The Garden Club of LBI  has its own consultant, Mary Wilding, who updates members each month on such important topics as seismic testing, fracking, pollution, sea-level changes, and other threats to our environment.


Consultant Mary Wilding goes to great lengths to raise our awareness of threats to the environment, even becoming a “Bag Lady,” which means donning a suit of plastic bags–made from the exact number each of us discards every year. Mary also solicits volunteers for local clean-up projects that keep our island safe and beautiful.

The Film “A Plastic Ocean”

The Garden Club of Long Beach Island is excited to be able to provide the film “A Plastic Ocean”, an epic global adventure following a world record free diver and the film maker as they travel through our oceans over a period of four years.  International scientists reveal the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and discuss solutions.  Speak with representatives from Environmental agencies and learn about some of what is happening in our area.  The screening start in Stafford and continue on Long Beach Island.  We hope you will join us for this free screening.

Beach Sweeps

Under the direction of Mary Wilding, our Environmental Consultant, Garden Club members participated in the 33nd Annual Statewide Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps on Saturday April 21st.  Our group included Mary Wilding, Maryann Chatfield, Marlena Christensen,  JoAnne McKee, Jeannette Michelson and Ginny Scarlatelli. The ladies worked to make a difference for clean water and the environment by sweeping clean the dyke beach at High Bar Harbor.

The most frequently found article was the plastic cap – we counted 110, but I’ll bet we collected many more. It was great to only find 1 cigarette butt and only 14 plastic bottles, but there were 7 balloons and lots and lots of small plastic pieces…..many too disintegrated to even pick up – microplastics in the making! We lost count and had difficulty even identifying the original source of the pieces. Here are the number and percentage in each of the categories but we know the Plastics category is under-reported:

Plastics 280 = 79.8% Metal 24 = 6.8%

Glass 5 = 1.4 Wood 25 = 7.1

Balloons/Rubber 9= 2.6 Cloth 8 = 2.3 .

Thanks to the Intrepid Crew and Jeannette Michelson for the pictures and for helping with the Beach Sweep.

That afternoon, Clean Ocean Action reported “Over 5,000 Citizens with Feet on the Beach and Hands in the Sand Clean Beaches at NJ’s Largest Volunteer Environmental Event.” Groups, schools, scout troops and businesses came to 70 locations along NJ’s shoreline, rivers and streams from Essex County to Cape May in the 33rd Annual Spring Beach Sweep.

Clean Ocean Action also provided a detailed report on the Spring and Summer Beach Sweeps for 2017 and you can access the full report by going to  http://files.constantcontact.com/60228ce7001/320cfcb2-eb1a-4aa6-b794-178fc2ae31c8.pdf?ver=1524064892000.  Summarizing, the Dirty Dozen collected in 2017 were:

1- Plastic pieces 56,201 7 – Plastic beverage/soda bottles 12,114

2 – Plastic caps/lids 50,881 8 – Plastic store/shopping bags 9,052

3 – Food candy wrapper bags 40,227 9 – Paper pieces 7,694

4 – Straws/stirrers 31,167 10 – Cigar tips 7,172

5 – Cigarette filters 29,008 11- Other plastic bags 5,978

6 – Foam pieces 21,117 12 – Lumber pieces 5,949

Assuming all the categories are plastic items except cigarette filters, paper pieces, and lumber pieces, 84.58% of the total collected was plastic along the entire shoreline, rivers and streams! The Stranger Items included Chinese newspaper, clown nose, hula girl doll, human tooth in a box. Clean Ocean Action thanked: AVEDA, Bank of America, Comcast and ShopRite for their 2018 Beach Sweeps  Statewide Sponsorships. Its good to know these companies have a commitment to our environment.”



Southern Pine Beetle

On to the southern pine beetle that is leaving more and more pine trees as brown, lifeless forms on LBI. Angela Andersen advised on 9/8/17 “ The report from the forester was not specific to beetles but more of an overall management plan for plantings /trees in LBT for town properties – We are still looking to experts for guidance but think it seems pretty clear we need to revegetate as the trees die.”

In speaking to the Agricultural Agent at Rutgers, Richard Vanranken, he provided a website with the following information: The Southern pine beetle is one of the most destructive forest insects, is smaller than a grain or rice, feeds on living tissue under the tree’s bark and is a considerable threat to our state’s forest resource. It re-entered the state in 2001 and since then has been on the rise. In 2008, it crossed the Egg Harbor River, entered forests in Atlantic County and moved north and west…including LBI. The tree crown shows the first signs of infestation when it rapidly turns from healthy green to yellow, red and finally brown as the tree stops circulating water.

Southern Pine Beetle

It also states you can reduce the risk of outbreaks. Trees under stress become susceptible to the beetle while healthy, strong trees resist attacks. Ben Wurst of Conserve Wildlife provided a website, https://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/plantandpestadvisory/2011/ln092211.pdf) and quoted the last paragraph,

“Since pine wilt disease is more prevalent in trees (especially older ones) suffering from abiotic stresses, the maintenance of plant vigor through proper pruning, irrigation, and fertility is of primary importance. Healthy trees are also less susceptible to invasion by beetles. Routine, prompt removal of dead and dying plant material will reduce populations of both the nematode and its beetle vector.” “Abiotic” which I had to look up, means non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect living organisms such as drought and lack of nitrogen. So it sounds like fertilizing your healthy pines and caring for them would be helpful.

Southern Pine Beetle Devastation in Millville New Jersey.

I am waiting to hear back from an arborist who worked with both Rutgers University and NJ Department of Environmental Protection in Atlantic County about what they found was most effective, as well as a representative of the State Forestry Program in Trenton for additional information.


Oceana is asking we contact our representative to stop the government from funding new drilling and to protect our coast and promote healthy oceans and coastal communities from the risk of spills. You can join more than 130 east coast communities, nearly 1,200 bipartisan elected officials and an alliance representing 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families who have publicly opposed offshore drilling. I know other organizations have asked for support, but this is a big item that needs repeated attention. Please just click on…


Climate Change

Increasingly powerful hurricanes like Harvey and Irma — and their immense human toll — make it clear that we can’t wait any longer to seriously address climate change. We need Congress to take swift action. Representative Tulsi Gabbard just introduced the strongest bill of its kind in Congress to transition the country to 100% renewable energy by 2035. The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act), just introduced in the House of Representatives, is based on the most recent climate science. “ It calls for a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035, with 80% of that by 2027, recognizing that swift action in the next 10 years is critical for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. It would end fossil fuel subsidies, place a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, ban the export of oil and gas, and call for a just transition for those most impacted, including communities of color and low-income areas on the front lines of climate and pollution fights. It’s a truly ambitious plan that recognizes the severity of the climate crisis and what it will take to prevent further harm to people here at home and around the world.”

Tulsi Gabbard and bill co-sponsors Nanette Barragan, Keith Ellison, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Jamie Raskin and Jan Schakowsky — need to know that we’re behind them. Reluctant leaders do too. No matter where our representative stands on climate change, it’s important that they hear from you. Food & Water Watch have provided this website where you can let your voice be heard. I will include this information in the Blast so that if you chose, you can take action easily. https://secure.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=00000000.app325a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=3063&autologin=true&NONCE_TOKEN=F01C9B947E3BB11C14F32D85EB1E5F10.

Mary Wilding, Environmental Consultant