Our New Bergenite Column: Welcome, Lisa

IMG_0408Jim Wright, who created this blog, also writes a monthly nature column for the South Bergenite. In his last column, Jim turns over the reins of the blog, and this column, to his colleague Lisa Cameron:

When I started writing this column for the South Bergenite 5½ years ago, seeing a Bald Eagle or Peregrine Falcon in the Meadowlands was a major event.

Now, as I write my final column before retiring on Friday, both of these endangered raptors have made amazing comebacks in the region, to the point where I counted five Bald Eagles and a Peregrine during a guided walk at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus last week.

The first time on the job I saw a Bald Eagle  — through a window at the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) offices in DeKorte Park — I raced through the building and out the door in vain hopes of getting more than a fleeting look.

Last week at Laurel Hill, two adult Bald Eagles soared directly above me for almost a minute before taking their leave. Breathtaking. We have come a long way.

During my stint at the NJMC, it has been my honor to Lisa Cameron head shotchronicle and celebrate the eagles’ recovery as well as the region’s rebound — begun many decades ago and still continuing.

Through the Meadowlands Nature Blog, our frequent guided nature walks, and annual events such as Butterfly Day and Moth Night, I have helped the NJMC get the word out that the region’s wildlife is back in a big way.

Although I am retiring, the NJMC’s public outreach will proceed, full speed ahead.

My colleague, Lisa Cameron, will continue this column, the blog and — with the Bergen County Audubon Society —  continue our walks and nature events.

DSCN9983Lisa is the natural choice for the job because she has been deeply involved in the efforts to enhance the Commission’s parks and natural areas for more than two decades.

You are probably familiar with many of Lisa’s projects, even if you didn’t realize that she played an integral role in creating them. Lisa was the lead designer of DeKorte Park’s World Trade Center Memorial Cove (above), for example, as well as the Shorewalk and the Sensory Garden. All three projects were designed with an eye toward providing accessibility for all.

Through her work with the Commission, Lisa has become a strong advocate for environmentally sensitive construction and maintenance of landscape development projects. This includes use of native plants, local materials and recycled materials. It also means minimizing the use of pesticides.

The Commission’s goal — and Lisa’s goal — has always been to enhance wildlife habitat and public access in the unique Meadowlands environment. This commitment to innovative design continues today, exemplified by the construction of River Barge Park and the recent rebuilding of the Marsh Discovery Trail.

Although Lisa is a confessed “plant person,” she likes wildlife and photography and is already thumbing through a field guide or two in an effort to sharpen her birding skills.

Sounds like a great fit. Please wish her well the next time you visit DeKorte, or e-mail her at lisa.cameron@njmeadowlands.gov.



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