Past Events & Activities in 2021

November 17, 2021: ZOOM Presentation: Famous and Forgotten Ships of the Jersey Shore, an archaeological Odyssey, 

by Richard Veit, PH.D

The treacherous Jersey shore has been the untimely grave of thousands of seafaring vessels. This well-illustrated presentation examines a select group of New Jersey ships and shipwrecks reflecting the importance of maritime transportation to the history of the state.  An eclectic range of vessels is examined, from Native American dugout canoes, to colonial privateers, a Durham boat, Civil War submarine, and 20th-century ocean liners.  Shipwrecks and the artifacts found in them are time capsules of history that reveal important the themes that have shaped our state and nation’s history.

Richard Veit, Ph.D. is Professor of Anthropology and Interim Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University. A North American historical archaeologist, his research focuses on the colonial Middle Atlantic Region. He is the author of seven books and has been the recipient of Monmouth University’s distinguished teacher award. 

Go to a video recording of the presentation HERE. There is a small glitch in the beginning beginning but the rest is good.

October 27, 2021: Zoom Presentation Catharsis: The Creation of Aberration, a Solar Powered Catamaran 

Rik van Hemmen had just partnered in the purchase of a 50-foot trawler when his wife became wheelchair bound. This vessel could not be modified to be wheelchair accessible.

So they decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and Rik designed and built a wheelchair accessible, solar powered, electric drive cruising catamaran!

This presentation provides insight into the success and stumbles in the design and construction project, and discusses the first year operating experience. Besides Anne and Rik's personal adventures, this presentation provides deep insight into the bright future of sustainable boating.


October 2, 2021: A Glorious Cruise to Red Hook Brooklyn and Back!

Following the success in 2020 of NMHA's Round Staten Island cruise from Atlantic Highlands in the classic Chesapeake Bay wooden boat owned by Classic Boats Rides of Atlantic Highlands, NMHA decided to charter the same boat, the Mariner, to take a party of explorers from Atlantic Highlands to historic Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Thirty-two passengers set off at 0800 in beautiful sunshine and and arrived alongside the retired coastal tanker, the Mary A Whalen. Several hours of exploration around Red Hook, followed by the return cruise past the Statue of Liberty, completed a happy and satisfying cruise.

                     Go HERE to see a slideshow of the cruise and Red Hook sights.

September 12, 2021: Community Paddle the Navesink Day

Families, youth, adults and all comers paddled the Navesink from the muddy/sandy beach at Maple Cove in Red Bank for free on this mild but overcast day. They used the same colorful wooden canoes as used by River Rangers and came anytime from 10:am to 2:00pm.

Canoes, life vests, and paddles were provided. Go HERE to see the many pictures of the day

August 9-13, 2021: RIVER RANGERS 2021 - Summer Boating Fun on the Navesink

The third and final week of the 2021 renowned River Rangers program was another success: great weather and great paddlers! Here they are exploring a mysterious creek somewhere in Monmouth County!

Can you guess where! Email your answer HERE

Go HERE to see the paddlers exploring our local waters

August 2-6, 2021: RIVER RANGERS℠ 2021 - Summer Boating Fun on the Navesink

The second week of this award winning on-the-water program for youth continues this summer, Monday through Friday, 8.30 AM to 1:30 PM, under the direction of experienced leaders/ counselors, Courtney and Pierre. Canoes, paddles, life vests, and expert supervision suppliedMore information HERE.

See pictures of the August 2-6 River Rangers HERE!

Paddlers bring lunch, water, sun screen, etc.

July 26-30, 2021: River Rangers℠ 2021 - Summer Boating Fun on the Navesink

This award winning on-the-water program for youth continues this summer, Monday through Friday, 8.30 AM to 1:30 PM, under the direction of experienced leaders/counselors, Courtney and Pierre.

Age range is 10 (must be emotionally mature) to 14 (leadership qualities expected). Canoes, paddles, life vests, and expert supervision suppliedMore information HERE

See the July 26-30 River Rangers in ACTION HERE!

