Spring, 2021
A Newsletter for Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalists, Barnegat Bay Partner Organizations, and Watershed Enthusiasts
Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalists from the Class of 2018
wave farewell as they leave the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center.
Happy Spring!

Volunteering as a Master Naturalist is about giving your time and effort, contributing your knowledge, sharing your passion, and inspiring others to do the same - with the goal of making the Barnegat Bay watershed and surrounding community a healthier, more biodiverse and sustainable place to live. Thank you for your service!

Becky Laboy, BBVMN Instructor
Karen Walzer, BBVMN Administrator, Barnegat Bay Partnership
Enjoy these articles written by, for and about Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalists.
Red-tailed Hawk
by Linda Turi, BBVMN, 2016 and 2019

One cold December evening, my friend Rick called to ask my advice in helping an injured red-tailed hawk he found in the woods near his home in Brick. The bird was sitting low to the ground on a fallen tree and did not move or attempt to fly as Rick walked in the bird's direction. This is quite abnormal behavior that indicated that the bird probably could not fly. Rick had contacted a few wildlife rehabilitation centers and quickly learned that they do not come out and rescue wildlife; it would be up to Rick to catch the hawk and bring it to them. Faced with the task of capturing a wild predator, of course I was very excited to help out! Read more!
Ecology Explorers at Cattus Island County Park by Rich Biolsi, BBVMN, 2013
“Robert, you’re supposed to stay behind Mr. Rich!”  That admonition comes from a chorus of fourth graders who have come to Cattus Island County Park with their class to participate in an Ecology Explorers program.  The program is designed to introduce students to the idea of an ecosystem as a group of living organisms that live and interact with each other in a specific environment.  We have a short discussion about viewing nature through ecosystems and thinking of signs of the presence of organisms to look for, such as footprints, nests, bones and scat.  We then break down into smaller groups and each receives a “tool kit” for our exploration.  From the kit we find that a spoon becomes a soil extractor to check the odor, texture and amount of dampness of the soil, a ribbon becomes a wind meter, and an oven thermometer becomes a temperature gauge.  The characteristics measured by these scientific tools, along with the types of vegetation and the amount of light, will help determine what type of fauna will be a part of this specific ecosystem. Read more!
Living on the Edge
by Jeri McClenaghan-Ihde, BBVMN, 2016

As a young child I lived with my family in Pennsylvania, and we would take summer vacations on Long Beach Island. My Dad's idea of the perfect day was the morning fishing and the afternoon on the beach. This was followed by clams. My family moved to Wisconsin in 1969, and although Lake Michigan is a Great Lake, it is no Ocean. We enjoyed our years there, but we always returned to LBI for the best summer vacations. I moved to Long Beach Island in the summer of 2013. I had spent many wonderful summers as a kid in the bay and on the beaches. Fishing and playing in the surf have always been some of my favorite things to do. Read more!
Atlantic White Cedar
by Sarah Stewart, BBVMN, 2014
“Atlantic white-cedar forests are like the kidneys of the Pine Barrens,” said State Forester, John Sacco, referencing this cedar’s remarkable ability to filter and absorb pollutants in the water. This iconic tree of the Pine Barrens once covered approximately 135,000 acres in NJ alone, growing across the Pinelands, Hackensack Meadowlands and Sandy Hook prior to European settlement. Now, only about 20,000 acres remain. If conditions allow, these trees can live up to 1,000 years, though 200 years is likely the maximum age for stands in old growth forests. Read more! 
Blue Crabs in the Barnegat Bay
by Christine Moran, BBVMN, 2019

