25 Nature Spectacles in New Jersey

Overview

Join Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld as they guide readers to New Jersey’s most marvelous natural spectacles. From mating horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay to goldenclub and orchids at Web’s Mill Bog, the authors show us Garden State nature at its best.

While New Jersey boasts far more than 25 nature spectacles, the authors have selected those that are the most dramatic, predictable, and characteristic of the state so readers can easily enjoy them over and over again. Being...

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Overview

Join Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld as they guide readers to New Jersey’s most marvelous natural spectacles. From mating horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay to goldenclub and orchids at Web’s Mill Bog, the authors show us Garden State nature at its best.

While New Jersey boasts far more than 25 nature spectacles, the authors have selected those that are the most dramatic, predictable, and characteristic of the state so readers can easily enjoy them over and over again. Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference, so the guidebook is organized by season to ensure the best viewing.

Each chapter begins with a photo and a brief description of the spectacle. A listing of key locations, directions, and the best time to visit follows. A prime habitat section provides a brief characterization of the appropriate surroundings to look for the plant or animal spectacle. The description provides ambiance, natural and life history information allowing readers to enjoy fully what they are observing. A final section lists an agency or organization where more information can be found.

The book contains maps as well as a calendar of recommended events, including the Lambertville Shad Festival and the Barnegat Bay Duck Decoy Festival. The authors also list a number of other spectacles that while they didn’t make the top 25 list, but are well-worth checking out—including a tongue-in-cheek look at what may be New Jersey’s best-known wildlife, humans at the shopping mall.

This book grows from the authors’ quarter century of exploring the state’s estuaries, bays, fields, and forests, observing and enjoying its natural habitats. They’ve written the perfect guidebook for everyone, whether you are ready to head off to the great outdoors or prefer to read about nature from the comfort of your armchair.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813527666
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Interviews & Essays

Interview with Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld, Authors of 25 Nature Spectacles in New Jersey

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
Burger: We decided to write this book because, despite of its bad press, New Jersey has more than its share of natural wonders, yet very few people have known how to find them. We had all these experiences we wanted to share.

Q: What criteria did you use to define a nature "spectacle"?
Burger: We chose "spectacles" that had an air of being spectacular and are really impressive sights, but they also had to be somewhat predictable so that a person who set out to see them would have a good chance of success - getting to the right place at right time. Not all of these spectacles are conspicuous and showy, some represent unusual phenomena that are worth experiencing.

Q: How did you do your research and long did it take?
Gochfeld: We have been doing field work in New Jersey for over 25 years, And we used our combined experience to write most of the book. We spent the last year checking directions and timing to make the book as user-friendly as possible.

Q: Do each of you have a favorite spectacle?
Burger: My favorite spectacle is the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, because it stands out as unique for the world, not just for New Jersey. There is no place else in the world where so many horseshoe crabs breed and support such huge numbers of migratory shorebirds, for whom their surplus eggs are a lifeline. It is my favorite because I also do research on this interaction.
Gochfeld: I'm especially fond of the black skimmers, having spent many hours watching their behavior and studying their breeding. It is a wonderful opportunity to share the excitement of watching this rather unusually designed bird with its unique fishing habits.

Q: What are some of the spectacles that just missed the cut?
Burger
& Gochfeld: This is really a good question. We have one chapter devoted to these, mainly because they are either very widespread so that people could find them in different parts of the state (such as huge crow roosts) or because they are not predictable at any one place and time. We originally thought we would do only 20, but the number grew and 25 seemed like a good number to keep people occupied.

Q: What spectacles would you recommend for families with children?
Burger: The horseshoe crabs and shorebirds are very predictable, are quite spectacular, and children are awed by them. Children can get very close to the crabs without disturbing them.
Gochfeld: The whistling swans at Whitesbog are beautiful, but perhaps kids would like the ducks in the ponds along the north shore since they enjoy being fed and can sometimes be quite tame.

Q: What inspired you to include a New Jersey shopping mall as a nature spectacle?
Burger: We realized that we didn't have a spectacular mammal, so we decided why not? Humans have behavior - often quite complicated and fascinating. We can describe this, we decided, in the same language that we would use for other nature spectacles. Anyway it is not one of the 25

Q: What do you hope people learn from reading your book?
Burger: We hope to instill a deeper appreciation of nature in general and of New Jersey's natural world in particular. Ours is a land of beauty and fascination, fast yielding to development. People who appreciate its natural charms can contribute in meaningful ways to preserving them.

Provided by the publisher.
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