kearny Marsh.
   We don’t see American Coots out of water too often, but there they were — walking around  by the ballfield, acting almost like chickens.
  These red-eyed little birds are often mistaken for ducks, but as you might see from the video, their feet are not webbed.
    If you scroll down the blog to this week’s Tuesday Teaser, you can see what a coot’s foot looks like and click on a link for more info about these odd birds.

Meadowlands Past Present & Future: Slide Show

Train station - aerial 10.17.07 w tblk
     As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the Meadowlands Commission has put together an entertaining slide show and talk about the Meadowlands' past, present and future.
   We hope to present the free show in all 14 Meadowlands towns by year's end.
    The show, presented by the Meadowlands Commission's Jim Wright, features plenty of archival shots, some neat aerials — and some great shots from this blog.
    Jim will give the talk and slide show tomorrow night at the Kearny Public Library. For this presentation, he has included several photos of Kearny from the blog. He'll also show a few very short and  entertaining nature videos.
  The show is at 6:30 p.m. and should run under an hour. The library is at 318 Kearny Avenue.  Questions? E-mail Jim here.

   We will post future talks as they are announced.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 021809: Gethsemane Cemetery

     Gethsemane Little Ferry b     The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the topic is Gethsemane Cemetery in Little Ferry.

   Gethsemane Cemetery is located on an acre on a sandy hill just off Route 46 and Liberty Street.  The photo above is a view of the cemetery's entrance on Summit Place.

  Gethsemane Little Ferry a It was set aside in 1860 as a burial ground for African-American residents of nearby Hackensack. The last burial took place in 1924.

    The site was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 "because of the significant role it played in the enactment of New Jersey’s early civil rights legislation, as well as containing evidence of West African burial customs," according to the Bergen County  Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

    The county has been doing a major restoration of the cemetery, and it is currently closed to the public. Self-guided tours will be available when the work is completed.

    According to the agency, "Fewer than 50 gravestones remain, but the burials of more than  500 people have been documented. Gethsemane Little Ferry d

    "They include Elizabeth Sutliff Dulfer who was born a slave  in  the late 1700s, freed in 1822, and died in 1880. She was one of the area's wealthiest businesswomen and landholders. [Dulfer owned clay beds that supplied clay to potteries from Philadelphia to Boston. Her clay company along the Hackensack River was said to be the second-largest in the nation.]

   "Two Civil War veterans, Peter Billings and Silas M. Carpenter, were also buried here."

     More on the cemetery here.

    Click "Continue reading …" to learn more about the cemetery's role in early civil-rights legislation.

Continue reading

Historian Kevin Wright’s Talk is Tonight!

IMG_018 Painting Duck Hunters on the Hoboken Marshes copy 

     Duck Hunters on the Hoboken Marshes, 1849; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

   In conjunction with our 40th anniversary celebration, noted regional historian Kevin Wright is giving a free talk on the "History of the Meadowlands, pre-1969."    
   Kevin will present his slide show and lecture tonight at 7:30 p.m. Topics include the Lenni Lenape, the Hackensack River,and how the region developed. Kevin is a fascinating speaker, and he will also answer questions.
   Place: Meadowlands Environment Center, Two DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071.
     To participate, please RSVP to Jim Wright  or call 201-460-2002.

Great Backyard Bird Count walk

   We had a terrific turnout for our GBBC walk at DeKorte Park and environs this morning — nearly 30 birders of all ages who braved some serious winds to record a whole lot of birds.
   Some of the highlights included a Snowy Owl, a Red-shouldered Hawk, Pintails, Canvasbacks, Green-winged Teal and a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. Not excatly chopped liver.
   We will post a full report Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
   Thanks to all who participated today.