Conserve Wildlife Blog


November 15th, 2019

New Jersey’s conservation community came together on November 13, 2019 to celebrate five extraordinary women and their accomplishments in wildlife conservation.

The 14th annual Women & Wildlife Awards were held on November 13, 2019 at Duke Farms.
Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy delivered a stirring keynote address, noting the growing risks of climate change to wildlife and humans alike. A committed environmentalist and champion of women leaders, the First Lady noted that together the honorees had over 130 years of experience protecting wildlife. The honorees “are an integral part of the effort to protect the wildlife and natural environment that make New Jersey so special, and I am honored to be among such inspiring, accomplished conservationists” she said.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy delivers the keynote address. Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

CWF biologist Ben Wurst presented the First Lady with a hand made wood carving in the shape of New Jersey in appreciation of her participation .

Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

As the most densely populated state in the country, New Jersey presents many challenges to wildlife. The honorees of the 14th annual Women & Wildlife Awards represented a diverse and impressive range of skills that allow animals from bobcats to bald eagles to not just survive those threats, but to thrive.

The women accepting awards in the categories of leadership, education, service, inspiration and legacy work in scientific research, rehabilitation, investigation, advocacy and habitat restoration. Together they help keep New Jersey a wild and wonderful place.

2019 Women & Wildlife Honorees and Keynote Speaker. From left to right: Education Honoree Giselle Chazotte Smisko, Service Honoree Dorothy ‘Dede’ Manera, Leadership Honoree Nellie Tsipoura, PhD, Keynote Speaker New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Legacy Honoree Wilma Frey, Inspiration Honoree Gretchen Fowles.
Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

Attendees at Duke Farms celebrated the successes of Nellie Tsipoura, PhD, Senior Research Scientist and Director of Citizen Science at the New Jersey Audubon Society (Leadership), Gretchen Fowles, GIS Specialist and Biologist at the NJDEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program (Inspiration), Giselle Chazotte Smisko, Director of the Avian Wildlife Center (Education), Dorothy ‘Dede’ Manera, Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and Wilma Frey, Senior Policy Manager at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (Legacy). The honoree’s received personalized, framed wildlife prints from noted local artist, James Fiorentino.

Leadership Honoree Nellie Tsipoura, PhD and artist James Fiorentino. Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

“Women have made vital contributions to wildlife conservation, despite being under-represented in scientific fields and often facing a glass ceiling,” said David Wheeler, CWF Executive Director. “I am honored to celebrate these five amazing women and hope their successes will inspire young women in New Jersey to become the next generation of conservation leaders.”

Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director David Wheeler. Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

When asked what advice the honorees would give to those future leaders, the most common response was to be patient and persevere. Ms. Tsipoura said, “Be persistent – there will be many hurdles along the way and progress is slow, but changes for the better do take place!”

Guests also bid on silent auction items ranging from wildlife photography, to behind-the-scenes outings with CWF biologists, to an eco-tour for 10 through the Meadowlands.

Proceeds from the event and silent auction will support CWF’s efforts to protect rare and imperiled wildlife. Photo by Bryan Duggan Photography.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation thanks the 2019 Women & Wildlife Awards event sponsors including PSEG, Sambol Family Foundation, Zoological Society of New Jersey, Inc., Amy S. Greene Environmental Associates, Inc., James Fiorentino, G1 Graphics, Grid32, Insurance Services International/ Kravitz Insurance Agency, Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation, Orsted, Weeks Marine, Inc., CitizenRacecar, Bob and Maureen Coleman, Dewberry, Glenn Insurance, Inc., Barbara and Rick McKee, Kumar Patel, Princeton Hydro, UrbaniFisheries, LLC – Bozeman, MT, Rick Weiman, Bryan Duggan Photography, Cape May Salt Oyster Company, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., Huntington Financial Group, LLC, Gene Muller, Steve Neumann, and Renzi Bernardi Suarez & Co.

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