Conserve Wildlife Blog

Wakefern Food Corp. interns join Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Winners at Sedge Island

August 31st, 2018

By Summer 2018 Wakefern Food Corp. Interns: Nadia Saponara, Sustainability & Niki Tripathi, Corporate Communications

Wakefern Food Corp. interns Niki Tripathi and Nadia Saponara

This summer, we happily traded in our summer intern cubicles, laptops and professional attire for kayaks, clam rakes and bathing suits for a trip to Barnegat Bay. We headed to Sedge Island, off of Island Beach State Park, and kicked off the day with a boat ride to the island. There, we joined fifth grade “Species on the Edge” art and essay contest winners, their parents, and state wildlife biologists with their seasoned interns.

How did we land this day-long getaway? Well, for many years, Wakefern Food Corp. (ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite, and Dearborn Market) has worked closely with CWF. Our company supports the “Species on the Edge” calendar contest and the bald eagle preservation program. (To find out more, visit our website).

Back to the Sedge Island experience. Once we arrived, we toured the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center, which was historically a duck-hunting lodge. It has since been converted into a solar-powered house that has composting toilets and a rooftop deck with a great view. “Running Nadia” and “Dancing Niki” got to know the other visitors with an ice-breaking name game.

Kayaking is always a highlight for visitors to Sedge Island.

After that creative effort, we launched our tandem kayaks into the water in search of peregrine falcons and American oystercatchers. We were not disappointed. After witnessing a young peregrine chasing its lunch, we ate some pickleweed fresh out of the marsh. The whole group reached into the salty water and we each pulled out a different critter. The wildlife experts were able to identify every organism we caught and released. From snails to crab shells, everyone in the group got to see each other’s discoveries.

 

Contest winners and their families enjoy lunch from ShopRite, a long-time Species on the Edge sponsor.

After lunch, we were still hungry, so we went clamming. Along with Todd, a CWF senior wildlife biologist, we raked the estuary for clams. We didn’t quite get it on the first try or the second. Angelina, an 11-year-old contest winner raked up more clams in the first 10 minutes than the two of us did in half an hour. After we finished clamming, we cut open the clams and slurped them down. Yum!

Ready go clamming in Barnegat Bay!

Our last activity for the day was a boat excursion with our knowledgeable guide Darren. After a quick, hands-on lesson, we became adept at otter trawling, a fishing technique using a specialized net and set of weights to scoop up fish, crabs, and all sorts of other critters. Some of our finds included blue claw crabs, summer flounder, and winter flounder.

Ultimately, we let all the sea creatures back into the ocean because, as the spirit of the island suggests, it is best to conserve resources and take only what you need.

Thanks CWF for a great trip!

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