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Three New Jersey Women Recognized at Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

Friday, October 30th, 2015
MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, Tanya Oznowich honored at Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s 10th Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

 

Our Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held at Duke Farms, recognized three women – MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich – for their leadership in protecting wildlife in New Jersey. The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman served as the keynote speaker.

 

The Women & Wildlife Awards celebrated Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and imperiled wildlife species.

 

“The inspiring leadership of MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich not only benefits New Jersey’s wildlife and the countless people who care strongly for our outdoors – it provides successful role models for the next generation of girls in scientific fields that have for too long held a glass ceiling for young women,” said CWF Executive Director David Wheeler. “Their unparalleled dedication and hard work – like that of the Women & Wildlife honorees over the past decade – has helped make New Jersey a national leader in wildlife conservation.”

 

The three honorees were recognized individually with awards in Inspiration, Leadership, and Education:

MacKenzie Hall, a powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, who began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 before joining the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in 2014, is the recipient of the Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award. She has been involved in a number of projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds.

In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners into dedicated environmental stewards. What may be most remarkable about Ms. Hall is her ability to motivate the public and inspire non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

 

Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner Pat Hamilton has worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries since 1980. She is considered to be the champion for Eastern brook trout, the state’s only native salmonid, and a species once extirpated from over 50% of its historical habitat due to human impacts.

Ms. Hamilton is one of three fisheries biologists in New Jersey endeavoring to strengthen the state regulations to further conserve native brook trout streams. Thanks to her efforts, more than 200 northern New Jersey streams have been designated as Trout Production Streams, which afford the streams higher levels of state protection.

 

The recipient of the Women & Wildlife Education Award is Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.

Schools across New Jersey are incorporating environmental education into their curriculum, a new movement inspired by a growing awareness of environmental issues and our shared role in understanding and resolving them. To a large degree, this growing prominence is thanks to Tanya Oznowich. She has been engaging the public in natural resources since 1979. Since beginning her tenure with the NJDEP in 1988, she has dedicated herself to integrating environmental science into New Jersey’s classrooms, from kindergarten to college.

 

The Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held on Wednesday, October 28 at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, included a presentation of the awards to the recipients, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and a silent auction.

 

Learn More:

 

We gratefully thank our generous Eagle Sponsors who made the Women & Wildlife Awards possible: PSEG, Atlantic City Electric, Janice King and Bill Masonheimer, and Eric Sambol.

 

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Meet the 2015 Honorees: MacKenzie Hall, Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Wildlife Biologist Celebrated for Inspiring Non-Scientists of All Ages to Become Passionate Conservationists

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

A powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, MacKenzie Hall began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 and was been involved with projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds. What is most remarkable about Ms. Hall, however, is her ability to motivate the public to participate in these projects, inspiring non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

 
Ms. Hall has supported and participated in bat research projects throughout the state. She took part in colony monitoring, mist-netting, and banding, working through many nights in order to benefit these enormously important species. In 2012, she launched a “Bats in Buildings” program offering New Jersey homeowners bat-friendly “eviction” resources, as well as free bat houses for displaced colonies.

 

In addition to her involvement in bat conservation, Ms. Hall is a passionate advocate for New Jersey’s amphibians and reptiles. She worked to address amphibian mortality on state roads, teaming up with working groups to help species of frogs and salamanders safely cross roads during their spring breeding season. She successfully coordinated amphibian surveys throughout the state, a task requiring road closures, the cooperation of multiple municipalities, the recruitment and training of volunteers, and the willingness to work outdoors overnight on cold, rainy nights!

 
In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners alike into dedicated environmental stewards.

 

Join us to honor MacKenzie and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


We asked MacKenzie a few questions about what working in wildlife conservation means to her:

 

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

So much to do!  Somehow the day always ends with more on the to-do list than it started with.  Working statewide means a lot of ground to cover, a lot of emails to answer, and a lot of people to convince that the bats in their eaves aren’t looking to murder their family.  Every day is a different adventure, even if I never leave my desk.  Days that I actually get to spend up-close with animals or see our work making a difference – like finding kestrel eggs in a nest box we put up for them, or cupping a beautiful salamander in my hands and moving her to the safe side of the road – those are the little moments of glory that make it all feel so simple.  It’s also really great to work with people who look at the world the same way I do, and who I can keep learning from.

