GSWA's Across the Watershed...In Brief
March 2014
Pure water is the world's first and foremost medicine.

--Slovakian Proverb
Are You Ready For Spring?
It might not seem like it right now, but warmer temperature and longer days are just around the corner. Spring will arrive at 12:57PM on March 20, and that means it's time to start thinking about your yard and your landscaping.

GSWA has just the thing to help you shake off the last few dreary days of winter, and get a head start on your springtime plans!

Join us on Tuesday, March 11, for the first installment of our Spring 2014 Breakfast Briefing Speakers Series. Peter Coviello, of Coviello Brothers Horticultural Services, in Madison, NJ will stop by to present Pro Tips for a Healthier Lawn & a Healthier Environment.

Drawing on his family's 40 years of experience in the landscaping business, Peter will show how careful decision making about landscaping technique, lawn care products, and irrigation can build turf that is beautiful, easy and inexpensive to maintain, and less damaging to nearby rivers, lakes, and streams.

An extensive question-and-answer session will follow will follow the presentation, so participants are encouraged to come prepared with their own questions about lawn care.

Click here to register or get more information.
Watershed Moments
GSWA's Home & Garden Tour, May 28, 2014

May 28, Save The Date!

GSWA is planning its first-ever Home & Garden Tour for Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Come view some beautiful and unique homes and gardens in and around the Great Swamp Watershed region.

The tour will run from 10:00AM through 3:00PM and will begin at the public library in Madison, NJ. More details will be made available as the event date approaches. Stay tuned!
Credit: istockphoto./com/ahmed_667

Treasures In Your Backyard

The Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) is joining forces with Kemmerer Library Harding Township (KLHT) to highlight the natural and historical treasures of Harding Township.

Throughout the month of April, the Treasures In Your Backyard program will offer several special events for children and adults. All are designed to educate members of the public about Harding's unique environment and its rich history..

Here's a sneak peek at planned activities.

Sunday, March 30 to Friday, April 11
Harding Township Treasure Hunt -- Pick up a treasure-hunter kit from KLHT at 4PM on March 30. From March 30 to April 11, scour the Township as you investigate a number of natural, cultural, and historical mysteries. Return to KHLT at 4PM on April 11 to share what you found with other treasure hunters. Prizes will be awarded! Start / Finish location: KLHT, 19 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ.

Saturday, April 19
Wildlife "Berried" Treasures Workshop with GSWA's Hazel England -- 10AM to Noon -- Adults will learn how to select plants and shrubs for the yard and garden that will attract desirable and beneficial wildlife, such as birds, bees, and butterflies. Location: KLHT, 19 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ.

Child/Parent Bird & Bee Box Building Workshop -- Noon to 2PM -- Working in teams, kids and their parents will construct their very own bird or bee box that will be ready to take home and use at the end of the event. Location: KLHT, 19 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ.

Sunday, March 30 to Wednesday, April 23
Discounted Well Water Testing Program -- Harding Township homeowners are invited to take samples of their well water and have them tested, at a discounted rate, through the Great Swamp Watershed Association. A $10 deposit is required to obtain a sampling kit and instructions. A basic, multi-parameter test for nitrates, pH (acidity), iron, arsenic, lead, E. coli bacteria, and other measures will cost $110. Additional parameter testing will be available for an extra charge. Make deposit and pick up sampling kit at KLHT between March 30 and April 22. Take sample and return it to KLHT by noon on April 23. Full payment is due when sample is dropped off. Call KLHT or GSWA for more details. Pick-up / Drop-off location: KLHT, 19 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ. Call for more information.

Saturday, April 26
Outdoor Workday at Bayne Park -- 9AM to Noon -- Volunteer to help GSWA maintain the native plant buffers that were planted around Bayne Park Pond in 2011. Location: Bayne Park, Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ.

Free Luncheon for Volunteers -- Noon to End -- After you've worked up an appetite at Bayne Park, join your fellow volunteers for a free lunch at KLHT. Location: KLHT, 19 Blue Mill Road, New Vernon, NJ.

