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New Jersey Hills: Geocaching and scavenger hunt planned at Great Swamp refuge



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

HARDING TWP. - The Great Swamp Watershed Association’s (GSWA) Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt is back for another day of outdoor exploration and discovery, rain or shine, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10.

Participants may pick up a special pirate-themed clue kit—complete with GPS coordinates for geocaching enthusiasts—at the pavilion located outside the Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Visitor Center is located at 32 Pleasant Plains Road.

The clue kit will serve as a guide for exploring several nearby points of interest. Players will search each of the game’s ports of call for special treasure tokens that can only be earned by answering a short series of questions about the region’s natural or cultural history.


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Centraljersey.com: EAST WINDSOR: Community comes together to clean up Etra Lake Park



Photo Credit: Centraljersey.com

EAST WINDSOR — More than two dozen residents gathered at Etra Lake Park to help cleanup the town’s waterways on Saturday. Children from the Central and Southern New Jersey Boy and Girl Scout troops had their bags and boots ready to pick up trash from the park’s stream.

The park is more than 160 acres in size, with two walking trails and a basketball court . There is a stage for programs in the warmer weather months. ”We consider the lake an integral part of what we often call the ‘jewel’ in East Windsor,” said Mayor Janice Mironov who was on hand for the event. “The focus is to keep out water supplies clean.”

Mayor Mironov was appreciative for all that came out. ”It’s wonderful to see how many people come out. We ran out of bags,” she said. “It shows a real community spirit and community service. It speaks really well for East Windsor.”


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Asbury Park Press: Chickadees are harbingers of a changing climate



Photo Credit: Asbury Park Press

Chickadees aren’t signs of spring, since these cheery little birds are year-round Jersey residents. But they could signal a warming climate.

An interesting new study focuses on “hybrid” chickadees — the offspring of northern black-capped chickadees and their southern relatives, Carolina chickadees — in places where the two ranges overlap. Because the hybrid birds are infertile and can’t reproduce, they’re found only in a long, narrow strip of territory stretching from Kansas to New Jersey.


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NJ.com: The American Toad: April showers bring toads



Photo Credit: NJ.com

With the warmer spring weather starting to kick in, a long musical trilling whistle can been heard across New Jersey, especially during rainy days and nights, as male American Toads call out to mates from their breeding sites.

A very common animal throughout eastern North America, the rotund and warty American Toad can be found just about anywhere in NJ, except in some of our coastal regions, where the almost identical Fowler’s Toad is king.

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New Jersey Hills: ‘Down to Earth’ at Schiff



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

MENDHAM – The Schiff Nature Preserve will host “Down to Earth” from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the historic Pitney Farm, at 1 Cold Hill Road, to celebrate Schiff’s past and to raise funds for the future so it can continue in its mission of land conservation and stewardship in the Mendhams and Chester for many years to come.

The event will honor past Schiff presidents including Michael Catania, John Hayden, James Porter, and Alan Willemsen; and recognize the contributions of the late Franklin Parker, who helped conserve land throughout New Jersey and the nation.


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BiologicalDiversity.org: Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Rare Turtles and Salamanders in Northeast


Photo Credit: BiologicalDiversity.org

BOSTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to determine whether five increasingly rare northeastern amphibians and reptiles warrant consideration for Endangered Species Act protection. The Center first petitioned for these species — the wood turtle, spotted turtle, green salamander, Peaks of Otter salamander and white-spotted salamander — in July 2012 because habitat loss and other factors are threatening their survival.

“These turtles and salamanders are irreplaceable parts of the wild where they live, whether it’s a remote mountain stream or a suburban wetland,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist and lawyer focused on protecting amphibians and reptiles. “Losing them will impoverish those places and our own connection with the natural world.”


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NJ Spotlight: Bill Would Make Public Access Condition of Shore Protection Projects



Photo Credit: NJ Spotlight

If public funding pays for project, measure would mandate public access to beaches, waterfronts — including Sandy initiatives

New Jersey has 127 miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast, an enticing attraction that helps drive a nearly $40 billion tourism industry.

But many parts of the coastline are off limits to the public — a circumstance some lawmakers and conservationists are hoping to resolve, if only partially.



