It happens every September, around the ocean and bay beaches, coves, trails, and forested areas of Sandy Hook — and for 12 hours beginning Saturday morning, “citizen scientists” of all ages are invited to assist a team of naturalists in the annual census operation known as “BioBlitz.”
Granted, summer doesn’t officially sigh its last for a couple of weeks — and all those familiar with the rites of Local Summer know that there’s plenty of life after Labor Day here on the New Jersey Shore. But when the Sandy Hook Foundation declares the End of Summer, people take notice and listen — to the extent that the nonprofit’s annual “beach chic” outdoor benefit gala remains one of the most glittering events of the sand-in-your-shoes social calendar.
The season of free Sandy Hook Beach Concerts lets fly its first note Wednesday evening, with the Brian Kirk and the Jirks head back to the beach when the free concert series on Sandy Hook returns Wednesday evening.
If you’ve got sand in your (flip-flop) dancing shoes…picnic provisions in your cooler…the salty sea air at your back…and a classic party-starting song in your head, courtesy of a plugged-in professional band…you just might have found yourself at the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series, the 2017 schedule of which serves up its first volley tomorrow evening, June 14.
Going up around 6 p.m. at Beach Area E on the Hook, the long-running Wednesday series of free-for-alls is sponsored by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation, and arrives complete with sandy sitdown seating, all-natural A/C, and complimentary picture-perfect sunsets.
They call themselves “The Sand on the Beach People” — and each and every year about this time, the folks who make up the nonprofit Jersey Shore Partnership host an official welcome to the warm-weather primetime season on Sandy Hook.
This coming Monday, June 5, a cast of political dignitaries, business leaders, entertainers and members of the Shore’s culinary community will gather at the northern end of the peninsula for the 2017 edition of the annual Summer Celebration.
Closing in on Memorial Day weekend, which marks the return of entry fees at Sandy Hook, the folks at the Hook-based local chapter of the American Littoral Society are offering sightseers of all ages one last pre-season opportunity to enjoy the peninsula’s many natural and man-made wonders this Sunday.
There’s a rare opportunity to see a corner of the local coastline that’s usually off limits to public eyes; a tutorial in recreational surfcasting; opportunities to gaze at some heavenly bodies under cover of night; and a celebration of earthly treasures in creative expression.
And it’s all all happening in the days and evenings to come on the Sandy Hook peninsula.
No fooling: on Saturday, April 1st, the folks at the Sandy Hook-based American Littoral Society will be planting dune grass — and everyone is invited to lend a hand.
Between the hours of 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Society will coordinate a “rain or shine” volunteer event in conjunction with their Beach Grasses in Classes program, involving students from area schools who raise and plant dune grass. The grasses play a big role in helping to stabilize beaches along the storm-battered coast; protecting the dunes that serve as barriers against flooding, and helping to prevent major erosion events.
Back for a second annual edition on the Sandy Hook peninsula, the charitable event known as Run the Hook returns on Sunday, May 14 with 5K and 10K races for athletes of all abilities — in addition to a way to raise funds for a hard-working local nonprofit, a chance to enjoy some of the best scenery on the Jersey Shore, and “the perfect opportunity for runners to kick off the summer at the beach.”
For the second straight year, the event will partner with Sandy Hook-based Clean Ocean Action as the designated beneficiary, with a portion of all registration fees going directly to COA and its efforts to preserve and improve the quality of New Jersey’s ocean waters and beaches.
An indoor “labyrinth” walk at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse — and an outdoor excursion in the fresh and bracing air of Sandy Hook — offer opportunities for reflection and community on New Year’s Day.
Fortunately, some forward-thinking neighbors on the Greater Red Bank Green are inviting all members of the community to start 2017 off on a good foot or two.
The batteries and buildings of Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock, above, are the setting for a nocturnal ghost-walk sponsored by the American Littoral Society Friday night. Middletown’s fabled “Spy House,” below, hosts a Thursday night lecture on the legendary Jersey Devil.
Here in this history-haunted neck of Olde Monmouth, the Halloween season offers several spine-tingling opportunities to share some of the more curious legends and lore of the Garden State, in settings that range from well-lit modern facilities to those shadowy corners just off the beaten path.
Dip a toe into the first wave of “zero waste” art…stick a finger into the winds of environmental activism…try one’s hand at any of the many recreational pursuits of coastal life as Local Summer continues apace on and near the ocean, bay and riverfront shores of our local parks.