To register for any of these events, or get more information, please contact:

Kemmerer Library Harding Township
Tel.: (973) 267-2665


Great Swamp Watershed Association
Tel.: (973) 538-3500 x22

For a complete synopsis of April's Treasures In Your Back Yard programs, please click here to read about them on GSWA's blog.
GSWA's Water, Wine n' Chocolate event, 2/19/2014
Revelers enjoy the festivities at GSWA's Water, Wine, n' Chocolate tasting party on Feb. 19, 2014. Credit: G. Szelc.
Water, Wine, and Chocolate A Success!

Thank you to all 60 people who attend GSWA's Water, Wine, n' Chocolate tasting party on February 19.

All of us on staff had a great time throwing this soiree. We hope you had a great time too!

Click here to see photos from the event!

Over the course of the evening 16 new members joined the organization, and we collected more than $1,000 in gifts. Each gift was matched, dollar-for-dollar, by our anonymous donor! Thank you so much for helping us create such a fun and successful event.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next Water n' Wine event tentatively scheduled for late June 2014!
In Case You Missed It...
GSWA Announces Line-up for Spring 2014 Breakfast Briefings

From Madison Eagle: Great Swamp Watershed Association announces the line-up of speakers, topics, and dates for its Spring 2014 Breakfast Briefing Series. Read the Article
GSWA Needs Volunteers in March!

From Independent Press via Great Swamp Watershed Association seeks volunteers to assist with trail maintenance and other tasks at its Conservation Management Area in Harding Township, NJ on March 23. On March 29, GSWA will hold a training for volunteers interested in learning how to conduct a visual assessment of stream health and water quality. Read the Article
Cold Temps. In Eastern U.S. Not A Universal Experience

From NY Times: Compared with what is "normal" for the season, the Eastern U.S. was one of the coldest places on the planet in January. Still, for the Earth as a whole, this was the fourth warmest January on record. Read the Article
Think Rivers Stay Put? Think Again.

From ScienceDaily: Researchers at MIT and ETH Zurich have developed a mapping technique that can show how river systems change and where they might be moving to in the future. Read the Article
Did You Know?
About Vernal Pools

A vernal pool at GSWA's Conservation Management Area (CMA).
One of the vernal pools at GSWA's Conservation Management Area (CMA) in Harding Township, NJ.
Early spring is one of the most dynamic times of year at GSWA's Conservation Management Area.

As temperatures warm, the forest will start to come alive. Soon, plants will send new shoots out of the ground and all sorts of critters will leave their wintertime hiding places in search of food, mates, and other necessities.

In a couple of weeks, most of the springtime excitement at the CMA will be concentrated in places called vernal pools. If you have never heard the term "vernal pool" before, do not fret. You are not alone. Take a moment to dissect the phrase and you start to get a better sense of what it might means.

The word "vernal" is an adjective that describes anything related to or occurring in the springtime. For instance, here in the northern hemisphere, we mark an astronomical event called the vernal equinox as the true start of the spring season.

The meaning of the word "pool" is a little bit easier to suss out. Simply put, it refers to a small, and usually still, body of water.

Stick the words "vernal" and "pool" together and you get a term that describes a small body of water that is somehow tied to the springtime.

If you will pardon the pun, this simplistic definition of a vernal pool does not hold much water. A lot of other factors must be taken into account before it becomes possible to understand what a vernal pool really is. Here's a more precise and scientific definition of the vernal pool phenomena offered up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)--

"Vernal pools are seasonal depressional wetlands that occur under the Mediterranean climate conditions of the West Coast and in glaciated areas of northeastern and midwestern states. They are covered by shallow water for variable periods from winter to spring, but may be completely dry for most of the summer and fall. These wetlands range in size from small puddles to shallow lakes...Beneath vernal pools lies either bedrock or a hard clay layer in the soil that helps keep water in the pool."

That is a lot of information to process all at once, so here is a breakdown of some of the definitional highlights. Vernal pools are--
  • seasonal--which means that they are wet part of the time, usually from winter to spring, and they are dry part of the time, usually from summer to fall.
  • depressional--which means that they form around the low points on a landscape.
  • shallow--which means that there is only a short distance between the surface of the water and the bottom of the pool.
It's not obvious in the EPA definition, but one other feature of vernal pools that GSWA's Director of Education and Outreach Hazel England likes to point out is that they are hydrologically isolated. That's another way of saying that they are not permanently connected to other water bodies.

