The Barnegat Bay Volunteer Master Naturalist Program is holding its spring training to “get participants outside and on the water for a true Barnegat Bay experience,” according to a press release.

The eight-session course runs from April 11 to May 23 and is offered by the Barnegat Bay Partnership through Ocean County College. The cost is $299.

Topics will include marine life, wetlands habitats, birds and other animals of the watershed, native plant identification, forest resources and Barnegat Bay history, culture and traditions.

During Saturday field trips to parks and nature centers, participants will hike, kayak, seine, photograph and collect data with experienced naturalists and field ecologists. The course includes how to educate others about the bay.

Two Wednesday evening sessions will be at Ocean County College in Toms River. Six all-day Saturday field trips are throughout Ocean County.

After the course, master naturalists keep up their certification by volunteering and taking further education courses.

Register for the class at barnegatbaypartnership.org or email Karen Walzer at kwalzer@ocean.edu.

New Farmers market law boosts food assistance

Assembly bill A-4786 to encourage farmers’ markets to participate in food assistance programs for low-income families was signed into law last Monday.

“Farmers’ market vendors should be encouraged to participate in WIC and SNAP programs,” said co-sponsor Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic. “This legislation would make the process less complicated for vendors.”

Co-sponsor Adam Taliaferro, D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester, said until now the application process was too complicated. The new law will streamline it.

fish hatchery stocks record 5 million fish

Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery in Warren County produced a record 5 million fish in 2017, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said last week.

The 15 species were stocked in about 200 waterways from March through November, mostly for use by anglers.

Counties use some to combat mosquito larvae in stagnant waters. They used 548,000 fathead minnows and Gambusia, commonly called mosquitofish, the DEP said.

The fish included cool water species, such as northern pike, walleye and muskellunge; cold-water fish like golden shiners; and warm-water species including channel catfish, largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass.

The state fish hatchery opened in 1912. Funding is provided by anglers through fishing license fees and federal aid in the Sportfish Restoration program.

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Contact: 609-272-7219 MPost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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