Friday, December 7, 2012

Did You Know? ...About Spruce Trees

by Jim Northrop
For many American homes, the centerpiece of Christmas decoration is the Christmas tree, often a spruce tree, cut locally. Year-round, spruces are trees ornamentally popular with landscapers. They are admired for their all-seasons green color, and their tidy symmetrical growth profile. They have dense branches, but they are easy to decorate.
We should know that the spruce tree has more talents than just looking pretty. Spruce is very useful as a construction wood. It has many uses as lumber, ranging from general construction work, to crates, to highly specialized uses in wooden aircraft and as a "tonewood" in many musical instruments (including guitars, mandolins, cellos, violins and the soundboard at the heart of a piano, and the harp. The Wright Brothers' first aircraft was built of spruce.
Spruce is one of the most important woods for paper making, as it has long wooden fibers which bind together to make strong paper. Spruces are commonly used in mechanical pulping as they are easily bleached. Spruces are cultivated over large areas as pulpwood.
Interestingly, the fresh shoots of many spruces are a natural source of vitamin C. Captain Cook made alcoholic sugar-based spruce beer during his sea voyages in order to prevent scurvy in his crew. The leaves and branches, or the essential oils, can be used to brew spruce beer.
Native Americans in New England took the sap to make a gum which was used for various purposes, and which was the basis of the first commercial production of chewing gum. Also, the resin of spruce trees was used in the manufacture of pitch, at least until petrochemicals were found to be better for this purpose.
We have many varieties of spruce trees in the Great Swamp Watershed. Sadly, many of them were damaged or destroyed recently by Hurricane Sandy. The root systems of spruce trees are often quite shallow, making them quite susceptible to high winds. Their graceful presences will be missed for a long time, as it will take decades for new growth to fully replace them.

Editor's note: Some spruce trees, like the Norway spruce (Picea abies), were introduced to North America from Europe, and are now considered invasive species. As they invade an area, the Norway creates a new habitat that few native plants can tolerate. The soil surrounding stand of Norway spruce often becomes acidic and devoid of many important nutrients. Shade canopy also becomes very dense, preventing light from reaching native plants close to the forest floor.

Thankfully, homeowners and landscapers can avoid perpetuating the spread of invasive spruces by choosing to plant native spruce species instead. The red spruce (Picea rubens) is one of these native species. Its natural range stretches from the Canadian Maritimes through the Appalachian Mountains to western North Carolina. The red spruce thrives on moist, sandy loam, and also on dry rocky slopes. These trees can reach heights of 60 to 80 ft.

Volunteer Use Thanksgiving Weekend to Give Back to GSWA

by Hazel England, Land Steward and Director of Education and Outreach, GSWA
Some came to connect with family and give back to the watershed by working together.  Some came to catch a break from family after the long Thanksgiving holiday; others because they are longtime members and volunteers, or because they were offered extra credit by savvy Environmental Science high school teachers.  Some even came for the coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts!  Whatever reason, a lot of volunteers  turned out on Sunday, November 25 for an outdoor workday at the Great Swamp Watershed Association’s Conservation Management Area.
Once again our volunteers re-created a one-mile trail first laid out in early 2011.  It’s been repaired three times now; once after Hurricane Irene flooding devastated it, again after the losses from the 2011 Halloween snowstorm blocked it, and now following Superstorm Sandy.
More than 30 adults, teenagers, and kids spent a cold Sunday working in crews.  Each crew was headed by a chainsaw expert, and included some strong muscles for moving large chain-sawed logs.  The rest of each team was composed of support workers who raked trails free of downed sticks, branches, and fallen leaves.    Many of the logs the crew cut up were used to edge and delineate our CMA trails, or piled to make giant brush piles which other volunteers will clear away at future workdays.
A few volunteer groups worked to remove felled trees from multiple points along the 7,500-foot deer fence that encloses 28 acres of the CMA.  Blow-downs from Sandy breached the seven-year-old fence in several places, and both temporary and permanent fence repairs were required after much of the wood was removed.  Some truly giant trees subsumed stretches of fence more than thirty feet long.  In these spots, where volunteers could not venutre and the fence remains pinned to the ground, hungry deer now have free reign to decimate all of the protected native vegetation GSWA has been trying to restore.  Scores of fresh hoof prints inside our fence perimeter testify to this particular problem.
There were a few other places where our ruined fence could only be pulled up off the ground and onto temporary supports.  GSWA will need an emergency infusion of cash to purchase new permanent support posts, and entirely new fencing that is not riddled with large, deer-sized holes.
Many of our most faithful volunteers showed up to work.  There were also many new faces joining us thanks to a last-minute appeal for volunteers distributed by local media outlets.  Regulars and first-timers worked side by side, and it was truly humbling for me as GSWA’s land manager to see so many people giving back to an open-space property that serves so many local communities.
Now that much of the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy has been repaired, we hope that you and many others will visit and take a walk along our newly restored and opened trail system.  As you stroll along, check out all the fresh sawdust—a clear sign of all the busy beavers who worked so hard Thanksgiving weekend to the benefit of all.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for all our committed volunteers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rest and Be Thankful?

Okay, but consider volunteering at our Conservation Management Area (CMA) on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) will be more thankful!

GSWA will hold a post-hurricane clean up and workday at its Conservation Management Area (CMA) on Sunday, November 25, 2012.

The workday will run 9:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

The CMA is located at 1 Tiger Lily Lane in Harding, although many GPS systems place the location in Morristown.

There are tasks for all—from brush cleanup to moving chainsawed logs off the trail, to boardwalk repairs and fencing renovations—in the wake of Sandy's unwelcome redesign of the property.

We will have work gloves, simple tools, and snacks but if there are any chainsaw experts out there we could use their EXPERT help.

All those intersted in helping out are asked to email GSWA's Director of Outreach and Education Hazel England (hazele[at] with their availability.  Please provide some indication of the type of tasks you prefer—light-duty or heavy-duty. It's also helpful to let Hazel know how many other volunteers you plan to bring with you.

Anyone who has NOT volunteered for us in the past will need to read and sign a volunteer release form, so please RSVP if you are thinking about attending.

Coffee and donuts will be available starting at 9:00 a.m.

