Conserve Wildlife Blog

Species on the Edge Art & Essay Winners Join CWF and NJDFW staff for Sedge Island Eco-tours

September 10th, 2021

by Ethan Gilardi, Wildlife Biologist

A view of Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center.

This past August, Species on the Edge Art & Essay winners and their parents joined Conserve Wildlife Foundation and New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife biologists at Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center for a day exploring New Jersey’s only marine conservation zone.

Located in the Barnegat Bay, Sedge Island is a brief fifteen minute boat ride from a dock on the southern tip of Island Beach State Park. Sedge sits amongst a smattering of other land masses and channels which make up the marshy southern end of the barrier island and is home to countless osprey, terns, crabs, mussels, and other marine wildlife.

On the island sits a historic nature center, the Sedge Island House. Built almost a hundred years ago, the building was originally used as a hunting lodge for visiting duck hunters and tourists. Now the building is home to a number of biologists, researchers, and educators who use the island to host tours of the marsh and conduct biological and ecological studies of this one of a kind biome.

The August 17th tour group poses by the Sedge Island House.

As a bat biologist, organizing field trips is not quite in my wheelhouse and I must admit I was nervous to head out to Sedge Island for the first time. However, as I found myself leading two groups of Species on the Edge winners and their parents as the Island Beach State Park staff showed us the natural wonders of Sedge Island, those nerves melted away.

Meeting this group of winners was a true honor. What an amazing group of young naturalists!

Not one kid showed any hesitation when it came to getting down and dirty with wildlife, whether it was digging in the sand for clams, handling fish caught in the seine nets, or even kayaking through the brackish waters of the Barnegat Bay. One young adventurer even tried a fresh caught RAW CLAM!

This should have come as no surprise after reading the wonderful essays and art pieces created by these young naturalists. Their love of nature and curiosity is an amazing thing to get to see first hand. I know for certain I’ll run into them years down the line as a new generation of ecologists and conservationists working to protect our wildlife and environment.

Check out the galleries below to see some shots from the trip and a look at some of the wildlife we encountered!

Sedge Island Eco Tour 2021 Photo Gallery:

A look at the wildlife of Sedge Island:

We would like to thank Island Beach State Park, Karen Byrne, John, Mae, and the wonderful staff of interns at Sedge Island. They made this a truly unforgettable experience.

Thank you to our generous Species on the Edge Art & Essay Sponsors:

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