Have you ever driven over a Delaware River bridge and wondered, “What lives in that water?” Now you can find out! D&R Greenway is offering a series of virtual presentations with discussion – free of charge – about Delaware River natural, historic, and cultural places that can be discovered locally. Lucky participants who attend all four sessions in the series will be rewarded with a guest certificate for a kayak experience in D&R Greenway’s new fleet of boats kept at Bordentown Beach.
This opportunity is first come, first served, with a limitation of 25 participants in each session to allow for questions and discussion. Everyone is welcome to register at www.drgreenway.org. Residents from communities bordering on the Delaware River are especially encouraged to attend. These communities include Bordentown, Trenton, Ewing, Titusville, Hopewell, West Amwell and Lambertville in New Jersey and cross-river communities in Pennsylvania. Those who sign up for all four sessions will receive priority registration.
Each of the four sessions takes place from 7:00pm-8:30 pm via Zoom, with the link sent to registered participants only. All sessions are on Mondays, except for the last session which takes place on the Thursday following Memorial Day. Sessions include: May 10: Geography and History; May 17: Ecology and Natural Resources; May 24: Arts and Culture; and June 3: Activism and Kayaking.
“The goal of this new, exciting opportunity is to create awareness about the amenities found in the Delaware River watershed, an American river that provides drinking water to 15 million people,” says Linda Mead, D&R Greenway President and CEO. A long-time river advocate and co-founder of the annual Delaware River Sojourn, Mead says that the series “seeks to encourage stewardship of this important river, the plants, wildlife and historic resources found in our own backyard.”
Most people who live in the region find themselves driving along or across the Delaware River several times each month, if not daily. In the early months of 2020, D&R Greenway Land Trust was planning to launch an on-the-water educational program to introduce people to the value and importance of the Delaware River with an on-the-water kayaking experience. As with many things, this program was significantly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This past winter, D&R Greenway’s Community Conservation Fellow, Maria Stahl, organized a four session virtual series about unique aspects of the river environs. Piloted this spring with high school students in the Futuro program of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, this series is now open for the first time to the public.
Topics include the history of the Delaware, from Native American presence to the founding of our country, to its designation in 2020 as River of the Year by American Rivers. Instructors include Hal Taylor, author of The Illustrated Delaware River: a History of a Great American River, joined by Dave Bell, 2019 Outstanding Volunteer from the Tookany-Tacony/Frankford Watershed Partnership, speaking on geography and history. David Wheeler, executive director of Conserve Wildlife Foundation and nature author, will host a session on the ecology of the river, its special natural places, and wildlife, including the birds that can be seen in the Delaware River Migratory Flyway. This partner of D&R Greenway conducts scientific inventories along the river and is known for its work in the Delaware Bayshore. Arts and culture will feature a discussion of the art of the Delaware River with Diana Moore, who holds a Masters in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and curates environmentally-themed exhibits for D&R Greenway’s art gallery located at its headquarters, the Johnson Education Center, in Princeton, NJ. Tracy Carluccio of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network will speak about the history of river protection, including current efforts to steward the river and protect it from pollution. Cie Stroud, a kayak instructor certified by the American Canoe Association, will share kayaking techniques in preparation for a first-hand experience on the Crosswicks Creek at its confluence with the Delaware River. D&R Greenway thanks The William Penn Foundation for their support that enables this free public program.
"We are all looking forward to venturing out onto the river in kayaks together this summer,” enthuses Maria Stahl, who designed this series. “This webinar series will introduce participants to aspects of the river that they might not have thought about before and prepare them for an on-the-water excursion!"
D&R Greenway Land Trust, an accredited nonprofit, has saved over 21,000 acres of New Jersey land since its 1989 founding. Preserving land for life and creating public trails grants everyone the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The land trust’s preserved farms and community gardens provide local organic food for neighbors—including those in need. D&R Greenway’s strategic land conservation and stewardship combat climate change, protect wildlife, and ensures clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway's mission is connecting land with people from all walks of life. D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, home to its art galleries in Princeton, is closed to the public to ensure health and safety due to COVID. Outdoor trails and labyrinth are open.
PHOTOS: Delaware River Sunset by Susan Van Dongen; other Delaware River scenes by Carolyn Edelmann