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Conserve Wildlife Foundation Team

Meet the dedicated staff and professionals behind Conserve Wildlife Foundation's important work.

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David Wheeler

Executive Director

Since becoming Executive Director in 2012, David has directed CWF's expansion in wildlife conservation projects, habitat restoration, public engagement, and environmental education. He previously taught Environmental Communication at Rutgers University for seven years. A proud New Jerseyan, David has written frequently about the state's incredible biodiversity, including the 2011 book "Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the Garden State". He earned his M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School of Business, and his B.A. from American University in Washington DC. He also was a 2017 Lead New Jersey fellow. David enjoys being active outdoors with his family in his spare time.

  • Phone: 609.292.1276
  • Email

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Liz Silvernail

Director of Development

Liz develops and maintains relationships with individual, foundation, and corporate donors and implements fundraising plans to achieve CWF’s financial goals. She coordinates fundraising events throughout the year, including the annual Women & Wildlife Awards Reception. In addition, she develops programs, such as Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition, to further the organization’s mission to educate and engage the public in the protection of at-risk wildlife. Her experience in non-profit fundraising, event planning, and environmental advocacy spans 25 years. A native of New York State and graduate of Boston College, Liz's favorite place to be is on Barnegat Bay sailing Perfect Timing.

  • Phone: 609.292.3707
  • Email

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Stephanie DAlessio

Director of Education

Stephanie DAlessio has over 20 years of experience in developing, teaching and managing hands-on, interactive, and experiential programming for underserved communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of New Jersey Environmental Education and is Co-Chair for the aligning in-school and out-of-school working committee for the Newark STEAM Coalition and is a part of the New Jersey Stem Pathways Network, Professional Development Working Group. Stephanie earned both her B.A. and M.A. Ed. in Education from Seton Hall University.

  • Phone: 609.984.0621
  • Email

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Ethan Gilardi

Assistant Biologist

Ethan has found a home working to protect NJ's resident bat species as a part of CWF's many forest bat research and conservation projects. He is currently working towards his B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, as well as a Minor in Environmental Geomatics, from Rutgers University. In his spare time he enjoys birding, hiking, photography, and spending time with his friends.


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Meghan Kolk

Wildlife Biologist

Meghan is responsible for writing Beach Management Plans that provide for the protection and recovery of listed species of beach nesting birds and plants on New Jersey’s beaches. In addition, she is working on a project to restore native grassland habitat for nesting birds including the state endangered Upland Sandpiper. Meghan earned a B.S. in Biology from The College of New Jersey in 1998. Her hobbies include bird watching and creating works of wildlife art from items found on the beach.


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Meaghan Lyon

Biological Technician

Meaghan is responsible for conducting wildlife surveys at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center in support of the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan. She has been working in the avian conservation field for six years to help conserve and better understand native populations of waterbirds. While striving to protect New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species, Meaghan has spent three seasons monitoring endangered beach nesting birds. She holds a degree in Human Ecology and her primary focus has been conserving species, protecting habitat, and connecting people to the natural world through education and outreach.

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Allegra Mitchell

Wildlife Biologist

Allegra is working to expand CWF’s amphibian and reptile projects. She also manages initiatives to reconnect critical habitat for wildlife in New Jersey. Allegra received a B.A. in Environmental Science – Conservation Biology as well as an M.S. in Biology from Clark University, where her research focused on the effects of the environment on amphibian habitat preferences and locomotion.

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Todd Pover

Senior Wildlife Biologist

Todd heads up our beach nesting bird project, including monitoring, management, and research of piping plovers, least terns, black skimmers, and American oystercatchers in New Jersey. In addition, he leads our Bahamas piping plover wintering grounds initiative and international Shorebird Sister School Network. He has been involved in the beach nesting bird project since 1994. When not working (or playing) on the beach, Todd enjoys traveling, movies, and culinary pursuits. He lives in Stone Harbor.

  • Phone: 609.306.4475
  • Email

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Larissa Smith

Wildlife Biologist

Larissa has worked for the CWF foundation since 2000 as a Wildlife biologist. She coordinates CWF's volunteers and works on the New Jersey Bald Eagle project, Eastern Tiger Salamader project as well as a variety of other projects. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Stockton College and an M.A. in Environmental Education from Rowan University.

  • Phone: 609.628.0402
  • Email

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Matt Wozniak

Multimedia Producer

Matt is responsible for producing multimedia for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation such as the podcast “State of Change.” He received a B.A. in Journalism and Media from Rutgers University in 2018. Before coming to CWF he worked for UN Web TV at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. A native of New Jersey, he wants to show the diversity and importance of the state’s wildlife through media and help people understand the threats against it.

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Ben Wurst

Habitat Program Manager

Ben is responsible for identifying and enhancing degraded wildlife habitat and he helps manage and protect ospreys as part of the NJ Osprey Project. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science with emphasis in Wildlife Conservation from Unity College in 2004. Ben also works on a variety of other conservation projects that include peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and northern diamondback terrapins. Outside of work, Ben enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two children. He also enjoys photography, boating, and woodworking. Ben collects salvaged wood that he uses to create reclaimed wood picture frames and other artwork.

Special Concern

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Learn about some of the newest species in decline in New Jersey. From the bottlenose dolphin to the fowler's toad, this special listing applies to a growing list of species. Learn ways to help these sensitive species in New Jersey.

>>Explore our Field Guide


Conserve Wildlife Store

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We offer a variety of excellent wildlife books and field guides as well as shirts, hats, and other cool merchandise.