NJMC Staffer Jim Wright's latest "Nature Next Door" column in The South Bergenite previews the upcoming talk by noted nature author Scott Weidensaul. Here is the column:
Part of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s mission is help people connect with nature nearby, and To help accomplish that, we like to invite well-known writers and other experts to provide their unique perspective.
Weidensaul’s talk is free and open to the public, and his subject is perfect for a place located in the middle of the Middle Atlantic Flyway: “Against All Odds – Miracles of Bird Migration.”
If you’ve ever been to DeKorte Park or down to the Hackensack River, you’ve likely seen many migrating birds first-hand – from the raptors and waterfowl of winter to the shorebirds of spring and fall.
But where do these birds come from, and why are they here? Weidensaul will provide the big picture.
The talk, hosted by NJMC and sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Environment Center auditorium.
(Rest of column continues on "jump.")
“I'll be doing a slide program, and definitely taking questions,” says Weidensaul, who has written more than two dozen books on natural history. Those books include “Living on the Wind,” about bird migration—and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
“If I'm lucky,” he adds, “the program will end with a conversation with the audience more than Q&A.”
I had the pleasure of hearing Weidensaul speak at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania a year ago, and he is a dynamic and memorable speaker.
On that evening, Weidensaul also provided some wonderful insights about what it was like to be a “birding geek” as a young man, and why it is important that all of us to encourage and help young birding savants. They may sometimes seem like odd ducks to their trendy classmates, but as Weidensaul has shown, they have a talent and a gift that will reap dividends all their life.
Weidensaul’s talk next month will explore the wonder and mechanics of migration, and the simple ways that humans can help at a time when the populations of many migratory birds are in drastic decline.
According to Weidensaul, those simple ways include landscaping with native plants, going organic in your gardening and your purchasing, keeping pet cats indoors, and using recycled paper.
“Of course, we should recycle everything we can, but I'll explain why paper recycling is especially important for migratory birds,” Weidensaul says.
He will also explain why he thinks that the most effective method of helping neotropical Migrants is buying shade grown coffee certified by the Smithsonian Center for Migratory Birds.
Although Weidensaul’s writings have taken him all over the world, he says he still has to explore this region.
“I have to confess, I've never birded the Meadowlands, except from the window of the bus coming or going to New York City,” says Weidensaul. “I need to remedy that situation sooner rather than later.”
Jim Wright is a communications officer with the NJMC. He keeps the commission’s nature blog – meadowblog.net.