Despite rain, many wonderful volunteers turned out on Wednesday, October 5 to help Littoral Society Education Director Nicole Haines plant dunes in Bradley Beach, NJ. That was just one of several October activities for the Society's Education and "Shuck It, Don't Chuck It" shell recycling programs.
Staff from those programs also participated in a New York City oyster bash, Moth Night on Sandy Hook, and a marine science program in Camden, NJ before closing out the month with some spooky activities.
You can find additional photos from the events in a slideshow at the end of the article.
Bradly Beach Dune Planting
While the weather wasn't sublime on October 5, it didn't deter the volunteers who turned out to help shore up the dunes with a host of native plants.
The plants ranged from American beachgrass, seaside goldenrod, northern sea oats, little bluestem and bitter panicgrass. These plants will help to stabilize and enhance the dune systems in Bradley Beach, which will result in better storm protection for the community and create habitat for different coastal animals.
Moth Night on Sandy Hook
A handful of hardy moth lovers braved a moonlit night on October 6 for a hands-on, interactive session with moth expert Blaine Rothauser, Senior Ecologist, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Participants got to take part in the process of identifying moths, while also learning so much more about them like why they are important to our environment and what you can do to support our moths found in New Jersey.
There are approximately 160,000 species of moths in the world and more than a few were found on Sandy Hook during the event.
On Sunday, October 16, the Barnegat Oyster Collective hosted an Oyster Bash in New York City to celebrate the freshest catch and New York's long history with the bivalve. The event was packed with oysters of all kinds: baked, fried, roasted and raw on the half shell.
Littoral Society staff attended to showcase our “Shuck It, Don’t Chuck It” Shell Recycling Program and collected 1,250 lbs of oyster shells! All the shell was brought back to Sandy Hook where it will cure in the sun for 6 months or more before being used in restoration projects around New Jersey.
The event was part of our exciting new partnership with the Barnegat Oyster Collective – itself a partnership among oyster aquaculture farmers – to connect local oyster growers with regional restaurants and the public.
We're working together to raise awareness among area residents and local restaurants on the importance of eating locally grown oysters – which supports a local, growing, sustainable industry - while also recycling the shells back into the waterways they came from rather than dumping them into a landfill.
Camden SeaQuest Marine Science Program
Nicole also recently returned to Camden Forward School to teach an after school marine science program to 15 students grades six through eight.
The students took part in lessons such as Marine Science Jeopardy, Fish Anatomy and Morphology, Marine Debris and Enviroscape Discovery, and Sea Turtles of the Atlantic. Future sessions will involve field trips around their region that are designed to both immerse students in the nature of their own backyards, as well let them experience in-the-field learning.
As part of these excursions, the students will get to fish at Michael J Doyle Pier in Camden, visit the Terracycle facility in Trenton, visit the Camden County Municipal Utility Authority facility, and tour the Camden Aquarium. To cap it off, they will come to Littoral Society headquarters on Sandy Hook to learn about environmental careers and cook their very own seafood lunch.
Spooky Events Complete the Month
The ever-popular Sandy Hook Spooky Walks will round out the month. The first of two Ghosts of Fort Hancock outings took place on Thursday, October 20. The second is set for Thursday, Oct 27.
In addition to spooky tales, participants learned a bit about historic Fort Hancock and finished the evening with fall snacks at Littoral Society headquarters in Building 18 of Officer's Row
Between those two there will also be a Spooky Cemetery Bird Walk on Tuesday, October 25 at 4 p.m. The outing will be hosted by the Littoral Society's resident “bird nerd” and Director of Development, Membership and Outreach Lindsay McNamara will guide participants to look and listen for birds and owls as the sun goes down over the graveyard.