Open Space Committee Approves Negri-Nepote Bird-Identification Project

Ahmed Awadallah describes the informational poles that he will build for birders at the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve.

A graduate student’s proposal to install up to two dozen bird identification stations in the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve won approval May 15 from the Open Space Advisory Committee.

Ahmed Awadallah, who said he is an online graduate student in environmental studies at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., will build the wooden stations, and the township’s public works department will dig the holes and install them.

The committee voted to spend up to $1,000 for the materials.

Awadallah showed up to the committee’s meeting with a sample of the structure he proposed. It’s basically a 36-inch-high 4×4 pole supporting a hinged 2×10 wooden tablet that will hold a laminated information sheet about the various bird species found in the preserve.

The project, he said, began as research for a book about birds in New Jersey.

“Once I started to do the legwork and the research, (I realized) how big a task that is,” he said. “I’m very much active in mountain biking and birding, so I go to Six Mile Run and of course Negri-Nepote quite often, and I said this would be a great thing, it looks like there is a very big need for it.”

“The signs that are there have faded tremendously and most of the people who go there are interested in the bird species, because that’s what it was restored for,” he said.

Each hinged cover will have the name of the bird species it covers wood-burned into it, he told the committee.

“People can see it and then open it and learn about the bird species,” he said.

Committee member Arnold Schmidt said he liked the idea because the amount of information that will be provided on each bird is succinct.

“People want to walk, they don’t want to stand there and read for 10 minutes,” Schmidt said. “I think something like this is wonderful.”

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said each sign would cost about $33 in materials.

“He’ll provide for me a list of material he needs and we’ll buy it,” he told the committee, “unless you have some objection to utilizing funds for this.”

No one did, and the motion to approve passed.


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