This is your chance to get away from family after the long Thanksgiving holiday, or an opportunity to bring all those relatives together to work as a team to help recover and restore the public trails at the CMA.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Putting Lessons into Learning...

Inspired by her attendance at a couple of GSWA teacher education workshop, Great Swamp Watershed Association member and Madison Borough resident Nancy Kuster recently incorporated some of the water education activities she learned into her class at the Sundance School in North Plainfield.  Kuster is a second grade teacher with 15 years of experience, and also serves as a facilitator for Awakening the Dreamer—a non-profit organization that helps people co-create a just, thriving, and sustainable world.  Thanks to her GSWA workshop experiences and a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, she was able to continue her sustainability education by enrolling in The Cloud Institute’s New Jersey Learns program. Now, she is teaming up with GSWA to develop more ideas for sustainability lessons that she can introduce to her students.

Kuster is developing her new curriculum by introducing year-long, integrated units on sustainability into her daily curriculum.  As she conducts these lessons, she asks her students to think about cycles and systems, including decomposition, product, and water cycles. Along the way, her children have learned that the water cycle is much more than just precipitation and evaporation.  And they have come to understand where their household water comes from and where it goes once they are finished with it.

"Second graders don't typically spend a lot of time thinking about resources and pollution issues," Kuster said, "but they are definitely capable of understanding that we have limited fresh water, and that we need to start taking care of our environment."

After a presentation on water use and the bigger water picture, Kuster's students used their artistic talents and language skills to make a mural explaining the water cycle as they understood it.  They also enjoyed a presentation about non-point source pollution and learned how to clean up after themselves.

In the days and weeks to come, each child in Kuster's second grade classroom will be writing their own "Journey of a Drop"—a story aimed at describing a water drop's long trip from sky to earth and back again.  What a fantastic program our teacher workshops have inspired!

If you are an educator or know one, encourage them to attend one of the three teacher workshops GSWA is offering this academic year. Visit our workshop page at for more information and registration.

Getting Past Hurricane Sandy

All of us at GSWA hope this note finds you safe and recovering as quickly as possible from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.

Storm damage has taken a tremendous toll on the organization's projects and operations. The continuing power outage at our offices in Jockey Hollow prevents staff from accessing valuable work resources, and has interrupted the regular fall event schedule. Most notably delayed is the introduction of our new State of the Streams report for the Great Swamp Watershed. Director of Water Quality Programs Laura Kelm was to present initial findings from this remarkable new report at a November 13 Breakfast Briefing. This event will be rescheduled for a later date, and the complete report will be released in December.

Damage sustained by GSWA's conservation infrastructure is more troubling. High winds and tree falls not only took out power lines in Jockey Hollow, they also wiped out much of the recently expanded deer exclosure at 568 Tempe Wick Road. The exclosure demonstrates what understory regeneration can look like when invasives are removed and native understory is replenished in the absence of deer; a step essential for improving local biodiversity and wildlife habitat.

The forest restoration clock suffered similar setbacks at GSWA's Conservation Management Area (CMA) in Harding Township. Damage to the deer exclosure at the CMA is so extensive that months of volunteer work may be required to close all of the newly opened gaps in the perimeter fence.

Several large trees also fell across various portions of the CMA newly expanded trail system. These obstructions must be removed before the area becomes fully accessible, and new trails will need to be blazed around those tree falls that are too big to shift. The post-storm health of hundreds of saplings and other new native shrubs our volunteers added to the CMA this summer and fall remains uncertain. A survey of these young plant beds will take place over the coming days and weeks and the deer fence will need to be repaired.

The following email sent on November 5 by CMA first-responder and GSWA Board Member John Neale vividly describes the devastation encountered while moving from the front gate of the CMA to the back where GSWA land opens onto our adjoining property. (This email has been edited for clarity.)

I drove to the CMA today, and was detoured a few times, as there are still closed roads, trees and poles still in the roadway.

Supplies from the Spooky Swamp Walk were unscathed, and I took some time to sort them out.

Now the bad news:

The CMA has a lot of damage; the deer fence is down in a number of locations [thanks to] large blow-downs. There are a number of trees blown across the trails as well. I cleared what I could but it's overwhelming.

There are a number of trees blocking the CMA cedar by the new benches is down too.

A very large tree on the bank of the [S]ilver [B]rook came down across the brook towards the trail...After you cross [the brook], there is a large blow-down across the trail.

Going straight along the boards from the bridge just, as you take a left turn and go straight, [there is] a very large tree [blown down and the deer] fence is totally down there too. 

[At] the back of the property, the fence was taken out by another very large tree.

The fence is down along the mosquito ditch [thanks to] another tree, [this one is] not far up from the [maintenance]shed.  

These are just a few I [mention], there are more down throughout the property.

I walked the [adjacent] property which also has damage, but [is] not as bad...there are a number of large blow-downs with 8-foot root balls just along the trail which we can get around, [and] then the trail on right side has two very large trees blocking the trail [which will] need to be removed. 

There are also some hangers and leaners across these trails too. It's a shame to see so many trees in this condition.

I hope everyone is getting through this OK.


Our sentiments echo John's: All of us at GSWA hope you are getting through this okay. We also hope that once your own needs have been met you will consider lending your time and your resources to help us rebuild what we all worked so hard to create. Please consider making a small extra donation to GSWA right now, or as you prepare to make your year-end gift. And please consider lending a hand at an upcoming volunteer event. We have a lot of repairs to make and could use all the hands we can get.

Updates on recovery efforts and rebuilding events will be published as they become available.  Please stay tuned and stay safe!

The Spooky Great Swamp

Great Swamp Watershed Association held its first Halloween-themed outdoor event this year, and what an event it was! With lots of help from volunteers and our partners at Northern New Jersey Cachers (NNJC), the Conservation Management Area in Harding was transformed into a "spooky swamp" for two nights of fun and fright-filled night hikes.

More than 120 ghosts, goblins, witches, and other assorted characters turned up at the CMA on Friday, October 26, to have their pants scared off. Saturday's crowd of 130 or more geocaching enthusiasts was even larger!

