Easton Events, Things to Do, Area GuideEaston Guide
Easton Alive on Facebook
Charities, conservation, events, festivals, concerts, fairs, recognition
Community News
Press Releases
Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!
3/2/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 9

What would it be like to walk on the ocean floor? You may be surprised to learn that about half of New Jersey was once the bottom of the sea!

Dr. Emile DeVito, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s staff biologist, explained that at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, when the Earth’s climate was much warmer, the Atlantic Ocean covered most of what today we call the Outer Coastal Plain.

New Jersey’s “high points” today - Mount Mitchell, Telegraph Hill, Arney’s Mount, Mt. Holly and other sandstone hills that dot the western boundary of the  Outer Coastal Plain – were river mouths and estuaries.

“A shallow ocean covered nearly all of southern New Jersey, and many thousands of feet of sand and clay - eroded from giant mountains to the northwest - accumulated on the seafloor over the eons,” Emile said. Tiny bits of mineral washed from the Adirondack Mountains and were carried down the ancient Hudson River, finally settling onto the ocean floor over a dozen miles inland from today’s barrier beaches.

Today, if you travel 15 miles westward from Long Beach Island, you’ll find unusual pine trees known as Pygmy Pines, near the tiny village of Warren Grove where Burlington and Ocean County meet. If you hike to the “hilltops,” which are really undulations in the ancient seafloor, you can see over the tops of the dwarf or Pygmy pine trees for miles!

How did the ancient seafloor become today’s Pine Barrens?

In the last couple of million years, during the Paleolithic Era, the climate changed and polar ice caps grew immense. A series of glaciers advanced and receded every few hundred thousand years. Sea level dropped dramatically, exposing sand. When the sea retreated to its lowest level, New Jersey’s coastline was located dozens of miles east of its current location, out at the now submerged edge of the Hudson Canyon!

During the driest cold spells that lasted for thousands of years, Southern New Jersey was a polar desert, with unrelenting winds rolling off the glaciers to the north and sweeping south at up to hurricane force for months on end.

In this polar desert climate, the winds evaporated what little ice accumulated on the sandy soils. Sandstorms were frequent, blowing sands out of drying wetlands into tall dunes. These Paleolithic dunes can be found in the Pine Barrens today, and form critical habitat along with the wetland features that they often parallel.

As the ice retreated, these barren lands were blanketed with tundra-like grasses and shrubs, followed by spruce-fir forests like those of interior Canada, then finally covered by today’s familiar species.

At the end of the Wisconsin glacial period about 12,000 years ago, forests spread from the south coast of the United States, bringing new species to New Jersey.

Some plants and animals found in New Jersey’s Atlantic White cedar swamps, like Boreal redback voles, and in the Pygmy Pines, like Broom crowberries, are holdovers from about 7,000 years ago, when southern New Jersey looked more like the coast of Newfoundland.

But most came up from the south. After the ice age, Northern Pine Snakes slithered through coastal pine forests that are now beneath the Atlantic Ocean, finding safe places to nest and hibernate in the deep windblown sand of Paleolithic dunes. Pine Barrens treefrogs hopped all the way from the Deep South, finding vernal ponds and blue holes for breeding in the ice-age sculptured landscape.

Abundant Sweetbay Magnolia trees had no trouble getting here, since their seeds are readily dispersed by fruit-eating migratory birds. The heavy seeds of the endangered Pickering’s Morning Glory may have been aided in their movement north, by being accidentally carried in the guts of leaf-eating mammals working their way up the coast.

The tiny seeds of southern orchids and federally-endangered American Chaffseeds had no trouble blowing in the wind, but today the natural wildfires they depended upon to shape their habitat for 50 centuries seldom occur.

The unbroken coastal forest connecting New Jersey to the southern states exists no more. Sea level rise created great bays and severed the forest connection between New Jersey, the Delmarva Peninsula, and eastern Virginia and the Carolinas. 

But the Pine Barrens is still a proverbial Noah’s Ark of southern species, now isolated from their southern counterparts at the northern end of their range!

The genetic isolation of the Pine Barrens forest has already allowed a few species of plants and insects to become unique to this state we’re in.  DNA studies would reveal more unique species, and more are evolving! Today, we must somehow, against mounting odds, continue to preserve enough contiguous Pine Barrens habitat, and find a way to live side-by-side with these plants and animals in a fire-dependent ecosystem.

Next time you hike in the Pine Barrens, look down at the sandy ground and remember that you’re walking on an ancient sea floor!

To learn more about New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

POSTS

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force

Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!

Energy efficiency saves money and land - and creates jobs!

The Pines of March

Trees are more social than you think!

New Jersey's geological 'layer cake'

Keeping the 'great' in Paterson's Great Falls

Some good news!

Take action to defend and protect land and water

Interested in ecology? Become a Rutgers Environmental Steward

2016 wins and losses for New Jersey's land and water

Kick off a healthy New Year with First Day hike

Energy infrastructure: the new sprawl

Two great books for connecting kids with nature

Why do some trees stay green while others lose their leaves?

Melting ice, rising seas, hotter planet

Our forests never sleep, even in winter!

Documentary brings Great Swamp battle back to life

Defending the land they loved

Four years after Sandy, rising sea levels predicted

New Jersey: Small state, big diversity

10 great natural areas for enjoying fall colors

Removing obsolete dams brings rivers back to life

Humpback whales a welcome sight off NJ coast

NJ wine industry boosts agritourism

For good health, bathe in a forest!

Let's NOT make a deal!

New Jersey's spectacular waterfalls

Urban trees boost health and land values

Blue Acres: A win-win for open space, owners of flooded homes

Get mosquitos to buzz off - naturally!

