Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission

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Lawrence Brook students will study salamander migration

Posted by Friends EB EC on February 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A big thank you to the East Brunswick Education Foundation for granting
Lawrence Brook School the chance to pilot a research unit on the annual
salamander migration across Beekman Road to the vernal ponds.  The teachers
and students are very excited to collect data using the Logitech Ultrathin
Keyboard covers along with their iPads. This opportunity will give students
the ability to conduct their own research as well as letting them discover
the importance of vernal ponds in their own community.

From LBS teacher and Friends EBEC board member Aimee Hagan.

More about salamander migration in East Brunswick - click here

Catch the Geocache - an EBEF grants to HMS

Posted by Friends EB EC on May 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

“Catch the Geocache,” a Blue Ribbon Grant awarded to Science Supervisor Trudy At-kins, certainly enhanced this years Grade 6 trips to Fairview Lake YMCA camp. Geocaching is a family-friendly, outdoor activity that uses basic navigational skills to hunt and hopefully find a cached object. Using hand held Global Position-ing Systems (GPS), students worked in teams, utilizing problem solving skills to locate a hidden geocache.

Earth Day 2012 - Junior Friends' project

Posted by Friends EB EC on April 27, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Friends EBEC have new friends... they are the 'Junior Friends of the EBEC', they are young, energetic and want to become environmentally responsible residents of the Earth.

The group's first project  for Earth Day 2012 was to collect plastic bag for recycling, and sneakers to bedonated. They did this at Bowne- Munroe elementary school, with the support of at Mrs.Boley, the Principal.

The kids made posters with facts about plastic bags and the damage they impose on our wildlife andenvironment and put them all around the school.

Mrs. Boley read 'Theo and the Giant Plastic Bag' to the students. Everyone wore green in support of EarthDay on Friday and the children held a trashless lunch on Friday. They compared the amount of garbage bags from Thursday(4) to Fridays ,trashless lunch (1.5) and were shocked to see that with a smalleffort, what a huge difference they made!

They also collected sneakers. They got 4 boxes of sneakers to donate to Nike for their recycle program thatturns old sneakers into playground surfaces.



Thank you 'Junior Friends' – we arelooking forward to hearing about more exciting projects!





More about the new 'Junior FriendsEBEC' coming soon.


Anti idling PSA

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Cadette Girl Scout Troop (80098), as part of their Breath journey,  decided to create a public service announcement to bring attention to the issue of idiling.

Stasia, Makenna, Amy and Samantha wrote the script, which was recorded by EBTV.

 You can see it on EBTV, Channel 3 in "This Week in East Brunswick":

Daily at 7:30 p.m. & 7:30 a.m.;

Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 11 p.m.;

Saturday, Sunday & Monday at 11 a.m.

Have you signed the online anti-idling pledge?  find it here.

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Bowne-Munro student is a friend of the Friends

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 4, 2012 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A fourth grader at Bowne-Munro School in East Brunswick, Matthew Huston is nine years old, and a great friend of the Friends. We have known Matt for a few years, he is always there at Friends events. Last week, at the Vernal Pool presentation,  Matt showed us what he wrote about the Friends for his shcool newspaper. Read his article - we couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Beekman the salamander

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A young male salamander was a guest at the Vernal Pool presentation, an Option Green event that took place on March 1st at the Cultural Arts Center. What's a good name for a spotted salamander who lives on Beekman road? It was not easy to chose the best name from the list of name suggested by the salamander's friends in East Brunswick.

Some of the names suggested were: Neon, Sally Joe, Spot, Swimmer, Dottie, Flying Alpacka,  Mr. Sanders,  Squiggles, Stanley,  Beakman & Scaly Sally. 

After consuling with Crinkleroot, our salamander spokesman, we chose the name Beekman, suggested by Mrs. Peterson's 5th grade students at Lawrence Brook School. After the presentation and naming ceremony, Beekman had a fun time playing with his new friends. Tomorrow evening Beekman will be taken back to his home at the Beekman Road vernal pool where he can be together with his relatives and friends in his natural environment.

