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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Forest Stewardship

Yang Zhen Siang/ CrizzyStudio/

Spanning more than 31 percent of our planet’s land, forests produce clean air and fresh water, offer a home to a multitude of plants and animals, and sequester enormous amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. And yet, human activity threatens these natural settings with deforestation, climate change and illegal logging. Here are actions we can take in celebration of International Day of Forests on March 21 and every day to ensure the future of our woodlands.


Support sustainable forestry. When purchasing wood, paper and other forest products, look for those that come from sustainably managed forests or are certified by reputable organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council ( or BM TRADA (

Plant trees. Get those hands dirty and participate in tree planting initiatives with organizations such as the Arbor Day Foundation (

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Opt for recycled and eco-friendly products that lessen the demand for new products that may contribute to deforestation. Remember to recycle paper products to conserve valuable forest resources.

Go digital. Embrace digital solutions that minimize the need for paper. Store important documents electronically, read e-books instead of printed ones and consider digital alternatives before printing something.

Back sustainable livelihoods. Many communities depend on forests for their livelihoods. Encourage fair trade practices that support sustainable, forest-based industries, such as those promoting non-timber forest products like honey, nuts, mushrooms, palm oil and maple syrup.

Engage in advocacy. Join local or global organizations dedicated to forest preservation and conservation such as the Rainforest Alliance (, The Nature Conservancy (, Sierra Club ( or Trees Forever ( Each voice helps shape policies and promotes sustainable practices on a larger scale.

Educate others. Share knowledge about the importance of forests and their challenges. Organize workshops, give talks or simply have conversations with friends and family to raise awareness and inspire action.

Practice responsible tourism. When exploring forested areas, minimize the impact by following designated trails, respecting wildlife habitats, refraining from touching or feeding wild animals and taking trash home.

Support forest restoration initiatives. The Global Restoration Initiative (GRI) works with governments, businesses and communities worldwide to restore degraded forests and bring back life to these vital ecosystems. Consider supporting GRI ( or local initiatives like American Forests (, Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation ( and Tree Folks ( through donations or volunteer work.

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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