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Many anticipated educational and networking opportunity events and seminars have been cancelled, postponed or put in limbo over the last few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about the ways we will be living, learning and doing business in the future. At the risk of feeling “Zoomed out,” online technology has helped to keep our economy and our educational systems at least limping along. I want to highlight some ways to catch up on environmental, scientific and history-based events that we have missed in person.

For starters, the popular Pinelands Short Course was to be held on March 14 at Stockton University’s Mainland Campus. This was to be their traditional combination of classroom presentations and field trip opportunities. Well, some of the presentations are now available through the Pinelands Commission’s website. If you look up “NJ Pinelands Commission Press Release” you will find weekly webinar presentations scheduled through July 30. On the main website at NJ Pinelands Commission, you can find some more great archived videos, maps, photos and documents.

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, a Rutgers University Cooperative facility based in Tuckerton, has lots of interesting material online. Take a journey through the offerings at JCNERR.org and on their Facebook page. For sure, take a look at their “Life On The Edge” video at the beginning of their website, which gives a beautiful look at what an estuary is about. The Facebook page gives helpful advice and resource links for removing invasive plants and replacing them with beneficial native plants. You can also revisit the “Twelve Tenacious Invasives” video that was produced by the Galloway Township Environmental Commission and hosted by JCNERR; enter “youtube Twelve Tenacious Invasives” and scroll down until it comes up. The Tuckerton Seaport is part of the Cousteau effort, so check out some of their videos and become familiar with their tremendous facility to plan for an outing when things open up again!

Speaking of native plants and sustainable land use; make sure to browse the website of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey at NPSNJ.org. Besides having great lists of plants and techniques (including deer-resistant plants), it holds online events such as the “Wonderful Wednesday Webinars” with very interesting and knowledgeable presenters. There are links for identification and safe eradication of invasive plants as well.

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is open for hiking, biking and traveling around Wildlife Drive for wildlife viewing. Also, its website and Facebook pages give you lots to explore. When you go on the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge website, click on “about the refuge” and check out the welcome video, which is about 15 minutes long. From there, click the video tab for great wildlife and scenery viewing. Plan your trips around the entire Forsythe Brigantine and Barnegat sections with the extensive map collection with explanations.

There are certainly many more websites close to home and around the region that are important to keep up with. When we can move about more freely, it will be good to focus on some projects and explorations we have studied beforehand.

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