Monday, March 06, 2017

Pinelands Weekend

Exploring the Pine Barrens usually means getting outside to hike, canoe or bike — but at two events this weekend, the vast Pinelands can be explored indoors.
This year's Pinelands Short Course will be an all-day event at Stockton University March 11, followed by the free celebration of all things Pinelands called Lines on the Pines at Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City on March 12.

"We are so different" yet complement each other, said Lines on the Pines founder Linda Stanton, presented by the nonprofit organization It’s a Sign of the Pines. 
The Short Course, run by the Pinelands Commission, concentrates on environmental topics, while Stanton's started as a Pine Barrens authors' event and has branched out into artistic, musical, cultural and historical topics.
It's the 12th year for Lines and the 28th for the Short Course.

The first Lines event was held at Sweetwater Casino in Mullica Township and was strictly a meet-the-authors event. Some people were afraid it wouldn't attract much attention, but it was a great success and 75 people stayed to have dinner, Stanton said.

This year, she expects about 2,000 people to attend to visit 80 vendor tables, including authors, crafters, musicians and artists.
"This event has survived the worst catastrophes. Year Two we had a power outage, but the electric company got there and got it turned on," said Stanton. "After Year Three, Sweetwater Casino burned to the ground."

After moving around for a few years, it is now is in its second year at Renault, she said.
"It's a historic site. A perfect fit for us," she said. This year, Lines will use the grand ballroom and the historic winery building.


Two of the highlights include Mullica Township resident Tom Southard, of Pinelands Historical Designs, who has had a long career in using native plants for designs and has provided them for movies and television commericals.
Another is Michael Gabriele, of Clifton, who has a new book out called "History of New Jersey Folk Revival Music 1700s to the Present."

Bird carver Gary Giberson is the speaker for the sold-out dinner for 180 in the Tuscany Room, Stanton said.
About 35 vendors will have something for kids to do or make at their tables, she said, and there will be live Pinelands music all day.

Meanwhile, there will be 38 presentations to choose from at the Pinelands Short Course, covering ecological and cultural topics.
It's a way for the Pinelands Commission to educate the public, which is part of its mission. More than 1,400 people have attended the course in the past three years, said commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg.
This year not all the classes are indoors. The commission has added a half-day guided van tour of the Mullica River watershed and some outdoor classes.

Atlantic County history and the Leeds family will play a big part in this year’s event, said commission spokesman Paul Leakan.
Norman Goos will tell the story of 1st Lt. Jeremiah Leeds, a key figure from a colonial family that owned almost all of what is known today as Atlantic City. Goos is president of the Col. Richard Somers Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Brian Regal, a Kean University assistant professor of the history of science and medicine, will discuss the origins of the story of the Jersey Devil, and how that story evolved from the politics of early colonial Atlantic County, said Leakan.
New courses this year include Coyotes in New Jersey, the Fungi Kingdom and its Importance to the Pinelands, and Raptors and Reptiles in the Pinelands.

Returning popular presentations include Threatened and Endangered Snakes in the Pinelands, The Secret World of Plants and Pollinators, Pinelands Frogs and Toads, and Wilderness Survival Skills.
Contact: 609-272-7219

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