Monthly Archives: October 2022

BCAS Donation to Increase Native Plants in DeKorte Park!

Many thanks to the Bergen County Audubon Society for their generous donation to be used toward the purchase of native plans for DeKorte Park! The $250 contribution will make a big, positive impact on the park’s abundant wildlife. Native plants provide food for pollinators and birds, and give a place to species to lay their eggs. Some native plants directly help species on the decline. For instance, milkweed is the only plant on which Monarch Butterflies will lay their eggs, helping to repopulate the Monarch population. They also offer a great scene for photographers and painters!

Thank you again BCAS!

Bergen County Audubon Society Names Emilia Lorenz As Recipient of this year’s Jill Homcy Memorial Award

Emilia Lorenz

The board members of Bergen County Audubon Society are proud to announce that the winner of this year’s Jill Homcy Memorial Award is Emilia Lorenz, recognized for her unwavering dedication to promoting the preservation of the environment in the Meadowlands through her stunning landscape and wildlife photography and videography.

 This award honors Jill’s memory by recognizing a photographer or videographer whose skill and passion behind the lens has raised awareness to preserve and protect wildlife and natural habitat in our region.

Message from Emilia Lorenz

To the family and friends of Jill Homcy,

I am humbled and exceptionally honored to be chosen for the Jill Homcy Award and represent the vision of Jill Homcy. Growing up in New Jersey, the Meadowlands has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have walked the trails and attended events at DeKorte Park more times than I can count. The Meadowlands is my home, hence the driving force for the reason I chose this significant area as the topic of my college thesis.

In the year and a half it took to complete, I learned so much about this region. Specifically, its extensive history of being mistreated, and yet how resilient it has remained despite all its challenges. However, just because the Meadowlands has overcome those obstacles and is the sanctuary as we know it today, does not mean our work here is done.

Walking through the Meadowlands today, sounds of birds are interrupted by those coming from nearby highways. Layers of infrastructure are juxtaposed against the foreground of wildlife and landscape. Planes constantly fly overhead, alongside waterfowl. Animals live in makeshift homes due to the confiscation of natural shelters. That is just the tip of the iceberg of issues that require our attention.

I’ve been warned about climate change consistently throughout my education in New Jersey, however, I have yet to see local ecosystems prioritized over economic gain. My goal for my thesis is to highlight the tension between mankind and vital habitat. As well as emphasize the pressure put on the Meadowlands and how in spite of that, it remains a beautiful refuge fighting for its inhabitants. It’s important we continue to fight for them too.

Once more, I am incredibly honored to be chosen for the Jill Homcy Award. Reading about her incredible accomplishments for the Meadowlands, in addition to her immense love for nature, I have a lot to look up to. Her impact of raising awareness of environmental issues is truly inspiring. To be able to achieve what Jill Homcy has, has been a goal of mine since I first picked up a camera. I will continue this work that photographers like myself, Jill Homcy and many others have dedicated so much of their time to.

Thank you,

Emilia Lorenz

Emilia first came to the attention of the BCAS while a student at New Jersey City University majoring in photography. For her senior thesis, Emilia produced “Encroachment of the Meadowlands,” a video in which she interviewed several Meadowlands scientists and experts to explore the region’s delicate urban eco-system that exists amongst development.

“Jill Homcy used her camera to bring conservation issues to the forefront and in a way that everyone could see, feel and understand,” said Don Torino, President of the BCAS. “Emilia has done the same with her video. It reminds us all why our Meadowlands is so important, and that it still needs our vigilance and protection.”

As a summer intern this year with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Emilia’s responsibilities included capturing the natural beauty of the Meadowlands. She enthusiastically lent her lens and great talent to documenting in fine form the region’s natural beauty through the landscapes and wildlife that inhabit spaces like DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst and Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus. She also photographed special events like “Butterfly Day” to help spotlight the winged marvels and show people the joy and wonder of children learning about the environment.

Bergen County Audubon Society is very proud to honor Jill’s legacy and to witness Jill’s values carried on by Emilia’s work and commitment. If you know someone that uses their talents to preserve and protect our wildlife, please let us know.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Birding is About Good Socks and Good Friends

When my birthday and holiday time roll around each year, I am always faced with one of the most difficult age-old questions that we as adults could ever contemplate in our lifetime: “What do you want this year?” My wife usually asks this question, followed up by, “What should I tell the kids to get you?” Then, after pretending to think about it for a little while my answer is usually the same, “SOCKS” I say, “can’t have too many good pairs of socks.” 

I think most birders and nature lovers live a pretty simple life, especially as we get on in age. We don’t need much; a pair of binoculars, a field guide and a good comfortable pair of shoes (can’t have enough good shoes either).

 As time goes by and we have spent many wonderful mornings wandering the woods and meadows of the places we love, most things, like our old field guides, seem to take on a spirit of their own. The torn pages and outdated info cannot lessen the value of a book we held in our hands when we held our child’s hand in the other on our walks together in the woods. No new, updated version could take the place of when we ID’d our first Song Sparrow or Red-tailed Hawk and sorry, No App, as wonderful as they are and as much data as they contain, could ever hold the love and memories we have in that old book.

Of course all of it, the books, the binoculars  and yes, even the socks, would not mean as much if we did not have someone with whom to share the love of the birds and nature. It could just be a text message, an email or yes even a phone call that says “Hey! Guess what I saw today” or for that matter, “Guess what I missed today.” Simple words that bring us together with no questions or judgement needed, only a smile or a simple comment such as “NICE” or “Great Day” binds us together forever no matter who we are or what we do.

I think we all actually have birding families to some extent. We may only see them out on the trails, no idea where they live, what they do for a living and sometimes not even really sure of their names. However, they are family nonetheless. When we walk together in places we love, care about the creatures we see together, and recognize each other’s passion for the natural world around us, I don’t know about you, but I call that a real family.

Get outside and make some memories this fall. Dust off the binoculars, open up that old field guide and by all means get a new pair of socks. Connect with the wonders of nature that are all around us, there is nothing else like it.

 Hope to see you all in the Meadowlands!

MRRI Co-Hosts Algal Bloom Mitigation Workshop

The NJSEA’s Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute (MRRI) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Tuesday hosted a regional workshop to exchange ideas on the best ways to abate harmful algal blooms. The consortium on Algae Bloom Mitigation and Algal Biotechnology for Sustainable New Jersey featured more than a dozen experts, scientists and researchers from academia, industry and State agencies.

The workshop, held at the Meadowlands Environment Center, came at a critical juncture, as toxic algae blooms continue to increase in New Jersey ponds, lakes and reservoirs. The knowledge exchanged and relationships formed will help strengthen the region’s resolve and efforts to mitigate hazardous algae blooms.

Thanksgiving Day Morning Walk at Harrier Meadow!

Join the Bergen County Audubon Society for this special Thanksgiving morning walk at Harrier Meadow, a natural area usually closed to the public. While we’re unlikely to see a wild turkey, we will be keeping our eyes out for raptors, waterfowl and songbirds. The walk runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

Harrier Meadow is located off Disposal Road.

Information: Don Torino at or 201-230-4983.