Even as Hurricane Sandy loomed over the horizon, both nights provided near-perfect conditions with a near-full moon shining through breaks in a dark and cloudy night sky. A 1.4 mile loop of trail was decked out in scary decorations, and some excellent volunteer actors turned up the fear factor by portraying an array of creepy and monstrous swamp denizens. GSWA Board Member and NNJC President John Neale credited longtime GSWA volunteer Blaine Rothauser with the spookiest performance both evenings.  Blaine embodied the role of the "Creepy Swamp Man" who cried out at passers-by from a strategically placed tree stand in the forest.  "All of his great lines—'Get out of my swamp,' and 'Go back to your condos and Starbucks'—made us all appreciate his work," Neale said of Rothauser.

Several other members of the GSWA community helped out with this spectacular event too.  Director of Water Quality Programs Laura Kelm and volunteer Paul Kelm donned thigh waders and became swamp trolls.  They hid in the water under one of the bridge crossings and waited to spook unwary hikers.  Member Ginny Beutnagel , her husband, and her son dressed in black and hid alongside the trail to startle folks.  GSWA member Cathie Coultas ran the refreshment table in full costume! Members Wes Boyce, Steve Gruber, and Ann Campbell helped with setup and registration.  (Special thanks to Wes for adding decorative touches to the interior of the CMA's Port-o-John!)  GSWA Director of Education and Outreach Hazel England and her husband Emile DeVito served as tour guides for the evening along with Steve Gruber, John Neale, and volunteer Kluane Ershow.  The Spooky Swamp Walk also marked the beginning of a new partnership between GSWA and the Pingry School in Martinsville.  Twenty-two Pingry students and teachers assisted with trail maintenance and decorating. They spread trail mulch with great enthusiasm, artistically swagged bushes with faux spider webbing, and expertly carved many beautiful pumpkins as part of a school-wide community service day. Our sincerest thanks to you all!

We also must thanks several generous donors for their support of the Spooky Swamp Walk.  Cathie Coultas and Lois Wolkowitz generously supplied our refreshments and table decorations on Friday night.  In addition to his tour-de-force performance as the "Creepy Swamp Man," Blaine Rothauser supplied an array of lights and cadaverous trail decorations. The Romero family also donated decorations.  Three Meadows Farm in Bedminster Township generously donated the hay bales, corn stalks, pumpkins, and mums that added some fall ambiance to the registration tables and waiting area. Stop by their farm stand at 1130 Burnt Mills Road in Bedminster to say thanks, and pick up some fresh eggs, produce, pumpkins, and mums while you are there!

Extra special thanks goes out the NNJC post-hike cleanup crew organized by John Neale. The crew did GSWA a great service by sticking around and cleaning up all the decorations on Saturday night before Hurricane Sandy got a chance to blow them away.

What a special night! Are you game for a repeat of the Spooky Swamp Walk in 2013? Let us know so we can start planning now.   We’d especially love your expert Halloween set-up help and creativity  to make next year’s event spooktacular!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post-Sandy Changes to GSWA's Fall Event Schedule

All of us here at the Great Swamp Watershed Association hope this note finds you well and recovering as quickly as possible from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

You may or may not be aware that the organization's office building on Tempe Wick Road in Morristown is still without power, as are several staff members' homes. While the staff is doing its best to keep operations running from their various remote locations, we remain unable to host indoor events. This situation has forced us to cancel or reschedule several upcoming programs. Changes to our November and December 2012 programming schedule are noted below.

November 7 Event — 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. — Canceled, to be rescheduled
We apologize for any inconvenience, and plan to reschedule this gathering after power has been restored and the staff is able to regroup. Questions? Please write to Executive Director Sally Rubin.

November 13 Breakfast Briefing: State of the Streams — 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. — Canceled, to be rescheduled
The full State of the Streams report informing this talk will be released in December 2012. The Breakfast Briefing presentation will be rescheduled for a future date. Please review GSWA's website or upcoming eNewsletters for a new time and date.

November 18 Volunteer Stream Assesment Training — 9:00 a.m. to Noon — Will run as scheduled
This event, originally scheduled for Sunday, October 21, will run as planned on the revised date of Sunday, November 18. Please visit for a registration form and additional information.

November 28 Reduce Your Use: Inside Edition — 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. — Canceled, to be rescheduled
This Water-friendly Homes event will be rescheduled for a future date.

December 5 Breakfast Breifing: The Economic Impact of Climate Change in NJ — 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. — Rescheduled!
This Breakfast Briefing event has been rescheduled for Thursday, December 13 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. For more information, or to register for this revised date, please visit

***UPDATE 11/21/2012***
November 28 Teacher Workshop: Project WET — 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Canceled, to be rescheduled
Please contact Director of Outreach and Education Hazel England at hazele[at] for rescheduling information.

For additional information about any of these scheduling changes, please send an email to events[at]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Excitement in New Jersey’s Spooky Great Swamp

Come in costume or as you are to Great Swamp Watershed Association’s Spooky Swamp Walk, Oct. 26.

With Halloween right around the corner, is there a better time to visit a spooky swamp where owls hoot and coyotes cry?

On Friday, October 26, the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) will lead a series of Spooky Swamp Walks through its 53-acre Conservation Management Area (CMA) in Harding Township, NJ.

Come in costume or come as you are to this outdoor celebration of all things that go bump in the Great Swamp at night!

Little or big, all of the ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and witches who appear will be led on a special night-time tour of the darkest corners, eeriest boardwalks, and blackest recesses of GSWA’s own small corner of Great Swamp. Expect lots of fun and lots of surprises as you trek through forest and marsh after sunset.  If skies are clear, a near-full moon will light our way.

Costumes are encouraged! But, keep in mind that sturdy footwear and a jacket are recommended for this event. Families with children are encouraged to attend.  The hike is 1.4 miles long over level ground and the occasional boardwalk. Wet, muddy conditions are possible.

Walks begin at the CMA entrance located at 1 Tiger Lily Lane, Morristown, NJ.  Groups of 15 to 18 people will be led into the swamp every 15 minutes from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. The last tour leaves at 8:00 p.m.  Cider, snacks, photo opportunities, Halloween music, and decorations will entertain those waiting to go on walks.  Wait times will vary based on event participation.

