Manalapan Environmental Commission to host bluebird workshop Jan. 21

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MANALAPAN — The Manalapan Environmental Commission is partnering with the New Jersey Bluebird Society to provide a free workshop about Eastern Bluebirds on Jan. 21
from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Manalapan Community Center, 114 Route 33 West.

The workshop is open to all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult, according to a press release.

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Mayor Susan Cohen said, “We are excited to offer this event which will teach about some of the ways people can help to conserve nature in our area.”

Participants in the workshop will learn about the lifestyle and habitat of Eastern Bluebirds and how to attract them to their yard. There will be a demonstration of how to build bluebird houses with a list of supplies and instructions provided.

“Bluebirds select their nesting sites in March, so January and February are the perfect time to begin preparing for their arrival by putting up a nesting box,” Environmental Commissioner Shaun Armhold said.

The workshop will also explain how anyone can become a citizen scientist by helping to monitor bluebird houses in their own yard or on trails in New Jersey, according to the press release.

In addition to being a pretty bird to observe, bluebirds serve an important ecological role by helping to control insect populations. For this reason, Native Americans and early American farmers built and hung nesting places for bluebirds.

Homeowners can apply the same pest control tactic today and attract bluebirds to their yard as a natural means of controlling mosquitos and other insects, according to the press release.

Township Committeeman Barry Jacobson said, “The workshop will explain the environmental challenges bluebirds face and the conservation strategies being used to address them.”

Seeing a bluebird is considered a sign of hope, joy and good things to come across many cultures.

However, it became much harder to spot a bluebird in the middle of the 20th century when there was a rapid decline in the population of the bluebird which went from being a common species to a threatened species.

A grassroots effort by citizen scientists and birders successfully increased the bluebird’s numbers and saved them from possible extinction, according to the press release.

Jenine Tankoos, chairwoman of the Manalapan Environmental Commission, said, “The Jan. 21 workshop will share some great family projects and show how residents can be a part of the exciting conservation success story of the Eastern Bluebird.”

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