When my friend Don Riepe, asked for my support with an Earth Day project at Jamaica Bay on the 24th of April I realized I had a scheduling conflict. I had planned on going on a butterfly walk in the New Jersey Pine Barrens with naturalist and author Rich Cech. The thought of missing out on potentially several life butterflies and being out in the field with some of the best naturalists would probably be reasonable cause for second guessing, but I made my decision with no regret.
Jamaica Bay, is far more important and I agreed to throw in my support and help on the Earth Day initiative. April 24th came and the turnout for the event was tremendous. Over 100 volunteers showed up for a cleanup and restoration project at an area around the North Channel Bridge; a location that is known to host Horseshoe Crabs and many birds.
Volunteers began working around 9:30 a.m.; Breaking up into groups and tackling several areas. I took a group near the marsh next to an area known as the “railway”; a spot where I have photographed Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds. Later in the afternoon, we also planted Beach Plums (Prunus Maritima) and Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis).
Many non-profit groups were in attendance including, American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, Jamaica Bay Task Force, Visiting Nurse Services, Sebago Canoe Club, Shiri Trimurti Hindu Temple, DEP, Bloomberg, NPS Gateway National Recreation Area, NYC Audubon and others that I am probably missing. There were also many locals that came out in support of the event.
I was especially pleased to see in attendance members of the Shiri Trimurti Hindu Temple. The Hindu community has come under fire for illegal dumping of non-bio degradable religious artifacts in the area. A common misconception among many is that all temples engage in this type of activity. Having a group like the Shiri Trimurti in attendance goes a long way in demonstrating that not all groups participate in the illegal dumping. It also helps to build a working relationship with Gateway National Recreation Area officials in addressing these types of issues. Hopefully, Shiri Trimurti could take on the lead as an ambassador in spreading the word among their fellow religious communities on how dumping can adversely affect the wildlife and environment at Jamaica Bay. Click here for more photos from the event.
Tags: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Earth Day 2010 at Jamaica Bay, Cleanup and Restoration at Jamaica Bay