Paddlers bring lunch, water, sun screen, etc. Exact start and end locations and joining instructions will be provided one week before the event date. 

June 13, 2021: BBQ & Social at the NMHA headquarters at GROVER HOUSE on 930 West Front Street

Open from 11:00am to 2:00pm. BBQ from 12:00  to 1:00pm

It was a beautiful day and over 70 people ate BBQ and met old and new friends. Many toured the Grover House and saw the renovations that had ben made by NMHA volunteers over the last three years.

Grover House is a c1730 farmhouse built by a descendent of one of the founders of Monmouth County in 1665, named James Grover. NMHA acquired a lease from Middletown Township in 2014 for its headquarters and is managing the exterior and renovating the interior rooms on the first floorEagle Scout projects have enhanced the grounds and provided porch seating. 

See photographs HERE

June 6, 2021: Join NMHA for a WHALE WATCHING Cruise on Seastreak!

Following the sold-out bird watching cruise, NMHA has organized a whale watching cruise on a fast, spacious, and comfortable Seastreak catamaran. All are welcome: adults, youth, and children! At 1:30pm on June 6th we will depart from the Seastreak terminal in HIGHLANDS for a fast trip out to the whale watching areas. 

We may see humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, pelagic birds, sea turtles, and other species. Abby van Hemmen, who recently  presented her experiences as the Seastreak marine naturalist at an recent NMHA public presentation on Zoom, will explain what we are seeing, and in person too!

Did we see any whales?? Check it out HERE!!

June 5, 2021: Open Air Event: Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest at Victory Park, Rumson

This gathering from 9:00am through 12:30pm of environmental and ecology-friendly organizations will entertain and inform you and your children through fun projects and activities throughout the morning. Organized by Clean Ocean Action and the Rumson Environmental Commission to focus on keeping our local rivers and creeks healthy, this is the third Eco-Fest to be held in Victory Park.

It's free and open to everyone. If it has to be cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus restrictions, it will be posted on the NMHA web site and Facebook page as well as on Clean Ocean Action's social media pages.

See the action at the NMHA tent HERE

May 2, 2021: Bird Watching Cruise. View Local & Migratory birds from the deck of  the MARINER!

Join NMHA on its third bird watching trip on Classic Boat Rides' MARINER.

Starting 0830 in Atlantic Highlands, we will view the resident and migrating birds of Sandy Hook Bay and Shrewsbury River. Important: You must Register to join this cruise as spaces are limited. The trip should start with a look at the bayside flats at the tip of Sandy Hook, then its a run to the mouth of the picturesque Navesink River. Expect to see Brant, Cormorants, Osprey, Gulls, Terns, Vultures, Oyster Catchers, Ducks, Herons, Swallows, and so much more. Bring your binoculars and join the fun. It's a great way to start summer.

Registration $45 per person including coffee, tea, juice. Important: Bring your own breakfast as due to COVID-19 NMHA will not be including breakfast. However, coffee, juice, water, Mimosas and Bloody Marys will be available from the onboard cash bar.


0830: Mariner Departs Atlantic Highlands Marina PROMPTLY!

1130Return to Atlantic Highlands Marina.

The Mariner will go where the birds are (water depth permitted), but will start at Atlantic Highlands. The birds, the Captain and the guide will further refine the program on the fly - no pun intended!

April 21, 2021: Public Zoom presentation - A Rookie Whale Watching Naturalist’s First Year on the Water by Abby van Hemmen

Abby van Hemmen, a marine naturalist for Seastreak’s whale watching tours, will provide an overview of her first year overseeing Seastreak's whale watching cruises off Sandy Hook. Participants will get an inside look at what it takes to prepare for a whale watching season and for each day’s many surprises.

Using photographs from the 2020 season, Abby will identify and describe each of the diverse species encountered. Information covering biology, life history, conservation and current research will be shared through a series of stories from the boat.

NMHA will be arranging a whale watching cruise on Seastreak for later in May. Look out for an email notification later in April.