The people at the Monmouth County Arts Council define “zero waste” art as that which uses all available materials; creating new objects of beauty and inspiration from formerly discarded castoffs — and when the first-ever Zero Waste Arts Fest comes to the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook this weekend, September 17 and 18, there won’t be a wasted moment or a wasted opportunity for family-friendly fun. Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, the festival highlights partnerships between locally based artists, art galleries and environmental activism organizations, as well as an interactive “live art” project coordinated by Lisa Bagwell (whose recycled-materials sculptures are a colorful and clever commentary on our disposable consumer culture). There’s live music (from Red Bank’s Rockit Live and others), kids’ activities, informative displays from a host of partner organizations, plus giveaways, shuttle bus tours of the Hook, and a whole lot more (including an after-hours Saturday night “1940s swing event” under the stars). Take it here to the All Good section of redbankgreen, for full details on events and entertainers, plus a complete rundown of participating co-sponsors and presenters.
Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council
On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, the Monmouth County Arts Council invites the public to take part in a weekend of free family fun — in which the arts intersect with the wonders of our local environment — during the inaugural Zero Waste Arts Fest (ZWAF).
Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook, ZWAF represents a partnership between Monmouth Arts and Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit. The event also marks the culminating phase of a larger Gateway to the Arts grant project, a $20,000 award that Monmouth Arts received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016, to honor both the 50th anniversary of the NEA and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
All ages and skill levels are invited to take it to the river on Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day returns to the Red Bank waterfront, above, while Skimbash brings top Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to Sea Bright. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below by Peter Lindner)
The beach-badge booths are boarded up; the “Bennys Go Home” banners lovingly folded with the care befitting a precious family heirloom. But on the ocean beaches and waterways of the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s still very much Local Summer; a busy interlude of family-friendly festivals, recreational opportunities and other welcome rituals.
The weekend ahead sees the reappearance of three such signifiers of Local Summer living — including the September edition of SkimBash in Sea Bright, and the annual Iron Girl Women’s Triathlon on Sandy Hook.
The annual End of Summer Party (above) marks a big-tent bid of adieu for the Sandy Hook Foundation next Friday…while NFL great Boomer Esiason (below) visits Broad Street for a cocktail party fundraiser at Garmany.
A late-summer sendoff out on the Hook…a BBQ kickoff to the gridiron season on the home-team turf…a star-studded celebration of life and fashion at a signature retailer…and a show of support for a hometown resource. All dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes, and all happening in the post-Labor Day interlude to come.
This coming Labor Day Monday, September 5 represents the deadline to reserve your ringside seat for the End of Summer — as declared by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation in its annual casual-attire outdoor benefit gala, which returns on September 9 to the North Beach area of the Hook for a seasonal sayonara that commences at 6:30 pm. With tickets beginning at $150, proceeds benefit the Foundation’s ongoing preservation efforts as well as seasonal activities like the popular Free Beach Concert series, in addition to the environmental awareness and educational campaigns of the Fort Hancock-based American Littoral Society. Promised are “dancing under the stars” to live music from Swift Technique; a buffet dinner featuring seafood raw bar furnished by The Lusty Lobster, and an “amazing auction” of exclusive-experience getaway packages. Take it here for further details; here for tickets, and around the bend for more good deeds and good times.
This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.
Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.
Sounding the keynote to the season of free outdoor concerts in and around the Greater Red Bank Green — and showing them all how it’s done — the long-running Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series returns to the peninsula for another slate of events at Beach Area E this week.
Presented by the Sandy Hook Foundation, the 6 p.m. concerts are all-ages, multi-generational celebrations that come equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew this Wednesday, June 15, with a rare exposure to sunlight by those most pocket-protected of party-starting pop-rock-funk powerhouses, the Nerds.
Press release from Jersey Shore Partnership
The public is invited to help the Jersey Shore Partnership organization celebrate its 25th anniversary — and kick off summer at the Jersey Shore — at the Partnership’s annual Summer Celebration on Monday, June 6.
Scheduled from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and hosted in a huge party tent overlooking Sandy Hook Bay at historic Fort Hancock, the event offers attendees an opportunity to promote your business and network in an informal atmosphere with 500 guests from Cape May to North Jersey, who share a mutual goal to preserve the future of the Jersey Shore coastline and economy.
