Tag: New Brunswick Environmental Commission

Elmwood Cemetery’s 1st Annual BioBlitz

Article by Howard Swerdloff, New Brunswick Environmental Commission

On Saturday June 8, 2019, the Elmwood Cemetery hosted their first annual “BioBlitz.” (A“BioBlitz” is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.) The event was sponsored by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP), the Americorps Watershed Ambassadors Program, New Brunswick Environmental Commission, North Brunswick Environmental Commission, and the Elmwood Cemetery.

Photo credit: Roger Dreyling

Over 4 dozen area “citizen scientists” and experts scoured the 50 acre site identifying and cataloging the fish, mammals, insects, aquatic invertebrates, fungi, plants, and birds. They identified 8 species of fish; 8 species of mammals; 47 species of insects; 15 species of aquatic invertebrates; 20 species of fungi; 37 species of plants; and 42 species of birds (the latter are catalogued on E-bird: https://ebird.org/nj/view/checklist/S57201308 ) — a total of 177 different species.

Photo credit: Johnny Malpica
Photo Credit: Johnny Malpica
Photo credit: Johnny Malpica

The event inspired many two-way conversations between our community participants and the volunteer scientists. Instead of a didactic “top down” learning experience, both groups shared their knowledge and understanding of the local environment in a way that enhanced the specialized knowledge of the expert scientists, and, in turn, the expert scientists helped community volunteers develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the natural world and local environment. The experts’ final reports will be ready in a month; their findings will be shared with the volunteers. Elmwood Cemetery plans to make a Bioblitz an annual event.

Elmwood Cemetery, a Special Forested Habitat Refuge
The cemetery is nestled between the New and North Brunswick communities. It was established in 1868 as a “Victorian Garden Cemetery” during the rural cemetery movement, and to this day all of Elmwood’s lanes and paths are lined with evergreens and flowering native trees. Cemetery managers are building on this legacy of careful planning and land protections to secure Arboretum accreditation, which will allow them to further advance the planting, study, and conservation of woody plants and trees in the area.

June 8 BioBlitz in New/North Brunswick

A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At a BioBlitz, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get a snapshot of an area’s biodiversity.

On June 8 the LRWP and partners including the Americorps Watershed Ambassadors Program, New Brunswick Environmental Commission, North Brunswick Environmental Commission, and Elmwood Cemetery will host our inaugural BioBlitz of Elmwood Cemetery in North Brunswick!

Elmwood Cemetery is a special forested habitat refuge nestled between the urban New and North Brunswick communities. The Cemetery was established in 1868 as a “Victorian Garden Cemetery” during the rural cemetery movement, and to this day all of Elmwood’s lanes and paths are lined with evergreens and flowering native trees. Cemetery managers are building on this legacy of careful planning and land protections to secure Arboretum accreditation, which will allow them to further advance the planting, study, and conservation of woody plants and trees in the area. Elmwood is located at 425 Georges Rd, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902.

Our BioBlitz will run from 5:30AM-2PM and include public talks by expert naturalists about local natural history, and a chance for the public to work with these experts in an active survey of mammals, fish, plants, insects, aquatic invertebrates, birds and fungi.

5:30AM – Check-in opens
6:00AM – Birds
7:00AM – Mammals
8AM – Plants
9AM – Aquatic Invertebrates, Insects
10AM – Fish, Fungi
11:30AM – Procession of Species to Elmwood Office lawn
12:00PM – Data reports, lunch, conversation
2PM – Wrap up

Our Expert Scientists:

Aquatic Invertebrates: Von Scully, Erin Dempsey, Jen Helminski with NJ Watershed Ambassadors
Birds: Laurie Gneiding, NJDEP Ornithologist/Ecologist for Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Fish: Chuck Sedor with NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries
Fungi: Randy Hemminghaus and Nancy Addotta with the NJ Mycological Association
Insects: Trisha Nichols with the Philadelphia Insectarium Butterfly Pavilion
Mammals: Brionna Primiani with NJ Wildlife Services
Plants/Trees: Michele Bakacs with Middlesex County EARTH Center – Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Please register to be part of one of these species teams!

