Environmental Club Visits the Refuge!

June 10th was the day. I awoke to overcast and foggy skies. Please don’t rain again. Please don’t rain. We were rained out twice on the Corson’s Inlet trip and the kids were so disappointed. So was I. Please don’t rain. I chanted this mantra under my breath as Scruffy and I walked our morning walk of the neighborhood.

Nedgie called me on my cell phone. “Are we going to the Refuge? It looks like rain.”

“Yes, of course we are going.”  I replied. “It’s just fog. It will burn off.” I say this trying to convince myself.

Well, it doesn’t rain as we board the bus. Everyone looks happy. Smiling. Our bus driver Sharon is very nice and says she enjoys going to the Refuge. It is going to be a great day.

We get to the Refuge, get off the bus and prepare for the day by tucking our pants into our socks and spraying bug spray to keep the ticks away. Art, Colby and Channelle greet us and talk about the day. The kids looked sleepy but eager and excited. We break into groups of four or five. Some of us take measurements of the humidity and wind speed. Others measure the temperature of the air and soil. Some of us record the plants, shrubs and trees in each habitat. My group looks for signs of animals. We visit the forest, field and pond habitats. What a great morning!

Dariel, Destiny and Princess making observations…


Ameena, Kell and the Twins birding at Gull Tower Pond. Arielle, Alex and Axavier use nets to find nymphs and other insects in the pond.

We have our lunches on the picnic tables on Aker’s Trail. The kids sit and munch on peanut butter and jelly, egg salad and Wawa subs, apples, bananas and oranges, peanuts and granola bars.

The rest of the afternoon is spent birding. Colby gives the kids these new field guides that show all the birds, plants, mammals, etc. that can be found in the Refuge.  Adam spots a bird–“Look! A great egret, Ms. Lenahan!” You can hear the excitement in his voice. Next we spot terns, laughing gulls, black-backed gulls, red-winged blackbirds, snowy egrets. Art shows everyone the peregrine falcon nest through the scope.  Axavier gets so excited to see his favorite bird perched on the side of the platform. Carmelita and Mitchaida join the other kids at the top of the tower. Princess and Elijah use their binoculars to spot brant and my favorite, black skimmers! It doesn’t get any better than this!

We all had a great time AT THE REFUGE.

Alex, Mitchaida, Romia and Arielle birding on the tower. Aleesha observing the turtle eggs that were eaten by a predator. What kind of mammal do you think preyed on the eggs?

At the Refuge! Part II

Alexandra and Stephanie had luck on their side last Friday. All day long the weather looked cloudy, dreary, grey and bleak. It really looked like rain. Will it rain? Will the campfire be canceled? Around 4:30pm the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds and showed itself.

We had a great time at the Refuge! When we first got there, we walked over to the milkweed patch. There is a large patch of common milkweed in front of the headquarters building. Stephanie, Alexandra and I started turning over leaves looking for signs of monarch caterpillars and eggs. As I scanned the patch, I saw plants that were obviously eaten. “Let’s look there!” We went over to the nibbled on plants and there they were! Four tiny monarch caterpillars, probably first instars. One of them still had the black face mask of a one day old caterpillar. So cool!

Next we went over to the campfire site. Barry, Pete, Christine and Debbie were waiting to start. They are a few of the wonderful people who volunteer for the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. Barry instructed the group of families to take a nature walk first, then come back for the campfire and singing. The girls were very excited and could not contain their smiles. 🙂

We all had a nice walk down to Gull Pond and Gull Pond Tower. See if you can find Gull Pond by clicking on the map here. Along the way we saw many red-winged blackbirds, great egrets and catbirds. The kids never got tired of pointing out another bird. The fog began to roll back in as we made our way back along Gull Pond Road. By the time we got back to the campfire, the fog was in and the temperature had dropped. That was okay because we had the fire and friends to keep us warm. Axavier D. and his mom came and brought marshmallows and sticks on which to roast them. What a nice treat! We sang songs and danced and laughed. Everyone roasted marshmallows and ate their burnt treats until they couldn’t eat anymore. As we started to sing the last song, the gnats found us and started to get in our eyes, ears, noses and hair. Barry noticed our distress and ended the songs.

Pete and the girls dance and sing to the “The Blubber Song.”

Yummy! Nothing tastes quite as good as marshmallows roasted over an open fire.

Everyone had a wonderful time at the Refuge. I hope more of you will visit the Refuge and see for yourself all that it has to offer. Come for a hike or a bike ride. Bring your binoculars and see how many egrets you can see. Take a slow walk down to Gull Pond. Feel the wind blowing across your face. Breathe and listen. Smile.

At the Refuge!

Last night was the first campfire, sing-a-long and nature walk at the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, New Jersey. We did a month’s worth of campfires last fall and they were a BIG SUCCESS, so we are doing them again! Barry and Marcia play guitar and sing a variety of songs about Nature and the Refuge. Peter and John usually tend to the campfire, but we didn’t light one this week because it was too windy! A bunch of Refuge volunteers and friends (including Adam and Malachi!) went on a cool nature walk through the refuge! We saw red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons and even an osprey that was fishing! What a great way to spend a Friday night–at the Refuge!

Skip to toolbar