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Backyard Feeder Birds - The Unmistakable Cardinal and the Great Backyard Bird Count

Posted by Friends EB EC on February 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (1)

This is a series of articles about the birds that visit my backyard feeders and that are seen around my yard this winter. Please share any photographs or observations from your feeders with us on the Friends website ( by emailing them to

Great Backyard Bird Count

For many years the Environmental Commission and the Friends of the EBEC have been promoting the Great Backyard Bird Count; a joint project of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. It is an opportunity for everyone with even a casual interest in birds to become a Citizen Scientist for a weekend and to contribute meaningful ornithological data. The Friends is also developing an online Field Guide to the most common bird feeder birds.

In the next week or so, I will give more details on how to participate in the GBBC, but for now, here is an overview from the event website

The 15th Annual 2012 GBBC will take place Friday, Feb. 17, through Monday, Feb. 20.


The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy. Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count website.


As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see.

The Northern Cardinal

The male Northern cardinal is simply unmistakable with its bright red color, red crest and heavy red bill framed in black. Like most birds, the color of the female is much more subdued than the male, but equally recognizable with a mixture of tan and red feathers, a prominent crest and a bright red heavy bill.

Cardinals are a common year-round resident in East Brunswick and can be found throughout town in backyards and parks. They will often visit feeders but they are much more skittish than other birds and typically flee to nearby shrubs or thickets at the slightest disturbance. In 1936, the great New Jersey ornithologist Leon Augustus Hausman writing in the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station publication The Buntings, Finches and Their Allies of New Jersey noted that "They are not so bold in their approach to dwellings as are many other of the "feeding-station birds," but keep always near to some bushy retreat, into which they whisk at first alarm."  

I find cardinals are actually easier to attract in my backyard if I spread sunflower seeds on my deck railing. They seem more comfortable and stay longer when feeding in these open areas rather than on the feeder.  

Cardinals form strong pair bonds and the males and females are often seen together. Cardinals are unusual because the females sing as frequently and as well as the males. In most birds only the males sing. Despite the incredible red plumage and bill, cardinals are often more easily located by their recognizable songs and calls. When not at the feeder they tend to spend a lot of time lurking in dense thickets and shrubs. The great ornithologist Witmer Stone noted this in one of the great historic books about New Jersey Birds, the seminal 1908 The Birds of New Jersey; "This is one of our really brilliant birds, but, in spite of his red coat, he is not nearly so conspicuous as one might suppose, and those who are familiar with him note his presence by his call more frequently than by his color."

The cardinal is one of those great backyard birds that always gets a much deserved second look when it makes an appearance. The cardinal also has very complex and interesting behaviors that are well worth exploring. Check out The Stokes Nature Guides—A Guide to Bird Behavior Volume II for all kinds of information about cardinal behavior that can be easily observed in your backyard or a nearby park. Unfortunately, the book is not available at the Library, although I am sure they can get it through an Interlibrary loan just by asking. It can also be purchased at Amazon along with the other two great books in the Stokes Bird Behavior series.

Northern cardinals can be found in all of our parks. Learn their easy to recognize calls and songs and use the Friends Online Guide to East Brunswick Parks to find some places to look for them. The Guide is available at: For more information about cardinals visit the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website at



Posted by Friends EB EC on November 4, 2011 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (1)

Bowne-Munro: The Grand Falloons pre-sent "Our Earth, What Gas"...this assembly, brought to Bowne by the PTA to enhance the science curricu-lum examined the bubble of our atmos-phere, the basics we need to survive in that bubble and the delicate cycles of the Car-bon/Oxygen/Hydrogen exchange between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms. Students learned how wasted resources, litter and other pollution threaten that simple but delicate balance, trapping gasses and warming the Earth's atmosphere, and the simple ways we can all chip in to take care of Our Earth.

See more

Lawrence Brook Celebrates Earth Day!

Posted by Friends EB EC on May 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On Friday, May 6th, 5th Grade students extended their learning of environmental topics cultivated in the Trash Power curriculum and led us in a Celebration of Earth Day. Children in all classes were treated to a tour of the Trash Art Museum in the Computer Lab, which featured "objets d'Art" created by 5th Grade students using everyday trash items. Students acquired from our 5th Graders an awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment as they explored interactive displays in the Gym. Thank You to our 5th Graders and 5th Grade Teachers! We had a great time and learned so much about the earth's environment!  See more trash art

Trash Art Museum