Birds and Wildlife

Birds and Wildlife Committee Chair 2021-2022:  Irene Bausmith

Promoting educational programs aimed at the preservation of birds and wildlife is the mission of this committee.

Project Terrapin 

A small strip of undeveloped bay front land near the end of Mill Creek Road in Manahawkin, is a sanctuary – a haven – for nesting terrapins!  Starting in early May through June terrapin leave the bay, sometimes crossing the road, to find just the right place for their eggs.  As part of the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) Project Terrapin small cages are given to locals to cover and protect the eggs from marauding wild and domesticated threats.  Signs are posted urging drivers to “Hit the Brake For Turtle’s Sake – Terrapin Crossing.” A local 4th grader created a delightful one “Turtle Xing  ~ Watch Out!”  

It has become a neighborhood mission to stop and move the female, always in the direction she is travelling, safely across the road.  Gardens on the other side of the street are dotted with cages and the tranquil grassy strip has over 12 caged nests.

Several neighbors spearhead this local effort in conjunction with Stafford Township and Dr. John Wnek with the Mates Project Terrapin.

For more information on MATES Project Terrapin and Dr. Wnek, and to learn more about how you can help these gentle, fascinating and “vital to the environment” creatures, please link to the following website.

Monarch Butterflies

Since June 2016, we have concentrated on the plight of monarch  butterflies by improving  their habitat.  In May of 2021, the Borough of Barnegat Light granted the garden club an area of the  Bay Breeze Park for a garden specifically designed as a habitat for all pollinators. Links below provide information on the plight of the monarch butterfly, host plants and attracting monarchs to your garden.

Click here to go to the Pollinator Garden page.

These efforts and others over the years have highlighted our need to support and promote native and endangered plant species and to discourage the planting of tenacious and invasive ones. Many organizations, including the native plant society New Jersey SE Chapter, spearhead this effort. A section from the core mission states, “Because native plants are adapted to local soils and conditions (especially rain and temperature), they require less maintenance. More importantly, native plants form the base of our natural food webs. They provide food for caterpillar and other insects which, are crucial to the lives of birds and other wildlife.”
The Garden Club Of LBI has always given support to this cause. This year we hope to expand that outreach through educational events for children and adults in cooperation with our own Environmental Committee and the following active organizations who support this vital effort. Please click on the following links for additional information on Native and Indigenous plants. – Provides a comprehensive native plant database and listings and descriptions of Jersey friendly and non-native plants. – Highlights upcoming events support native plants and ways to combat tenacious and invasive species. – Provides guidelines for incorporating native plants in your residential landscape.

Additional information and updates on the Garden Club of LBI initiatives supporting this initiative will follow.

Monarch Butterfly links: Visual guide butterfly identification. – Butterfly friendly landscaping – Agency which promotes butterfly migration.

Monarch Population 2020

The eastern monarch butterfly population is down around 53% this year.  The population of butterflies overwintering in Mexico was below levels needed to avoid extinction.  Both the fall and spring migrations had poor weather conditions and 165 acres of habitat were lost to herbicide spraying.  The monarch butterfly is currently being considered by the US government for endangered specie status.  A decision is expected by December. The garden club no longer recommends hand raising of monarchs because studies have shown that, when compared with naturally hatched butterflies, the hand raised butterflies are sometimes confused about the direction they must take to get to Mexico and they are also less physically fit for the journey. We are doing what we can to encourage planting of milkweed for the caterpillars and nectar flowers for the butterflies.
Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
Butterfly Host Plants for South Jersey
Attracting Monarchs to your garden…

Here are just a few of the local plants that will draw adult monarchs to your garden. Click on a picture to enlarge.