Advance registration is appreciated.  There is no fee for participation, however, voluntary donations to the Great Swamp Watershed Association are encouraged and may be made upon arrival. Please park cars along the cul-de-sac and along the sides of Tiger Lily Lane. More parking information will be made available at as the event date approaches. No rain date.

To register, or for more information, visit or call 973-538-3500 x22.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Swamp Watershed Association Announces Fall 2012 Breakfast Briefing Series

Experts from NJ and beyond keep you up-to-date on local environmental issues while you are on the go.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) is pleased to announce speakers and presentations scheduled for its Fall 2012 Breakfast Briefing Series.  All events take place between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at GSWA’s office located at 568 Tempe Wick Road in Morristown, NJ.

On Tuesday, October 16, GSWA welcomes two guests for The Raritan & the Passaic: A Tale of Two Rivers, a special presentation that compares and contrasts these two important regional river systems.  Dr. Judy Shaw, senior research associate and director of the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, will enumerate the myriad environmental issues these neighboring watersheds must address—especially the issue of flooding—as well as some environmental solutions residents of both regions can share.  Author Mary Bruno, whose book An American River: From Paradise to Superfund, Afloat on New Jersey’s Passaic was released this past May, will also be on hand to provide new perspectives on the Passaic River region.  Signed copies of Ms. Bruno’s book will be on sale throughout the event.

Tuesday, November 13, GSWA Director of Water Quality Programs Laura Kelm will discuss the overall health of the five major streams comprising the Great Swamp Watershed.  This State of the Streams report will summarize findings from a recent study of ten years of water testing data collected by Great Swamp Watershed Association, the former Ten Towns Committee, and others.

On Wednesday, December 5, Professor Joseph J. Seneca from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy will present The Economic Implications of Climate Change In New Jersey.  Discussion will focus on how New Jersey might efficiently mitigate the economic effects of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, changes to public policy, and implementation of alternative energy strategies.

GSWA created the Breakfast Briefing Series to help area residents stay informed about community environmental issues without taking valuable time away from work or family life.  Presentations are kept brief, focus on current environmental topics, and minimize overlap with most traditional business hours. Coffee, tea, and a continental breakfast are always served free of charge.

Advance registration is requested. Please register by visiting or by calling 973-538-3500 x22.

Photo: GSWA volunteer and citizen-scientist Mike Duffy captures water quality data from a tributary of the Upper Passaic River.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Jersey Native Son Recognized for Environmental Contributions

Great Swamp Watershed Association Gala Celebration honors the work of Emile DeVito, Ph.D., one of the state’s foremost environmentalists.

Emile Devito, Ph.D.
Emile DeVito, Ph.D.
New Jersey is a better place because of Dr. Emile DeVito.  As one of the state’s most active and dedicated environmental advocates, he has championed the protection of our natural world from the Pine Barrens to the Highlands. He has fought against the ravages of overdevelopment in our state to help save indigenous wildlife, like the eastern timber rattlesnake and the barred owl, from local extinction. And he routinely volunteers his expertise and exhaustive knowledge of conservation issues and conservation biology to the benefit of a host of local, regional, and national, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

Dr. DeVito’s career as an environmentalist in New Jersey spans 23 years.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1988 with a Ph.D. in Ecology, his talent for conservation work came to the attention of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s (NJCF) then Executive Director David Moore.  Since that time, DeVito has been hard at work for NJCF developing workshops and curricula on land and wildlife issues, teaching about conservation biology and temperate forest ecology, and testifying as an expert witness on freshwater ecology and endangered species issues at public hearings statewide.  In his capacity as a land manager for NJCF, he also has been responsible for protecting more than 30,000 acres of open space throughout New Jersey, much of it located within the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

In his spare time, DeVito has served as a trustee for several regional organizations including the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, and the Rahway River Association.  He also has donated his expertise as an environmental consultant, an accomplished birder, a naturalist, and a tour guide to a multitude of environmental groups, including the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Council, the New Jersey Commission on Environmental Education, and the Great Swamp Watershed Association.

In recognition of his many past accomplishments and all he continues to strive for in today’s environmental community, Dr. DeVito has been chosen as the guest of honor for the Great Swamp Watershed Association’s (GSWA) 2012 Gala Celebration.  Scheduled for October 4 at the Westin Governor Morris Hotel in Morristown, GSWA’s annual gala festivities offer a chance for everyone who loves New Jersey’s Great Swamp region to honor the many environmental battles that have been fought to preserve its wildness and natural beauty from the developer’s bulldozer.

While each year provides a new opportunity for GSWA to honor a significant figure from within New Jersey’s environmental community, the gala also has become the organization’s most important annual fundraising event.  Donations collected on this one fall evening will earn more than 20% of the revenue necessary to fund the organization’s many environmental education, stewardship, and advocacy programs throughout the calendar year.

All 2012 gala ticketholders are invited to arrive at 6PM for a cocktail hour featuring passed hors d’ouevres, a cash bar, and an opportunity to participate in an exclusive silent auction.  Among the 100 or more lots donated to this year’s silent auction, attendees can expect to find trips to several exotic locations, including Puerto Rico and Big Sky Resort in Montana; two exclusive Trump National golf outings; some outstanding collectors’ wines, and many other fine items.  A four-course dinner will be served at 7PM with presentations to follow.

Those interested in attending the 2012 Gala Celebration may register online at or by call 973-538-3500 x14. Space is limited.  Tickets may be purchased at the following levels: Table for 10, $1,500; Premier Ticket, $500; Benefactor Ticket, $250; Individual Ticket, $150. RSVPs are required for attendance.

This year’s 2012 Gala Celebration is organized and presented by committee of volunteers. Mr. David Moore and Mrs. Mary Moore of Mendham serve as this year’s honorary committee chairs.  While Mr. Michael Dee and Mrs. Marilyn Dee of Bernardsville serve as event chairs, and Mr. David Budd and Mrs. Susan Budd of Chatham Township serve as silent auction chairs. Mr. Budd and Mr. Dee also serve as officers on GSWA’s Board of Trustees.  Mr. Budd serves as board chair, and Mr. Dee serves as vice-chair.
GSWA’s 2012 Gala Celebration is underwritten by generous donations from PSEG and Trump Golf.

For more information about the gala, Dr. DeVito, or GSWA, please visit or call 973-538-3500.

