Starting on Earth Day, Ethos Farm, believed to be the first farm in the nation which is home to a primary care medical practice will embark on a large-scale habitat restoration program. Forty acres of the 275-year-old preserved working farm are to be restored using native plants that will provide critical habitat for birds, pollinators and other native wildlife.
Farm owner and board certified internist, Dr. Ron Weiss, is the founder of Ethos Health which joins sustainable agriculture practices and natural resource conservation to his primary care practice to create a healthcare environment optimized to reverse and prevent illness. The practice offers farm-based mindful living health programs and focuses on utilizing plant-based whole foods which according to Weiss, are the most powerful disease-modifying tools available to the medical practitioner.
Ethos Health’s patients and the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members will take part in the restoration efforts, that are supported jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Jersey Audubon and the US Department of Agriculture. The restoration work underscores Dr. Weiss’ core belief that it is crucial to know where your food comes from, linking the food to the land. “This link creates better educational opportunities for the public to recognize how conservation efforts play into protecting the natural resources (like soil, water, wildlife) on a regional scale, as well as food systems and their impact on our heath and even the taste of our food,” said Weiss.
“What many people overlook or take for granted when they buy food, cook food, or even pick food from either their gardens in their own yard or in nature is what goes into having the plant produce,” said John Parke, Stewardship Project Director of NJ Audubon. “Food doesn't just show up, it is grown, thus you need good soil, you need clean water, you need places for it to grow, you need pollinators, you need soil microbes, you need wildlife, you need to keep invasive non-native vegetation in check,” added Parke. “But unless you perform conservation on the land and practice natural resource protection and steward these habitats, these essential building blocks of our food system break down and have a direct impact on food availability, as well as keeping ecological balance in the landscape. Sustainable management of natural resources is essential to make food systems sustainable and that’s what Dr. Weiss and Ethos Health are doing and NJ Audubon commends Ethos Heath for the efforts and commitment to the project!”
Ethos Health initiated the project in 2013 with the removal of acres of non-native invasive vegetation species such as multiflora rose, autumn olive and Japanese honeysuckle. Now these areas will be planted with native species such as elderberry, high-bush blueberry, willows, dogwoods, oaks, and others that will provide numerous ecological benefits to the landscape. “Restoring important natural ecosystems on the 342 acre farm’s forests, wetlands, former pastures and production fields, has a profound effect on our landscapes, our health, our wildlife and the communities where we live,” added Weiss. “And how we care for our landscape through conservation is the key to a meaningful, healthy, and enjoyable existence.”
The project is being partially funded through several federal agencies, specifically the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the USDA’ State Acres for Wildlife Program. New Jersey Audubon is providing technical assistance for the project, as well as their no-till seeding drill and some labor.
photos by John Parke
On April 1, 2015, beginning just after sunrise, we began releasing the first of 80 wild Northern Bobwhite quail into New Jersey’s Pinelands. Led by New Jersey Audubon and in partnership with the Pine Island Cranberry Company and the Haines Family, project co-collaborators Tall Timbers Research Station, the University of Delaware, Pine Creek Forestry, and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, we have truly begun the process of re-establishing Northern Bobwhite to the state!
The quail, all bearing radio collars, will be tracked by graduate students from the University of Delaware. With the first goal of just survival we ultimately will be looking for these birds to nest and successfully fledge young
In the coming days and weeks we will be sharing more photos and videos. For now the New Jersey Audubon Stewardship Department would like to share photos with you of this historic day in NJ Wildlife Conservation fantastic moment!
To all of the Project Supporters - thank you so much for helping to make this project possible!! To make a donation to the quail project please go to bobwhite.njaudubon.org
Press coverage of this historic day in NJ Wildlife Conservation can be found at: A Quail Comeback in the Barrens
photos by Bill Dalton, Jean Lynch and John Parke