Members of the public will be able to learn about and comment upon the efforts to preserve the historic structures at Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock area, during a meeting of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee this Friday morning, May 13.
Scheduled for 9 a.m., and hosted in the auditorium of the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, this will be the first meeting after the signing of the first residential lease at Fort Hancock Historic Post (Building 21, pictured), and the last meeting before an Open House takes place of select leasing opportunities on Sunday, May 22.
Press release from Peak Projects
The live event production company Peak Projects has announced a brand new road race, taking place at one of the Jersey Shore’s most iconic places, Sandy Hook. Scheduled for the morning of Sunday, May 15, Run The Hook will commence its inaugural run — and the start of a new Shore tradition — from the historic Fort Hancock area at the north end of the Hook. The 11 a.m. race action will include 5K and 10K distances for runners of all abilities, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Clean Ocean Action, the local nonprofit dedicated to improving and protecting the quality of the waterways in the New Jersey and New York region.
According to Daragh Kneeshaw, co-founder with Joey Garafalo of Peak Projects and Run the Hook “Our hometowns and beaches have seen more than their fair share of hardships over these past several years, so it’s a thrill for us to be able to showcase Sandy Hook in our debut event, and simultaneously help the area through our partnership with Clean Ocean Action.”
A group of students from the Environmental Club at Red Bank Regional discovered a dead osprey while taking part in an October 24 Beach Sweep on Sandy Hook. The bird was studied later, to determine whether pollution-related causes were responsible for its death.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On October 24, as part of a Fall Beach Sweeps initiative organized by the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action, more than 50 Red Bank Regional High School students and their friends descended upon Sandy Hook, collecting trash and data to help determine and reduce sources of pollution on the peninsula.
“So many of our RBR students enjoy summers at the beach, fishing, kayaking, and surfing,” explained RBR science teacher and Environmental Club advisor David Hussey. “These students took the opportunity to give back to their local marine environment that they love so much.”
The clocks may have just been turned back to early-dark doldrums (you did remember to reset that one above the oven, right?), but our recent spate of warmly welcome Fall weather should serve as reminder to not break out that re-gifted Snuggie just yet — not while the colorful wooded trails and beautiful beaches of the greater Red Bank Green beckon for one more weekend.
Press release from National Parks Service
For 24 hours beginning Friday, September 18, citizen scientists will perform a “BioBlitz” operation, swarming the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area and counting as many species as possible. At the same time, free fun and educational activities will take families and individuals into the coves and trails of this seven-mile peninsula on the New Jersey coast.
The annual September edition of Skimbash brings top Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to Sea Bright this Saturday — and the Athleta Iron Girl Triathlon hits the Hook on Sunday — as Local Summer continues apace.
In case you haven’t gotten the memo, it’s Local Summer — the sun is still riding high in the sky and the evenings are still long and languid as you allow them to be; even as the beach-badge booths are shuttered and the “Bennys Go Home” banners are lovingly folded and stored away in vac-seal bags for another season.
Veteran locals can tell you that September on the greater Green is a busy interlude of family-friendly festivals, recreational opportunities and yearly ritual tournaments — and this weekend, two genuine signifiers of Local Summer return to nearby beaches, with the re-appearances of SkimBash in Sea Bright, and the Athleta Iron Girl Women’s Triathlon on Sandy Hook.
Part public science project, part beat-the-clock fun competition, the second annual Bio-Blitz invites all members of the community to help take a snapshot of the diversity of plant and animal life on Sandy Hook.
Press release from American Littoral Society
It’s part contest (racing against the 24-hour clock), part educational event, part scientific endeavor, and all fun — it’s the second annual Bio-Blitz, and starting right now the American Littoral Society is inviting the public to take part in a major undertaking on September 18 and 19, designed to “create a snapshot” of Sandy Hook’s biodiversity.
By identifying as many species as possible during that 24-hour period, the Littoral Society can paint a picture of 2015 Sandy Hook, and the breathtaking array of plants, fish, birds, bugs, reptiles and furry creatures who make their summer home on the peninsula. Collected over time, this data can lead to valuable information about the effects of climate change and habitat degradation on the species that utilize this area. This will also be a unique opportunity to teach the public about the biodiversity that exists along New Jersey’s coast — particularly the unique mix of species that’s found only within the Gateway National Recreation Area.
For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.
This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.