Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Conserve Wildlife Foundation’

Happy World Snake Day!

Friday, July 15th, 2022

by Christine Healy

An eastern garter snake stands out amongst fallen beech leaves. Photo Credit: Nikki Griffiths

July 16th is World Snake Day! This day of recognition was established to increase awareness
and raise appreciation for these most polarizing of creatures. People tend to have an extreme
opinion when it comes to snakes; They are loved and revered by some, loathed and vilified by
many. Mythology, religion, and pop culture are riddled with snake imagery and, though these
media sometimes align them with healing, transformation, and fertility, they often proliferate a
connection between them and evil intentions. Whether learned or not in Greek legend, the
Medusa, with her living locks, is universally recognizable and her beheading is counted among
the greatest achievements of the hero, Perseus. Norse stories give us Jörmungandr, the
serpent son of Loki, hated by and responsible for the death of his uncle, the beloved god Thor.
The Bible symbolizes the devil himself as a snake in the Garden of Eden and, in this form,
provides the temptation responsible for original sin in Christian teachings. More recently, we
watched as ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) became the Achille’s heel of everyone’s favorite
archeology professor, Indiana Jones, and read about how the ability to communicate with
snakes was a defining characteristic of Lord Voldemort, the most notorious dark wizard of all
time.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that works such as these are responsible for a negative public
perception of snakes. Rather, I think they capitalize on a rampant unease associated with
snakes to encourage their audience to sympathize with the protagonist. The truth is, snakes can
be dangerous, particularly if they are venomous. Snakes can and do kill people, sometimes
stealthily, which defies our view of humans as the universal apex predator. This, naturally,
instills anxiety. But it’s also not the full story.

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Photos from the 2022 Eagle Nesting Season

Monday, July 11th, 2022

By: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I asked the Eagle Project volunteers to send me their one favorite photo from the 2022 eagle nesting season. Enjoy the eagle nesting season through the eyes of the nest monitors. (click on the photos to enlarge and view details)

Protecting Flood-Prone Communities Through Wetland Restoration

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

by Christine Healy

Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Irene. Superstorm Sandy. These weather events represent three of the four most devasting storms recorded in New Jersey history. Though data dates back 218 years, all 3 have occurred within the past 11, substantiating concerns over the effect of climate change on tropical cyclone severity. Therefore, taking measures to safeguard communities from devastating floodwaters is more important now than it ever has been. But who said helping people can’t, in turn, help wildlife?

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Grassland Bird Survey Yields Promising Results

Friday, May 20th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon

Earlier this week CWF and USFWS biologists joined forces to start off the season with a grassland bird survey in Burlington County, New Jersey. The vast grassland habitat, doubling as an airfield, is home to the state endangered upland sandpiper, state threatened grasshopper sparrow, savannah sparrow, and bobolink, as well as the eastern meadowlark, a species of concern. These bird species, among many others, can all be found nesting at this site in the clumps of grass during the months of May, June, and July. Many of the management practices at the airfield, like consistent mowing, help maintain this grassland habitat and keep it an early successional state for grassland birds to nest in year after year.

For the survey, biologist met on site just before sunrise with binoculars hanging from their necks and clipboards with data sheets in hand. Male birds were already perching on tall blades of grass and singing to attract mates and defend territory as we dispersed to our survey points. At each point it was our job to distinguish what bird song and calls we were hearing and record any focal species activity onto our data sheets.

Between the three surveyors and 25 survey points, all of the target species were identified as well as hundreds of red-winged black birds, two great egrets, and a few mallard ducks. Of particular note, one upland sandpiper pair was sighted in its usual nesting area.

Three more surveys will follow between now and the end of the grassland bird nesting season. Follow along for updates throughout the season!

Restored Garden is Ready for Wildlife at Watchung Reservation

Friday, May 6th, 2022

by Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has successfully completed the restoration of the Certified Wildlife Habitat behind the Trailside Nature and Science Center at Watchung Reservation. The project was initiated last fall with a major clean up of the overgrown and neglected garden. The cleanup included pulling weeds, digging up unwanted and overgrown plants, trimming shrubs and trees, clearing vines from trees, and raking and blowing leaves. As a result, sunlight was let into the garden so that new wildlife-friendly plants could be added. After the cleanup, new native shrubs were planted that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds. A new deer fence was also installed to protect the plantings from deer browse. 

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