Grassle Marsh Trail, 6/28/2020

Grassle Marsh Trail, 6/28/2020 explores the sonic landscape of the Jacques Cousteau Coastal Center in Tuckerton, New Jersey. As part of an internship project in 2020 researchers placed four audio recorders at different points along the Grassle Marsh Trail, a 0.5-mile trail on the property. These recorders continuously captured sound during the week of June 28, 2020.

Listening through these recordings I was struck by the juxtaposition of natural and mechanical sounds on this beautiful stretch of land near the Jersey Shore. While New Jersey is home to stunning natural beauty, as the most densely populated state in the U.S. these natural areas often share their soundscape with human-produced mechanical sounds. This soundscape compositiondistills the twenty-four hours of recordings from June 28, 2020, creating a narrative version of the sonic events that occurred on that day. The piece begins with sounds of vehicular traffic, leading to a variety of bird calls, a rainstorm, sirens, and evening fireworks.

The Jacques Cousteau Coastal Center is part of the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR), one of 29 reserves around the country (and Puerto Rico) developed to protect the biologically, ecologically, economically, and aesthetically important areas along our coasts known as estuaries. Special thanks to Amy Plantarich and Andrea Habeck for facilitating this collaboration and sharing the field recordings.

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