LBIF Nature Trail
Learn about our partnership with LBIF on Long Beach Island to enhance habitat for wildlife while improving public access to Barnegat Bay.
In late 2015, we began a partnership with the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF) to help create a Nature Trail at the Foundation. Their location on Barnegat Bay has always been a focus of their science related summer programs (Nature Studies & Marine Biology Kids' Summer Camps, Barnegat Bay Day, and Discovery Fridays). The new Nature Trail highlights this and gives a more engaging experience for members and visitors to the 21 acres of preserved saltmarsh on the north end of Long Beach Island. The Nature Trail is open to the public and gives year-round access to one of most treasured natural resources in New Jersey: Barnegat Bay. It offers a secluded view of this natural ecosystem and the wildlife that require it to survive, including many that are imperiled, like northern diamondback terrapins and ospreys.
Formally to access the marsh walkway users walked down Sandy Cove Lane. Today, with our help, the new Nature Trail is a .4 mile long trail (out and back) that meanders through a coastal maritime forest of red cedars, Japanese pines, and winged sumac to the coastal saltmarsh. You weave along the edge of the marsh through thickets of some invasive plants, like common reed and Japanese honeysuckle. The trail extends onto the saltmarsh where it leads to a new blind for viewing Long Beach Island's famous pair of ospreys: Jack and Wendy. There are also many focal points along the trail and at LBIF that we like to point out. They also include the working beehives from Uriah Creek, the MATES Turtle Garden, Rain Garden, and Monarch Butterfly Way-station.
We are also helping LBIF enhance its existing wildlife habitat on site by planting native, flowering and fruit bearing perennials, grasses and shrubs, and to identify and control the non-native and invasive vegetation there. We are working with their buildings and grounds staff to help make sure LBIF is a "wildlife friendly" establishment.
Some "wildlife (and bay) friendly" practices they will begin to practice includes:
- NOT using harmful pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides on site
- Planting native perennials and annual wildflowers that are not "pre-treated" with harmful insecticides
- NOT using dyed mulch in its landscaping
In addition, the enhancement of the Nature Trail will help establish a high quality teaching and research environment to support science education events and programs developed by the LBIF Science Committee through the development of the Environmental Field Station and Interpretive Center (FSIC) at LBIF.
Lastly, we hope that everyone who visits LBIF this summer will take a walk on the new Nature Trail. Being connected with the outdoors is what helps us to act and protect our precious natural resources for future generations to enjoy. We hope that by enhancing this area it gives researchers, scientists, artists, and explorers a place to admire and depict, while giving our wildlife a beneficial place to call home.
Thank you to the Osprey Foundation for supporting this project, and all the volunteers for your outpouring of support for the community! Stay tuned for more updates and volunteer opportunities this fall!
Explore our online field guide that depicts over 200 species of rare wildlife in New Jersey and learn about how we are working to protect them.