June 8 BioBlitz at Elmwood Cemetery!

Registration is now live for the June 8 BioBlitz at Elmwood Cemetery!

A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At a BioBlitz, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get a snapshot of an area’s biodiversity.

On June 8 the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP) and partners including the Americorps Watershed Ambassadors Program, New Brunswick Environmental Commission, North Brunswick Environmental Commission, and Elmwood Cemetery will host a day long BioBlitz of Elmwood Cemetery in North Brunswick.

Elmwood Cemetery is a special forested habitat refuge nestled between the urban New and North Brunswick communities. The Cemetery was established in 1868 as a “Victorian Garden Cemetery” during the rural cemetery movement, and to this day all of Elmwood’s lanes and paths are lined with evergreens and flowering native trees. Cemetery managers are building on this legacy of careful planning and land protections to secure Arboretum accreditation, which will allow them to further advance the planting, study, and conservation of woody plants and trees in the area.

Our BioBlitz will include public talks by expert naturalists about local natural history, and a chance for the public to work with these experts in an active survey of mammals, fish, plants, insects, aquatic invertebrates, birds and fungi. Our expert scientists will be stationed at various locations at Elmwood Cemetery to help participants engage in unique research. These scientists are our “team leaders.” We use teams to help organize the science and logistics so that we get as accurate a count as possible of the biodiversity of the area.

Our Expert Scientists:

  • Brionna Primiani (mammals), Wildlife Specialist with New Jersey Wildlife Services
  • Chuck Sedor (fish), New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries
  • Michele Bakacs (plants), Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County
  • Trisha Nichols (insects), Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
  • Von Scully (aquatic invertebrates) NJ Watershed Ambassadors
  • Laurie Gneiding (birds), NJDEP Ornithologist/Ecologist; NJ Audubon Society
  • Randy Hemminghaus (fungi), The New Jersey Mycological Association

For more information, and to register, see our BioBlitz events page!

Clean-up of Mile Run Brook in Franklin and New Brunswick!

~VOLUNTEERS NEEDED~

Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has brought millions of people together to celebrate our world’s environment. The day has also focused our attention on environmental problems such as pollution, flooding and littering.

Join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Franklin Township Environmental Commission, the New Brunswick Environmental Commission, the Watershed Institute, Friends of Mile Run Brook, New Jersey Americorps Watershed Ambassadors and others for an Earth Day clean-up of Mile Run Brook!

WHAT: a clean-up of Mile Run Brook on Saturday April 13,

WHEN: 9:30-noon

WHERE: Meet at the corner Of Hamilton Street And Woodbridge Street, New Brunswick (parking available at Sts Peter and Paul Church)

SPECIAL NOTE: Please wear closed toe shoes and clothes you are willing to get dirty. Bring a reusable water bottle. Gloves, bags and light refreshments will be provided!

REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

***For more information contact Stan Jaracz, Franklin Environmental Commission member at jaraczs@yahoo.com or Von Scully wsamb@raritanbasin.org***

You may wonder why it is so important to keep our waterways clean. Streams, rivers and other waterbodies make up the watershed where we all live. Watersheds are areas of land where runoff from rain and snow drains into a lake, stream, river or wetland. These watersheds are full of life. They provide habitat for fish, birds and wildlife. They are also a source of drinking water for homes and businesses. The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and The Watershed Institute share a joint mission to keep water clean, safe and healthy through conservation, advocacy, science and education.

Visit Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and The Watershed Institute to learn what we are doing to protect your water.

Dec 18 – Annual Holiday Potluck with LRWP & Friends!

The LRWP, New Brunswick Environmental Commission and EARTH Center of Middlesex County invite you to join us for our annual holiday potluck!

