Fourth graders from Anthony Rossi Elementary School in Vineland put on their "scientist hats" and practiced their observation skills during the American Littoral Society's new "What Lives in a Rain Garden?" educational program.
Led by the Society's Delaware Bayshore team during the October 6 event, the students learned about the importance of rain gardens which capture rainwater as it falls from the sky, helping water soak into the ground for plants, animals, and people who need it. They also heard that rain gardens make great homes for all sorts of living creatures, but they had to find the evidence!
Students were given a data sheet and set off on their investigation, zig zagging through their school rain garden, peaking under leaves, lifting rocks, and looking closely to see what they could find. They discovered that rain gardens make great habitats for pollinators and other native wildlife, providing food, water, and shelter that living things need to survive. They also explored the life cycle and migration of the monarch butterfly and even found an empty monarch chrysalis in the garden!
If you are interested in an Education Program with the American Littoral Society in the South Jersey/Delaware Bayshore region, contact Michelle, Delaware Bayshore Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read on for more photos from the rain garden program.
The past month was busy for the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society. Free public events included a hawk watch at Fort Tilden, two Raptoramas, and a pollinator festival.
The 5th Annual Monarch and Pollinator Festival took place on Saturday, September 24 at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Fort Tilden. About 80 people came out on a beautiful, sunny day and they were greeted by well over 100 monarch butterflies passing through on their way south to Mexico. The event also included presentations on Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) and other pollinators, such as bees and birds.
The festival was presented by the American Littoral Society, with NYC Audubon, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), and Gateway National Recreation Area (Gateway NRA).
Among the items available for auction at the Littoral Society's recent Littorally Local event was a tour of Jamaica Bay's salt marshes with Don Riepe, the Society's Jamaica Bay Guardian. The winner of that item, Russ Comeau, sent us the following account of the excursion, on which he was accompanied by four avid birders.
Our adventure began on morning of September 28th, an hour before high tide, which is best to float Don’s boat into the beautiful marsh creeks where saltwater bay birds abound, buffered and oblivious to the hubbub of surrounding New York City.
Herons, Egrets, Gulls, and Cormorants were predominately present in good numbers, with a showing of waterfowl and Forster's Terns. A diversity of raptors included a Bald Eagle and Northern Harrier both sitting on the marsh, a Peregrine Falcon defiantly standing on an Osprey nest, as well as several circling Harriers, and treed Ospreys. Shorebirds were mostly absent on this tide.
We missed a few salty sparrow types that deftly dodged us, way too elusive to ID. Two different pairs of chattering Belted Kingfishers circled us as we slowly glided past their favorite overhanging snags.
The Littoral Society is getting into the spirit of the season with Halloween-themed events at three locations.
The walk that started them all, the Sandy Hook Spooky Walk, returns on two dates this year: Thursday, October 20 and Thursday, Oct 27. Billed as Spooky Tales: Ghosts of Historic Fort Hancock, it will take participants on a moonlight walk through historic Fort Hancock, where ghosts have been known to linger. Cider and fall snacks will be provided after at Littoral Society headquarters in Building 18 of Officer's Row (GPS: 18 Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ).
Cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members. To ensure the safety and enjoyment of participants, registration is limited. Given the popularity of these walks, anyone who would like to join us should register promptly.
Contact Littoral Society Education Director Nicole Haines with any questions: email@example.com.
In South Jersey, the Littoral Society's Creepy Coast Walk is returning for the second year on Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m. This walk will bring participants through the marsh and out to Thompsons Beach, guided only by the light of the moon.
Fair seas and a gentle breeze made for a sold-out boat of American Littoral Society supporters on Friday, September 16.
The 4th annual Littorally Local Sunset Cruise set sail on Sandy Hook Bay with well over 100 people on board for a night of fun, oysters from the Barnegat Oyster Collective, beer from Ross Brewing, and coastal conservation conversation.
Since 1961, the Littoral Society has been caring for the coast in New Jersey, New York and beyond. We see the beauty and feel the energy that draws people to coastal communities.
In addition to the cruise, which began with dockside cocktails in the Atlantic Highlands Marina aboard Teal Cruises' Festiva, the event included an online auction which concluded on Saturday, September 17. Proceeds from the cruise and auction benefit the Littoral Society.
