Conserve Wildlife Blog

Species on the Edge 2.0 Contest Winners Announced

June 26th, 2019

Species on the Edge 2.0 2019 Contest Winners
From left to right: Carisa Mainiero and Stephanie Dalessio, CWF;
contest winners Ashley Laveriano, Katie Barcheski and Mayley Rodriguez; Maria Spina, PSEG Foundation; and David Wheeler, CWF

Sometimes the path to the wilderness starts with a screen. For teens growing up in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country, connecting with nature can seem a bit unnatural. Smartphones, tablets, computers these are all a part of everyday life, but bald eagles, diamondback terrapins, or bobcats can seem like creatures from a different world. 

The Species on the Edge 2.0 contest, a statewide educational competition open to all high school students, bridges these two worlds to inspire the next generation of wildlife lovers and conservation leaders.

In celebration of these future leaders, Conserve Wildlife Foundation and contest sponsor PSEG Foundation recently presented the winners of  the fourth annual Species on the Edge 2.0 contest, with scholarships at a ceremony at PSE&G headquarters in Newark.

Participating students created an online campaign that featured an endangered or threatened New Jersey species, or highlighted either the need to protect New Jersey beaches, shorelines and marine waters or the need for safer wildlife crossings and corridors in our heavily traveled state. The contest helps to develop students’ experience in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) and their project management skills.

Barb Short, PSEG Foundation President says “In support of our aim to build sustainable and thriving communities by strengthening the environment and education & workforce development in the communities we serve, the PSEG Foundation is honored to support Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey for the Species on the Edge 2.0 contest and offer students the opportunity to apply critical thinking, problem solving and multimedia skills to raise awareness about the state’s rare animals.” 

First place winner, Ashley Laveriano from Science Park High School in Newark, focused on the need to protect the northern diamondback terrapin. She says of the experience “Participating in the contest allowed me to explore wildlife and the environment beyond the walls of my high school. It allowed me to become an agent of change by raising awareness and speaking to my family members  about the northern diamondback terrapin. This experience with CWF allowed me to pursue environmental advocacy at the Essex County Environmental Center. I hope that through this involvement I can bring environmental education to urban youth in Newark.”

Second place finisher Katie Barcheski of Mater Dei Prep High School in Middletown also created a campaign about protecting northern diamondback terrapins. Third prize went to Mayley Rodriguez of Dover High School in Morris County for her campaign on protecting New Jersey’s beaches, shorelines and oceans.

“This generation of young conservation leaders has grown up with an innate understanding of technology and online communications – yet connecting to the natural world can be more challenging than ever,” says David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “This contest brings together their strengths with the opportunity to connect many of their peers – and people of all ages – with the wonderfully diverse natural world all around us here in New Jersey.”

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2 Responses to “Species on the Edge 2.0 Contest Winners Announced”

  1. Rick Weiman says:

    How do we view the winning entries?

  2. Thanks for asking! Past winners can be found at the bottom of this page: (apologies for the years being out of order, software glitch, here is a link right to 2019’s winners:, or go to our facebook page and either look through the community posts or search facebook for ‪#‎conservewildlifenj‬

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