April 5, 2007

CONTACT: Tom Plante, 908-527-4746
Karen Inzillo, 908-789-3670 Ext. 7911


Meet a Menagerie on Wildlife Sunday, April 22

Mammal specialist Travis Gale introduces a wallaby to Caroline and Christian Culp of Scotch Plains last year at Trailside Nature and Science Center. This year’s Wildlife Sunday event will be held on April 22 from Noon – 5 p.m. Featured presentations include live animals in “Mammal Mania” with Travis Gale, “NJ’s Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles” with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, and “Wildlife Up Close and Personal” with the Academy of Natural Sciences. Admission to the Wildlife Sunday event is $3 per person; children ages six (6) and under are free. For a complete listing of Wildlife Sunday topics and times please call Trailside at 908-789-3670 or visit us on the web at Trailside Nature and Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Celebrate Earth Day at Trailside Nature and Science Center’s newly renovated Visitor Center with state-of-the-art “touch me” exhibits. Bring the entire family to the 17th annual Wildlife Sunday event presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders on April 22nd from Noon-5:00 p.m.

“On Wildlife Sunday, you can watch live animal demonstrations and take a nature walk,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “We’ll have lots of children’s activities and exhibits, so kids can learn while having fun!”

Featured at this year’s Wildlife Sunday is “Mammal Mania” at 12:30 p.m. and again at 3:00 p.m. with mammal specialist Travis Gale. Explore the habitats and behaviors of this popular class of animals. Live mammals from around the world will be on hand to highlight special adaptations and predator-prey relationships.

Melanie Reding, of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, will present “New Jersey’s Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles” at 1:45 p.m. Discover which creatures can be found in our state and learn about the dangers they face. Find out how the Marine Mammal Stranding Center helps sick and injured marine wildlife.

Drop by anytime between 1:00-4:00 p.m. for “Wildlife Up Close and Personal.” Naturalists from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia will introduce a wide variety of animals, including birds, lizards and tropical insects. Have all of your wildlife-related questions answered.

Vinnie Reo, of Wolf Visions, will dispel the myths and legends of the Big Bad Wolf in “The Way of the Wolf,” at 1:00 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. Vinnie also will explain the role of the wolf in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Live wolf-dogs will be on display throughout the afternoon.

John Burr, of Wild Birds Unlimited in Scotch Plains, will discuss how to keep backyard birds safe and sound in “Homeland Security for Birds” at 1:30 p.m. and again at 2:45 p.m. Learn about the best products and techniques for keeping birds safe from predators.

Underwater photographer Wendell “Ozzie” Ozefovich will present a beautiful video entitled “Not Just Trout” at 1:30 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. The video reveals not only trout in their natural habitat, but a wide variety of plants and animals that live around a trout stream. This presentation is perfect for avid fishermen and beginners alike.

Visitors are encouraged to learn about local conservation efforts at the displays of the Sierra Club and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Additionally, Friends of the Great Swamp, the Avian Wildlife Center, the Greater Watchung Nature Club, Trout Unlimited, and the Friends of Lenape Park will provide educational table displays. Wildlife-related art and gifts will be available for sale throughout the afternoon.

Opportunities for children and their adults to enjoy guided nature walks with a quick planting project to benefit local wildlife, to take a bird-watching walk with a member of the Greater Watchung Nature Club, or learn about local snakes and turtles with a Trailside Park Naturalist will be offered throughout the afternoon.

Free face painting will be on-going and the Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club will stage casting contests throughout the afternoon. For an additional fee, children’s crafts will be available or patrons can visit Noah’s Ark Animal Workshop of Princeton to build their own “wild” stuffed animal.

“Trailside’s new state-of-the-art exhibits depict the unique characteristics of the many habitats found in the 2,060-acre Watchung Reservation,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Kowalski. “Visitors will not only be able to enjoy the many demonstrators and vendors at the Wildlife Sunday event, they will also experience spectacular exhibits, including the center piece in the main lobby and atrium, the American Beech Tree. Spanning three levels, this tree educates the public about its animal inhabitants as well as forest ecology. The base of the tree represents the forest floor and a wetland habitat that includes a running stream and live fish, turtles and frogs swimming among the tree’s root system.”

Admission to Wildlife Sunday is $3 per person; children ages 6 and younger are admitted free. Trailside Nature & Science Center, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. For additional information about Wildlife Sunday, upcoming events at Trailside or for spring and summer program information, please call (908) 789-3670 or visit us on the web at