by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director
Time – it keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future. Truer words are hard to find. And so, we are on the cusp of another busy summer season. There is comfort to the rhythm and I am surrounded by constant reminders of the symphony of the seasons – and one of my favorites is the transition from spring to summer. It’s a time when the majesty of these marshes are in their full glory. After all, it’s Cape May and migration is upon us. Maybe it’s the arrival of the summer nesting birds that come from all over this hemisphere. Perhaps it’s the passing through of the wanderers that are continuing northward to their nesting grounds after partaking of the bounty these marshes and forests offer.
For all of us at The Wetlands Institute, there are sounds to be celebrated, too. The return of the Laughing Gulls to Ring Island is a welcome harbinger of the season. Their calls are a part of summer here and while they are under-appreciated by many, I would not want to witness a summer without their voices. The chatter of the Purple Martins from the back deck reminds me of the complexity of their community. The chirps of the Osprey remind me of the value of conservation and the power of what can be accomplished.
From my perch on the second floor of the Institute, I have a commanding view of the splendor of the marshes, and I also hear the sounds of the Institute. Our building is now filled with the sounds of laughter and excitement, of wonder and awe. Yes, it’s the time that many of you return to the Institute and our numbers swell in welcome. School children are here exploring these marshes and discovering the complexity of the coastal environments. Scout groups are earning badges in our program offerings. Volunteer opportunities now abound and many of you are lending a hand and making a difference for the nature around us. For some, the passion comes with sharing the knowledge of the wildlife of our coastal community by volunteering to help deliver our education experiences, teach our summer nature program, or care for our aquarium creatures. Others chose to rescue horseshoe crabs in the reTURN the Favor program, or help terrapins in the Terrapin steward program or simply by your caring actions on our roadways. Your efforts matter.
This summer we are launching a new volunteer program to help us gather important information about the condition of our marshes – and you can help. It is called “Paddle for the Edge”, a joint program with Barneget Bay Partnership. Using your own kayak or SUP and your smartphone, you will collect survey data that will be uploaded in real time to an application that records and tracks data for future use. For more details and how to register, or visit wetlandsinstitute.org/rcvolunteer.
Whether you visit on your own, bring a friend, child, or grandchild, or join us as a volunteer, it’s the start of a wonderful new season – and we hope to see you!