How Rutgers Alumni are Bringing Quail Back to New Jersey

Bobwhite Quail Credits: John Parke

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Outside Rutgers Gardens and a few other choice spots, this city and its high-rise apartment buildings and busy streets seemingly bear little connection to New Jersey's vast woodlands. Yet from this urban center, Rutgers University has managed to impact the wildest stretches of the state.

Just look at the Northern Bobwhite Quail.

Not long ago, the lack of young forests all but wiped out the bird in this state, according to experts. But a trio—whose members are all linked to Rutgers University—have made strides in recent years to change that. Under the leadership of the environmental group New Jersey Audubon, they have begun to reinvigorate South Jersey's quail population—and, with hard work and some good fortune, its forests.

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“Quail were here before. This is something that was pretty common back in the '70s and even the '80s. Then they literally just kind of vanished,” John Parke, stewardship project director for New Jersey Audubon, which spearheads the quail restoration effort, told TAPinto New Brunswick. “The main goal here, though, even with bringing back the birds, is to look at these forest systems and see what the problems are.

“And believe me: Forests are in big trouble in this state.”

A potential quail habitat in South Jersey. Photo: John Parke

New Jersey Audubon's quail translocation project sounds complex, but the idea is simple. The birds boast a healthy breeding population in Georgia. So workers capture some in the wild there and bring them up to the Pine Barrens. Each bird is then collared and tracked.

In 2015, Parke said, the first known quail nesting since the 1980s occurred in the Pinelands.

As a whole, the state and its forests need more management, and the quail act as a motivator for private landowners and others to do just that, he said.

Here's where one of the project's several links to Rutgers comes in: The state's largest private landowner, Pine Island Cranberry Co., in Burlington County, has played a big role in returning quail here. And, as reported in a spring 2017 Rutgers Magazine piece, a university alumnus and his family own the 14,000 acres, most of which is untamed forest.

Bill Haines Jr., who graduated in 1975, has always needed to maintain healthy forests for the sake of his cranberries. For 17 years, that job has largely fallen on Bob Williams, a seasoned forester and fellow member of the Class of 1975, according to Rutgers.

Together, their work made Haines' land a strong candidate to host reintroduced birds.

The first quail nest of 2017. Photo: John Parke

Fate stepped in when Parke took an agricultural leadership and development class through Rutgers, in partnership with other state groups. He and his peers visited a number of sites throughout the state. And the first was Pine Island Cranberry Co.

There, he met a woman named Becca Fenstermaker, Haines' daughter. She and Parke hit it off, he said, and began to discuss how New Jersey Audubon and Pine Island could team up. Parke then met Haines and Williams, and from there they launched the larger, three-year quail research project to restore the birds to the wetlands.

“Those connections were unbelievable,” Parke, who teaches a bird identification class at the university, said. “Rutgers is a hub for all these different connections throughout the state and getting the word out.”

For Williams, Haines and any number of South Jersey landowners, the project whose seeds were planted at Rutgers more than 40 years ago has big stakes. It could help rejuvenate local forests, improving habitats and the wildlife that depend on it.

It could also help ward off a catastrophe.

“We're going to have a bad fire in South Jersey if something isn't done,” Williams told Rutgers Magazine. “We're going to be on CNN for days.”

But something is being done. Just how much it will help New Jersey's forests is unclear. If the birds are any indicator, though, things are looking up. As of today, Aug. 9, New Jersey Audubon researchers have already identified 12 quail nests in the area.

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Nutley Residents Reminded to Clear Snow from Sidewalks within 24 Hours of Snowfall

March 22, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - All property owners are required by law to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. When possible use grassy areas to pile snow. 

The Township of Nutley reminds everyone that there are ordinances regarding tossing snow into the street.

Residents are also reminded to clear all snow from their vehicles. Snow can be carried off ...

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Nutley High School, Nutley

Academic Booster Club History Fair



Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Nutley Park ShopRite , Nutley

Scouting for Food Drive at Nutley Park ShopRite ...

Food & Drink Giving Back


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Military Park, Newark

#NeverAgain March For Our Lives

Government Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Nutley Elks Lodge , Nutley

Nutley Elks 8th Annual Wild Game Charity Dinner

Food & Drink Giving Back

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

March 21, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

March 20 Weather Update for Nutley Schools

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All after school and evening events, held in our buildings on Wednesday, are canceled as well.

Based on actual snowfall, a delayed opening may be needed on Thursday, March 22. We will be in touch with ...


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March 6, 2018

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Speaker Added to March 8 Suburban Revitalization Forum - Chris Porter

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United States Post Office Mailboxes Burglarized in West Essex Towns

March 22, 2018

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According to the Fairfield Police Department, the Fairfield incident occurred sometime between March 15 at 5 p.m. and March 16 at 5 p.m. In this most recent incident, two mailboxes ...

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March 21, 2018

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March 18, 2018

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As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter March 10 to 16, 2018

March 17, 2018

 The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

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Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

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The Women Artists of Nutley Exhibit at the Nutley Public Library

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Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States in March every year. This art ...

Educational Leadership with Coach Tom Gargiulo

Learn some of the secrets of high-performing teachers and students with “Coach” Tom Gargiulo on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. Motivate yourself and others with time-tested tips and strategies presented by Coach Tom in a lively and interactive manner. Mr. “G” is in his 28th year of teaching and coaching and teaches Physical Education at ...

Nutley United Soccer Club - Spring Season

The Nutley United Soccer Club is the travel division of the soccer program offered by the Nutley Parks & Recreation Department directed by Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci. Teams play in the very competitive Northern Counties Soccer Association against towns in Northern NJ and Lower NY State. The travel soccer program offers a high level of instruction by professional trainers and experienced ...

Registration for Spring Tennis Lessons Now Open

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces Spring Tennis Lesson registration is now open!  The Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation offers a top quality tennis program, directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion.  Classes range in age groups starting in 1st grade and continuing through ...

Commissioner Tucci Opens Registration For Toddler Sports Sampler

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to open registration for Toddler Sports Sampler.  This program is for Nutley youngsters ages 3-5. Not quite sure sport your child loves most? Look no further!  This class allows kids to participate in a variety of sports that will help them in their decision of which sport they enjoy most. Each ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 21, 2018


STATEWIDE - Utility companies are dragging themselves back into the war room this morning, preparing for another day of downed wires, public scorn and mounting pressure from the governor's office to magically keep all the lights on. One would assume the utilities are still trying to patch up fragile networks from the back-to-back nor'easters that ...

An Open Letter to Steven Rogers, and Anyone Else Misguided About NHS’s Participation in the National School Walkout

March 19, 2018

To Commissioner Steven Rogers, and whomever else it may concern,

My name is Gabrielle Mackiewicz, and I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Nutley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, I took part in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m., and I have seen a lot of your ideas about the event on several different social media platforms. I am writing this to address some of these concerns.

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Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Mountainside Medical Center Offers New 24/7 Senior Mental Health Helpline

March 21, 2018

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The event will be held on April 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Venetian in Garfield, 546 River Dr. The event starts with a reception hour at 6 p.m.

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

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Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

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“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

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Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
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Nov 23, 1963 - Mar 12, 2018
Jeffrey Roy Imhoff passed away on March 12, 2018. He was a lifelong resident of Nutley, graduating ...
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