 

What do you find most challenging about your profession?

Same answer as the last one, I think.  This is work that’s never done.  We rarely get to clap our hands together and say, “Ok, that species is saved, who’s next?”  Most of our successes take years and years, a lot of educating others, a lot of help from others, and endurance.

 

Name one thing you can’t live without.

Sunshine…summertime.  These crisp October days feel clean and refreshing, but I don’t want to close the windows and put a coat on!  I want to bask in the sun like a turtle.  I want sand that’s almost too hot to stand on.  I want to run around in a tank top and pick berries and stay out in the balmy night in flip-flops, with frogs screaming from the trees.

 

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

Most of them live at or near some interface with the human world, because so much of New Jersey is covered in our footprints.  We’ve got falcons on skyscrapers and shorebirds raising their chicks between houses and beach umbrellas.  And yah, colonies of bats living up in the eaves.  There’s a sense of sharing, because we’re all trying to make the most of our little spaces.  We have so many chances to connect and commune with wildlife on common ground, if we just pay attention and learn to share nice.

 

Name one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

Figure out what you want the change to look like, and start with you.  Be a positive example for the people who are close to you, and they’ll help you pass it forward.  Don’t get too frustrated by the ones who don’t.


Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Pat Hamilton have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

 

This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.

 

Learn more:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Tracking a Federally Listed Bat Species across New Jersey

Friday, August 14th, 2015
An Update on CWF’s Northern long-eared Bat Statewide Mist Netting Surveys

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Female Northern long eared bat (c) Ethan Gilardi

Female Northern long eared bat (c) Ethan Gilardi

White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease, has devastated bat populations across the country. Over six million bats have been killed by the disease, which has spread to over 25 states and five Canadian provinces. The Northern long-eared bat is one of the species most affected by WNS, suffering from an overwhelming 99% reduction in numbers in WNS-affected areas.

Stephanie Feigin checks wing of a little brown bat for signs of white nose syndrome scarring. (c) Ethan Gilardi

Stephanie Feigin checks wing of a Northern long-eared bat for signs of white nose syndrome scarring. (c) Ethan Gilardi

As a result, in April 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Northern long-eared bat as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

 

This summer, CWF Wildlife Ecologist Stephanie Feigin teamed up with NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Rutgers University to conduct a statewide mist netting and radio telemetry project to learn more about the summer distribution and habitat selection of Northern long-eared bats; an important project that can shed light on a species we know all too little about.

 

Mist-netting surveys began the week of June 1 and continued through the beginning of August. Survey sites included five state parks and Wildlife Management Areas across the state:

  • Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area
  • Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area
  • Washington Crossing State Park/Alexauken Creek Wildlife Management Area
  • Brendan Byrne State Forest
  • Wharton State Forest

 

The team, directed by Feigin, conducted a total of 19 netting nights and 10 tracking days, leading to a total of 63 bats caught, four of which were Northern long-eared bats. All four of the Northern long-eared bats received radio transmitters and were tracked everyday until the transmitter fell off.

Female Northern long-eared bat with transmitter attached to her back. (c) Stephanie Feigin

Female Northern long-eared bat with transmitter attached to her back. (c) Stephanie Feigin

After a long night of netting (5pm-2am) the team would set out the next day to track the bat caught the night before. This, however, was not an easy task. The maximum distance the antenna can receive a signal from the transmitter is ¾ of a mile (in perfect conditions). Though tough, the team was able to track the bats to five different roost sites including under the cedar siding of two homes, a narrow four foot stump, a large standing dead pitch pine, and another pitch pine in a recently burned forested area.

