A formerly vacant lot in Bridgeton, NJ, now affectionately known as The Triangle Park, recently received some TLC from community volunteers.
On Saturday, June 3, more than 30 people from Bridgeton participated in Family Day of Service to beautify the little corner of the Southeast Gateway neighborhood at South Street and Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. The park has been improved over the years with the help of the American Littoral Society, Gateway Community Action & Partnership, and United Advocacy Group.
In the recent past, the sidewalk around the Triangle was reconstructed to include green stormwater features that trap and filter stormwater from the neighboring streets. A concrete flow pad directs water into the previously constructed rain garden, while strategically placed trees absorb runoff from the sidewalk.
Please join us in welcoming the American Littoral Society's four summer interns. Let us introduce you to Audrey Litto and Liam Heapes, who will be working as Coastal Education Interns; Tyler Setnicky, our Fish Tagging Program intern; and Simran Gohel, our Development intern.
Coastal Education Interns
Audrey graduated this past May from The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in environmental and sustainability science, with minors in sustainability and geography. Audrey previously worked under the Director of Education at Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy in Washington DC, where she discovered a strong interest in environmental education. Throughout her career, she hopes to continue promoting the importance of conservation through education and outreach.
Growing up in Monmouth County, NJ, Audrey has always loved going to the beach and exploring the local coastal environment. She is thrilled to be able to educate people of all ages, and learn more herself, about Sandy Hook’s environment and all that inhabit it. In her free time, Audrey enjoys painting, hiking, and rewatching New Girl for the hundredth time.
In May, the American Littoral Society experienced a changing of the guard with the appointment of Michelle Rebilas as Director of Education. She replaces Nicole Haines, who served in that position since March 2018.
Michelle joined the Littoral Society last year as our Delaware Bayshore office Outreach and Education Coordinator with 10 years of experience working for environmental non-profits in environmental education and community engagement. In her prior role, Michelle connected students, teachers, and community members to the Littoral Society’s work in the Delaware Bayshore region through education programs, community events, and social media.
"Michelle has worked tirelessly since she started to deliver excellent education and outreach programming on behalf of the Society," said Lindsay McNamara, Assistant Director of the Littoral Society . "She hasn't shied away from new challenges and is always willing to help her team. She is a dream to work with and brings extensive knowledge to her new position. We especially love her passion for the Society and her pride in her work."
Weather was perfect on Saturday, June 10, ensuring a wonderful time and magnificent conclusion to the Littoral Society's first-ever Sunset on the Bay at Fortescue Beach in Downe Township NJ.
Fortescue beach is home to one of the American Littoral Society’s restoration projects, which serves to keep sand on the beach and create ideal habitat for horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds.
The Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of spawning horseshoe crabs in the world, with their peak season coinciding with the event which will allow the community to come together and experience this spectacle that is sought after by many.
Those attending Sunset on the Bay, enjoyed entertainment from a local musician, along with food and refreshments, including beer from Tonewood Brewing and oysters from Cape May Salt Oyster Farms.
The addition of 85 forested acres adjoining the preserve will provide space for recreation, as well as protect wildlife and water quality
The Menantico Preserve in Cumberland County, NJ just grew significantly, thanks to a public-private partnership that included New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the American Littoral Society and the County. Together they teamed up to acquire 85 forested acres adjoining the preserve in Vineland, NJ that will provide recreation, as well as protect wildlife and water quality.
The Littoral Society recently purchased the 85-acre Feigenbaum property on Panther Road in Vineland for $302,000, using funds from the New Jersey Green Acres Program, Cumberland County and the Open Space Institute. The property was transferred to New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which acquired the Menantico Preserve’s original 600 acres in 2018.
The Feigenbaum family expressed that they are “happy to know that the acquisition of our property will help to increase the size of the Menantico Creek Preserve.”
“Thanks to this great partnership, the Menantico Preserve now stands at 685 acres of protected open space,” said Rob Ferber, NJ Conservation’s Regional Manager for the Delaware Bay Watershed. “The preserve is near population centers in downtown Vineland and Millville, and we’re creating a trail system to make it a valuable resource for the community.”
