We have a wonderful opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife living in the most incredible place in NYC - The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We've done a good job recently of acknowledging why we're veg*n at Humane Lobby Day in Albany and at the Catskill AnimalSanctuary Volunteer Farm Chores Day. In Albany, I was able to get my Assemblyman to sponsor the animal fighting bill and at the Sanctuary I did a pretty good job at painting fences (I hope).
So let's go see how free living animals live amongst us. I took this photo last Thursday with my point and shoot camera with a 4X zoom. I was there vetting the Refuge as a VegOutting venue. This is appropriate hands down. In the one hour I allotted I saw Osprey, Cranes, Herons, Egrets, Hawks, Cormorants, Swallows and Geese. I also chanced upon a beautiful snake taking in the rays. Had I stayed through dusk I might have witnessed Bats and Barn Owls, too. There is a beautiful visitors center and tables for dining at the entrance. Upon entry you're given a pledge card that you must sign stating that you'll abide by the rules of the Refuge. When I signed my card (which you keep) I felt like a Green Giant - a huge (I'm 5' 6") oaf thundering down the pebbled paths. I actually said "pardon me" twice to birds.
Please know that this refuge is natural as well as man made by design. We need the marsh and brackish landscapes for the health and protection of our shorelines. Just beyond lies JFK, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. While we're at the Refuge we'll be discussing wildlife in NYC and what the NY and NJ governments are doing to promote and decimate life simultaneously. Kinda crazy. We'll also explore how we can empower ourselves to make a difference for these wonderful beings.
Here's the plan. Pack a lunch. We'll meet at the A Train Broad Channel subway stop at 1:00pm. According to the MTA it is a one hour and 15 minute trip from 42nd St/8th Ave. to Broad Channel stop in the Rockaways. Check out MTA.info on the Friday before to see how much time you should allocate to get there (weekends, track work, blah blah blah). Add 10 minutes to make it less stressful. It may take longer or shorter to get there depending upon where you live. We'll walk to the Refuge and have lunch upon arrival. Budget 3-4 hours for lunch and taking it all in. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is huge, yet humans are only allowed on a small portion. We'll explore the entire West Pond Trail and then a trail at a portion of the East Pond - we're not allowed any further. We'll also go down the Terrapin trail to see where turtles nest. This is off limits June through August. We'll see the skyline of Manhattan in one direction and jetliners coming and going in the other direction. Our goal is to see our city in a greater context. When it rains we put up umbrellas. When it is hot, we put on the AC. So let's check in with our free living neighbors and see how they do things - on their terms, not ours.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area which is administered by the National Parks Service. For more information on the Refuge check: http://www.nps.gov/gate/index.htm
Bring your binoculars! Wear plenty of sunscreen, too.
See you there,
RAIN DATE: May 14