by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

Ah summer. That magical time when we all embrace the beloved coastal way of life. Seems to take too long to arrive and then end too soon. It’s a great reminder to savor the moments that make it so special.

For all of us at The Wetlands Institute, it’s a very busy time of year, but it’s also one we relish for the richness of the experiences we all enjoy. The interns are here and have injected their youthful energy and outlook. They are like sponges; they absorb all there is to learn but also infuse in all of us the wonder of this magical place. Everyday, school buses arrive with hundreds of wide-eyed children ready for their exploration and discovery. Soon, the Summer Nature Programs begin. The beach stewards are out on Stone Harbor Point and the 2-Mile Unit of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, protecting sensitive beach nesting birds and educating the public in the ways we can share the resource with them. And of course, so many of you come for a visit to reconnect with the marsh wonderland and all of the special creatures that make this place their home.

This year is also a special year for us. We have begun planning for the future of The Wetlands Institute and working to implement measures to help enhance our resilience. I have frequently written about both the marsh response to rapidly rising seas and the work of The Seven Mile Island Innovation Laboratory. This fall, we will be bringing a marsh rehabilitation project home to the marshes adjacent to TWI. This project will be highly visible and will afford us wonderful opportunities to share our work directly with you, and also with natural resource managers and municipalities that are striving to benefit from the coastal resilience marsh restoration affords us all. Check out the article about the project later in the newsletter.

I am also pleased to report that we are planning to improve the Salt Marsh Trail. The trail provides access to the dock and walkway and is part of the exploration of the marsh and back bay ecosystem for education programs and visitors. It’s also very important for nesting diamondback terrapins. The increasing frequency of nuisance sunny day flooding is impacting our ability to utilize the trail. Working with partners at NJDEP, we are designing a project to elevate the Salt Marsh Trail and improve visitor amenities. In keeping with our mission, we also seek to enhance diamondback terrapin nesting by creating more nesting areas and also building up a portion of the marsh around the tree island near the boat house to improve habitat for marsh-dependent birds.

Stop by for a visit, join us for presentations about the exciting changes coming to the Institute, and be a part of it all. Look for more information on all of these projects in the future.