Conserve Wildlife Blog

Piping Plover Olympics!

August 21st, 2012


By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager

Conserve Wildlife Plover Olympic Team
Todd Pover, Stephanie Egger, Alfred Breed (standing, l-r)
Melanie Mason, Sarah Scheffer (kneeling, l-r)

This past week, three teams of biologists and researchers took to the beach to compete in the first-ever Piping Plover Olympics. Christina Davis, a plover biologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW), and I have been talking about the concept for nearly ten years, but this year, inspired by the 2012 London Olympics, the plover games finally became a reality.

Stephanie Egger “modeling” Team Conserve T-shirt as she prepares for first contest

With storm clouds threatening in the distance, the official Plover Olympic flag was unfurled and the teams gathered in uniform early last Tuesday evening for what would be a hard fought contest. A total of six events were staged, including sign and fence installation, color band resighting, exclosure building, egg and beach toy searching, and a team relay carrying fence poles. The evening was capped off with a challenging Piping Plover Trivia Contest. Events designed to test both the body and mind.

The Olympics were a chance for the teams to use the skills they learned and honed all season in a competitive arena instead of in the name of conservation. It was an opportunity to test the teamwork that we strive to develop amongst the staff. And it was tremendous fun!

Conserve Wildlife Team Captain Todd Pover holding winner’s trophy.

Teams were from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (of course); our “cross-office” rivals from NJDFW; and a plover research team from the State University of New York, consisting of members from both New Jersey and Massachusetts. Over the course of the evening there was a fair share of trash-talking and some battle scars to show, and in the end medals for everyone.

But there was also a winner…and I am happy to report that Team Conserve Wildlife emerged with this year’s winner’s trophy. Good job team!

The only thing missing from our Piping Plover Olympics was sponsors. The games were all about fun, but it isn’t too late to be an “Olympic” sponsor for the work we do here at CWFNJ. If you would like to help support what we do to protect our state’s endangered beach nesting birds, click here to adopt a piping plover. Or if you want to help CWFNJ’s overall conservation mission, click here to become a member today.


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