On a nearly picture perfect day, 60 anglers from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania departed Atlantic Highlands, NJ on the annual Littoral Society Fluke Tagging Trip. This year's trip was in memory of the Society's long-time Fish Tagging Director Jeff Dement.
Aboard the Mi-Jo II, participants were carried to New York's Atlantic Beach Reef, where they caught more than 200 fish and tagged 120 fluke. The largest fluke hauled in measured over 18 inches. That fish, along with seven other keepers, were tagged and released.
For experienced taggers and novices alike, the trip offered a great opportunity for novices to learn from experienced taggers.
While tagging or marking animals has long been an accepted biological method for monitoring wildlife, it is even more important for fish because, unlike other animals, they spend almost their entire lives out of the sight of the researchers trying to learn about them.
Recently, the Young Stewards Summer Campers from Fernbrook Farms Environmental Education Center visited Thompson's Beach in Maurice River Township, along the Delaware Bay, to explore unique ecosystems and dive into marine science.
Led by Michelle Rebilas, the American Littoral Society’s Delaware Bayshore Education Coordinator, participants witnessed the beauty and biodiversity of the salt marsh and bay beach through their own eyes. The field trip is a new educational opportunity being offered through the Littoral Society's Delaware Bay office.
They watched Ospreys swoop in with the catch of the day, searched for fiddler crabs in the marsh mud, and learned how to use scientific instruments to test water quality. Participants also practiced using a seine net and plankton net to discover what lives just under the surface of the water. Through hands on exploration and discovery, the campers learned what makes these habitats so important and why they must be protected.
Are you a teacher or group leader looking for a field trip to the Delaware Bay? Read on to learn how you can book such an excursion through the Littoral Society.
On Saturday, September 3, more than 600 people came together to celebrate the diversity that brings their community together at Bridgeton, NJ's annual Unity Day.
The American Littoral Society joined in the by talking to people about the Cohansey River - which runs through the center of the city - and how people can make changes in their own backyards to improve water quality.
Lucia Osborne, the Littoral Society's Delaware Bay Program Director, along with David Peterson of Bridgeton and Esaul Martin of Gateway Community Action Partnership, served as co-MCs for the event.
Among the notable participants were Dallas Cowboy player and Bridgeton native Markquese Bell, and House of Representatives hopeful Tim Alexander.
If you missed us this year, don’t worry! We’ll be back next summer.
The American Littoral Society hosted the media, project partners and the public at a special shell-a-bration which marked the next step in the Littoral Society's restoration project at Forked River Beach.
On Tuesday, September 13 from 3-5 p.m., the Society held a volunteer work session at the project site, during which shell seeded with oyster larvae was brought to the reef constructed just offshore. That work was followed with a party from 5-7 p.m. to show appreciation for all those who have helped on this project. More than 60 people from the Forked River community and Lacey Township came out to lend a hand with the work and celebrate the milestone.
“This is truly a community-based restoration project that’s been a partnership between volunteers, as well as private, public, and nonprofit entities,” said Capt. Al Modjeski, the Littoral Society's Habitat Restoration Program Director. “The project’s success to date has been built on the hard work and contributions of the volunteers from the community. They have made it happen.”
The Littoral Society has been building oyster reefs and living shorelines in Barnegat Bay to reduce erosion, create wildlife habitat, and improve water quality. The Forked River Beach site has lost over a hundred and fifty feet of shoreline since 1995 and erosion there has been accelerating since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Increased sediment in water from shoreline erosion has impacted the water quality of Barnegat Bay.
Some came dressed in silly costumes or carrying outlandish floatation devices. Many attended for the fun and the refreshment of floating in the Delaware River or the party that came after.
But FLOATOPIA - which took place on Saturday, August 27 at Pyne Point Park in Camden, NJ - had a serious purpose: Raising awareness of how far the Delaware River has come and what more must be done to make it a swimmable, accessible, fishable and equitable (SAFE) waterway for everyone who lives along it.
Hosted by Upstream Alliance and the American Littoral Society, the event brought nearly 200 people to paddle in the river and party in the park, including Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen, Camden Councilwoman Felisha Reyes-Morton, and Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla.
The 330-mile waterway is touted as “America’s Founding River,” and hosts some of the best places to swim and fish in the country. Yet the 27-mile stretch from Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE, the most populous and diverse stretch of the river, is the only portion that doesn’t meet the criteria for full recreational use.