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What’s Happening at Waterloo?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

By Allegra Mitchell, CWF Biologist

 

Waterloo Village in Byram Township, Sussex County is more than a tourist attraction and local gem, it is also home to the largest cross-road amphibian migration in New Jersey. Each spring, frogs, toads, and salamanders stir from their hibernation to make their way to their breeding sites. Some of these sites, like the one at Waterloo, are vernal pools – small, temporary bodies of water that appear in early spring as snow melts and rain and groundwater gathers, and disappear throughout the summer as they evaporate. The ephemeral nature of these pools can’t support fish, which would prey on amphibian eggs and larvae. Vernal pools therefore provide some protection for amphibian offspring, with many species such as wood frogs and spotted and Jefferson salamanders – both of which are listed as New Jersey species of Special Concern – relying exclusively on these vernal pools for breeding.

 

 

The greatest challenge for amphibians breeding at Waterloo Historic Village is crossing Waterloo Road. Living in the most densely population state takes a toll on many species of wildlife in the form of habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. Each year, many amphibians become victim to vehicular collision as they move from their hibernation sites across Waterloo Road to the vernal pool in which they reproduce. Amphibians may be disproportionately affected by vehicle-caused road mortalities compared to other wildlife because of their tendency to migrate en masse to breeding sites. These annual road mortalities can have devastating effects on amphibian population sizes, especially for the local at-risk salamander populations. In fact, as little as about 10% annual risk of road mortality in spotted salamanders can lead to the local extinction of an entire population.

 

Wood Frog eggs. Photo courtesy of MacKenzie Hall.

To address this problem, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) and the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) organized amphibian rescue efforts. Since 2002, dedicated volunteers have assisted frogs, toads, and salamanders across Waterloo Road during the busiest migration nights. This aid has proven effective in reducing amphibian road mortalities, but it is not a permanent solution to the problem. Efforts are underway to construct under-road tunnels to help guide amphibians safely across Waterloo Road. These tunnels will provide safe passage for these critters throughout the breeding season, including on their migration back into the woods where they will hibernate. Since this return migration is more sporadic and less weather-dependent than migration to the vernal pool, it is much harder to protect amphibians as they make their way back to the forest.

 

 

This year, CWF scientists have begun the initial phases of research to understand current amphibian population sizes and the impact of vehicle traffic on these animals at Waterloo. Scientists and volunteers have been out 7 days a week since amphibian migrations began in late February to tally daily roadkill on Waterloo Road. This study will be used to evaluate changes to frog, toad, and salamander populations as the under-road amphibian tunnels are installed. CWF scientists have also conducted egg mass counts in the vernal pool at Waterloo Village to estimate the current population sizes of the different amphibian species in the area. Having this knowledge will allow CWF to improve on future projects to minimize road-related human-wildlife conflicts.

 

Spotted Salamander egg mass. Photo courtesy of MacKenzie Hall.

Along with improving conditions for amphibians in this location, CWF’s work at Waterloo Village will serve as an example of New Jersey statewide initiatives to reconnect wildlife habitat as a part of the Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ) program. The goal of CHANJ is to make our state landscapes more permeable to wildlife movement so that all of New Jersey’s residents – human and wildlife – will have the space they need to thrive.

 

In an effort to bring people and wildlife together in a positive way at Waterloo Village, CWF scientists are leading educational walks for the public and local schools. Through hands-on interaction, local residents can learn about and appreciate the remarkable wildlife right in their own back yards and what they can do to support conservation efforts.

 

All New Jerseyans can help wildlife this season by planting native plants for their gardens, building bat boxes where bats can roost, and, of course, by keeping an eye out on the roads, especially on warm, rainy nights when amphibians might be migrating.


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Allegra Mitchell is a biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

James Fiorentino returns to NYC with wildlife art exhibition at Salmagundi Club on April 4

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

His sports art long celebrated at Baseball Hall of Fame and other venues, Fiorentino’s wildlife watercolor exhibition arrives in NYC with free reception

Nationally celebrated artist James Fiorentino has been celebrated for his iconic paintings of New York sports icons like Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, and Odell Beckham, Jr. Now Mr. Fiorentino returns to New York City with a new muse for his prodigious talents – the vulnerable, oft-overlooked wildlife of the metropolitan area.

“Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition” will make its New York City debut at the historic Salmagundi Club during the week of April 2-8, 2017. A free reception will be held on Tuesday, April 4 from 6-8 PM at the Salmagundi Art Club Patrons’ Gallery, located at 47 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10003.

Offered by the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation, the exhibit is part of a three-year traveling exhibition around the northeastern United States that kicked off this past fall.

(more…)

Duke Farms’ Tanya Sulikowski Honored for her Conservation Education

Monday, November 21st, 2016

By Mara Cige

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

We had the pleasure of interviewing our 2016 Women & Wildlife Education honoree, Tanya Sulikowski, and are pleased to share some excerpts below.

