Monthly Archives: April 2015

More Fun for Beginning Birders

_DSC0461Part Two of the BCAS Birding for Beginners course was another hit yesterday afternoon! This time forty-two people listened as Don Torino talked about optics and field guides. Don called these the essential equipment for any birder. He encouraged folks to test binoculars themselves before buying. Audubon had several pairs on hand to loan for the walk.

Then we walked a loop around the Marsh Discovery Trail. It was chilly along the wide-open Shorewalk but warmer in the shelter of the phragmites. We saw an Osprey, Great Egret, a pair of Widgeons, several Red-wing Blackbirds, lots of Mallards, and a group of Ruddy Ducks, among others. We also saw two spotted turtles sunning themselves on a partially-submerged log.

Thanks to the BCAS volunteers who shared their expertise and energy.

Free Earth Day Walk at DeKorte Park

IMG_8753Wednesday, April 22, 10 am to noon

Celebrate Earth Day with the NJMC and BCAS. Join us on this free two-hour guided nature walk in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. We’ll tour parts of the park, looking for signs of spring. The swallows are swooping, the red-wing blackbirds are chattering and green is busting out all over! The walk starts at 10 am outside the Environment Center. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at call or 201-230-4983 or register here please.

Birding for Beginners Part Two – Free!

birding-optics-2Sunday, April 19, 1 to 3 p.m.
Following the last week’s big turn-out for Part One of this  free course offered by the Bergen County Audubon Society, we’re anticipating a good showing for Part Two. We’ll start inside with a session on field guides and optics, from binoculars to spotting scopes, at the Environment Center Auditorium in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Then we’ll take a walk in the park to practice our new birding skills. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at call or 201-230-4983 or register here please.

Earth Day Screening and Discussion at NYBG

Jens Jensen FilmGet inspired to take action with this award-winning film celebrating Danish-born Jens Jensen (1860-1951), who rose from street sweeper to “dean of landscape architects” and pioneering conservationist. When he arrived penniless in Chicago in 1885, it was a fast-growing city teeming with urban squalor. Rejecting the neo- classical vision of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Jensen joined Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan in taking the prairie as inspiration for a new city design. In his parks, workers’ children enjoyed playgrounds and grew food in community gardens, and Jensen became known as “The Vexing Thorn” for his passionate battles with Chicago’s political bosses over the city’s future.

Earth Day, April 22, 6:30-8:30 pm. at the New York Botanical Garden
Click here for event info.
Watch the Jens Jensen Documentary Trailer and learn more at

Help Hydrate Our Pollinators

bee waterer-001“At the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, bees can sip water from a slanted board propped against a slowly dripping faucet, or from the specially designed watering devices at the nearby Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden that doubles as an educational resource.” –  Kathy Keatley Garvey.

“Bees need access to safe water sources, they often risk drowning in birdbaths or being eaten at rivers and lakes among birds, fish, frogs and other wildlife. This is why they often fly around our clothes lines and may even land on us if we are in an outdoor pool on a hot day.”

Of course what’s good for the bees is also good for butterflies and other insects. The photo above shows one example of how to make an attractive bee waterer. A rough concrete surface, with its little nooks and crannies can serve as well if kept moist. Be sure to keep the water fresh to avoid harboring mosquito larvae.

Read more from Intelligent Living here.

Mill Creek Marsh: A Beautiful Future

Sept 27_Mill Creek MarshSM_RTGeoghan_9399 Sept 30_SnowyEgrets-Mill Creek MarshAM_RTGeoghan_9502I’ve been hearing some fears expressed about this project, so let me try to allay them.

This restoration project will repair damage to the trail surface and side slopes of select areas where erosion is most severe, primarily around the south impoundment. The work includes two different edge treatments to maximize long-term stability. The total disturbance from the project will be just under1200 linear feet, or about 15% of the total length of the trail.

Because of limited site access, work will be undertaken in sequence in seven separate areas: disruption will be confined to a few hundred linear feet at a time. Any wildlife displaced by the activity should be able to relocate close by.

The trail is closed because of the risk to people, which is much greater than the risk to wildlife. And while we cannot see the unforeseen, we are confident that the trail will reopen before Labor Day.

The NJMC built this trail some fifteen years ago for the purpose of enhancing habitat for wildlife of all kinds and providing safe public access to this very special place. We have worked, as always, to minimize negative impacts by carefully controlling the scope of work, techniques used and timing of our projects. Our experience is that disturbed areas roar back once our enhancements are complete.

Thank you for your patience. And thanks to Regina Geoghan for the beautiful photos.

New Online Hackensack River Paddle Map

Fullscreen capture 4142015 110946 AMA new interactive map of the Hackesack River, as it passes through the Meadowlands District, is now available online. Take a virtual tour of the river and learn about the special places of interest along the way.The map includes information on amenities available at the various sites, including where to launch your canoe or kayak.
A print version of the map will be available soon. This new map will replace three previous boating/paddling brochures, gathering all the key information into one easy-to-carry package.
View the interactive map here.

One Hundred New Birders!

_DSC0436More than 100 people attended yesterday’s Birding for Beginners class at Richard DeKorte Park. Don Torino of Bergen County Audubon gave an amiable and informative presentation on birding basics at the MEC auditorium. The main message was learn to look. Don pointed out what characteristics birders should note in the field in order to identify them later with the help of a field guide or other resource. He emphasized that birding can be enjoyed on many levels from casual to competitive. And that skills are honed over time, making birding an interest that can last a lifetime.

Breaking into smaller groups, we walked the park – along with many other visitors – to see what we could see. The group I walked with spotted an osprey, a redheaded duck, buffleheads, common mergansers, pintails, mallards, a great egret and several gulls. Stay tuned for the full list.

It was a beautiful day! Many thanks to BCAS volunteers Nancy Hall, Mary Kostus, Alice Leurek, Julie McCall, Peggy O’Neill, Rich Santangelo and Chris Takacs for sharing their time and knowledge to help others.


Lunch ‘n Learn: Build a Better Butterfly Garden

Sept 8_ButterflyMonarchSM_ReginaGeoghan_2415Tuesday, April 14, 2015, noon, adults
Build a Better Butterfly Garden
Meadowlands Environment Center

Grab your lunch and join Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society who will show you how to turn your backyard into a butterfly haven. You’ll also learn how you can help the beautiful Monarch butterfly, whose numbers have declined precipitously in recent years. $6/person; $5 MEC members. Please register here.