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1/20/2012 - Major Milestone for NJ Bald Eagles
Major Milestone for NJ Bald Eagles Highlights Upcoming Winter Eagle Festival 

Just three weeks now until much-anticipated Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival, Saturday February 11th in Mauricetown, NJ. 

And this year’s event marks a major milestone for the once nearly extinct NJ bald eagle.  State officials now say there are more than 100 nesting pairs of bald eagles statewide – the majority of them (60%) in Cumberland and Salem Counties.

According to the latest survey by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program counted 102 pairs of actively nesting eagles, plus 11 more pairs in the process of establishing nesting territories. The survey documented a record 22 new nests, of which 16 are in southern New Jersey.

This is dramatic, considering that there was just one remaining pair of bald eagles in the entire state in 1973.

Like the eagles, crowds for the annual Winter Eagle Festival have grown every year since first began in 2001.   More than 600 are expected to converge on the frozen fields along the Maurice River for 2012 event.

Along with the eagles, Cumberland County has an incredible diversity of raptors, including hawks, owls and other birds of prey. 

The Eagle Festival is a great opportunity for people from across the region to bundle up in their winter clothes and explore the unspoiled fields, forests and marshes along the Maurice River that are home to these species.

The day features guided and unguided trail walks, four staffed viewing sites, and dusk owl walk as well as indoor activities at the Mauricetown Fire Hall including speaker presentations and vendors.

And at the end of the day, visitors are invited to warm up at the annual Chili Bowl fundraiser hosted by Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries.  The popular event features 25 different chili recipes, ranging from traditional to exotic.

Free transportation to and from the event is available for Cumberland County seniors and disabled by calling 856-691-7799.

The Winter Eagle Festival is sponsored by the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders with support from Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries, New Jersey Audubon, the Cape May Bird Observatory, National Park Service, Natural Lands Trust and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

What:             Winter Eagle Festival
Where:            Mauricetown, Fire Hall
                       Mauricetown, NJ
When:             Saturday, February 11th
                       8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Admission:      $10 Adults, $5 Children (12 and under) 
Information:      856-453-2177
                       www.co.cumberland.nj.us

Contact:   Keith Wasserman, County

Spokesperson  609-805-1884
keithstm@comcast.net