Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Local Scouts Learn about Reptile and Amphibian Conservation in Pursuit of Their Environmental Science Merit Badge

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

By Christine Healy

Wildlife biologist Christine Healy teaches the scouts about CWF’s work to protect the federally threatened bog turtle. Credit: Jim Kasprzak.

The classic justification for conserving wildlife is, of course, to protect diversity for future generations. While that’s not my go-to motivation for pursuing this line of work (I believe in the intrinsic value of nature and feel we are obligated to serve as good planetary stewards), I always feel over the moon when kids demonstrate the passion and interest in getting involved in this critical mission early on. When I received a request from Scouts BSA Troop #276 for assistance in earning their environmental science merit badge, I was eager to comply.

Earning a merit badge is no easy feat. It takes time and hard work, which is why attaining the rank of eagle scout, requiring the acquisition of at least 21 merit badges in addition to demonstrating leadership and service to the community, is such an achievement. For the environmental science badge, scouts must  1) study the history of the environmental movement in the US; 2) understand vocabulary relevant to wildlife, pollution, and green energy; 3) complete an activity relevant to seven of the following categories: ecology, air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, endangered species, pollution prevention, pollination, and invasive species; 4) complete a comparative study between two distinct habitat types; 5) practice drafting an environmental impact statement; and 6) research three career opportunities available in the field. Like I said, no easy feat, but Sebastian, Aidan, and Josh are up to the task.

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Joining CWF as the Education Director

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Hello! I would like to introduce myself as a new member of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey team. My name is Rachel McGovern, and I am joining CWF as the Education Director.  

I am a lifelong NJ resident and have always been passionate about environmental issues in the state. After completing my undergraduate degree in Human Ecology at Rutgers University, I spent a year in the Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program (NJWAP) where I first taught environmental education lessons. Since then, I have had wonderful experiences teaching at nature-based organizations across the state.

Most recently, I was the Program Director at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood, NJ. This center is located on a 150-acre forested preserve surrounded by dense development just minutes from the George Washington Bridge. At Flat Rock Brook, I led the education team in developing and delivering school programming, community events, and summer camp. I was also fortunate to take on the care of five non-releasable raptors—a job that deepened my admiration for all raptors in NJ (particularly falcons).

Josephine is a great-horned owl. She is an imprint, meaning she was raised by humans and now “identifies” with humans.
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Ridge Street School Kindergarteners Love Learning About New Jersey’s Wildlife

Monday, June 13th, 2022

The Kindergarteners at Ridge Street School in Newark, New Jersey, have been utilizing
Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Soaring with STEAM curriculum in their classrooms. From
snakes and turtles to whales and woodpeckers, the students are learning all about the endangered
species that call New Jersey home as well as the unique habitats in which they reside. Each
lesson includes hands-on activities to drive home what they have learned, with all materials
provided by CWF.
Students have enjoyed using their creativity to make each lesson activity their own! They have
been given the opportunity to build snake dens, design a habitat for their favorite animals, and
practice breathing like humpback whales. Kindergarten teacher Aracelys Muniz says students
look forward to these lessons each week and call their CWF lesson days the “Best day ever!”.
By providing positive experiences for students at such a young age in the realm of wildlife
sciences, we hope to engage with and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. Our
goal is for students to remember our lessons beyond the classroom, becoming excited to continue
learning on their own and sharing their knowledge with their friends, families, and communities.
CWF thanks PSEG Foundation, Victoria Foundation, The Merrill G. and Emita E.
Hastings Foundation, David A. and Carol B. Lackland Family Foundation, and the Zoological
Society of New Jersey for their generous support for our work with Newark Public Schools.

Shorebird Stewards Make A Difference

Sunday, May 29th, 2022

by: Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Since 2003 Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been coordinating the Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards. Shorebird Stewards are posted at the beaches with restricted access during the shorebird season. This is done so that the shorebirds can feed undisturbed on horseshoe crab eggs. The beach restrictions are from May 7th to June 7th. The Delaware Bay is an important stopover for these birds on their way north to their breeding grounds. Stewards educate the public about the need for the beach restrictions. Once most people learn about the connection between the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, they are more than happy to accept the restrictions. This season there were thirty-one stewards on 10 beaches in Cape May and Cumberland Counties. They are dedicated and on the beaches despite the weather, bugs and sometimes lack of shorebirds. Stewards are on beaches through Monday, so stop by and say “hello”.

Thank you Shorebird Stewards

Shorebirds on Thompson’s Beach, photo by: Matt Tribulski

Three healthy peregrine falcon eyases in Elizabeth!

Saturday, May 7th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Another season of growth and new life is here! As many species are beginning their annual life cycle to reproduce, some peregrine falcon pairs already have young. The eyases (young falcons) at the Union County Falcon Cam are a prime example. They are now a little over a week old and have been examined and treated for a pigeon borne disease, called trichomoniasis, which adult falcons can transfer to their young. If young falcons would get trich., then they could perish. Kathy Clark, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist, UC staff and colleague Cathy Malok, w/ The Raptor Trust visited the site to ensure the survival of this brood.

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