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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Celebrates the Festival of Trees

Region 5, December 17, 2013
Great Swamp's tree on display.
Great Swamp's tree on display. - Photo Credit: n/a

The Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is participating in the 36th annual “Festival of Trees” hosted by neighbor and partner, Somerset County Park Commission. The event is open to the public and hundreds of local residents tour the remarkable display of holiday trees. This year, the event features 38 trees decorated by local non-profits, scout troops, clubs, businesses and individuals, each of whom select their own theme and decorate a tree in creative and unique styles. The Friends selected the theme “50-50-15” which refers to three anniversaries in 2014 that the Great Swamp NWR and the Friends will celebrate. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the official dedication of the refuge when the Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall formally accepted a gift of 2,600 acres of land to form the nucleus of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It is also “Wilderness 50,” the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act – and Great Swamp’s 3,660 acre Wilderness Areas was the first Wilderness Area within the U.S. Department of the Interior. And fifteen years ago, in 1999, the Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established.
The tree is decorated with 50 blue Christmas balls, 50 National Wildlife Refuge System blue goose buttons, photo ornaments depicting 15 of the most significant accomplishments in the 15-year history of the Friends of Great Swamp NWR, and 15 cardinals for color. The Friends and the Refuge are planning a variety of special events during 2014 to celebrate the “50-50-15” anniversaries.

Contact Info: David Sagan, (973)425-0215 x-116, david_sagan@fws.gov