Jockey Hollow: Where National and Natural History Intersect

Hike and interpretive campfire event at Morristown National Historical Park to highlight the importance of landscape in the American story.

Fence at Jockey Hollow by Nataraj Metz
Have you ever wondered what our part of the country looked like two hundred years ago? Do you know why George Washington thought that the land in and around nearby Jockey Hollow was perfect for his Continental Army encampment in 1779?  How did all those soldiers change Jockey Hollow and the animals and plants that called it home?  How has the legacy of this historic site affected the natural world of today?  The Morristown National Historical Park and the Great Swamp Watershed Association have some answers to these questions, and they want to share them with you.

On Friday, September 21, these two organizations will team up to present Jockey Hollow Explorers, a guided hike and campfire event that will help you learn more about the intersection of natural and cultural history at this important Revolutionary War site. Start the evening at 7:00 p.m. with a guided tour of the park’s natural sights and sounds courtesy of the Great Swamp Watershed Association. As you walk, keep your eyes peeled for bats, fireflies, white-tailed deer, and other wildlife. Keep your ears open too as we call out to the all the resident owls! Along the way, we'll talk about the land around Jockey Hollow, how much it's changed since the 1700s, and what might be done to restore and preserve its original character. After this gentle hike through the woods, you'll join a National Park Service interpreter around a warm campfire for some storytelling and history lessons. Learn about the Continental Army Encampment of 1779—80, how soldiers lived on the land, and why the area around Wick Farm provided a good base of operations for spying on the British in New York City.

This event is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels, and families with children are encouraged to attend. Space is limited, so participants are encouraged to register immediately. Visit for information about what to bring and where to meet.

Register for this event online through the Great Swamp Watershed Association's website at, or call 973-538-3500 x22.  There is no registration fee; however, voluntary donations to the Great Swamp Watershed Association are gratefully accepted. There is no suggested donation amount for current GSWA members and their families. The suggested donations amounts$ for non-member adults is $10 per person; for non-member children (6 to 17 years), $5 per child; for non-member families (includes 4 people), $35 per family. There is no suggested donation amount for children 5 and under.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Did You Know? Animals and Food

by Jim Northrop, GSWA Volunteer

The diversity of plant and animal life in the Great Swamp area is great. Probably none of us can experience it completely in our lifetimes, but many have tried. In fact, a branch of science called Zoology attempts an orderly classification of animal life, from the simplest to the most

Although it is easy to see that a bear is an animal and that a pine tree is a plant, some of the smaller animals and plants are not obviously members of their respective kingdoms. Most animals can be distinguished by their ability to move; yet there are microscopic water plants that swim as freely as animals do.

All animals large enough to be seen with the naked eye obtain energy by eating plants or other animals. Surprisingly, a few microscopic animals are like green plants because they also capture energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis, and use simple chemical compounds dissolved in water as food.

Thus, it seemed that some consistent method must be developed to distinguish animals from plants, and to separate one kind of animal from another. One useful way to do this is an analysis of food habits.

The food habits of an animal will give information concerning its structure and function, some of the animals related to it, and a general idea of the environment in which it lives. Sometimes a broad category of food habits will cover a wide variety of creatures.

Herbivores.  Any animal that eats only vegetable matter is a herbivore, or plant-eater. Herbivores eat grasses, leaves, twigs, succulent plants, and other types of vegetation. The classification encompasses such different creatures as caterpillars and cows.

Carnivores.  Animals that eat the flesh of other animals are called carnivores, meat-eaters. Animals as different as lions and ladybird beetles appear in this category. When a cat pounces on a mouse, kills it, and eats it, the cat becomes a predatory carnivore. Animals such as the vulture and hyena are also carnivores, although they usually prefer to feed on dead animals, so they are referred to as scavenger carnivores. Domestic animals also become scavengers at times, such as when a dog rummages through refuse.

Omnivores.  The most familiar omnivores, creatures that eat both animal and vegetable matter, are human beings and the domestic pig. Some aquatic omnivores subsist on food so small that they must strain it from the water. Clams and oysters are examples. Even giant whales, which may be as long as 110 feet, filter their food. They swim mouth open, until small crustaceans, plankton, and other types of food are caught between thin plates known as whalebone (or baleen) that hang down in the mouth cavity. Then they close their mouths and swallow the contents.

Symbionts.  Animals that form a beneficial partnership with animals of some other kind or a similar partnership with a living plant are symbionts. If both partners in a symbiotic arrangement benefit equally, the relationship is mutualistic. If one benefits without harming the other, it is a commensal relationship; if one gains at the expense of the other, it is parasitic.

Many termites illustrate mutualism. They chew and swallow wood but cannot digest the wood fibers until they are predigested by minute animals that inhabit the termites' digestive tract. These minute animals could not obtain wood fibers without the termites; the termites could not utilize the wood fibers if the minute animals did not first digest them.

Certain minute insects parasitize plants by producing chemicals that irritate the plants into forming unnatural swellings on the leaf or stem, producing deformed terminal buds. These galls provide a place for the insects to live while they suck sap from the plant. Each type has a distinctive shape and inner structure.

Organizing animal creatures into categories based on their food habits has value because all animals must eat to survive. What's amazing is the diversity of ways animals satisfy this survival need.

Before your next meal, appreciate how the human animal's food habits, while so diverse, are satisfied so much better than the needs of many other animals in our Great Swamp area! For example, while food for most animals is plentiful in the warm seasons, winter's food supply for most animals is meager, and there is not much that non-human animals can do about it.  For human animals in winter, however, their Great Swamp Watershed area food stores simply shift suppliers to those in California, Mexico or other warmly bountiful locations.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Did You Know? All About Bees!

by Jim Northrop

Perhaps honeybees are the most highly organized members of the bee species.  Not only do they create complex social organizations, but they continually store honey (made from the nectar of flowers) and bee bread (a material made from pollen), to feed themselves and their young. Honeybees continue to store honey and bee bread not only for the breeding season, but also to sustain the hive during the winter. However, the story of the typical queen bee would rival the conspiracies of a medieval palace.

