Usually you only hear someone saying I love the seasons of New Jersey in the Fall. Because who doesn’t like the brilliant burnt orange leaves and red caked fall foliage? Well we Ansel Adams types love all seasons equally; winter, spring, summer, and fall. And after the big snow curves Mother Nature has thrown us this winter we are happy with the much anticipated First Day of Spring: the Vernal Equinox, March 20th. Which is today yeah us!
Many of EarthShare New Jersey’s members are also happy to see the changing of the seasons as more and more New Jerseyans are getting outdoors. With that, our member organizations are fostering a deeper more meaningful relationship with local residents and that which surrounds all of us- Nature. The season of spring seems to be aptly named as before you know it summer will be here and spring will have sprung! Our suggestion to all New Jerseyans is to make a list of things or experiences you want to have for this beautiful but fleeting Spring and then mark down event dates and times on your family calendars. That way you take full advantage of some of the activities and programs from both nonprofits and government organizations which work hard to host these types of events each year for nature lovers across the Mid-Atlantic.
Are you one of the country’s 47 million birders? About 20% of the country identifies themselves as birdwatchers. Their favored past time results in $107 billion in industry output; $13 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue; and 666,000 jobs. The USFWS reports that here in New Jersey only 15% of the population participates in birding type activities there are some wonderful festivals and programs to incite interest and expand our youth’s excitement about our wild landscapes.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service reports, “Birding participation and expenditures for 47 million birders in 2011. Trip-related and equipment-related expenditures associated with birding generated nearly $107 billion in total industry output, 666,000 jobs, and $13 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue.”
Birding is immersive and one can’t help but to be enthralled with the associated feelings of being outdoors. Have you ever boiled water and only had one bubble in the pot? Of course you haven’t because the heat is being applied to the entire pot. Well even though that’s a nerdy scientific analogy it’s the same when you take adults and children and immerse them into nature. What better way to experience this than with other like-minded individuals throughout New Jersey? The energy created by one young child when they see a bluebird and point it out to others is out of this world!
One more plug for why we all should care and support outdoor events and festivals is the principle that we all should live by- Sustainability. By each of us participating in one of these nonprofit events whether it be EarthShare New Jersey Celebrates 20 Years at the Grounds for Sculpture or a Birding Festival, your money spent helps sustain the local economy. Individuals that attend birding festivals enjoy nature and like to support local businesses and ecofriendly crafters/vendors. The USFWS reported in 2011 the total Trip-Related Expenditures in the US which includes food, lodging, transportation, and other local purchases from bird watching activities was a little over $14.8 billion dollars. Just think on that for a minute. If we could get more people outside watching birds at festivals and nature programs throughout New Jersey we could help small businesses thrive and in turn that pebble that was skipped across the lake continues to ripple throughout our economy.
So here are some Environmental Walks &Talks to be saved on your calendar for Spring and Summer:
4/19 Turtle Fest sponsored by the Wetlands Institute
5/3 NJ Bluebird Festival sponsored by NEST!
5/16-18th Spring Shorebird and Horseshoe Crab Festival sponsored by Wetlands Institute
5/17 Wine and Wildlife Festival (Adults age 21+) sponsored by Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
5/17-18th Cape MAYgration Spring Birding Festival sponsored by NJ Audubon Society
5/30 EarthShare New Jersey Celebrates 20 Years at Grounds for Sculpture sponsored by EarthShare NJ
Several organizations have weekly, monthly, and special events located on their websites
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center check out their calendar of events for scheduled nature activities
Hackensack RIVERKEEPER also has many events and programs along the Hackensack River
New Jersey Audubon has too many to list for the months of April and May
New Jersey Conservation Foundation “Step Into Nature” dates can be found here
NY-NJ Trail Conference has opportunities to get outdoors on maintained trails
Pinelands Preservation Alliance has many different events in South Jersey
Friends of Liberty State Park run programs throughout the year
Almanac. Web Mar. 2014. http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-seasons
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis- Addendum to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. Web Mar. 2014. http://pcjv.org/docs/2011%20Birding%20Report–FINAL.pdf
Ansel Adams. Web Mar. 2014. http://www.anseladams.com/