From David Wheeler:
With spring just around the
corner, a newly published book, "Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the
Garden State," offers a range of outdoor adventures accessible to everyone from
weekend warriors to families and seniors enjoying a leisurely day outside.
In addition to the book, the author - nature writer David Wheeler - is visiting
over 40 different locations throughout the spring and summer to promote New
Jerseyans getting outdoors to enjoy nature.
"In these times when the
Internet and digital cable television bring almost everything directly to our
screens, there is one irreplaceable feature that can only be experienced by
getting outdoors - the active engagement of our five senses," says Wheeler.
"Contrary to the stereotypes, no state in America offers a broader range of
outdoor activities and wildlife than New Jersey. The Garden State offers
spectacular adventures for every season and every region, for avid wildlife
enthusiasts and families alike. With 'Wild New Jersey,' readers can find
that perfect nearby outdoor destination just waiting to be explored."
Indeed, New Jersey's unique location and varied landscapes offer the perfect combination of habitats for wildlife - including extremely rare visitors such as the moose, lynx, beluga whale, manatee, and albatross.
Wheeler's interactive presentations - which have captured the enthusiasm of audiences at 16 locations across the state so far - highlight "the real New Jersey experience", demonstrating the far-reaching benefits for our state's economy, health, education, and environment. The book's narrative follows Wheeler's year spent outdoors from High Point to Cape May, joining biologists, expedition leaders, and local experts on wildlife expeditions from birding and canoeing to seining and dogsledding.
In the Central Jersey region, the book focuses on fascinating spectacles such as:
· family options for canoeing, kayaking, birding and biking along the Delaware & Raritan Canal stretching across New Jersey's heart like a wild green belt, where wildlife like bald eagles and beavers again thrive after many decades away
· the hidden ecological treasures of the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area in Metuchen, Edison, and South Plainfield, where rare species such as the spotted turtle, Northern harrier, Cooper's hawk, and yellow-crowned night-heron can be seen among pristine wetlands and woodlands in an otherwise heavily suburban region
· the incredible salamander migrations of East Brunswick and other locations, where roads are shut down to protect the huge numbers of salamanders and frogs crossing the roads on certain rainy nights each March.
· the tragic plight of bats in our region, where this misunderstood animal is being decimated by white-nosed syndrome. Wheeler joins state biologists in trapping, identifying and tagging little brown bats in a barn and finds they are nothing like what he expected. Bats eat millions of mosquitoes and other troublesome insects each year, so as Wheeler puts it, "their loss is our loss."
· the return of peregrine falcons - the fastest animal at earth, flying up to 180 mph - to nest in densely populated public areas like bridges, skyscrapers, and the Elizabeth County Courthouse.
"This book captures why we must preserve what's left of nature in New Jersey - and it reads like a page-turner you can't put down," says Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Published by Rutgers University Press, "Wild New Jersey" has received glowing endorsements from a wide range of state leaders, from former Governor James Florio, to New Jersey Audubon president Tom Gilmore, to author and New Yorker writer Tony Hiss.
"Wild New Jersey may sound like fantasy - but this inspiring book is all reality. It's David Wheeler's great gift that he can continually see the treeline behind the skyline and hear the wild birds calling beyond the traffic's roar," says Hiss. "Here is a book that will change your understanding of where you are, and show you the wild strength and beauty that is still the heartbeat of the nation's most urbanized state."
Books are on sale online and in Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores across New Jersey. Wheeler, an experienced and compelling public speaker, has over 40 interactive events scheduled so far in 2011, at locations from nature centers, aquariums and museums to libraries and bookstores.
"Wild New Jersey captures what is at stake in our fight to clean up, restore, and protect our beautiful natural areas," says Florio.
Wheeler previously wrote a nature column for the Star Ledger and other media, and is the founder of WildNewJersey.tv, the only daily statewide nature blog in New Jersey. The book's webpage - with dates and location for the book tour - can be found at: www.WildNewJerseyBook.tv.