20020418 Great Swamp Earth Day

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Tuesday December 31, 2002

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Usher In Earth Day

Photos By Joe Gigli

CHATHAM TWP. What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2002 than by taking a hike through a swamp to learn about all the gifts nature has given us. (left) A view of skunk cabbage and fiddle back ferns, cover the moist terrain, in the Great Swamp. (above right) Rich Sofie, leads the hike.

Photos By Joe Gigli

CHATHAM TWP. What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2002 than by taking a hike through a swamp to learn about all the gifts nature has given us. (above left) Artist story teller Linda A. Howe. (above right) Rich Sofie, pointing out the posin ivy. (left) A tiny flower called Spring Beauty, pops up around the swamp. (below left) Mindy Becker, showing off some icroinvertebrates to the visitors.

The theme for the day at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center was "the Wonderful World of Water" and featured games, demonstrations, crafts and storytime about this precious resource and how to keep it clean and conserve it. Special presenters were storyteller Linda Howe of Chatham and Blaine Rothauser of Florham Park, wildlife and landscape photographer, who hosted a slide presentation and swamp walk on vernal pools.

 The first encounter with water was at Mindy Becker's table, staff naturalist, who explained how micro invertebrates (very small creatures without a backbone) survive in this vital liquid.

Participants in the early afternoon hike learned how to identify poison ivy, saw a huge bee's nest hanging high in a tree, discovered how skunk cabbage got its name (because when the leaves are torn it really stinks!) and observed a natural whirlpool as old as the dinosaurs. The group of about 20, half of which were children, also viewed a log chewed on by a beaver, a thorny thicket that was home for a bunch of rabbits and a peaceful pond, complete with reeds and lily pads where a giant turtle lives.

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