Abby van Hemmen, born and raised in New Jersey, studied marine biology at the University of Washington in Seattle and has returned to our area. She is a whale watching naturalist and marketing associate for Seastreak, the ferry company. Upon graduating, she worked as a sea otter researcher, and later earned her masters degree in education while teaching science in the New York City public school system. In 2020 Abby started working with Seastreak to provide a new service that brought customers on the water to locate and safely observe whales in the NY/NJ Bight out of Atlantic Highlands. 

March 17, 2021: Public Zoom Presentation: Why Wench Betty's Story Matters - the Murder of a NJ Slave in 1784

Sue Kozel tells the gripping story of Wench Betty, an enslaved woman in Western Monmouth County, tells a horrible history of enslavement.  Wench Betty was murdered in 1784 for defying her owner's commands. The subsequent court proceedings for her murderer were also held that year.

Using court documents, coroner’s reports, and slaveowners’ records, our presenter, Sue Kozel will take us along on her investigation. This presentatio will look at the workings of race, gender, and power during and after the Revolutionary War - a time when powerful New Jerseyans were pulled between Revolutionary ideas of freedom and liberty, and the cruel realities of its legalized system of slavery.

Sue Kozel’s work often deals with freedom, liberty, abolition, and slavery. Designated as a Public Scholar by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, she has co-edited a book on Quakers and abolition, and published numerous works on Black freedom, abolitionism, and American and New Jersey History.

This program is supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities through the “NJ Women Vote: The 19th Amendment at 100” initiative. NMHA proudly presents it during Women’s History Month.

February 17, 2021: Public Zoom Presentation: A Historical Journey Across Raritan Bay

John Schneider, a noted local historian and author, will take us on a journey around Raritan Bay, that large body of water that has long been the entryway to the interior of the East Coast and the ports of New York and New Jersey.

Through photographs, stories, and short video clips, John will take us on a historical journey around the Bay and the waterways which surround it. From the dinosaurs that roamed the area, to mysterious shipwrecks and dubious lighthouses, John will tell us what he has learned. 

October 2020 to February 2021: A Public Petition - Bring Oysters back to the Navesink!

The Navesink River, our 2,100 acre natural waterway, is a sterling example of environmental stewardship. Over the years thousands of people have worked hard at improving water quality, reducing pollution, improving habitat, and nurturing fish stocks. Today it is a joy to think that we have so many productive Osprey nests along the river and that Bald Eagles, almost extinct in our area in the 1970's, also make the river their home. So the river is much cleaner than it was, but there is one omission from this saga of success - the absence of oysters.

The petition: "I support the Navesink River oyster restoration community (Baykeeper, COA, Littoral Society, NMHA, and so many others)  in bringing attention to the need for change to the outdated regulations keeping a much needed oyster restoration project from taking place in the Navesink River. I request that State regulators prioritize the regulation and procedural changes that will allow the community to restore the Navesink River oyster population as soon as possible".

Some years ago the NY/NJ Baykeeper had permission and installed an oyster reef in the Navesink but in 2008 had to remove it due to regulations that basically argued: the river is not cleared for oyster cultivation, restored oysters could be poached and sold as safe oysters and then harm the public, and the reputation of the New Jersey Shellfish Industry.

History and science have moved on since then, NMHA, the NY/NJ Baykeeper, and many others, want to bring oysters back to benefit the river environment. Oysters and oyster reefs are a crucial component of global ocean health and serve as barriers to storms and tides, preventing erosion and protecting productive estuary waters, of which the Navesink is a prime example.

For a risk assessment, click HERE For more information on the benefits of oysters to waterways, click HERE.

January 27, 2021: Annual General Meeting of NMHA via Zoom

The Board presented its 2020 Review and plans for 2021 via Zoom

The Board Trustees discussed and presented our many successes in 2020 in spite of COVID-19, and Rik van Hemmen, President, looked forward into 2021 with our plans and activities.

Please click HERE  to see a pictorial review of 2020 and plans for 2021.

Please click HERE to see NMHA's fixed costs for 2021.

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