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The Pines of March
2/16/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 7

Been to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens? If not, here are some great reasons to explore this incredible area this March.

The Pine Barrens are hiding in plain sight: a sparsely-populated region of 1.1 million acres within the nation’s most densely populated state. Millions of drivers skirt its eastern edge each year as they travel the Garden State Parkway through Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic and Cape May counties to shore destinations.

How about heading west instead of east upon exiting the Parkway? There is a world where nature and wildlife reign supreme, with hundreds of thousands of acres of preserved forest crossed by sand roads and tea-colored streams, an astounding variety of rare plants and animals,  and cranberry bogs, historic villages, and fields where blueberries were first cultivated.

Interested in learning more? Mark your calendar for the second weekend in March, which features back-to-back events highlighting the many reasons the “Pines” are a place like no other.

First comes the 28th annual Pinelands Short Course on Saturday, March 11: a full day of educational programs hosted by Stockton University in Galloway Township. The Short Course is followed on Sunday, March 12, by Lines on the Pines, a free event celebrating Pine Barrens authors, artists and artisans.

The weekend’s events aren’t related, but they’re designed to complement each other. Together, they make for a fabulous introduction to the Pine Barrens!

This year’s Pinelands Short Course includes 38 presentations on the ecosystems, wetlands, wildlife, culture and history of the Pine Barrens. Attendees can choose up to four presentations: two in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Folks with an interest in nature may want to check out the presentation on the Pinelands’ threatened and endangered snakes, and another on its raptors and reptiles … both featuring live animals.

For those who enjoy history and culture, the program includes the Jersey Devil’s origins in the Pine Barrens; the life story of Jeremiah Leeds, a “Piney” who once owned almost all of what is now Atlantic City; the ghost towns of the Pinelands; the historic village of Batsto through the years; and the Lenape Indians and their use of the region’s natural resources in everyday life.

This year’s Short Course also offers a half-day guided van tour of the Mullica River watershed, with stops at various wildlife habitats. The course features three on-campus field trips: bird species identification, a tour of Stockton’s ecologically managed forests, and tour of the campus’ biodiversity hotspots.

To see Pinelands Short Course descriptions and download a registration form, go to

Lines on the Pines will follow on Sunday at the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City. Over 50 talented Pine Barrens authors, artists and artisans will be on hand to sign books, play music, display artworks and crafts, and share their love of the Pine Barrens.

The featured speaker will be bird carver Gary Giberson, entertainment will be provided by the Ruins of Friendship Orchestra, and there will be a special screening of an excerpt from the new film “The Pine Barrens” by David Scott Kessler.

For more information on Lines on the Pines, go to

Whether you’re a lifelong “Piney” or newcomer looking for an introduction, you’ll have fun exploring the unique geology, history, folklore and traditions of the Pine Barrens at these two great events!

To learn more about New Jersey's Pine Barrens, please visit

And to learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state

Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey's lifeblood

A breath of fresh air for New Jersey?

Keep Liberty State Park free and open

A green agenda for Governor-elect Murphy

Life, liberty ... and a clean environment

New Jersey's aging water infrastructure

The land before time: NJ's Kittatinny Ridge & Valley

While bats hibernate, scientists hope for survival

Natural Resource Damages fund new parks and preserves

Save menhaden, a humble but mighty fish

Ballot question approval would lock in environmental funds

Sandy Millspaugh: Conservation Trailblazer

Extreme hurricanes highlight concerns about climate change

'Head start' for corn snakes

Protecting the Highlands - it's the water

When you could walk from New Jersey to Morocco

A bold plan for the planet

New Jersey's energy future at a crossroads

Tiny insect will have a huge impact on New Jersey

Protect New Jersey's Pine Barrens

Enjoy New Jersey's forests!

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years

Rare plants and animals need help!

Ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off NJ coast!

Summertime and the digging is easy

Is the elusive bobcat here to stay?

NJ water supply plan rings alarm bells

NJ's Piedmont: Formed by volcanoes and erosion

Defend public health and safety in state budget

'Magical' early 17-year cicadas

June and open space: Perfect together

Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day

Socializing with nature

Preserve land - and state's in lieu of taxes program

New Jersey's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries

Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force


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