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.