Conserve Wildlife Blog

September 16th, 2016

Ospreys, art and outdoor fun at the New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo

by David Wheeler, Executive Director and Corrine Henn, Communications Coordinator

expo-6

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, New Jersey boasts some of the most extensive outdoor nature activities of anywhere in the nation. This past week’s New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo proved it, introducing thousands of visitors to the many fun and important ways that people can experience nature and make a difference.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation offered some of these activities throughout the event, as well as information on how children can earn Girl & Boy Scout Badges.

ben-posing-with-kids

CWF biologist Ben Wurst (left) with his hardworking team.

One scout activity helps one of New Jersey’s signature raptors in its continuing recovery – the osprey. CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst led groups of adults and children in building osprey nesting platforms. Wurst and his team will eventually relocate these platforms to nesting spots where ospreys are most in need. The children had a lot of fun decorating their very own osprey nests, which we kept as authentic as possible with lots of man-made nesting material.

nest-building-4

Nationally recognized artist James Fiorentino made a special appearance at CWF’s conservation tent on Saturday afternoon to sign posters for lucky visitors, in anticipation of the CWF traveling art exhibit, Rare Wildlife Revealed. The opening reception – which will unveil Fiorentino’s 25 striking images of rare wildlife species, and feature CWF biologists on hand to discuss the species – will be held on Friday September 30th at D&R Greenway Land Trust. Make sure you check out the show schedule and stop in to see his work!

james-holding-poster

Renowned artist James Fiorentino holding poster of his original artwork.

Held by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the annual Expo is open to the public at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township one weekend every September. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather all weekend, surrounded by people with an appreciation for nature.

Check out some additional pictures from the event below!

kids-building-1 kids-with-turtle ben-posing-with-kids-3 kids-building-3

September 12th, 2016

New Story Map Shows How Turtle Gardens Actually “Grow” Baby Terrapins

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Releases a New Story Map: “Turtle Gardens”

By: Michael Davenport, Wildlife Biologist & GIS Program Manager

The northern diamondback terrapin is an imperiled species of turtle found in brackish coastal waters along the northeast coast of the United States. Within New Jersey, much of the nesting habitat once used by terrapins has been lost to development and rising sea level. What little suitable nesting habitat remains is often inaccessible to terrapins due to bulkheads or other construction and road mortality is a major cause of terrapin mortality as they cross roadways seeking nesting sites.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Turtle gardens provide suitable nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins where little natural suitable habitat remains or is inaccessible. By enhancing the existing habitat at a site within the terrapin’s range to meet their nesting habitat requirements, terrapins can more safely lay their eggs within an area specifically set-aside for them.

CWF recently partnered with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) on a pilot project turtle garden on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The newly released Turtle Gardens story map details this project.


LEARN MORE


 

September 9th, 2016

Stadium Goes “Wild” for Wildlife Ballpark Event

CWF PARTNERS WITH RENOWNED ARTIST JAMES FIORENTINO AND SOMERSET PATRIOTS BASEBALL TEAM IN WIN FOR WILDLIFE

by Emily Hofmann, Project Coordinator

 

It doesn’t get any more All-American than the national pastime, our national emblem, and a post-game show of fireworks – all part of the first-ever “Wild in the Ballpark” event. CWF partnered with nationally renowned sports and wildlife artist James Fiorentino, Studio 7 Fine Arts Gallery, and the Somerset Patriots to host this unique event at TD Bank Ballpark.

 

CWF supporters enjoy box seats provided by the Somerset Patriots.

CWF supporters enjoy box seats provided by the Somerset Patriots.

 

CWF Executive Director David Wheeler addressed the crowd of 3,500 from home plate with a speech about CWF, and his son threw the game’s honorary opening pitch. Wheeler then had the privilege of joining broadcaster Justin Antweil for an in-game interview on SPN.tv and WCTC radio throughout the fourth inning. And fans had the opportunity to meet Fiorentino as he signed wildlife posters at CWF’s guest booth.

 

Fiorentino signing a poster of his artwork for an eager fan

Fiorentino signing a poster of his artwork for an eager fan

 

The night kicked off “Rare Wildlife Revealed,” a traveling art exhibition partnership between Fiorentino and CWF. While his sports art has graced the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame and many other destinations, Fiorentino’s stunning wildlife watercolor portraits are the focus of this exhibition, which will visit over a dozen museums, galleries and other venues during the next three years.

 

CWF founder, Linda Tesauro with long time board member, Rick Weiman.

CWF founder Linda Tesauro with long time board member, Rick Weiman.

