Conference To Feature Noted Environmental Experts

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RAHWAY—The Rahway River Association will hold its second annual conference, “State of Biodiversity upon an Urban Landscape” on Friday, May 8, at 8:30 a.m. at the Rahway Library, 2 City Hall Plaza. 

The day-long conference is open to the public for a $40 fee, which includes continental breakfast, lunch, registration materials, and a one year membership with the Rahway River Association. The conference will provide an assessment of the state of the flora, fauna and natural systems affecting the Rahway River watershed and our public lands. To register or for additional information, go to the association’s web site,

Speakers will include:

• Fred Virrazzi, President, National Biodiversity Parks, Inc. is a zoologist and chemist with 25 years of experience in environmental management, property management, scientific studies and conservation initiatives. Virrazzi will speak on “Urban Faunal Diversity.”

• Gerry Moore, Curator of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, will address “Urban Flora Diversity.” Moore is the coordinator of the Garden’s N.Y. Metropolitan Flora Project which seeks to identify and map all plant species growing without cultivation in the metropolitan area.

• The final speaker is Michael Van Clef, President of Ecological Solutions, and a Ph.D. in ecology with over 15 years of experience involving land stewardship, planning and research.

The conference will also feature a silent auction with the opportunity to join noted naturalists and ecologists on unique private field trips, including guided all day tour of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, guided all day van tour of the Delaware River Bayshore, birding trip in the Pequannock watershed, waterfalls tour, three day guided birding trip in the Adirondacks and a customized rain garden design plan and butterfly garden for your own backyard. 

The Rahway River Association consists of dedicated area residents whose purpose is to protect and restore the Rahway River and its ecosystem. The association recognizes that the Rahway River and its biological communities are an important link between the environment, communities, and the quality of life of the people of the Rahway River watershed.

The 41-square-mile Rahway River watershed located in Middlesex, Union and Essex counties is among the oldest urbanized areas in the most densely populated state in the nation. The collection of plant and animal species that live in the wildlife habitat of our urban parks and nature preserves is disappearing rapidly due to a variety of threats that must be understood before they can be reversed. A combination of invasive plants, over-browsing herds of deer, and benign neglect have wreaked havoc in the watershed. 

The Rahway River Association (’RRA’) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that serves as an advocate for the Rahway River watershed. As the sole advocate for this watershed, the RRA seeks the help of the community to continue and expand its efforts. Formed in 1992, the RRA has taken a leadership role in organizing activities throughout the watershed to preserve and enhance open spaces and natural habitats, educate residents and officials on the value and extent of the biodiversity along the river, and to clean up the river.

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