You may remember the horrific New Jersey beaver tale last year, where the local animal control officer Mark Johnson went out of his way to shoot two beavers in the public park and everyone scrambled to deny responsibility for the action. Because of the location and the college town ambiance, there was enough outrage to eventually charge him with a very minor crime, but no judge would hear the case and it kept getting moved farther afield to find someone that didn’t owe him favors. Go figure.
Well Haddonfield is about 45 miles south and very beaver savvy. They have taken it upon themselves to offer us the best possible beaver story in contrast. Brace yourselves. This is a once in a lifetime gift. A woman like me dreams of this kind of fortune, but doesn’t ever think it’s really possible. Take a deep breath and inhale the coming scent of 2013: where apparently anything is possible.
By Shelly Castorino
After a two-year hiatus, beavers have returned to Haddonfield’s Crows Woods Nature Preserve.
Vinny and Sal Calla, students at Haddon Heights High School, spotted two beavers swimming near a drain pipe that runs under the PATCO light-rail line earlier this week.
“We were trying to get a closer look when one beaver started slapping its tail on the water,” Vinny said. Sal explained “slapping the tail on the water is how they scare away predators.” Vinny and Sal were close enough to the beavers to capture excellent pictures of the furry duo.
For months, hikers, runners and visitors to Crows Woods have noticed dramatic changes to the shoreline along the Cooper River that runs through the preserve. Trees up to 12 inches in diameter were strategically cut to fall towards the river. Curved wooden shavings surrounded the base of each tree. The tell-tale signs of beaver activity were there, but until Tuesday morning, no one had seen an actual beaver.
Look at the reporter’s name. Castor, as you know, is the latin word for beaver, and ‘ino’ is a suffix meaning diminutive. So Castorino, Shelly’s lovely name, literally means LITTLE BEAVER. I imagine that a reporter from Patch could wait their whole life for the story that represents their destiny. An automotive story for Mr. Carman, a woodcutting tale for Mrs. Carpenter, a lost feline story for Lenore Delgato. But this for Shelly Castorino is an opportunity of epic proportions. Folks will be celebrating this in the news room for years to come.
Oh and Crow woods? It’s already under the watchful eye of our beaver friend Sarah Summerville at the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge. This entire Patch article is a beaver-fan’s Christmas treasure!
By Butch Brees, Haddonfield Parks Conservancy Trail Restoration Coordinator, and former Scoutmaster of Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ
A few short months ago, the members of the Haddonfield Parks Conservancy of Haddonfield, NJ, became aware of a beaver, or beavers, beginning activity in establishing a new lodge in the 44-acre Crows Woods Nature Preserve. Not being an expert in the activities and processes of a young beaver establishing his new home, and being the Parks trail restoration coordinator, I contacted Sarah Summerville for information and lessons in Beavers 101. It wasn’t more than a few days and Sarah made the trip to meet with me and view the area where the beavers had begun building dams. It had been a long time since I had seen Sarah since I retired as Scoutmaster, so it was nice to see her again. Her information was extremely helpful in helping us to make a decision as to whether to let the beaver remain or try to have it removed.