During the greater part of the year, the population of a honeybee hive is composed exclusively of two sorts of individuals --- the mother, or queen bee, and workers, or neuter bees (which are sterile females). The males, or drones, generally appear in May and are all dead by the end of July. The queen lives for several years, the workers only one to two months in seasons of activity, and the drones one to two months. 
The queen has a longer body and shorter wings than the workers. She can use her sting repeatedly without rupturing herself, and normally will use it within minutes after escaping from her pupal cell. She will explore the hive thoroughly and sting to death all other queens present, even those that have not yet emerged as adults.

The old queen, with a large number of bee workers, has already left in a swarm, to find a new place for a colony. The young queen soon goes out on her nuptial flight, pursued by dozens of drones. Within two days she is back in the hive, prepared to lay eggs at the rate of 200 a day for the rest of her life. She lays each egg in a separate cell in the brood region of the hive, a short distance away from cells in which honey or bee bread are stored.

The life of a worker bee follows a regular schedule, with tasks changing to match development of various glands in her body. She produces saliva as a varnish for the cells in which the queen will lay eggs. She visits the honey stores and cells with bee bread, to get food she can regurgitate for the larvae of different ages.
After a few days of guarding the door from intruders, she becomes a field bee. Each day, until their wings wear out, field bees daily gather nectar, pollen, resinous materials for sealing cracks in the hive. When weather is hot and temperatures rise, field bees also gather water to cool the hive through the process of evaporation. A single hive may contain 60,000 workers at one time.

Worker honeybees appear to change their behavior according to the amount of a “queen substance” produced by their queen, and the amount of food stored in the hive. They communicate with each other in the darkness of the hive by special dances and sounds that tell other workers the direction and approximate distance to food they have found, as well as some measure of its abundance.

While some people like to compare the organizational talents of honey bees and those of human endeavors, perhaps it is just as well that humans have never achieved the unfailing, inflexible organizational discipline of the honey bee.

About the Author. Jim Northrop is a long-time member of and volunteer for the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA). A resident of Madison, New Jersey, he has served on GSWA's Board of Trustees and currently lends his support to the organization's Land Use Committee and it Communications Taskforce. Jim has authored many articles that appear in GSWA's biannual newsletter, its monthly eNewsletter, its website, and its several blog outlets.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beneficial Bats: Why We Cannot Afford To Lose These Furry Barnstormers

by Jim Nothrop

Many people that I know are scared of bats ---- especially if they encounter them at night. The problem may be more with us than with the bats. Centuries of myths and misinformation have generated needless fears. At the same time, most people are unaware of the ways in which bats actually benefit humans without ever actually being a danger.

Having suggested a more positive image for the bat, we now need to know that in many areas of the U.S. (including the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge) a virulent fungus is killing many of them. To date, scientists have not discovered how this fungus (called White-Nose Syndrome) actually kills the bats, or what to do about it. But to the extent bats are being killed off in large numbers by White-Nose Syndrome, human beings are losing valuable benefits we were perhaps not even aware we have been receiving from those “scary” creatures.

There are more than 1,200 species of bats (about one-fifth of all mammal species), says Bat Conservation International, Inc. (BCI). They range from the world’s smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny, to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans. Except for the most extreme desert and polar regions, says BCI, bats have lived in almost every habitat on Earth since the age of the dinosaurs.
BCI confirms that only three species of bats, all in Latin America, are vampires. They really do feed on blood, although they lap it up like kittens rather than sucking it up (as horror movies suggest). Even the vampires are useful --- an enzyme in their saliva is among the most potent blood-clot dissolvers known and is used to treat human stroke victims.

Bats can be found living in almost any conceivable shelter, though BCI says they are best known for living in caves. Many species that now live mostly in buildings do so, at least in part, because of shrinking natural habitat.

Benefits of Bats

Bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects, including many of the most damaging agricultural pests and others that bedevil humans (like mosquitoes), says BCI. More than two-thirds of bat species hunt insects, and they have healthy appetites. BCI says that a single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour, while a pregnant or lactating female bat typically eats the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night.

BCI notes that almost a third of the world’s bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants. In return for their meals, these bats are vital cross-pollinators of countless plants. Bats that drink the sweet nectar inside flowers pick up a dusting of pollen and move it along to other flowers as they feed. BCI reports that a few of the commercial products that depend on bat pollinators for wild or cultivated varieties include: bananas, avocadoes, dates, figs, peaches, mangoes, cloves, cashews and balsa wood. Bats also are major seed dispersers in the regeneration of rainforests.

What Is the “White-Nose Syndrome” That Is Stealthily Killing Our Bats?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that in February 2006 some 40 miles west of Albany, N.Y., a caver photographed hibernating bats with an unusual white substance on their muzzles. He noticed several dead bats. The following winter, bats behaving erratically, bats with white noses, and a few hundred dead bats in several caves came to the attention of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation biologists, who documented White-Nose Syndrome in January 2007. More than a million hibernating bats have died since. Biologists with state and federal agencies and organizations across the country are still trying to find the answer to this deadly mystery.

Sick, dying and dead bats have been found in unprecedented numbers in and around caves and mines from New Hampshire to Tennessee. In some hibernation sites, 90 to 100 percent of the bats are dying. While they are in the hibernation site, affected bats often have white fungus on their muzzles and other parts of their bodies. They may have low body fat. These bats often display strange behavior ---- moving to cold parts of the hibernation site, flying during the day and during cold winter weather when the insects they feed upon are not available, and they exhibit other uncharacteristic behaviors.

Despite the continuing search by numerous laboratories, and state and federal biologists, to find the source of this condition, the cause of the bat deaths remains unknown. A newly discovered cold-loving fungus (Geomyces destructans) does invade the skin of the bats and may be part of the answer. Scientists are exploring how the fungus acts and searching for a way to stop it. Answers to these questions are needed very soon.

About the Author. Jim Northrop is a long-time member of and volunteer for the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA). A resident of Madison, New Jersey, he has served on GSWA's Board of Trustees and currently lends his support to the organization's Land Use Committee and it Communications Taskforce. Jim has authored many articles that appear in GSWA's biannual newsletter, its monthly eNewsletter, its website, and its several blog outlets.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt: You've Never Seen The Swamp Like This Before

Did you know that you can watch bald eagles hunt for fish in suburban New Jersey?  Were you aware that the best place to catch a glimpse of America’s newest frog species is right here in Morris and Somerset Counties?  Do you remember why George Washington thought Morristown was a great place to camp the Continental Army during the worst winter of the Revolutionary War?

