Yesterday, my friend of Behind the Bins and I attended the 2008 Meadowlands Festival of Birding, and were shepherded by the Hackensack Riverkeeper, Bill Sheehan, in one of the pontoon boats used for touring and education of this once maligned river. It was about birds but was also about the big picture of habitat, politics, people, our past, our future, and about keeping a river and all life sacred.
Bill is the environmental steward for the Hackensack River, formerly one of New Jersey’s industrial waste toilet bowls. Through his untiring efforts, and those of his staff, volunteers and supporters, chunks of river habitat, the NJ Meadowlands, has been pulled out of the hands of developers and placed back where it belongs. The Riverkeeper is returning the Hackensack River to itself.
What that means is that Egrets and Great Blue Herons fish along its banks, Ospreys dive from the blue skies for carp, diamondback terrapins doze in the sediment.
Riverkeeper means you don’t sleep much. Riverkeeper means you tell the story of your river over and over, no matter how tired you get of saying the same words, because every human ear must hear and understand that our rivers need all of us to keep them whole. Riverkeeper means that we all steward of the earth and have rivers running through us, connecting us to the past, present and future.