Through a collaborative partnership with the Cape May Point Science Center (CMPSC) and Cellular Tracking Technologies (CTT), the American Littoral Society will be adding cellular tracking devices to our horseshoe crab tagging program.
These tags will help us to remotely monitor and track the crabs as they come ashore and provide a better understanding on how often female crabs emerge, general horseshoe crab movement, and what informs their movement decisions.
This new partnership kicked off on May 23 when staff from CMPSC and CTT, as well as donors Rob and Wendy Wilson, joined us for a special tagging event at Reeds Beach, along the Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey. These new PowerTags are in addition to those the Society has been using for years that provide some basic insight on crab movement when tagged crabs are recaptured.
On Friday, June 2, the Cape May Point Science Center (CMPSC) held its grand opening. The American Littoral Society is honored to have been a part of this momentous occasion.
The CMPSC is set to be a hub of knowledge and exploration, serving as a museum dedicated to local avian and marine species, and a center for cutting-edge research. We can't wait to witness the discoveries and advancements that will come from this incredible institution.
Quinn Whitesall McHerron, the Littoral Society's talented Habitat Restoration Coordinator, played a crucial role in the development of the horseshoe crab exhibit at the center. As a Delaware Bay horseshoe crab expert, Quinn provided valuable information and captivating images to enhance the exhibit and educate visitors.
In addition, other Society staff (including Executive Director Tim Dillingham, Delaware Bay Program Director Lucia Osborne, Restoration Technician Toni Rose Tablante, and Quinn) will sit on the CMPSC Science Council, contributing their expertise and insights to the center's development. Those staff members have also been instrumental in development of a horseshoe crab tagging project focused on using cellular tracking devices, which will help us to remotely monitor and track tagged crabs when they come ashore.
During the last few weeks, horseshoe crabs have been coming ashore in Jamaica Bay to lay eggs at the high tide area – in much the same way as they have for over 300 million years (give or take a few million millennium or two). To greet them, the American Littoral Society and its partners (the Jamaica Bay-Rockway Parks Conservancy, NYC Audubon, and the National Park Service) organized a festival to recognize this annual rite of spring.
The Jamaica Bay Horseshoe Crab Festival is an annual event to celebrate of the horseshoe crab, the ancient rite of spring that sees them emerge from bays and estuaries to spawn, and the importance of these creatures to the ecosystem. The festival, in it's 7th year, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to observe and learn about the species in its natural habitat under the guidance of trained experts.
This event also serves as an important reminder of our responsibility towards protecting this species and the vulnerable coastal ecosystems they need in order to survive.
More than 100 people came out on Sunday, May 21. Many attendees brought their children, who were in awe of these ‘living’ fossils (the ‘crabs’ have existed, largely unchanged, since before the dinosaurs emerged on earth). Also, horseshoe crabs are not really crabs but more closely related to arachnids (spiders and scorpions).
Clean water matters to all New Jersey families. Antiquated combined sewer overflows (CSOs) discharge billions of gallons of untreated sewage into our Delaware, Hudson and other rivers. Climate change and contamination from newly “emerging contaminants” such as PFAs, and lead pipes threaten the health of New Jersey families.
Governor Murphy committed to investing a portion of New Jersey’s remaining American Rescue Plan funding in water infrastructure in his budget address. We're urging you to help us convince the Legislature to invest another $700 million in water infrastructure.
Use this link to find your NJ state representative, go to their profile page, then click “Contact Your Legislator” and tell them to invest in securing clean water.
Horseshoe crabs are some of our oldest coastal inhabitants. They've been spawning on New Jersey and New York coastal beaches for since the time of the dinosaurs.
This Sunday, June 4, you can learn more about these "living fossils" with the American Littoral Society at two locations. We will be hosting horseshoe crab walks on New Jersey's Sandy Hook and at Sunset Cove Park in Broad Channel, NY.
The Jamaica Bay walk is free and begins at 9 a.m. in the Sunset Cover Park parking lot off West 22nd Road, in Broad Channel (MAP). Please register so we know how many to expect.
The Sandy Hook Bay walk is $10 for Littoral Society members and $20 for non-members. Participants will meet at 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. a the B Lot Parking Area in Gateway National Recreation Area's Sandy Hook Unit. Register on our website.