Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Skeetkill Marsh, A Refuge Among Steel and Concrete

Photo by Don Torino Above. All other photos by Jim Macaluso

Amid the concrete and iron, along the steel rails and paved roads, within the highways, parked cars, power lines, jet noise and people rushing off to work lies an overlooked natural Eden where Green-winged Teal gather, Yellowlegs organize and Black Skimmers fly in formation.

Black Skimmers

Most times overlooked, unheeded and ignored by our human fragilities, and yet continuing on regardless of who might be watching, or for that matter if anyone cares to see, an oasis, an island of an Ark, a refuge, a sanctuary and an asylum of wildlife called Skeetkill Marsh

Skeetkill Marsh is a 16.3-acre sigh of relief in the town of Ridgefield, a place where hardworking people battle to make a living, put food and the table and keep a roof over their head much as the wildlife fights to survive at Skeetkill Marsh.

White-crowned Sparrow

From Soras to Sparrows, Sandpipers to Skimmers, and Kestrels to Cattails,  Skeetkill Marsh survives as the example in suburbia as a case study of what can be accomplished, saved and protected in an otherwise hostile setting. In a location that perhaps should not have been there and yet due to the forethought of good people who cared Skeetkill Marsh simply and purely does.

Wilson’s Snipe

Skeetkill Marsh should stand as a testament to what can be done when people care, a human testimony that shows how important even preserved small places can be to wildlife. A living, thriving triumph that holds on to the birds, plants and wildlife, that is the last place for them to exist and one of the final places close to home where we can still find a much needed connection to a world that is quickly slipping by us.

 The future of wildlife, many now threatened and endangered, depend on all of us protecting places like Skeetkill Marsh. Although strong and resilient they now depend on human intervention and cannot thrive on their own.

Pollution, invasive plants and human encroachment all need to be watched and scrutinized through the eyes of future generations that will need to stay ever vigilant to be sure places like Skeetkill Marsh still exist not only for the wildlife  but also for human kind. When all is said and done we will not thrive or survive without nature and places like Skeetkill Marsh

See you in the Meadowlands

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