Authors, historians, organizations and all those who appreciate the New Jersey Pine Barrens came together at the Stockton University campus center on March 13 for the “Lines on the Pines” and the “Lines of the Pines Kids Goes to College” 15th annual event.
Linda Stanton is on the committee for the South Jersey Cultural and History Center and founder of Sign of the Pines, a nonprofit that presents the “Lines of the Pines” and the “Lines on the Pines Kids Goes to College.”
The event was put on pause in the last two years because of COVID, but was held this year for the third time at Stockton, where photographers, authors, crafters, artists and Pine Barrens enthusiasts across New Jersey showed their support. Sponsors span the state, with local support from the South Jersey Culture and History Center, the Pinelands Cultural Society and Albert Hall, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Tuckerton Historical Society and Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford.
Stanton noted that she doesn’t consider the event a fundraiser, but rather a gathering of like-minded people.
“It’s just so interesting to see so many people all gathered in one area with so much to share,” she enthused. “And I think that’s the most amazing thing about this event, that obviously we all want them to be able to sell their products and books and everything. But It’s more about teaching and learning and sharing.”
Woodford Cedar Run was represented at the event to help with the kids’ theme, “Owls of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.” The refuge has participated for many years, bringing animal ambassadors such as owls and hawks.
Cedar Run After-school Coordinator Jim Hansen noted how “Lines on the Pines” coincides with the refuge’s mission of environmental education.
“I would say it aligns in a sense of kinda helping bring awareness to the special area that the Pine Barrens is,” he explained “We kind of help them [the kids] kinda spark a little bit [of] imagination and exploring the world around them.”
Stanton noted why having live animals involved is so significant.
“We had more children come to our event this year than any other year,” she said. “The involvement is definitely something the children are anxious to learn about. They just want to see and learn more about these animals.”
Another attendee at the event was first-time vendor William J. Lewis and Piney Joe. Lewis was at the 2019 “Lines on the Pines” presentation, where he met Kristan Barcalow of Kristan Barcalow Artworks, an illustrator who would eventually collaborate with him on his books.
Three years later, Lewis showcased three books, “Piney Everlastings Vol. 1,” “New Jersey’s Lost Piney Culture” and his most recent title, “Adventure with Piney Joe: Exploring the New Jersey Pine Barrens.”
“It was a great experience, a wonderful event,” Lewis said. “If you’re a Pine Barrens genre writer, the ultimate event is the ‘Lines on the Pines.’ Being in a room with other people and other organizations that are a part of the community, you feel a sense of camaraderie that I enjoy.”