EPA also defines vernal pools as wetlands. That's important too, not only because the description is technically accurate, but because the ecology of vernal pools are just as important as those of their larger marsh and swamp cousins.

If you want to learn more about vernal pools, come to GSWA's Vernal Pool Exploration Hike on Friday, March 28. The hike takes place from 6PM to 8PM and will be led by Hazel England.

Click here for more hike information.
GSWA Promotions
Investoer Bank, Care2Share Program

GSWA and the Care2Share Program

Investors Bank supports GSWA through the Care2Share program. And, with your help, that support can grow!

Here's how it works.

Care2Share allows you to link your personal deposit account at Investors to GSWA. On a regular basis, Investors will look at the number of accounts linked to us, calculate the average balance in those accounts, and make a donation to us equal to a percentage of that average balance. It doesn't cost you a cent, and one of your favorite charities benefits!

Need more information?

Click here for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about Care2Share.
In This Issue
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Upcoming Events
Breakfast Briefing: Pro Tips for a Healthier Lawn, 3/11

8AM-9:30AM. On Tuesday, March 11, Peter Coviello, of the Madison-based landscaping firm Coviello Brothers Horticultural Services, will stop by GSWA to offer home owners some tips for growing a healthy and environmentally friendly lawn this spring.
More Information
Voluteer Workday at the CMA, 3/23

9AM-1PM. Help us maintain and improve access to our 55-acre Conservation Management Area (CMA) located in Harding Township, NJ. Tasks will be varied and may include trail maintenance, fence repair, and invasive plant removal. It's time to prepare the CMA for springtime visitors!
More Information
The Passaic: More Than Just A River, 3/26

6:30PM-8PM. This special evening presentation will focus attention on several important water and land resource issues, including water pollution prevention and remediation; flood control and flood-damage reduction; and land acquisition and protection in critical water supply, wetland, and flood plain areas. Speaker: Dick Plambeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Passaic River Coalition.
More Information
Vernal Pool Exploration Hike, 3/28

6PM-8PM. Led by a professional naturalist, GSWA's annual Vernal Pool Exploration provides a fun, outdoor learning experience for kids and adults alike. Discover the differences between a spring peeper, a chorus frog, and a wood frog. Find out how far an endangered spotted salamander will walk to find a mating pool. And, learn how much everything we have come to appreciate about the springtime depends on a few unassuming puddles of water on the forest floor.
More Information
Visual Stream Assessment Training for Volunteers, 3/29

9AM-3PM. Participants will learn how to assess the health of a stream by conducting a visual stream assessment survey. An early-morning indoor classroom session will teach the science and methodology required in order to visually identify environmental factors that impact stream health. A late-morning outdoor practicum will help volunteers hone their new assessment skills by using them to evaluate a nearby stream site.  Volunteers will also learn how to supplement visual assessments by conducting a survey of macroinvertebrate wildlife populations within a stream.
More Information
Upcoming Events
Harding Township Treasure Hunt, 3/30-4/11

Don your fedora and summon your inner gumshoe for this scavenger-hunt-style event in Harding Township. This is a joint program between GSWA and Kemmer Library Harding Township.
Learn more here!

Harding Township Discounted Well Water Testing, 3/30-4/23

GSWA and Kemmerer Library Harding Township are partnering to offer discounted well water testing for Harding Township residents during the month of April 2014. Registration and deposit required. 
Learn more here!

E-waste Recycling in Bernardsville, 4/5

8AM-1PM. The Borough of Bernardsville's Green Team is hosting its fourth annual electronics recycling event Saturday, April 5. You may drop off your items from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Bernards High School parking lot, located at 25 Olcott Avenue in Bernardsville.
Learn more here!

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Great Swamp Watershed Association
Protecting our waters and our land for more than 30 years
Street Address: 568 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown, NJ  07960 - Map It!
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 300, New Vernon, NJ  07976
For more than 30 years, the Great Swamp Watershed Association has been dedicated to protecting and improving water resources New Jersey's Great Swamp Watershed region. We do this by monitoring and maintaining streams and open space, advocating for intelligent land use and environmental policy, and educating communities about water and its effect on the health and natural beauty of the local environment.

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