Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Winter Walk at Losen Slote Creek

It is always a very special day when I find the time to walk the forest trails at Losen Slote Creek in Little Ferry and Moonachie. This very special place is one of the last places where you can meander woodland trails  as it is the last accessible wooded area in the Meadowlands open to the general public.

It is truly a magical urban wilderness full of an amazing diversity of wildlife and native plants  in an otherwise jammed packed part of Bergen County. A place where bird lovers can see Spring migrants such as Hooded and Blackburnian Warblers, where Wood and Swainsons Thrush have the run of the forest floor, and the Kingfisher’s rattling call can be heard through the woods .

My late brother Todd and I grew up birding and exploring these woods, the woods of Moonachie and Little Ferry, which is one reason why it will always hold a special place in my heart. Losen Slote is a unique lowland forest habitat where the Muskrat, Box Turtle and Red Fox still roam, and on special occasions so do I.

This day was different for me. It was not a day I was scheduled to lead a field trip or even trying to see how many bird species I could find. Today was a day to relax among the beautiful Gray Birch trees and take my time listening to the Fox Sparrows and Carolina Wrens. Today was a visit to wind down,  relax and renew my spirit, which is what a walk at Losen Slote can do for anyone who chooses to seek its wild sanctuary.

Walking along the forest trails between the tumbled trees from years of past storms can give you a feeling of being in a more remote ancient forest, a  secluded wild place where Red-tails call overhead, Great-horned owls patrol the night sky and Black-capped chickadees scold your every move.

An urban wilderness, a refuge for wildlife and people as well. We all need these kind of places, our own special dwelling in nature. A place where we can find the strength to continue on, cleanse our spirit and renew our souls. At times we forget that protecting and preserving places like Losen Slote is just as important to us as it is to wildlife. Birds and Butterflies cannot survive without these places and in the long run neither can we.

Wild places are who we all really are, what we are truly about. Without them in our lives we become lost and distant, a sort of separation anxiety as we put ourselves in danger of becoming less human along the way.

Staying connected to nature can restore our kindness and understanding to the world around us, for both other people and nature. A simple walk at a place like Losen Slote can do this for us if we just allow it to happen. My wish for everyone is that we all can be lucky enough to find our special place of belonging in the natural world.

Natural areas  such as Losen Slote need our care and protection. Please join Bergen County Audubon on Sunday, March 19t at  2pm for a Losen Slote Spring Clean up. Please bring gloves For more info contact me at 201-230-4983


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