We will enjoy a meal and casual conversation on the topic of “40 Years of Concern for Water Resource Management in the Lower Raritan.” Joining us will be Rutgers Professor Dan Van Abs, New Jersey Water Supply Authority’s Kathy Hale and former Middlesex County Planning Director Bill Kruse – all of whom were instrumental in shaping the Raritan Basin Watershed Management Plan almost 20 years ago. We’ll discuss current status of the watershed, and our plans for 2019.

6-8 PM at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County, 42 Riva Avenue / North Brunswick, NJ

Families welcome! Plates, forks, napkins, cups and beverages will be provided. Please bring a dish to share.

So that we can plan accordingly, RSVPs requested.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Heather: hfenyk@lowerraritanwatershed.org

“Virtual” habitat connectivity on New Brunswick’s sidewalks

Article by Rutgers Raritan Scholar Intern Allie Oross

#lookfortheriver

On Saturday, July 7th, the LRWP led the New Brunswick Environmental Commission and other members of the New Brunswick community in a project on the Redmond Street side of Lord Stirling Elementary School. The final product of their hard work is manifested in a whimsical sidewalk mural that not only serves as a form of neighborhood beautification, but also a semi-permanent reminder of the intricate roles human’s play in the environment.

New Brunswick Environmental Commissioners, residents and LRWP friends paint flowers

Funded through an Americorps alumni grant secured by Thalya Reyes, and designed by former Americorps alum Johnny Malpica, interwoven swirls paint a picture of natural necessities that are integral aspects in every single person’s day to day life. In the mural, clouds create rain drops that collect to form a pulsing river. That river then flows into a set of flowers being pollinated by a bee and a butterfly with the next section displaying a fish in the river. Though the images are depicted in a delightfully playful and abstract manner, each can also be interpreted as a representation for a much more crucial concept:

We, as a community and as a species, must never forget how inextricable we are from the environment. You cannot have one without the other, and though we may seem separated from nature, the gap is almost always smaller than we may think.

New Brunswick Environmental Commissioner Howie Swerdloff paints a river

A few blocks down from the sidewalk mural is the Raritan River. A core purpose for the mural is to act as an expression of the course stormwater runoff takes through the New Brunswick streets every time it rains. After rain events our streets often serve as veins pumping litter and pollution into the heart of our waterways. Out of sight should never mean out of mind when discussing the environment, and the mural engages citizens to remember there is nature all around us if we only make the effort to search for it.

Mile Run Brook Community Cleanup! (New Brunswick)

~VOLUNTEERS NEEDED~ Please join the LRWP, our Americorps Watershed Ambassador and community partners including Friends of Mile Run Brook, Greater Brunswick Charter School, Esperanza Neighborhood Project, the New Brunswick Environmental Commission, Elmwood Cemetery and the New Brunswick Department of Public Works for a multi-site clean-up of Mile Run Brook, culminating in a community celebration in Boyd Park!

WHAT: a clean-up of Mile Run Brook, followed by a community picnic and celebration

WHEN: Saturday May 12

9:00 AM to noon – clean-up of multiple sites.

12-1:30 pm community gathering / picnic in Boyd Park.

WHERE: Multiple sites in New Brunswick

Site 1: Friends of Mile Run Brook / Corner of Hamilton Street and Woodbridge Street


Site 2: Esperanza Neighborhood Project / Corner of French Street and Sandford Street

Site 3: Greater Brunswick Charter School (closed group)

Site 4: Elmwood Cemetery / Entrance at Commercial Avenue

 

Please wear closed toe shoes and clothes you are willing to get wet and dirty. Gloves and bags will be provided!

WAIVERS

5.12.2018 MRB clean-up waiver, English

Permission and rights granted to LRWP to record and use image and voice, English

For more information

Heather: hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed DOT org

or Americorps Watershed Ambassador Rob Hughes: wsamb AT raritanbasin DOT org