The Meadowlands Conservation Trust 2015 Annual Report is now available on our website.
Cora, now a first-year student at Rutgers University, enlisted her fellow students and community members while a senior at Wood-Ridge High School for two projects: building much-needed birdhouses and organizing a volunteer cleanup of the Skeetkill Creek Marsh in Ridgefield. She was advised by the Meadowlands Conservation Trust, which owns Skeetkill Creek Marsh.
We commend Cora for her stewardship and setting a wonderful example for her peers of how everyone can do their part in raising awareness about the importance of protecting and improving our natural resources. Cora spent 83 hours over the course of 10 months preparing and implementing her projects.
Cora built awareness and recruited volunteers for her initiatives by creating a remarkable website and presentation explaining the importance of her work. You can visit the site here. She spread the word by giving presentations after school, putting up fliers throughout the school and talking about her projects during morning announcements. Cora also submitted an article to her local paper, The Gazette.
In April, volunteers gathered 25 bags of trash and debris at Skeetkill Creek Marsh, including, of all things, a coconut. The group also removed three tires from the site. The Ridgefield DPW disposed of the garbage.
The 16.3 acre site is teeming with fish, waterfowl and shorebirds, and includes benches for the public to enjoy the beautiful, natural setting. Keeping the area clean helps wildlife thrive and provides the public with an optimal natural experience.
Cora’s second project resulted in the construction of more than two dozen birdhouses this past May that will be placed in the Hackensack River and its marshes next spring. Cora wrote a letter about the project to a local Home Depot, which in turn donated all of the material for the construction of the birdhouses.
The structures are also known as Tree Swallow boxes, as they are made to specifically attract these migratory birds that come to the Meadowlands by the hundreds each spring.
The magnetic blue-colored birds are secondary cavity nesters, which means that they must have the use of dead trees to nest in, and the tree must have a hole that has been excavated by a primary cavity nester. Due to a lack of trees for the birds to nest in, Tree Swallow boxes are in high demand in the Meadowlands.
We are extremely proud of Cora and her incredible efforts in helping our environment and hope that other young people follow her lead.
Sincerest thanks from
Chairman Captain Bill Sheehan
and the Meadowlands Conservation Trust
The MCT congratulates Chairman Bill Sheehan on receiving the Friends of Liberty State Park’s Audrey Zapp Environmental Achievement Award. Chairman Sheehan was honored as an environmental champion in his capacity as Executive Director of the Hackensack Riverkeeper. The non-profit, environmental advocacy organization works to defend the resources of the Hackensack River Watershed.
MCT Manager Debbie Lawlor is retiring on December 1, 2015. All contact with the MCT should be directed to Colleen Mercado at email@example.com or 201.460.3722.
Don Smith, consultant to the Meadowlands Conservation Trust, reports having seen an American Bittern on the evening of Monday, June 15th and again on the morning of Tuesday, June 16th just off of Commerce Boulevard in Carlstadt. He thought he glimpsed a second bird Tuesday morning but couldn’t say for sure. Born and raised in the area, Don said that he has never seen an American Bittern this time of the year. Could there be a nest in the area?
Tree Swallows nest at a number of sites in the Meadowlands and Hackensack River watershed every spring. According to Cornell’s All About Birds website, “Tree Swallows breed in open habitats such as fields and wetlands, usually adjacent to water. They nest in artificial nest boxes as well as tree cavities. Foraging flocks are frequently seen over wetlands, water, and agricultural fields.” In order to accommodate them, MCT is seeking donated bird boxes or a group that is willing to make the boxes as a community service project.
The MCT has been fortunate to be the recipient of several top scout honor projects from 2012-2014, including 2 Eagle Scout projects and a Girl Scout Gold Award project. We worked closely with the scouts to help them meet the requirements of their projects. Congratulations and thanks go to:
Adam Baczynskyj, Troop 104 of Wayne, NJ donated 82 bird boxes
John Benducci, Troop 1345 of Dumont, NJ donated 50 bird boxes
Katelyn Wise, Troop 986 of Allendale, NJ donated 45 bird boxes
If you would like to help, here are directions for making a Tree Swallow bird box, courtesy of Shaw Creek Bird Supply. Call us in advance to let us know that you are interested in making a donation of bird boxes (201-460-3722). Please note that the MCT will supply the poles.