If you answered “no” to any of these question, then it’s probably time to take a refresher course on all of the amazing sites of natural, cultural, and historic importance hiding in your own backyard.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt offers you, your family, and your friends a chance to reacquaint yourself with a few of the places and people that put New Jersey’s Great Swamp region on the proverbial map.  Oh yeah, it will be LOTS of fun too!

Since January, the Great Swamp Watershed Association has been working with the Friends of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Harding Land Trust, the Morris County Park Commission, the Morristown National Historical Park, the New Jersey Audubon Society, The Raptor Trust, the Somerset County Park Commission, and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge  to create a one-of-a-kind interactive tour of the 55-square-mile Great Swamp Watershed.

Armed with a list of both GPS coordinates and street addresses, your own sense of adventure, and the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt Clue Kit you pick up at Loantaka Brook Reservation (75 Kitchell Rd. in Morristown), you will get the chance to spend as much time as you like exploring more than a dozen sites of local, regional, and national significance, including the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Harding), the Morristown National Historical Park (Morristown), the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (Chatham), the Somerset County Environmental Education Center (Basking Ridge), the Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary (Bernardsville), and The Raptor Trust (Long Hill).

Along the way, your Clue Kit may prompt you to get out of your car or off your bicycle to find out what each destination is all about. Other challenge questions can be answered from the convenience of your car. Pay close attention at each stop because you will need to answer several challenge questions to prove that you have completed all your explorations.

Scavenge as much as you like, and wherever you like. But, remember, the more places you visit and the more Great Swamp challenge questions you answer correctly, the higher your Scavenger Hunt score will be.  Those who return to Loantaka Brook Reservation at 4:00 p.m. with the highest scores will be eligible receive special prizes provided and made possible by underwriters at PSEG, PNC Bank, REI – Recreation Equipment, Inc. (East Hanover), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (Madison), and BaseCamp Adventure Outfitters (Bernardsville).

While you wait for your Scavenger Hunt score to be tallied, the Great Swamp Watershed Association will treat you and your fellow scavengers to a picnic in honor of all you have seen and experienced throughout the day. Celebrate! You earned it!

If this sounds like fun for you, your family, and your friends, you can register to participate in the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt by visiting on the Web right now!  Registration is FREE, although donations are most welcome.  If you prefer, you may register to participate onsite at Loantaka Brook Reservation on May 19 between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

Click here to download and print a scavenger hunt flyer!

For more information about The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt, please visit, call 973-538-3500, or send an email message to

It's Time To Start Conserving Water in New Jersey

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection recently urged citizens to conserve as much water as possible.

Despite the recent nor'easter that prompted flood warnings throughout the state, New Jersey is experiencing a rainfall deficit thanks to a dry winter and an equally dry start to the spring season. In fact, here in Morris County, rainfall amounts stand at 5.8 inches BELOW normal (for the past 90 days).
Some of the environmental threats posed by these severely dry conditions are obvious. Take, for example, the recent spate of brush fires that have raged out of control and damaged property in the Meadowlands and the Pine Barrens.

Perhaps less obvious are threats facing groundwater throughout the state. In a press release dated April 27, 2012, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin remarked, "Most concerning is that our stream levels and groundwater supplies are extremely stressed." Private and municipal well owners whose aquifers are shallow and unconfined should consider implementing water austerity measures before the peak-water-usage months of summer arrive.

New Jersey's current situation stands a far cry from that of the late-summer and early-fall months of 2011 when an abundance of precipitation resulted in several destructive flooding events in our area. However, it is important to remember that heat and rainfall conditions can change rapidly along with overall weather patterns. A few days of dry and windy weather could set water levels back even further, while a period of fast, heavy rains could produce unexpected flooding.

If you want more information about recent weather patterns and extreme weather events in New Jersey, check out GSWA's YouTube Channel and the video "Why Is New Jersey's Weather Changing?" Recorded on April 10 at GSWA's offices in Morristown, this presentation from guest speaker Dr. Anthony Broccoli of the Rutgers University Center for Environmental Prediction systematically reviews significant weather events in New Jersey between December 2010 and April 2012.

If you are looking for some practical water conservation tips from NJDEP that you can voluntarily implement at your home, check out the following list of tips from NJDEP.
  • Do not over-water lawns and landscaping. Watering two times per week for 20-30 minutes in early morning or early evening ensures that plants receive the most water while developing strong, healthy root systems.
  • Make sure sprinklers and irrigation systems do not water during or immediately after a rain and are set to avoid wasting water on the street, driveway and sidewalk.
  • Use a hose with a hand-held nozzle to water flowers and shrubs.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving.
  • To save water in the home, fix leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Run washing machines and dishwashers only when full.
  • Install high-efficiency, water saving toilets, faucets and shower heads
  • Use a broom to sweep the sidewalk, rather than a hose;  Use mulch and native plants to conserve water in the garden
  • Use a rain barrel to capture water from a downspout to use later for watering gardens and plants
  • Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation to water trees, gardens and flower beds.
Please be a good water steward and do what you can to conserve!

More information about water conservation and water supply status in all of New Jersey's drought regions can be found at

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sustainable Jersey for Sustainable Communities

by GSWA's Director of Education & Outreach Hazel England

Sustainable Jersey is a program that rewards New Jersey towns engaging in actions and practices leading to a more sustainable community.  Municipalities taking part initially register their intent to try and attain Sustainable Community status, form a Green Team, and begin undertaking and documenting their actions.  A municipality may be awarded bronze or silver level Sustainable Community status at the annual NJ League of Municipalities Conference, provided that the specific sustainability actions they have taken have been verified and tallied using a special state-wide points system.  Apart from creating more livable communities, Sustainable Jersey certification provides positive public recognition and more funding opportunities for new sustainability projects.

Several towns around the Great Swamp watershed have followed up their intent to pursue certification by attaining either a bronze or a silver certification.  Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) has partnered with several of these municipalities by becoming a member of the Green Teams they have created, and by aiding with water conservation or education-related activities.  The table below shows where communities are regarding certification status.

