The Pinelands Institute for Natural and Environmental Studies (get it? P.I.N.E.S.), is a unit of Burlington County College with offices at Whitesbog Village.  They conduct a number of activities during the year and I attended one of them, a van tour through Whitesbog to look at wildflowers.   It  was a beautiful day and the tour was enjoyable.  One of the party commented that they were impressed that I was getting down so low to photograph; the trick, I replied, was getting back up again.

Pyxie - Five petals, five stamens

The Pyxies were the first.  Our three guides were excellent as these tiny blossoms, less than a dime in size do not leap out at one amidst the ground cover and dead leaves.  But get closer and there they are.

What the area's all about: blueberries

The blueberry blossoms above were on bushes alongside the trails that keep getting trimmed down to keep the trail open so they were really low, lowbush blueberries.

Sand Myrtle, a small delicate evergreen shrub.



Not only have I moved back from the shore but it’s been sold so I can’t go there on a weekend.  What to do?  How about a colorful restored car show in Pennsauken?  It was fun.  Lots and lots of beautifully restored cars and motorcycles.

After all of that color I drove down to the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pine Barrens (see my June 10th post).  This time I walked in the entrance from the Chatsworth-Tabernacle road, about 0.7 miles west of Chatsworth.

Yes, it was barren but here and there were touches of color.  On the right, Rhexia Virginica, identified for me by a colleague in the Pinelands Photographic Group.   I Googled it and it says it likes wet, sandy soil.  Check.

And, a Piney Fairy’s shelter. 


For a few more images, click here to visit a gallery page.


Last saturday I ventured into the Franklin ParkerImage 02 Preserve in the Pinelands.  This 14 square mile tract was acquired in 2003 by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.  It features sandy trails through a pitch pine forest, and wild blueberry alongside pristine streams.  There are two public entrances, one south of Chatsworth on county route 563, and one west of Chatsworth off the Tabernacle-Chatsworth Road












It was an overcast morning but plant material was lush from the recent rain.  Here are a couple of specimens.  I don’t know what the dark pink flowered plant is although the blossoms certainly resemble those of mountain laurel  but the leaves are different.  The bells on the right are, I believe, blueberry blossoms

Image 01         Image 03










So much for the flora; the only fauna I encountered were four ticks who opted to come home on me.   Lesson: USE DEET. 

The woods on either side of the Chatsworth-Barnegat road on my way to LBI are laden with ferns.  Here’s a nice example:

Image 04


At last Saturday’s Pinelands Short Course I attended the lecture on Tundra Swans as a filler for that hour. It was however, interesting and well done. The presenter commented that there were still some of the swans out on the bogs at Whitesbog. So, Saturday morning Barbara and I set off to Whitesbog. Since the swans leave the area in March to begin their long journey back to the Arctic we weren’t sure what we’d find but we were fortunate. There were probably between one and two hundred of the birds still there, and it was thrilling to see them all. 
For a few pictures taken that morning click here.



Yesterday I attended the Pinelands Short Course given annually in March by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, held at the Burlington County College in Pemberton, NJ.  It was excellent! For each of five hours of lectures (with a lunch hour break) there were probably a dozen choices in such subject areas as birds, botany, hiking, canoeing, ecology, piney music, and ghost town histories. My own choices were Forgotten Towns, Tundra Swans, Birding, Botany and Canoeing, Ghost Towns, and The Pinelands Traveler. I could also have opted for an all day bus tour of the Pinelands, or a field trip to Whitesbog which Barbara and I had done before. The lectures I attended were done very well and were both entertaining and informative (Did you know that swans’ bones are largely hollow as are the bones of most birds? Who knew?)
Since reading Henry Charlton Beck’s Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey back in the 60’s I have been fascinated by the Pinelands. Beck’s books were published in the 30’s and much of what he found is long gone. Lecturers at the Short Course had many photos of what they had seen in the 70’s AND 80’S, and much of that is also now gone. (For my local friends, Henry Beck’s photographer for those books was the father of Dr. Howard Shivers.)



 Motivated by the Beck books, I obtained topographic maps of the pine barrens which showed the various trails through it. Marty Lou and I set off on one of those (about 1960) with Kirsten bouncing along in a car seat. The trail ran (and still does as I understand it) from Atsion just off 206 to Batsto but it is probably not for the faint of heart. It was originally the main trail from Tuckerton to Long A Comin’ (Berlin, NJ) over which Quakers would travel to their summer meeting in Tuckerton, departing Long A Comin’ at 3:00 in the morning to get to Tuckerton. It is said that a group of them financed the construction of the original bridge in order to avoid having to ford what was then a more substantial stream, hence, Quaker Bridge. Well, we found and crossed the bridge, then parked to take in the scene. I noticed something glinting in the stream bed and I waded out to retrieve it. It turned out to be an early American large Liberty-head penny from 1802. Can you imagine how excited we were? We wondered who had been bouncing across the bridge by stage coach, and had been bumped hard enough to have the penny fall from their pocket and even out of the coach and into the stream for me to find almost one hundred and fifty years later.