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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

David is responsible for running the Foundation, as well as raising the funding needed to support CWF's mission. A proud New Jerseyan, he has written frequently about the state's incredible biodiversity. He earned his M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School of Business. David enjoys being active outdoors with his daughter and son in his spare time.

  • Phone: 609.292.1276
  • Email

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Mara Cige

Marketing Assistant

Mara supports the CWF Directors while working to engage the public about CWF’s mission both behind the scenes and publicly during outreach programs. She helps to develop new marketing campaigns, draft press releases, and organize promotional events. A New Jersey native, she graduated from Monmouth University in 2015 with a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy and minor in Global Sustainability. In her free time she enjoys snorkeling and photography, especially of her puppy Professor Charles “Charlie” Xavier.


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Stephanie DAlessio

Director of Education

As the Director of Education for CWF, Stephanie creates and presents engaging educational programs for children throughout New Jersey. She earned both her B.A. in English and Masters Degree in Education from Seton Hall University. Stephanie has over 17 years of experience developing and teaching hands-on and interactive programming for at-risk youth. Prior to her position at CWF, Stephanie directed the day-to-day programming operations of a large nonprofit and was responsible for program development and implementation, staff and grant management, and budgeting. Stephanie has been a part of many educational and community committees and volunteers her time and effort to many local wildlife conservation initiatives.

  • Phone: 609.984.0621
  • Email

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Stephanie Feigin

Wildlife Ecologist

Stephanie is responsible for CWF’s shorebird project including conservation and research efforts to protect shorebird populations throughout their migratory flyway, including work in Cape Cod, Brazil, Tierra Del Fuego, their Arctic breeding grounds, and here in New Jersey. She is also responsilbe for the Delaware Bay shorebird projects, including the restoration of the beach and marsh destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, migratory tracking projects, and the banding, resighting and coast wide survey projects. Additionally, Stephanie is CWF’s lead ecologist running the bat project. She is responsible for projects designed to protect and enhance habitats for forest bats throughout New Jersey. Stephanie received her B.S. in Ecology & Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University in 2013. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Phone 908.892.9993
  • Email

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Nicole Gerard

Wildlife Biologist

Nicole’s position at CWF involves assisting the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in developing plans for restoration of golden-winged warbler and bog turtle habitat. She currently finished her Masters at Montclair State University and her thesis was determining whether certain stressors like urbanization contributed to the presence of pathogens in wood turtle populations. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, sculpting, vegetable gardening and reading.


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Ethan Gilardi

Field Technician

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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Rebecca Hanson

Parks Conservation Coordinator

As a Naturalist at Island Beach State Park, Becca works hand-in-hand with the partnership between the CWF and IBSP’s Nature Program. She is responsible for educational program development and outreach, as well as public communication and outreach campaigns. She received her B.S. in Ecology & Natural Resources from Rutgers University in the fall of 2013. In her free time, Becca enjoys hiking, exercising, eating (a lot), and spending time with family & friends.

  • Phone 732.793.0506
  • Email

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Emily Heiser

Wildlife Biologist

Emily Heiser works on coastal ecology projects including coordination of CWF's marine debris project, assisting with Diamondback Terrapin projects and partnering with state biologists to manage the Beach Nesting Bird program. She has primarily been involved in beach nesting bird work along the Atlantic & Gulf Coasts since 2008. She received her B.S. in Conservation & Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley University. She enjoys birding, adventures with her dogs and long walks on the beach (really!).

  • Phone 609.628.2103
  • Email

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Corrine Henn

Communications Coordinator

Corrine coordinates CWF's social and mainstream media and blog to engage the public in our statewide efforts to protect rare wildlife along with our educational and outreach programs. She builds upon her personal commitment to raise awareness for environmental issues through her writing and activism. Corrine graduated from Delaware Valley University and received her B.S. in Conservation and Wildlife Management with a focus in animal behavior. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and fostering animals.


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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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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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Jenae Shaw

Education Coordinator

Jenae works to educate children and adults about the importance of protecting endangered species in the state of NJ, along with other hands-on educational outreach programs on Island Beach State Park and Dukes Farm. She graduated with a B.S in Environmental Science in 2015. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, kayaking, and is the quintessential beach bum.


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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 Summer Wind.

  • Phone: 609.292.3707
  • 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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Ben Wurst

Habitat Program Manager

Ben is responsible for identifying and restoring 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 and diamondback terrapins. Outside of work, Ben enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two children. He also enjoys photography, backpacking, and woodworking. Ben collects salvaged wood that he uses to create reclaimed wood picture frames and other artwork.

  • Phone: 609.628.2103
  • Email

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.