Share | facebook twitter instagram flickr flickr


Sign up for enews.

Image of Facebook icon


Conserve Wildlife Foundation Team

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

Image of Staff - David

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

Image of Stephanie DAlessio

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

Image of Ciara Frank

Ciara Frank

Events Planning Intern

Ciara is a senior in the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management major at the Pennsylvania State University. Ciara works closely with the Director of Development to help create and maintain donor relations. She also helps to plan fundraising events and will be assisting with the annual Women & Wildlife Awards Reception. She took a lead role in the NJ WILD Outdoor Expo that Conserve Wildlife Foundation co-hosts. When not interning Ciara can be found at the beach swimming and surfing. Ciara will be with us until November.


Image of Nicole bio pic

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.


Image of Ethan bio pic

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.


Image of Rebecca Hanson

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

Image of Emily Heiser

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

Image of Meghan bio pic

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.


Image of Jasmine-Staff Bio

Jasmine Lee

Education Assistant

Jasmine supports the CWF Directors while working to educate the public about CWF’s mission through digital and hands-on outreach throughout New Jersey. She helps to organize and run education events, promote new marketing campaigns, and she occasionally joins our biologists in the field. Jasmine received a B.S. in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland in 2017, and is currently taking graduate courses at Montclair State University to broaden her knowledge in environmental science. In her free time, she enjoys birding, hiking, doing puzzles, and baking tons of desserts.


Image of Allegra bio pic

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.


Image of Todd bio

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

Image of Liz new bio photo

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

Image of Larissa Smith

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

Image of ben w osprey

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.

  • Phone: 609.628.2103
  • Email

Special Concern

Image of dolphin thumb for widget

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

Image of Wildlife Viewing Guide

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