 

The exhibition officially kicks off this week at D&R Greenway Land Trust, located at 1 Preservation Place in Princeton, New Jersey.  The opening premiere will be held on September 30th at 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This free event will feature former Governor Tom Kean, along with CWF biologists who will discuss the rare wildlife species they work with – many of which are featured in Fiorentino’s paintings.

 

Watch below for highlights from the night and listen as Wheeler joined on the game broadcast to discuss the true beauty of New Jersey’s rare wildlife and its place in our changing state.

 

September 8th, 2016

Time to Get Muddy!

Volunteers needed to help maintain and repair osprey nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Map of nests that are in need of repairs in Absecon, NJ.

Map of nests that are in need of repairs in Absecon, NJ.

We have an obligation to care for and protect our wildlife, and for me, that’s what drew me into my current position. Osprey nesting platforms have been a focus of my work over the past 10+ years. They are designed specifically for ospreys and if built properly, can withstand the impacts of severe weather, including coastal flooding, high winds, and storm surge. For ospreys these platforms protect their nests from predators and flood tides, but over time the extreme salt marsh environment takes its toll on them. With the added weight of the large, perennial stick nests it can shorten the life span of a properly built platform drastically. Over the years I’ve seen older nests topple, from the weight of the nesting material and aging hardware, during the middle of the nesting season during severe storms. This is hard to prevent at every nest, during every storm, which we know are becoming more and more frequent, but we are adapting and in turn, helping our ospreys become more resilient (and productive) in the end.

New stainless screws are installed in an existing osprey nest to help prevent future catastrophe.

New stainless screws are installed in an existing osprey nest to help prevent future catastrophe.

In the past we (myself and other volunteers who survey ospreys and help maintain platforms) used to visit a nest only once a year, during nesting surveys in late June and early July. At that time we would note the condition of the platform and if repairs were needed, schedule those for the seven month long non-breeding season. Those who have volunteered to help and worked with me, know the task at hand. Most tasks include using hand tools to construct nest platforms and perches and to install them. I always say the hardest part is getting the platform to the saltmarsh where they will be installed.

To help engage and inspire others to help care for our growing osprey population, we are looking for volunteers who live within the watersheds were we are planning to conduct repairs of osprey platforms. Tasks vary by watershed but most are to add new (stainless) screws to existing platforms, install predator guards/perches, clean off excess nesting material, and do any other repairs to platforms (including moving and replacing some). We are hopeful to meet some local baymen and fishermen who are looking to help keep the nesting population stable as it has been over the past 10 years.

The work will occur in mid-late October and will be carried out through these watersheds:

  • Barnegat Bay (Point Pleasant south to LEHT)
  • Great Bay – All nests here need new hardware and one nest needs to be replaced.
  • Absecon Bay – In this area we have four platforms to replace. Three will be moved and one new one installed. Four other nests need critical repairs.
  • Sea Isle – several nests here need predator guards and a couple need minor repairs.
  • Wildwood/Cape May – After the strong storms in late June hit this area, many nests need new platform (tops) and others need to be cleaned off.

If you are interested in being notified when these platform construction and repairs occur, please email me. Let me know what you are interested in helping with and if you have a boat (and a ladder!) that can be used.

August 31st, 2016

Duke Farms “Alumni” C/94: Update

 “Tiny” has another successful nesting season in Connecticut
 By: Larissa Smith: CWF Biologist
D/94 "Tiny" 6/3/2016@ Cyndi Pratt

C/94 “Tiny” keeps a watch over nest in CT; 6/3/2016@ C.Pratt Didan

In 20015 we were contacted by Cyndi Pratt Didan regarding a pair of nesting eagles she has been observing in CT about 150 miles from Duke Farms. She was able to get a reading of the green band on the male C/94. It turns out that C/94 is a Duke Farms eagle from the 2009 nesting season. In 2009 there were three chicks in the nest and all were male. C/94 was the youngest and considerable smaller in the beginning as he was a week younger than the oldest chick and got the nick name “Tiny”.

May 18, 2009, C/94 after banding with siblings @M.Valent

May 18, 2009, C/94 after banding with siblings @M.Valent

His mate is also a banded bird from Massachusetts banded on June 11th, 2008. The pair nested in 2014 fledged two chicks and fledged one chick in 2015.

Cyndi reports that the pair built a new nest seven miles away from their old nest. This nest is in a pine tree on an island in a Reservoir. This season they fledged two young birds.
We thank Cyndi for keeping us updated on this NJ bird. It’s always good to get news about one of “our” chicks.
 
"Tiny's" mate with one of the chicks 6/3/2016@ C.Didan Pratt

“Tiny” with one of the chicks 6/3/2016@ C.Didan Pratt

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