Red-spotted Purples are waking up


It’s Spring It’s spring and Red-spotted Purple caterpillars are venturing out of their winter hibernaculums.  Partially grown caterpillars created these safe retreats last fall by silking a tiny leaf shut, silking the leaf to the tree, then crawling inside and going to sleep for the winter.  All the other leaves fell from Black Cherry trees […]

Invasives – Be Gone !

Purple Loosestrife 3 w-sig

Cape May County, where I live, has more invasive species than any other county in New Jersey: 366 as of March 2013.  Gardeners here are bombarded with invasvies every day in nurseries, plantings by landscapers, neighbor’s yards, school plantings, natural areas.  It’s quite overwhelming.  I delved into the problem in my latest post on Native […]

2013 Wildlife Garden Tours

001 - Monarchs w-sig

This is the 22nd year I’ve been leading these tours of private backyard wildlife gardens.  And they just keep getting yummier and yummier! Be sure to mark your calendar with the following dates & plan to join me on one, several, or all NINE of the 2013 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf) that I will […]

Mid-County Tour — Photo Gallery


2013 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf) with NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May 1600 Delaware Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204 (609)898-8848   Wednesday, July 17: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande” Thursday, August 22:MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande” Tuesday, September 24:MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”   More details […]

North Tour — Photo Gallery

Gail Fisher July 2012 Tour w-sig.jpg

2013 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf) with NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May 1600 Delaware Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204 (609)898-8848   Tuesday, July 16: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville” Wednesday, August 21: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville” Thursday, September 26: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”   More details & how to register  

South Tour — Photo Gallery

Bill&Edie Sept 2009 w-sig.jpg

2013 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf) with NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May 1600 Delaware Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204 (609)898-8848   Thursday, July 18: SOUTH “in and near Cape May Point & Cape May” Tuesday, August 20: SOUTH “in and near Cape May Point & Cape May” Wed., September 25: SOUTH “in and near […]

Gardening for Wildlife Workshops, March 2013

Hi Gang, Happy New Year! I am excited to share the dates (below) for my popular series of 5 property-owner, “Gardening for Wildlife” workshops (pdf). They’ll be held in March 2013, the perfect time to shake off winter and begin planning and planting (or enhancing) your property and wildlife garden. Native plants and wildlife-friendly practices […]

How to Build a Butterfly House

Mourning Cloak - survive winter as an adult

Around homes, as treasured wood piles are dismantled for firewood over the course of a winter, possibly quite a few Mourning Cloaks, Question Marks, and Commas are disturbed from their slumber on brutally cold winter days and meet their demise. To ensure the survival of these unique butterflies that overwinter as adults, consider building a […]

Ken Soltesz, Dragonfly Mentor

Ken Soltesz in the center surrounded by an enthusiastic group during a Cape May Bird Observatory Dragonfly Walk he led, June 20, 1992.

Those of us who have been nurtured by mentors are the lucky ones. My strength as an educator and wealth of knowledge as a naturalist are largely due to five very important mentors in my life. My husband, Clay, put a pair of binoculars into my hands (when I was still a bookworm) and opened […]

Hibernaculum: Winter Home to Red-spotted Purple

Partially grown Red-spotted Purple caterpillar preparing its hibernaculum (winter home)

On September 23, 2012, I watched one of the very last Red-spotted Purples in the garden. It danced around the Beach Plums and I thought it must be laying eggs. I looked closely at leaf after leaf, zeroing in on the very tip where Red-spotted Purples carefully lay their jewel-like egg, but could find none. […]