‘Tis the season of waste: Christmas is by far the most environmentally-damaging holiday of them all. Luckily, Environment911 is here with five tips to show you how to have a happy holiday without hurting the environmental…
1. Real Or Fake
Are plastic trees more environmentally-conscious than buying a real one? Surprisingly, only slightly. However, they are only environmentally-friendly if you plan to use them for at least 10 years. The plastic processing that it takes to make fake Christmas trees is just as harmful as cutting one from the wild.
In Mays Landing, N.J., last month, Nick Bleyhl cut a pine tree whose yellow needles indicated infection by southern pine beetles. He was part of a crew working for the state forest service to curb the spread of the insect, now endemic. Photo Credit: Richard Perry/The New York Times
BLUE ANCHOR, N.J. — “Heads up!”
Deep in the woods, the whine of chain saws pierced the fall air, and Steve Garcia shouted a warning to fellow loggers as a 40-foot pitch pine crashed to the ground.
He was chopping down trees to save the forest as part of New Jersey’s effort to beat back an invasion of beetles.
In an infestation that scientists say is almost certainly a consequence of global warming, the southern pine beetle is spreading through New Jersey’s famous Pinelands.
A Golden Crowned Kinglet is much smarter than me when it comes to navigation.
All Photo Credits: Patrick Carney
By Don Torino
As I sat myself down on nearby bench and stretched out my tired legs on a beautiful cold crisp Meadowlands morning my tired eyes were drawn to an ever so slight movement in a close by shrub. Before I knew it, a delightful tiny Golden Crowned Kinglet burst out of the foliage and decided to use my shoe as its crow's nest for finding its next meal. As I froze in place trying to make this almost magical experience last as long as possible, I thought of how far this little visitor had traveled on such a perilous journey to honor my hiking boot with its presence.
Of course I had seen many Kinglets in many places over the years but this special morning I had a chance to observe this one, that lucky for me, decided to keep still for more than two seconds, almost twice as long as normal. Now I could see close up and personal how delicate the little bird truly was, and yet how tough it had to be to travel so far and survive.
A Snowy Owl was seen by a group of Rubis workers on Thursday on top of an oil storage tank, and it was later found on a house roof near Gibbs Hill lighthouse by Tim Brewer, and photographed by Andrew Dobson.
A post on the Bermuda Audubon Society’s Facebook page asked people to continue to report sightings, and noted: “There have only been 3 records in the past 30 years and about a further 10 historical records.
“Snowy Owls move south from their Arctic breeding grounds with some reaching the US East Coast and accidentally to Bermuda.”
Photo Credit: Tony Alter from Newport News, USA (North American Robin Uploaded by theveravee) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Michele S. Byers
With the onset of the first winter storm, you’re probably envious of robins’ and other birds’ southern migration to warmer climates.
And you may wonder how American robins arrive back in our gardens so quickly in March.
But you may be surprised to learn that the first robins of spring, especially the males, don’t leave this state we’re in during winter in the first place. They just go into hiding — congregating in New Jersey’s maritime, or coastal, swamp forests, where abundant native fruits make up their winter diet.
There’s a bit of a debate underway on our local birding discussion list about Snowy Owls. Some say we’re experiencing an irruption year, while others maintain that this year is really nothing out of the ordinary.
This week's WNJ Photo of the Week is turkey vultures hanging out on a water tower. It was taken by Gabrielle Louise Balon in Roosevelt, NJ.
If you have any wildlife photos you'd like to have as WNJ Photo of the Week, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to include your name, the species, and the location of the photo.
Turkeys are seen on Linda L'Erario's property on North Frankfurt Avenue in Galloway Township in 2011.
Photo Credit: Press of Atlantic City
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — State Fish and Wildlife biologists reintroduced the wild turkey to New Jersey nearly 40 years ago, and this sprawling township was just one place to receive the now-thriving bird.
But revival of New Jersey’s wild turkey population — now estimated at about 25,000 — has some South Jersey residents saying the relocation has been too successful.
Linda L’Erario has become accustomed to them. She has lived on North Frankfurt Avenue for nine years and has always seen turkeys in the area, although not as big as those that have come around this year.
Photo Credit: Perry Bill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mattei called the Delaware Bay — which includes shores in New Jersey and Delaware — an “epicenter” for horseshoe crabs.
Glenn Gauvry, president of the Ecological Research and Development Group board in Little Creek, Del., estimated that 17 to 20 million adult horseshoe crabs spawn on the beaches of the Delaware Bay each year.
Because the Chesapeake Bay does not have very sandy shores, it is not a hub for horseshoe crabs, like the Delaware Bay. However, Eyler said Ocean City, Turkey Point and Sandy Point in Annapolis and Cove Point off the mouth of the Potomac River are hot spots for horseshoe crabs in Maryland.
HARDING TWP. – The preserved large open parcel known as the Frelinghuysen Fields off James Street is set to grow by another four acres.
If that were to occur, according to newly named Harding Land Trust Executive Director Tom Flynn, that would bring the total acreage of the Frelinghuysen Fields, considered a gateway point to the township, to about 90 acres.
This past week, the Morris County Preservation Trust made its open space funding recommendations to the county freeholders.
A total of three projects are listed, and the total price tag is about $1.6 million.
TRENTON - Conservation officers with the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife have charged two New Jersey men with destruction of agricultural property and other motor vehicle offenses after they illegally off-roaded their pickup truck through soybean fields in a state wildlife management area.
