December E-News

We've Preserved an Additional 20 Acres in Harding Township!
By Val Thorpe, GSWA Director of Communications & Membership
Supporters gather at the newly acquired property on Tiger Lily Lane, for our November 29th ribbon-cutting ceremony

We are excited to share the news - we've preserved an additional 20 acres of land on Tiger Lily Lane in Harding Township! This plot of land is adjacent to our 53-acre Conservation Management Area (CMA), and increases the area to 73 contiguous acres, open to the public for exploring natural habitats, and enjoying passive recreational opportunities like hiking and bird watching.
At a ceremony attended by our board and staff members, representatives of various environmental organizations, and GSWA supporters, GSWA Board Chairman, Matt Krauser, officially cut the ribbon at the entrance of the property.   Read more

Embrace the Chill
By Dan Ross, GSWA Education Associate

With the cool, crisp, autumn weather beginning to be a mere fleeting memory, and overnight lows starting to blanket the landscape with ornate icy crystals each morning before dawn, it is often tempting to retreat to the indoors. But there is certainly no need to seek the warmth and shelter of the inside world. For nature continues to thrive and amaze even throughout the wintertime, if the keen observer knows where to search, and has the good sense to bundle up for the experience! 

The official declaration of winter's frozen grip will be observed on December 21st this year, on the Winter Solstice, the one day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere with the shortest period of daylight. The colder weather, seemingly endless bouts of darkness and senescence of all the surrounding vegetation all contribute to a feeling of malaise known as "Seasonal Affective Disorder, " which is estimated to affect approximately 10 million Americans.   Read more

A Field Guide to Female Birds
By Kristina Necovska, Membership Associate
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Most nature enthusiasts just love birds, but the nuances of identifying similar species, let alone genders, aren't always easy -- even for the seasoned birder. And so, being a majority female workplace here at GSWA we think it's only fair that we shine the spotlight on our counterparts in the avian world. In general, bird species globally display some degree of sexual dimorphism - a physical difference between the sexes. Here in the Northeast, the differences can be quite subtle. Don't worry, that's where we've got you covered:
American Goldfinch ( "Female American Goldfinch"  by  Jeff B   // CC BY 2.0)
How well do you know New Jersey's state bird? The goldfinch is an appropriate state bird for our highly developed state - luckily for them, goldfinches have largely benefited by human activity.   Read more  

Farewell (for now) to Our Intern, Mason Scher
Mason (GSWA shirt) engages the students 
During her Freshman year at Drew University, Mason Scher was on the hunt for an appropriate organization to fulfill her required 100 volunteer hours that would also spark her interest. In speaking with friends, she discovered that GSWA offers environmentally-based internships. Over the years, GSWA has provided internships to dozens of bright, environmentally-minded college students. 

Mason was admittedly nervous when she started this past September, yet she was excited to learn new skills. "From day one, she jumped right into her work, taking on any challenges that came her way," said Hazel England, GSWA Director of Education and Outreach, and Land Steward. "One day she was face painting at the Great Swamp Refuge Fall Fest, the next day she was standing in front of a group of students, teaching them what she had just learned herself only days prior."   Read more
Welcome Adam Palmer, Our New Education Associate
Adam and a Friend at The Smithsonian Institute
According to Adam, he's always been an outdoorsy person. Starting at a young age, he and his dad would enjoy nature walks together, searching for their neighborhood box turtle, and taking in the beauty of the great outdoors. Working towards his biology degree at Ursinus College, Adam took an internship at the Smithsonian Institution, researching human origins in the Department of Anthropology, and performing program and collections management in the Division of Mammals.

After graduation Adam's passion for nature led him to volunteer at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. Then he moved on to the Somerset County Parks Commission where he worked as a naturalist in the Environmental Education Center at Lord Stirling Park. Finally, his volunteer efforts led him to us. Adam brought with him a wealth of experience and energy, and proved to be an enormous help in the delivery of our education programs.    Read more

Thank You to our Grantors!

GSWA is finishing another very busy and successful year of presenting unique and impactful environmental education and water quality monitoring programs. A record number of more than 3,000 students participated in our programs in 2017!  

We could not have achieved these results without the generous support of our corporate and private foundation grant partners; and we are very pleased to announce the grant awards received in the final quarter of this year:
Summit Area Public Foundation - in its first grant award to GSWA, provided $10,000 in funding for the expansion of our water quality monitoring and environmental education programs to Passaic River communities in the Summit, NJ area.
The Tyler Foundation, who has supported our mission since 2009, and the PSEG Foundation, a grant partner for more than ten years, awarded $15,000 and $10,000 respectively for the continued expansion and development of our in-school education programs and public events.
We wish to sincerely thank these foundations for their generous support of GSWA!

PBS to Air "Saving the Great Swamp" Documentary on January 3rd

Whether you missed this riveting documentary, or want to catch it again, here's your chance!

Wednesday, January 3 - 10:00 p.m.

Thirteen/WNET has scheduled a primetime broadcast of the documentary,

Saving The Great Swamp: Battle to Defeat the Jetport

  It tells the story, which developed from 1959 through 1968, of the events, people and politics behind the struggle to protect the Great Swamp from becoming the world's largest jet airport. The broadcast marks the first New York primetime airing of the film with the potential to reach the largest public television audience in the tri-state area and perhaps the nation. 
The documentary was co-produced by Larry Fast, a Great Swamp Watershed Association member for over 35 years, associate producer and long-time GSWA trustee Phyllis Wald-Fast, and producer/director, Scott Morris.

Frozen Falls Hike, 1/20
Shake off the winter blues and join us on the banks of the beautiful, frozen Rockaway River. This will be an easy, one-mile hike - perfect for wintertime exploring along this powerful tributary of the Passaic River.  
Groundhog Day Moonlight Hike, 2/2
Taking place at Jockey Hollow Park, this is a  fantastic place for a moonlight hike; rich with screech owl habitat, and a mix of trails and roads to walk no matter what the conditions. Hot cocoa and s'mores provided!
Kids' Tracks & Scat Hike, 2/10
Tired of being trapped indoors? Take a break and get outside! Join our Education Associate, Dan Ross, on an adventure through the snowy forest in search of winter animal behaviors, and the telltale traces they leave behind. We'll be on the lookout for animal tracks, and learn about some of the ways nature endures throughout the coldest winter months, in anticipation of the spring thaw. Fun for all ages! Please remember to dress for the weather. Waterproof boots are strongly encouraged.  Read more and register
From all of us at the Great Swamp Watershed Association
to all of you, our kind supporters,
we wish you a safe and healthy holiday season!