 

The mist netting and tracking study allowed us to collect important data on Northern long-eared bat populations throughout New Jersey. The data collected on habitat requirements and roost locations will help guide our conservation decisions. Ultimately, the study will allow us to better protect the remaining population of Northern-long eared bats in the Garden State.

Amanda Bevan, Rutgers University graduate student, scans area with ATS scanning receiver and Yagi 3-element antenna for a signal from the transmitter (c) Stephanie Feigin

Amanda Bevan, Rutgers University graduate student, scans area with ATS scanning receiver and Yagi 3-element antenna for a signal from the transmitter (c) Stephanie Feigin

This work was made possible with the support from the Franklin Parker Conservation Grants, EarthColor, and the Conserve Wildlife Matching Grant Program. Thank you to our supporters!

Learn more:

 

Stephanie Feigin is a Wildlife Ecologist for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation Celebrates Bat Appreciation Day!

Friday, April 17th, 2015
Happy Bat Appreciation Day!

By: Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Today, Friday, April 17 is Bat Appreciation Day 2015. Join Conserve Wildlife Foundation in celebrating the beloved bats of New Jersey today and every day.

 

Bats are one of the most beneficial animals to humans. They provide important economic and ecological benefits from eating the bothersome pests like mosquitoes, to devouring the insects that also destroy our agricultural and forest land.

 

Bats save us millions of dollars in damage each year and play essential roles in keeping populations of night-flying insects in check. Just one bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in a short period of time, and large colonies catch tons of insects nightly.

 

Unfortunately, these amazing animals continue to face many threats including habitat loss and the devastating disease, White-nose Syndrome. White-nose syndrome, alone, can kill 90-100% of bats in affected caves.

 

Conserve Wildlife Foundation works hard to protect New Jersey’s bats through on-going research, education and outreach. We provide homes for evicted bats with our Bats in Buildings project as well as collect and record valuable data about the state’s bat population with our Summer Bat Count project, and our acoustic bat surveys.

 

New in 2015, Conserve Wildlife Foundation will conduct surveys to learn more about the summer distribution and habitat of Northern long-Eared Bats, a species listed under the Endangered Species Act this month.

 

Also this month, the Bat Cam bats have returned for the spring and summer! We are excited to follow this colony throughout the season and highlight special moments of their lives.

 

Today, on Bat Appreciation Day, consider supporting Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Bat Project. Help us help New Jersey’s bats not only survive, but thrive in the Garden State.

Stephanie Feigin is the Wildlife Ecologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Northern Long-Eared Bat Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announced Bat as Threatened, Primarily Due to White-Nose Syndrome

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Northern Long-Eared Bat © Lance Risley

Remember back in late November when we wrote a blog encouraging our supporters to help the Northern Long-Eared Bat become listed as an Endangered Species? Thanks to those of you who submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it was announced today that the Northern Long-Eared Bat will be listed as threatened and protected under the Endangered Species Act.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has cited declines caused by White-Nose Syndrome as well as continued spread of the disease, as the primary threat to the species. Under the protections of the Endangered Species Act, the Northern Long-Eared Bat now has increased priority for funds, grants, and recovery opportunities.

 

Also announced today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an interim 4(d) rule that will provide maximum protection to the Northern Long-Eared Bat in areas where their populations have drastically declined due to White-Nose Syndrome, but will limit regulatory burden on the public in parts of the country where the bat species is not affected by the disease and the populations are stable. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites the public to comment on this interim rule until July 1, 2015.

 

Learn more about the listing and 4(d) rule:

 

CWF Field Guide: learn more about the Northern Long-eared Bat

 

How Can You Help Protect Northern Long-Eared Bats?

  • Do Not Disturb Hibernating Bats
  • Leave Dead and Dying Trees Standing: Where possible and not a safety hazard, leave dead or dying trees on your property. Northern long-eared bats and many other animals use these trees.
  • Install a Bat Box: Dead and dying trees are usually not left standing, so trees suitable for roosting may be in short supply and bat boxes can provide additional roost sites.
  • Get involved with Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Bat Project!

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.