Rudolf Licwinko, 25, of Manahawkin and Patrick J. Dolan, 20, of Closter, were arrested by state conservation officers earlier this month after destroying soybean fields while operating a pickup truck in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Upper Freehold Township. An estimated five acres of soybean crop was destroyed.
"The Division of Fish and Wildlife has a zero tolerance policy regarding individuals who operate vehicles off the established roadways of state wildlife management areas," said Mark Chicketano, Acting Chief of DEP's Bureau of Law Enforcement. "In this case, a farmer suffered an economic loss of his crops and compaction of soil on prime farming grounds. In most cases, these vehicles destroy habitat for wildlife."
Both Dolan and Licwinko were charged with a third-degree count of destruction of agricultural property, careless driving and operating a vehicle off the established roadway of a state wildlife management area. Licwinko was also charged with driving with a revoked license. In addition to the charges, the DEP also will seek restitution for the farmer's lost crop and land damage. The farmer leases the land from the state.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife asks anyone who sees illegal off-roading activity on state parklands and wildlife areas to contact the DEP hotline at 877-WARNDEP (877-927-6337).
With the leaves gone from most deciduous trees around Sandy Hook Bay and Lower New York Bay, there was a taste of winter the weekend before Thanksgiving. Even more so with the arrival of a large Arctic owl.
Near the tip of the Sandy Hook peninsula, at the entrance to New York Harbor, there could be found a solitary Snowy Owl. It was spotted resting in the midst of dune grasses. Nearby were large flocks of Snow Buntings, common winter birds that also nest during the summer on the high-Arctic. Extreme cold and gusty winds must have made these birds feel right at home.
Photo Credit: JimIrwin at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
A municipal offering is being prepared to compensate for deeding away a portion of conserved land.
Earlier this month, West Milford's town council agreed to pay Norcon of Allemuchy $3,661 to take four soil samples from an area of historical fill on a 43-acre site off Terra Cotta Road. The site is being examined for contamination prior to a pending transfer to the state's Green Acres land conservation program as compensation for diverting a 1.2-acre portion of the Bubbling Springs Recreation Area to an adjacent lot 25 years ago.
Last year was a major eruption year for Snowy Owls for most of North America, but not here in New Jersey. Already this year, three or more owls have visited the Garden State with two or more at Sandy Hook this past weekend and many being reported north of our state. This could bide for an excellent winter of these amazing visitors to our state, but only time will tell as to how many. The success or lack thereof of the Lemming population, a small Arctic rodent determines whether these majestic owls will venture south from their chilly northern homes for more abundant eats south. Snowy Owls nest on the high Arctic and would prefer to stay put there if food is abundant, but many younger birds will move south anyway.
With the onset of autumn comes the time for many of us to deal with fall yard work. That means cleaning the gutters, get leaves off the lawn and maybe even putting up the deer fencing around those bushes that you do not want eaten over winter. For me, I also incorporate cleaning out my bird nest boxes as part of my a fall cleanup routine. Usually, this involves opening up the box and removing the old nest material brought there by birds from the previous breeding season. However this year I got a great surprise when I opened one of the boxes. I found a Eastern screech-owl asleep in the box.
TRENTON - The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is stocking more than 5,000 "super-sized" rainbow trout today as part of its winter trout stocking program, and what the season lacks in numbers it more than makes up for in size of fish that can be hooked during the fall and winter fishing season.
"At one time, colder temperatures and the approach of winter signaled the end of trout fishing in New Jersey," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda. "That's not the case any longer. Now in the late fall and winter you can hook a super-sized trout ranging from 14 to 18 inches, up to a half-foot or more longer than fish stocked at other times of year."
The Division of Fish and Wildlife began winter stocking of lakes in 2000, providing opportunities to fish for trout outside of the regular spring and fall stocking seasons. Six years later, the division began stocking lakes with the larger trout, beauties that can weigh three times as much as those stocked in spring, providing a quality experience that some anglers look forward to all year. These fish are given two years to grow at the state hatchery in Warren County, compared to the 1 ½-year-old trout released in spring.
Growing cranberries, those plump red little fruits that add a splash of color and taste to our Thanksgiving plates, promises to get more water-efficient, thanks to a new technique pioneered on coastal Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Commercial cranberries are grown in bogs in the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere. Big North American producers include Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, as well as half a dozen Canadian provinces.
To keep cranberries healthy during cold, frosty nights, farmers typically apply water, sometimes spraying their crops for many hours at a time. As the water turns to ice, heat is released that warms and protects the berries.
Pictures of turkeys are everywhere at this time of year, but in the woods and fields of Gloucester County it’s almost as easy to see the real birds. That is pretty good for a bird that was almost wiped out of existence in the Northeast by the middle of the 19th Century, along with much of the other wildlife – deer, bear, wolf, porcupine, pine martin, and others – of the primordial forest.
Some of those species returned as the forest grew back over lands that had been cut clear for charcoal making and subsistence farming, and as hunting became regulated. But the wild turkey never seemed to get back on its own. There were no large neighboring populations that could expand into New Jersey.
Even though the days are rapidly passing by and our weather is changing to the colder temperatures, it is nice to see that many wintering waterfowl have returned to our state, which arrive from the various regions of Canada. There are so many beautiful species of waterfowl that it is hard to choose a favorite, yet one which I consider somewhat elegant is a duck called the Northern Pintail.
A fabulous table setting can be as close as the local treeservice, the farmers’ market, or your own backyard.
Stack a Multilevel Centerpiece
Use cut logs to create different levels at the center of the table. You can also use wooden boxes or vintage books. Stack the logs along the length of the table, and top some with moss, others with small arrangements, and still others with candles.