The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the focus is a Tuskegee Airman from Rutherford. This series of four posts originally ran in 2009. That’s the great thing about history — it never gets old.
Calvin J. Spann, who grew up in Rutherford, served with the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
From 1943 to 1946, 1st Lt. Spann served in the U.S. Army Air Force, 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Squadron, as part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen — the first-ever group of black Army pilots.
Spann was among an elite group of Tuskegee Airmen who escorted B-17 bombers and reconnaissance planes over Nazi Germany during World War. Spann flew 26 combat missions.
In a phone interview yesterday from his home in Texas, Spann said: “My growing up in Rutherford inspired me to be a Tuskegee Airman. Planes from Teterboro Airport took off right over my house.
“I was able to do everything any young man in high school did, and when I got into the Air Corps and they said they didn’t think I could learn to fly, I thought that was preposterous. I’d been doing everything everyone else was doing all my life, and it really stuck with me. That was my experience growing up in Rutherford.”
We were able to take more photos of the Harbor Seal in Carlstadt last week, and thought we would share a large selection here — along with Part II of an interview with Robert Schoelkopf, founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.
What can you tell us about the Harbor Seal we had in Carlstadt? It was a second-year male.
How could you tell it was a male? It wasn’t wearing a bikini top on, and the penile opening was visible in the shot you sent.
How could you tell its age? We could get an idea of its size by comparing it to the planks on the dock it was lying on. It was probably a 50-pounder, 60 pounder. The first-year ones, when we get ‘em in here, are usually about 35 pounds, 40 pounds. This one had some fur missing around the neck but other than that, it looked quite healthy.
Where do Harbor Seals live most of the year? North of Massachusetts. We’ve done some satellite tagging, and we’ve had them go all the way up into Maine and Canada. They’re interesting animals because we relased oneyear here and it went all the way down to Chincoteague and spent the winter there, and then made a bee line for Maine.
The rest of the interview — and several more never-seen-before photos — follow.
Thanks to the Meadowlands Commission's art director, Mimi Sabatino, the crude DeKorte Duck Map we put together last month has been superseded by a spiffy new improved version.
To help novice birders identify the various species, we have included photos the "Ducky Dozen" — the most-likely-to-be-seen ducks, and what tidal impoundments you are most likely to see them. As we note on the map, "Your duckage may differ."
We know that some people hate seeing photos of snakes, so you'll have to click the "Continue reading…" line below to see some really nifty photos that Laura Machuca of the Meadowlands Conservation Trust took of a coil of Garter Snakes at Skeetkill Creek Marsh Park in Ridgefield last Thursday. (Thanks, Laura!) The MCT was doing some marsh maintenance when Laura saw the snakes, thought to be a bunch of males just coming out of hibernation and hanging out in hopes of finding a female.