“Ocean, lighthouse, Delaware Bay ... we have one of the best views on the East Coast, thanks to the Conservancy,” says Mike Rushlow. “They saved the dunes and the wetland area.”
He enjoys looking out from the deck of the house he and his wife, Marty, purchased 20 years ago. The land beyond is adjacent to the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge – coastal marshes and meadows on a critical migratory flight path, right at the water’s edge.
“New Jersey is like a funnel; Cape May is the narrowest point,” Mike explains. “Birds and butterflies stay on land as far as they can; then they congregate here to fly across the bay.”
The Rushlows, long-time Conservancy members, knew there were attempts to develop the parcel, so they were delighted when the Conservancy and its partners moved to protect it.
Now birds, butterflies and dragonflies can continue to rest there before making their seasonal trip across the water. “We’ve seen hundreds of monarchs spend the night in a single juniper tree behind our house, waiting for the sunrise,” says Marty.
The Rushlow’s year-round home is in Delaware, but Mike’s roots in historic Cape May go back to childhood. He is a former personnel director for a hospital, Marty is a retired teacher who is passionate about gardens and serves as a judge at flower shows.
“I used to teach ecology to urban kids who had never been in the woods,” she says. “Some people will never know about nature – unless we preserve it now.”
“When we updated our will, we decided the Conservancy should benefit. They’re the ones who saved this natural area,” says Mike.
Marty adds, “We know the funds will go mainly to land preservation – not administration. Plus, they’re not confrontational. There is a gentle feeling about them.”
“Nature is under assault all around us,” says Mike. “The Conservancy has a tough mission – we want to help.”
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