Monthly Archives: June 2019

Congratulations BCAS Dick Eisenberg Teacher Appreciation Award Recipients!

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Bergen County Audubon Society’s First Annual Dick Eisenberg Teacher Appreciation Award (formerly the BCAS Teacher Appreciation Award)!

These wonderful, well-deserving tearchers who go above and beyond to connect their students to nature and the environment are, from left to right: Allyson Kennedy of Lincoln Middle School in Kearny; Joanne Cavera of St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale; and Dr. Sarahfaye Mahon of Paramus Catholic High School.

The award has been renamed to honor the memory of a beloved former BCAS board member, longtime avid birder, educator and mentor to many.

Father’s Day Flora

Crown Vetch

Here’s a sampling of the wonderful flora at DeKorte Park courtesy of Joe Koscielny from Bergen County Audubon Society’s Father’s Day walk. And don’t forget about the first Meadowlands Native Plant Day on Sunday, June 30, from 10 am to 3 pm at DeKorte. More information at the end of this post.

Daisy Fleabane

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Why Native Plants?

Chickadee on Oak Tree

Standing up for the environment can be tough. We need to write letters, make phone calls and at times even hold a protest sign when we feel that the natural world is under attack. Often the battle can be frustrating and even disheartening. But there is something positive that we can all do, today, right now, to fight climate change, habitat loss and help dwindling pollinator, butterfly and migratory bird species.

The answer is simple: put a native plant in the ground and you automatically will have made the environment a better place, not only for our wildlife but for all of us too.

Why are natives so important to our wildlife? The answer is as simple as it is complex. Native plants are perfect. They have evolved together with our wildlife for millions of years. Unlike non-native plants our natives get their berries, seeds, nuts and nectar at exactly the precise time that our wildlife needs them most .Whether it is migration season , winter survival or nesting time there is a specific native plant that a creature depends on for survival. And the most important and the most misunderstood benefits of our wonderful natives are the insects that they alone can attract. For without that there would be no birds, butterflies or for that matter much of any wildlife left at all.

Let’s take for example a White Oak Tree which can attract more than 400 moth and butterfly species that eat the leaves which in turn feed millions of migratory and nesting birds each year as opposed to a non-native tree like an invasive Bradford pear which has maybe one insect species that will utilize it. In truth your backyard might look green and lush but if it is full of non-native invasive plants there is very little for our birds and butterflies to use. It would be like you going to the supermarket and finding out once you get there the food is made of plastic. But by utilizing native plants in the home landscape you will make your yard a critical habitat for the local birds, bees and butterflies.

Caterpillar on Spicebush

Swallowtail on Spicebush

Another example of the perfect native plant is the Spicebush-Lindera Benzoin. This wonderful shrub gets little yellow flowers in Spring for the pollinators. The female of the plant gets big fat red berries that are full of fat for fall bird migration and it is the host plant for the magnificent Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly. It can’t get more perfect than that, unless of course you count in that you can even make Spicebush tea for yourself!

Cedar Waxwing on Serviceberry

Native plants can help ease the stresses on wildlife caused by climate change. They can create critical stepping stones for migratory birds and revitalize local pollinator and butterfly populations yet still look as beautiful as any exotic plant you can buy at any nursery. Perhaps the most important thing native plants can do is to reconnect us all with the natural world that we have become so distant from in recent times.

Creating a backyard wildlife garden will not only make a place for the creatures that need  it to survive, it will also become a haven for you and your family to thrive in and enjoy for many years to come.

Please join us on Sunday, June 30for our Very first Native Plant Day in the meadowlands at DeKorte Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  and learn more about these incredible plants and the importance they have to our Meadowlands. The day will include plant walks and talks with experts. For more information on Native Plant Day, click here

You’re Getting Sleepy….

Thanks to Joe Koscielny for this wonderful variety of photos taken this past Sunday during the Bergen County Audubon Society’s Father’s Day walk at DeKorte Park, including the mallards above having a hard time keeping their eyes open!

Gadwall Family

Red-eared Sliders

American Robin

Baltimore Oriole

Cedar Waxwing

Great Egret

Great and Snowy Egrets In Action

Thanks to Mickey Raine for these great photos taken recently of a Great Egret at DeKorte Park and a Snowy Egret at Mill Creek Marsh. The difference? Look closely and you’ll see that the larger Great Egret has a yellow beak and black feet. The smaller Snowy Egret is just the opposite: a black beak with yellow feat.

Native Plant Day Schedule!

Don’t forget to join us for the first Meadowlands Native Plant Day on Sunday, June 30, from 10 am to 3 pm at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. The Bergen County Audubon Society and the NJSEA will be giving native plant walks and talks at this free event and we’ll have information tables from several organizations.

Postponed: Jim Wright July 7 Meadowlands Talk

Jim Wright’s Meadowlands talk scheduled for Sunday, July 7, at the Meadowlands Environment Center has been postponed to as yet to be determined later date. The Bergen County Audubon Society nature walk of DeKorte Park the same day, from 10 am to noon, will take place as scheduled. For more information on the BCAS walk contact Don Torino at or 201-230-4983.