Flawed pipeline approval process needs reforms

Speak out for our Atlantic Ocean and coast!

Help Pokemon Go lead into outdoors and nature

NJ 4th in peaches; don't miss out on peach season!

Water, water everywhere - keep it safe to drink!

Growing beer in the Garden State

Celebrate NJ's Revolutionary War parks and open spaces on July 4

Override Governor's veto of open space bill

Taming the wild blueberry 100 years ago

Celebrate and take action during National Pollinator Week

Get on the Circuit for National Trails Day

New tax deduction would give boost to NJ non-profits

Best nature movies

Call on Governor Christie to sign the open space bill!

Native seed bank may provide ash trees of the future

Urban farms bring healthy local foods

National Park Service turns 100

ARCHIVE

March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011

CLICK FOR RECENT POSTS

We are committed to providing top-quality programs year-round in a stimulating and exciting environment situated on a beautiful, 55-acre farm in Doylestown, PA.  Our highly trained team of professionals is dedicated to giving your child the benefits of a fun and stimulating program. By encouraging self-discovery, originality, and individualism, we avoid the competitive atmosphere and encourage each participant to proceed at his/her own pace. Each child's individual needs and personality are respected and nurtured. We emphasize intellectual and character development through: Cooperation, Confidence, Critical Thinking and Compassion.  We offer a range of activities including horseback riding, tennis, swimming, music, and specialty science programs. Our Toddler Center provides childcare programs for ages starting at 3 months ? 3 years (not yet potty trained). The Curiosity Shoppe is licensed by the Department of Education as a private academic school for ages 3 years to Kindergarten. We also offer an afternoon Kindergarten program and after school programs from students K through 6th grade.

FS Landscaping Contractors, Inc. specializes in design and building inground swimming pool. We provide service in all phases of pool building from hardscaping & masonry to landscaping,copings, waterfalls, pavilions, outdoor kitchens, fence, storm water management and more. Visit our garden center at Froehlich's Farm in Furlong, PA. PA#003661, NJ#13H05143700.

Selecting an insurance agent should be as critical as choosing a doctor. You're looking out for someone who's looking out for you. With more than 75 years of experience, Pennjerdel has its eyes wide open, always seeking and finding the best coverage to suit all your insurance needs. From business to home, life to liability, Pennjerdel is a full-service insurance broker.

Angel Companions has been serving the Greater Philadelphia area for over 10 years. The Bucks County Office was opened in January of 2015, started by Alex and Ursula Gelleri. Ursula, trained as a physical therapist, brings her experience of being a caregiver for over 13 years. Gina Miller, a CNA for 7 years and Homecare specialist rounds out the team. CNA's and HHA's, fully insured and well trained are available for hourly, overnight or live-in situations. Our areas of coverage are all of Bucks county, Eastern Montgomery County and parts of the North East Philly.

Froehlich?s Farm and Garden Center is a fourth generation, family owned and operated business that has been serving Bucks County since 1942.  As a seasonal business, Froehlich?s Farm has something great to offer for every time of year. From spring planters, hanging baskets, landscape design, a full stocked nursery yard, and vegetable gardens to fall and holiday decorating, plants and gifts, Froehlich?s Farm provides all your seasonal needs.  Yearly events include our Fall Festival, Pick Your Own Pumpkins, Birthday Parties, Group Events and Visits with Santa.  Stop in today to become part of the family tradition!

The Water Wheel Tavern is ready to serve Doylestown once again. This iconic establishment has been given an extensive industrial chic renovation and we are eager to share it with you. Try our delicious new American pub-style menu, 16 Draft Taps and over 30 craft beers. We are also rolling out the red carpet with Live Entertainment on Friday and Saturday Evenings!

Camp Conrad Weiser is a Summer Overnight Camp on 600 mountain top acres in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  While we offer a variety of session lengths, most campers come for 2 or 4 week sessions.  We are a coed program for campers 7-16 years old. Traditional camp programs including horseback riding, swimming, boating, athletics, target sports, mountain biking, creative arts, nature, adventure & teen leadership.  We also offer a variety of specialty theme camps, adventure trips and international trips.  Fees starting at $500 per week.  We can't wait to see you on the mountain!

Doylestown Escape Room is the borough's first immersive mystery & adventure game. Behind the escape room door, with just 60 minutes to work, your group will rush to solve unique riddles, puzzles and mind tricks. Imagine a dark isolated alley; a harrowing rescue and narrow escape; a mind twisting, 60 minute quest for clues. Do you have what it take to save your friend and escape from Dead End Alley, before it's too late? In the escape room, creativity, teamwork and resourcefulness are the keys to freedom!

Strength & Grace Dance Academy is a place where each student is given strength not only to dance, but to become strong, confident individuals. We believe that each dancer can express themselves freely through the art of dance. Dancers will get the attention they deserve to let their own unique personality shine! We offer classes for dancers age 3 to adult. The classes we offer are: Baby Steps with Mommy, Freedom which is our version of creative movement, Combo classes, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Pointe and Barrga! A class for adults which is a fun blend of ballet and yoga! Strength & Grace is a loving, caring environment to let everyone truly shine! We are located at Spotlight Dance Center in Huntingdon Valley.

The IMPACT Project, Inc. is a private children and youth agency established in 1991. IMPACT provides foster care services for Pennsylvania clients from birth to age 20. Foster parents receive a wide array of training & support services provided by professional staff. IMPACT has had the honor of being the only foster care agency in Pennsylvania to have won the prestigious Program of the Year award from Pennsylvania?s Juvenile Court Judges? Commission for both our foster care programming as well as our community based programs. Please join us in our pursuit to help children in need, become a foster parent today!

  become a sponsor

adbnrs