Conserve Wildlife Blog

Ending the Year 2022 With Gratitude

December 30th, 2022

With 2022 coming to a close, Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s staff took a moment to reflect on what they were thankful for this year at work and with regards to New Jersey’s wildlife.

The CWF team (Board and staff) enjoyed a holiday celebration at Flying Fish Brewery.

I’m thankful for New Jersey’s incredible wildlife and my role in protecting so many at-risk species. I owe my greatest appreciation, however, to the dedicated people who carry out and support CWF’s work to strengthen wildlife populations and educate the next generation of environmental stewards. Our Board and staff are truly extraordinary at what they do, and our contributors, volunteers, and partners make all our success stories possible. 

-Liz Silvernail, CWF Executive Director

I’m thankful that I have a job I love, working to protect wildlife. I’m also grateful for all the CWF volunteers with whom I work on different projects. They inspire and remind me that there are so many people who care about wildlife in NJ. – Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I’m thankful to be given the opportunity to help protect our New Jersey bats. I’m extremely grateful to be in a field that brings me so much joy and fulfillment. And I’m thankful to have one of the coolest jobs in the world! – Leah Wells, CWF Assistant Wildlife Biologist

Leah Wells releases a bat during a nocturnal survey.

I’m thankful that the Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration, which I had a part in creating, continues to be a highly successful breeding site for piping plovers. I’m also grateful to all the individuals and partners that help protect plovers and other beach nesting birds in New Jersey and beyond! – Todd Pover, CWF Senior Wildlife Biologist

This past August, my colleague Marc Virgilio from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and I returned to check on a section of wetland that we had worked to restore earlier in the year. While we were wading through the muck, I noticed movement in a nearby tussock and sure enough, it was a bog turtle! The habitat favored by these little guys makes for difficult fieldwork and their propensity to burrow renders this kind of encouragement a rarity. It was incredibly gratifying for us both to see that our labor is contributing in a real way to the future of a local endangered species. – Christine Healy, CWF Wildlife Biologist

Christine Healy holds a bog turtle.

I’m thankful for the amazing team of biologists I had the pleasure of leading during this year’s beach nesting bird season at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR and Horseshoe Island. Monitoring beach nesting birds is never an easy task, but this year’s field crew soldiered through long days, insufferable heat, swarms of greenhead flies, emotional nest losses, and argumentative beachgoers with so much positivity and determination. I’m so proud of all of the work they accomplished to protect some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable species. Thank you, Amy Kopec, Erin Foley, Lexie Lawson, and Dakota Bell! – Emmy Casper, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with students that are excited to learn about wildlife and passionate about helping wildlife. I’m very grateful to see a bright future with enthusiastic environmental stewards in New Jersey. – Rachel McGovern, CWF Education Director

Sixth grade students build water filters during a lesson on water quality.

I’m thankful for the opportunity and privilege to do bat research.  Bat mist netting surveys are an intense, hands-on experience that very few people get to be a part of.  It’s a significant moment to be able to hold a bat in hand, especially a species like the Northern long-eared bat that has a mere few hundred individuals remaining in New Jersey. – Meag Lyon, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to allow my two kids, Kaitlin (12) and Reed (11) to participate in my fieldwork. These one-of-a-kind experiences, many that include close encounters with rare wildlife, are bound to make an impact on their lives. I had many of these same experiences with my father that helped me get to where I am today. I think about this every day and I’m always looking to engage more youth in our fieldwork. – Ben Wurst, CWF Habitat Program Manager

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with CWF’s incredibly smart staff, especially my mentor Christine Healy who brought me in under the Pine Barren Tree Frog Project and has introduced me to new people, places, and wildlife species. I’m so grateful to help out where I can and look forward to assisting with future projects. – Connor Zrinko, CWF Intern

I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to take on multiple projects at CWF and to expand my knowledge and experience while working with a variety of different species. Performing bat surveys was my first taste of field work with wildlife during college. I absolutely loved it, and I’m grateful I was assigned to the bat team this past summer to mistnet for bats in the Pine Barrens after a few years’ hiatus. I was with a great team, made wonderful memories and caught many bats, including my favorite species – the Hoary Bat! – Sherry Tirgrath, CWF Wildlife Biologist

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2 Responses to “Ending the Year 2022 With Gratitude”

  1. Barb McKee says:

    I am thankful for all of the CWF biologists, interns, administrative staff, and board members who work so hard to protect our precious wildlife. Thank you, thank you, thank you sincerely!! It is an honor and privilege to work with you as a citizen-volunteer.

  2. Ben Wurst says:

    Thank you, Barb! We really appreciate all of your support!! 🙂

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