Most recently, GSWA presented at water education programs that Chatham Township conducted for its residents.  GSWA was a panel member in a water conservation education event.  On March 10, 2012, Chatham Township also co-sponsored a GSWA rain garden workshop and educational program that showcased how rain gardens can effectively manage stormwater within a property by slowing its flow into streams and water treatment plants.

Some of the other actions we have taken in other towns and municipalities include co-sponsoring public sustainability discussions and movie events, appearing at green fairs with important watershed information, and presenting informative education programs on non-point-source pollution, waste reduction, and water conservation techniques.

Why not check out how your own town is trying to become a more sustainable community? Maybe GSWA can help you improve the places where you live, work, and play.  Give us a call at 973-538-3500!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Swamptails Hit the Spot!

Here's a special Great Swamp Watershed Association thank you to everyone who joined us for Gators and Lilypads at George & Martha's in Morristown last night. We had a blast! Hope you did too. See you next time!

Our sincere thanks to George & Martha's for providing an excellent venue, some very creative cocktails, and great food!

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Video: Why Is New Jerey's Weather Changing?

by Steve Reynolds. Director of Communications & Membership, Great Swamp Watershed Association

We don't expect climate change to make things warmer as if we're going up an escalator. It's much more like you're going on a hiking trail to the top of a peak, but that path has ups and downs as you try and get there. Don't lose sight of the long-term picture.

Over the last year or so, it seems as though we New Jerseyians just cannot catch a break when it comes to weather. In December 2010 Snowmageddon blanketed our state in white. In 2011, flooding from Hurricane Irene washed out roads and homes statewide, and an unusual late-October snowstorm pulled down trees and wreaked havoc with our power infrastructure. In these early months of 2012, we have seen our warmest March ever and our fourth warmest winter on record. As I write this piece, wildfires touched off by unusually dry conditions rage in the Pine Barrens, in the Meadowlands, and elsewhere. What exactly is going on with all this bizarre weather?

That is one of the questions the Great Swamp Watershed Association asked guest speaker Professor Anthony Broccoli, director of the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction, in advance of his visit to the organization's headquarters in Morristown on April 10, 2012. When he arrived to give his presentation as part of GSWA's popular Breakfast Briefing speaker series, he helped us better understand the issue by re-imagining our question.

Setting a more scientific tone, he asked our audience of 28 people, "What types of extreme weather may be plausibly associated with climate change and which may not?" The answer was much more complicated than any of us could have imagined.

Among all of the different manifestations of weather he proceeded to describe--temperature and precipitation extremes, heat and drought, tornadoes and thunderstorm, hurricanes and heavy rains, and snowstorms--the associations varied widely. For events like extreme heat and drought, the links to global climate change were quite strong. For events like hurricanes and freak snowstorms, the links were harder to distinguish.

Why was it so hard to come up with clearly definitive answers? The reasons are manifold. For intance, where tornadoes are concerned, a relative lack of observational data complicates the establishment of trends. And, in the case of snowstorms, the alignment of conditions needed to produce a significant event is much more unpredictable.

GSWA recorded Professor Broccoli's presentation and posted on our YouTube channel at We invite you to watch the video and draw your own conclusions about our recent spate of extreme weather and its relationship to global climate change.

Viewers will want to make special note of all the examples of New Jersey weather phenomena Professor Broccoli uses throughout his talk. The richness of this state-specific content--the weather observations, photos, and more--will pique the interest of any New Jerseyian.

The video is embedded below. As you watch, please turn up the volume. Audio quality is complicated by our presentation space.

If you would like to download the slideshow Professor Broccoli presented, please click here or visit[Flat].pdf. Slides are in PDF format.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt, May 19

The Great Swamp Watershed Association is proud to inaugurate a new event this May that will spotlight amazing sites of natural, cultural, and historic interest found throughout the 55-square-mile Great Swamp watershed. The first Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2012, and its goal is to help you enjoy a day outdoors and take you to places you might not know about, or have not thought about visiting before.

How will it work? Well, from 9 a.m. to noon on May 19, you, your family, and friends will stop by our home base at  Loantaka Brook Reservation's Kitchell Pond Pavilion. There you will pick up a set of clues designed to take you on a journey of discovery through our region. Along the way, you will choose where you want to go and what questions you will answer to prove that you've been there.

Scavenge as much or as little as you want throughout the day. This will be your time to explore! But, whatever you do, remember to return to Loantaka Brook Reservation at 4:00 p.m. where we will celebrate your odyssey with refreshments. While you relax, we will tally up everyone's scavenger hunt results. Special prizes await our highest-scoring scavengers, and, who knows, there just might be one or two more surprises in store!

The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt is suitable for people of all ages and all skill levels.

GSWA is partnering with Morris County Park CommissionSomerset County Park Commission,Morristown National Historical ParkGreat Swamp National Wildlife RefugeFriends of Great Swamp National Wildlife RefugeThe Raptor TrustNew Jersey Audubon Society, and Harding Land Trust, so there will be lots of fun and exciting places to visit.
Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt Partners
Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt Partners

This is shaping up to be one of northern New Jersey's can't-miss events of spring 2012! So remember, save May 19 on your calendars for GSWA's inaugural Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt.
You need to get in this game!
Thanks to our Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt underwriters PSEG and PNC Bank!

All are invited to participate in this FREE event; however, if you do plan to attend, please register online at GSWA's website. Advanced registration helps us better organize our activities, and allows us to contact you if plans change.

What: The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt

Date: Saturday, May 19, 2012

Times: Pick up clues—between 9:00 a.m. & Noon, Hunt—between 9:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m., Rewards & Relaxation—between 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.

Where: Start & End at Kitchell Pond Pavilion, 75 Kitchell Road, Morristown, NJ, but Scavenger Hunt locations will be spread throughout the 55-square-mile Great Swamp Watershed.

Registration: Participation in the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt is FREE of charge. Please let us know if you plan to attend by completing the registration form below.

More Information: Call GSWA at 973-538-3500 x22 for event updates, including scheduling and venue changes. Please listen to the recorded message on the hotline for any change or cancellation notices. All events are subject to change or cancellation without advanced notice; however, we will try to notify registered participants of any changes via email or telephone (if contact information is provided).