NJA Helps with Creation of the Stahl Natural Area Friends Group and Call for Volunteers to Help Bedminster’s Herpetofauna

In anticipation of the habitat restoration work to be performed this year at the Stahl Natural Area section of River Road Park, New Jersey Audubon and the Township of Bedminster is pleased to announce the formation of the Friends of the Stahl Natural Area.  This Friends Group will provide support to the Township in order to implement projects based on input from Township officials and experts including, New Jersey Audubon, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and Montclair State University.

What is the Stahl Natural Area Friends Group?stahl poster

The Stahl Natural Area Friends Group will support, assist, and promote the mission or activities of the Stahl Natural Area section of River Road Park.  We are looking for motivated people, business and local organizations that understand, or want to understand, the value and benefits of the Stahl Natural Area as open space and the ecosystems therein  and share the common goal of improving and enhancing the value of the Stahl Area for both the public and wildlife. This group is not a government advisory group, but will be an important source of support and public comments.

What will The Stahl Natural Area Friends Group do?

The Stahl Natural Area Friends Group will be a constituency to promote the park to visitors through publications and special events.  It can lending expertise and knowledge to educational and interpretive programs and in some cases, the Stahl Natural Area Friends Group can provide volunteers to help improve, maintain and enhance the park experience for visitors and the species that live there.

Friends First Meeting and a Call for Volunteers to Help with Herpetofauna Road Crossing Survey – Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 10 am- 12 PM   at Bedminster Town Hall located at 1 Miller Lane, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921

wood frog (PARKE  )The first order of business for the Friends Group is to solicit volunteers to assist with a herpetofauna Wood turtle April 2013(Parke)road crossing survey at the Stahl Natural Area.  What are herpetofauna? Herpetofauna is reptiles and amphibians, and the Stahl Natural Area has a lot of them!

As part of the habitat restoration work mandated by NJDEP at River Road park, Bedminster Township will be installing four amphibian and reptile tunnels along River Road to assist with herpetofauna migration to and from breeding areas at the Stahl Area.  In conjunction with Montclair State University, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW)  and New Jersey Audubon, the Friends Group is seeking volunteers to assist in the collection of data (i.e. identify and count species) as part of a pre-construction survey to estimate herpetofauna populations during spring and early summer migration (March 2014 to June 30, 2014).

As part of the March 15, 2014 training day, a presentation about the project will be given by NJDFW and Montclair University, survey protocols will be explained and herpetofauna identification will be provided.  No survey or species identification experience is needed. You do not need to be a resident of Bedminster –but you should live close by.  Please note that survey work will involve the handling of animals, may involve adverse weather conditions, walking on uneven terrain and through brush, and some work will involve crossing River Road which does have active traffic.  Therefore, we are looking volunteers 18 or older OR high school students/scout groups under the supervision of a parent or guardian or teacher/scout master.

You must pre-register for this training BEFORE March 13 by emailing or calling John Parke of New Jersey Audubon at john.parke@njaudubon.org  or 908-813-8325