Conserve Wildlife Blog


October 24th, 2017

By Mara Cige

Kelly Mooij, 2017 Leadership Award Honoree

As Vice President of Government Relations for New Jersey Audubon, 2017 Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Honoree Kelly Mooij works to promote and secure a legal and regulatory framework that supports habitat conservation, open space preservation, and species protection and recovery in New Jersey. She has dedicated her time and efforts in utilizing the tools of law, policy, and government affairs to protect our state’s wildlife.

Ms. Mooij earned her Juris Doctorate and Master of Studies in Environmental Law, focusing on marine biodiversity and land and water use issues, and has worked for New Jersey Audubon since 2008. Her efforts often center on bringing interested parties together to support efforts to protect the region’s wildlife. In 2012, Ms. Mooij helped lead the formation of the multi-state Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. This coalition seeks to protect the watershed that provides drinking water for 16 million people, supports hundreds of miles of vital habitat for fish and wildlife, and is critical to the economic well-being of the mid-Atlantic region.

While coordinating the Keep It Green Coalition that works to preserve a variety of New Jersey’s land and ecosystems, Ms. Mooij helped lead the passage of two state-wide bond measures for $200 million and $400 million dollars of open space, park and farmland preservation and helped develop their successful long-term funding campaign. This resulted in the State Legislature’s approval to refer Public Question 2 to the November 2014 ballot, asking voters to approve a permanent source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s land, water, and historic treasures – which the public emphatically approved.

Ms. Mooij leads the annual lobbying efforts of New Jersey’s environmental organizations for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program to which provide an average of $1 million dollars in Federal grant funds to State fish and wildlife agencies for developing and implementing programs that benefit vulnerable wildlife and habitats. Through Ms. Mooij’s leadership, these funds helped jump-start multiple projects for restoring degraded habitats, reintroducing native wildlife, and expanding knowledge about wildlife populations.

She works successfully at the state level to advance legislation to restore our forests and other critical habitat, increase science-based management of our natural resources, reduce the use and spread of invasives, protect pollinators such as butterflies and native bees and more.

Ms. Mooij’s perseverance in bringing together people to support wildlife conservation makes her an excellent leader and role model for all who wish to see New Jersey’s natural heritage protected.

Join us to honor Kelly and the three other 2017 Women & Wildlife Award Honorees on Wednesday, November 1st beginning at 6 PM. Purchase events tickets and find more information.

CWF asked Kelly a few questions about what inspires her to dedicate her career to New Jersey’s conservation:


What is your favorite thing about your job?

“Every day is different and presents unique opportunities and challenges. At the end of the day, it’s rewarding to know I’m working hard to benefit NJ and its residents – people and wildlife!”


Name one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

“Perseverance, hard work and determination are the keys to success!”


Do you have a New Jersey wildlife species that you like best?

“Osprey! What a great recovery story that goes to show that management, preservation and stewardship can reverse a species in decline. I get to see them most mornings when I row on Carnegie Lake and when I’m at the beach in Ocean Grove!”


What do you find most challenging about your profession?

“When politics gets in the way of good policy.”


 What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

“Anything outdoors (hiking, swimming, rowing, walking) and world travel!”


Please join us on Wednesday November 1, 2017 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Duke Farms’ Coach Barn to honor the contributions that Jeannie Geremia, Kris Schantz, Kelly Mooij and Hazel England have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

We are excited to recognize the leadership and inspiration they provide for those working to protect wildlife in New Jersey. Women & Wildlife will also celebrate the timeless and inspiring journeys of wildlife migration in New Jersey and beyond.


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