Although the pandemic has made field work challenging for the past several months, Dr Paul Jivoff’s enthusiasm for his work on blue crabs has not waned. The Rider University professor was happy to talk about his research on blue crabs (Callinectes sappidus) in the Barnegat Bay. Dr Jivoff works with students from Rider University, as well as students, interns and volunteers from the Rutgers Marine Field Station and JC NERR (Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve). In addition to teaching, Dr Jivoff has three current research projects underway: studying the effects of the September 2018 shutdown of the Oyster Creek Power Plant, heavy metal accumulation in various blue crab tissues, and chemical signals that influence mating. Read more!
by Sarah Stewart, BBVMN, 2014
A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes (from Maine to Texas) by Val Kells and Kent Carpenter
Weeds of the Northeast by Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal, Joseph M. DiTomaso  
I find the NOAA education resources to be really informative! I recommend subscribing to the email distribution of the NOAA Planet Stewards. ~Sarah
by Becky Laboy, BBVMN Instructor
How are your early spring tree and shrub ID skills? Can you identify these 3 plants based on their bursting buds? Scroll to the end of the Newsletter to check your skills!
Tree ID 1: This deciduous small to medium-sized, understory tree has a generally rounded crown. It typically grows 25-40' tall with a slightly smaller spread. It features birch-like, oval to lance-shaped, sharply-serrated, dark yellowish-green leaves. Flowers are monoecious showcasing reddish-brown male flowers and greenish female flowers that appear in separate catkins on the same tree. Flowers are not particularly showy. Female catkins develop into fruit that resembles "hops". This tree is sometimes called ironwood because of its extremely hard and dense wood. Who am I?
Shrub ID 2: This is a deciduous shrub which grows with a rounded form. The fragrant white-yellow-green flower clusters bloom in March. It is dioecious; male and female flowers bloom on separate plants. Male flowers are larger and showier than female flowers. The female flowers lead to bright red fruits, which mature in the fall and are eaten by birds. Both male and female plants are needed to set fruit. This wildlife-friendly plant is host for many kinds of butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) and Promethea Silkmoth (Callosamia promethea). Who am I?
Tree ID 3: This small tree is covered with dense clusters of buds that bloom into delicate, showy, purple-lavender-pink flowers directly on the branches before the leaves emerge, April-May. The flowers are a nectar source for native bees. Both buds and flowers are edible, and can be used as a berry substitute in salads, pancakes, and baked goods. Flowers give way to dangling seed pods. The heart-shaped, green leaves line the branches during summer, turning brilliant red, orange, and yellow colors in the fall. Who am I?
2021 "What's Bugging Your Jersey-Friendly Yard?" Webinar Series
Step 5 of our 8 Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard is Minimize Risks When Managing Pests. Our 2021 webinar series runs through May and offers a line-up of bug specialists who will teach you how to recognize beneficials versus pests, show you how to manage pests safely using non-toxic methods, introduce you to the buggy relationship between plants and insects, and teach you how to build a buggy web of life in your yard using native plants. Webinars are free. Pre-registration required. Join us for our new 2021 series of Jersey-Friendly webinars to find out who's bugging your Jersey-Friendly Yard! 
We Want to Hear From You!

The Barnegat Bay Partnership is grateful for the volunteer assistance from a team of BBVMNs who have offered their time and expertise gathering information, writing articles and compiling photos for our Spring 2021 edition of The Naturalist: Rich Biolsi (2013), Christine Moran (2017), Carolann Murphy (2019) and Sarah Stewart (2014). We are also excited to share with you several articles contributed by BBVMNs who have shared their own experiences enjoying the natural resources of the Barnegat Bay watershed.

We welcome and encourage BBVMNs to send us a story and photos describing your volunteer experiences - share discoveries you made on a walk in the woods; send us your curiosity questions about the natural world; and share with us your ideas on how to build and grow this newsletter. Please email your stories and curiosities to Becky Laboy education@soildistrict.org.
BBVMN Facebook Group
Stay Connected through Facebook!
Connect with your fellow BBVMNs through the Barnegat Bay Master Naturalists Facebook group. All are welcome - whether you are a current BBVMN, an "inactive" BBVMN, or are thinking about joining our growing ranks, please join our Barnegat Bay Master Naturalists Facebook Group and share your experiences with the natural world. Barnegat Bay watershed organizational partners are also encouraged to join the Barnegat Bay Master Naturalists Facebook group and advertise your volunteer opportunities, or share the latest news from your organization.
Answers to Tree ID: Tree ID 1: American Hop Hornbeam (Oystra virginiana); Shrub ID 2: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin); Tree ID 3: Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Ocean County College, College Drive,
PO Box 2001,Toms River, NJ 08754
Phone (732) 255-0472 Fax (732) 255-0358
E-mail: bbp@ocean.edu