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Nature's Focus: The Wolf Spider



All Photo Credits: Thomas W. Gorman

By: Thomas W. Gorman

With the warmer weather finally upon us, many forms of wildlife have returned from their winter “rest” and can be seen throughout our yards and in the woods of New Jersey. One class of wildlife, which I admit I am generally not comfortable with, is the Arachnid family. I guess my not-being-so fond of them boils down to a time when I was bit by what turned out to be a Brown Recluse spider. Its bite quickly turned into a strange blister, and thankfully, knowing the bite was not a good thing, I went to the doctor. The doctor confirmed the origin of the bite and prescribed the “strongest antibiotic” known. Within a week or so the medicine healed the wound. I guess that is my main reason for not liking spiders, though I must admit, they are interesting critters to look at.


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Press of Atlantic City: Foundation provides $2.4M to groups working to protect Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia based William Penn Foundation, which makes protecting the Delaware River Watershed one of its top priorities, recently announced grants of nearly $2.4 million to 10 groups working in a coordinated way to protect the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer.

“In the past we may have addressed these issues individually, now we have a collective approach,” said Andrew Johnson, Penn’s senior program officer for watershed protection, with groups planning and working together for greater impact.

They are the American Littoral Society, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Delaware & Raritan Greenway Land Trust, Natural Lands Trust, Nature Conservancy N.J. Field Office, New Jersey Audubon Society, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Trust for Public Land N.J. Field Office.


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Cape May County Herald: Volunteers Continue Rescue Program for Horseshoe Crabs



Photo Credit: Cape May County Herald

CAPE MAY - For all those who have spent time on the Delaware Bay in May, the sight of a beach at high tide, jammed with spawning horseshoe crabs, is a familiar one. But in recent years, there are far fewer crabs on the beach. This population, which is the highest concentration of spawning horseshoe crabs anywhere in the world, has declined by 90% over the last 15 years because of over-harvesting and habitat degradation. Adding to these challenges, tens of thousands of crabs die each year after being overturned by waves or getting stuck behind bulkheads, rip-rap, or other hazards.

Mortality of breeding-age crabs, which take ten years to sexually mature, contributes to the low population numbers. In an effort to help the horseshoe crab population recover, eight local organizations are working with residents, visitors, and youth as partners of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife on Return the Favor, an initiative to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs on New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches.

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The Wall Street Journal: Dead whale found in NY harbor will be taken to NJ



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Federal investigators are preparing to perform a necropsy to find out why a 30- to 35-foot whale was found dead in New York harbor.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that they were notified about the whale on Monday. It has been moved next to a barge so that it does not disrupt ships' navigation.

Christopher Gardner says the whale will be moved to Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City on Wednesday, so a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can perform a necropsy.


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NJ.com: Foraging and native spring ephemerals


Photo Credit: NJ.com

As spring arrives, the fields and woodlands begin to wake up and burst with the emergence of plant life to color the landscape and welcome in the wildlife from the long cold winter.

And with the arrival of the new buds, shoots and flowers comes opportunity for us humans to embrace the outdoors and our primal roots and forage!

NJ Audubon believes in the concept of foraging because it is an excellent way to engage the public and educate them about the importance of natural resource protection, habitat and agriculture. Knowing where your food comes from, linking the food to the land, creates better education opportunities for the public to recognize how conservation efforts protect soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources.


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NorthJersey.com: New Jersey's tiny travelers get a lifesaving lift



Photo Credit: NorthJersey.com

One of the lesser known signs of spring arrived Monday night on Clinton Road in West Milford: A steady trickle of frogs and salamanders crept through an icy rain in search of love.

If not for the teams of volunteers who waited to prod them across the winding road, many would meet a quiet end under the wheels of a passing car.

Every year in early spring, champions of the tiny amphibians spend several hours at this spot and dozens like it throughout the Northeast so they can witness — and do their small part to continue — a natural phenomenon that goes largely unnoticed by the greater population.


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Hunterdon County Democrat: New Jersey Wildlife: Foraging and native spring ephemerals


Trout Lily
Photo Credit: John Parke


As spring arrives, the fields and woodlands begin to wake up and burst with the emergence of plant life to color the landscape and welcome in the wildlife from the long cold winter.

And with the arrival of the new buds, shoots and flowers comes opportunity for us humans to embrace the outdoors and our primal roots and forage!

NJ Audubon believes in the concept of foraging because it is an excellent way to engage the public and educate them about the importance of natural resource protection, habitat and agriculture. Knowing where your food comes from, linking the food to the land, creates better education opportunities for the public to recognize how conservation efforts protect soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources.