As a Program Manager at Duke Farms, 2016 Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner Tanya Sulikowski works tirelessly to connect New Jersey’s people and wildlife. A champion in environmental education, she hosts hands-on creative projects that include bird banding and monitoring, as well as rain gardens and barrels just to name a few. However, Ms. Sulikowski considers her creation of the Teen Action and Leadership Opportunities for Nature program to be her greatest professional achievement because it inspires urban students to make lifestyle changes that incorporate their newly discovered love of nature. Her reach has extended statewide through her various roles within the Alliance for NJ Environmental Educators, where she currently serves as Vice President. (more…)

Barnegat Bay Partnership’s Martha Maxwell-Doyle Honored for her Inspiration in Coastal Restoration and Management

Monday, November 14th, 2016

By Mara Cige

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Martha Maxwell-Doyle, 2016 Inspiration Award Winner

We had the pleasure of interviewing our 2016 Women & Wildlife Inspiration honoree, Martha Maxwell-Doyle, and are pleased to share some excerpts below.

Currently working at the Barnegat Bay Partnership as a project coordinator for estuary protection and restoration, Ms. Maxwell-Doyle’s years of experience at multiple national estuary programs has made it second nature for her to implement conservation and management plans. Her professional and personal partnerships help advance the ability to survey, restore, and monitor coastal communities such as the Barnegat Bay shorelines. (more…)

US Biologist Wendy Walsh Honored for her Conservation Leadership

Monday, November 7th, 2016

By Mara Cige

wendy_walsh

Wendy Walsh, 2016 Leadership Award Winner

As a Senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2016 Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner  Wendy Walsh has proven herself invaluable in the endangered species field for her work with wildlife such as the piping plover, swamp pink, and seabeach amaranth. Her most notable work is with the red knot. Ms. Walsh took the species lead in the middle of the federal listing process. Her tireless efforts coordinating, analyzing and interpreting data, particularly detailing the effects of changing climate on these long-distance migrant shorebirds has made her work widely acclaimed as the final rule. From biology to policy, she has an uncanny ability to grasp important information and translate it for any species she finds herself working with. She has created partnerships with additional organizations to accelerate conservation efforts. In such collaborations, Ms. Walsh’s open-mindedness to others’ expertise makes for effective planning and implementation of the vision she has to one day recover all threatened and endangered species.

Join us to honor Wendy and the two other 2016 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, November 30th beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


CWF asked Wendy a few questions about what working in wildlife rehabilitation means to her:

 

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

“Engagement with the work. Of course there are those mundane tasks we all have, but in general I find my work highly engaging. Sometimes when I’m at home, I’ll think of some new resource or approach to a conservation problem I’ve been working on — then I can’t wait to bring that idea to the office and try to apply it. When it works, my job can also be very rewarding.”

 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

“I love that I’m constantly learning something new. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to learn about and observe so many species, and I’ve had the chance to really get to know a few in particular — piping plovers, seabeach amaranth, bog turtles, swamp pink, and red knots. And I’ve had the opportunity to work on such a wide range of issues — utility lines, transportation, mitigation, stormwater, beach nourishment, bird collision, volunteer programs, restoration, fishery management, listing, and most recently aquaculture. I’m very fortunate to have a job where there is always a new learning opportunity on the horizon.”

 

Do you have a New Jersey wildlife species that you like best? Why?

“From a non-scientific point of view, I love watching dragonflies and wading birds with my kids, and taking the family to count and tag horseshoe crabs. But professionally, I’m partial to the beach species I’ve worked on — piping plovers, red knots, seabeach amaranth. I enjoy the beach ecosystem, and I feel a responsibility to these beach-dependent species that face so many challenges along New Jersey’s human-dominated coast.”

 

What interests you the most about New Jersey’s wildlife?

“I’m fascinated at the contrast between New Jersey’s really remarkable habitats and ecosystems in the context of our equally remarkable human population density. Generations of pioneering conservationists from past decades have allowed our State’s wildlife to persist even with so many people. I view our generation — and my kids’ — as stewards of that conservation legacy.”

 

 What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

“I love spending time with my family, such as taking trips with my husband, Mac, and two daughters, as well as time with extended family — Mom, brothers, cousins. I enjoy working with my kids’ Girls Scout troops and helping at their schools.”


Please join us on Wednesday November 30, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Duke Farms’ Coach Barn to honor the contributions that Wendy Walsh, Martha Maxwell-Doyle, and Tanya Sulikowski have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

We are excited to recognize the leadership and inspiration they provide for those working to protect wildlife in New Jersey. Women & Wildlife will also celebrate the timeless and inspiring journeys of wildlife migration in New Jersey and beyond.

 

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