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Don's Jersey Birding: A Conversation with a Groundhog


I enjoy stimulating conversation with the groundhogs in my garden.
Photo Credit: Patrick Carney

By Don Torino

To say the least this has been a very tough long winter for everyone. But as always seems to happen spring has finally arrived once again and I for one could not be happier. Of course, like all nature lovers I have been waiting impatiently for the spring invasion of warblers, the magnificence of the first Mourning Cloaks and the splendid white flowers of the Serviceberry to welcome in the season. But what I have been truly looking forward to is to continue my stimulating and thought provoking spring time conversations with my Groundhog. Yes you heard correct. One of my favorite spring activities is to sit in my comfy garden chair and carry on deep philosophical conversations and debates with my fuzzy backyard buddy.



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Community News: Ravens put a stop to water tower being painted


A family of ravens has stopped Fair Lawn's water tower from being painted.
Photo Credit: Nick Messina

Fair Lawn - The borough has again halted its $1.5 million project to paint the town's rusted water tower, this time at the drop of a feather.

Soon after scaffolds were erected along the tower in early April, the borough received a cease and desist letter from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), ordering the town to postpone its refurbishment because of a family of ravens that have nested in one of the tower's catwalks.

The nest's mother, father and two or three hatchlings were reportedly discovered by residents who alerted the Bergen County Audubon Society once construction loomed. Members of the society in turn notified the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife, which mandated a four- to six-week stay until the young birds are old enough to relocate.
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Tri-Town News: Tract’s preservation announced



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

JACKSON — The Trust for Public Land has announced a significant purchase of land to help protect the Toms River corridor. A portion of the land is in Jackson.

The 195 acres, which are part of the Barnegat Bay Watershed, will provide residents and visitors with a place to hike, bike, canoe and experience nature, according to a press release. This purchase will also protect water quality in the Barnegat Bay and habitats for several state-threatened species, including the northern pine snake and a flower named the sickle leaved golden aster.

“The Toms River corridor is a priority acquisition area,” said Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund. “To date, we have acquired 17 properties totaling 3,000 acres along this branch of the Toms River. This latest purchase with the Trust for Public Land reflects our continuing efforts to work with partners on protecting the vital river corridors of Ocean County.”


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NJ.com: New Jersey's 'oyster capital of the world' reports healthy population



Photo Credit: NJ.com

COMMERCIAL TWP. —€” For years, New Jersey'€™s Delaware Bay oyster population and the oyster industry that depends on it were struggling to stay alive.

But conservationists and representatives of the oyster industry gathered Tuesday at a public forum held at New Jersey's state ship, the A.J. Meerwald, in Port Norris. The forum reported the oyster population is maintaining a healthy rate and oystermen are still turning a profit.

A crowd of approximately 20 heard about the current condition of the oyster population and its future. The crowd was briefed on oyster reefs as part of a living shoreline protecting against future storm surges, as well as information on a proposed oyster shell recycling project that is being headed by Meghan Wren, executive director and founder of the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, who attended the meeting.


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NY Times: Sticky Business on the Palisades



Photo Credit: NY Times

The rivalry between the South Korean tech giants Samsung and LG isn’t just played out over sales of smartphones and curved television screens. Both companies are building new American headquarters, Samsung in north San Jose, Calif.; LG in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. And on this score, the contest isn’t close. Buildings are corporate symbols and advertisements, after all. Samsung comes across as a good citizen here; LG as a lousy neighbor.

Samsung’s 1.1-million-square-foot North American offices, designed by NBBJ and to be finished next year, include a boxy, sleek glass behemoth that vaguely harks back to office parks of the 1970s. It’s divided into three horizontal bands, like a layer cake, each with landscaped decks on top. The continuous bands can seem like a square riff on Norman Foster’s doughnut-shaped headquarters for Apple, both with big, curving atriums; here, the concept is based on traditional Korean courtyard architecture.


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Jill's Pick From Around the World: The Guardian: Scientists name world's 100 most unusual and endangered birds



The kakapo
Photo Credit: The Guardian


The "little dodo", a flightless parrot and the world's largest ibis are among the world's 100 most unusual and endangered birds, according to a new study.

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Yale University assessed the world's 9,993 bird species according to their evolutionary distinctiveness and global extinction risk to produce a list of the world's 100 most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) species.

Topping the list is the rare and striking giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) – the world's largest ibis weighing in at 4.2kg and reaching more than one metre in height. With only 230 pairs estimated to remain in the wild, it is a critically endangered species. Habitat loss, human disturbance and hunting have reduced its range to an extremely small, declining population concentrated in Cambodia.


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