Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Island Beach State Park’

Project RedBand Alumni Update!

Friday, July 8th, 2016
Osprey 44/C re-sighted at Island Beach State Park!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Project RedBand Osprey 44/C was re-sighted by Shayna Marchese on Island Beach State Park on July 3, 2016.

Project RedBand Osprey 44/C was re-sighted by Shayna Marchese on Island Beach State Park on July 3, 2016.

Really exciting news. For the first time this year, a (live and well) red banded osprey was re-sighted! 44/C was banded as a nestling on July 12, 2014 and photographed by Shayna Marchese on July 3, 2016 at Island Beach State Park. Young ospreys spend two years on their wintering grounds before returning to their natal areas. This is the first year that 44/C has returned to New Jersey. 44/C appears to be a male, and males have a higher level of site fidelity than females do, so they are more likely to return to the same area that they originated from. We aren’t surprised that one of our first red banded birds to be re-sighted in New Jersey was at Island Beach State Park, just outside Sedge Island Wildlife Management Area. For anyone who is not familiar with Sedge, it is the state’s most densely populated osprey colony in New Jersey. Around 30 pairs of ospreys nest at Sedge which is less than 3 square miles. (more…)

Moonlight Hikes and More at Island Beach State Park!

Friday, May 27th, 2016
New, exciting programs at Island Beach State Park this summer

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Full moon on the beach by Eric Hance.

Full moon on the beach by Eric Hance.

The Jersey Shore has changed immeasurably over the past century. But one place gives you the chance to recapture the beauty and wild feeling that once encompassed the entire coast – Island Beach State Park.

 

At Island Beach State Park, you can still find hands-on adventures along the Atlantic Coast and the Barnegat Bay. You can still be immersed in the nature of coastal beach dunes, maritime forest, and vast saltmarsh. You can still find wildlife like osprey, red fox, diamondback terrapins, piping plover, sea turtles, and an incredible array of fish and shellfish.

Red fox by Eric Hance.

Red fox by Eric Hance.

We are excited to partner once again with New Jersey State Parks and offer incredible programs about New Jersey’s natural world at Island Beach State Park.

kayak31-1170x500

Photo by Northside Jim.

Programs include:

surf-1170x500

Photo by Northside Jim.

A new feature has been added to the Moonlight Hikes this year. The hike will start in parking lot A13, through the thicket, over the dunes, onto the beach and the bonfire will be in front of the judges shack. A representative will be there to talk more about the shack’s history. The astronomers will be with us again this year too.

 

The Kayak Eco-Tour and the Sedge Islands Then & Now Tour have been merged into one program. The program is now called the Sedge Islands Eco-Tour and will be an all-encompassing kayak tour of the area.

 

Also new this year, Island Beach State Park has partnered with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to offer Mock Stranding events. There will be four this year, two mock dolphin strandings and two mock sea turtle strandings.

 

Make sure to point your browser to the new, Island Beach Nature Programs website. Check out the list of programs. Bookmark the site and share it with your friends! Make sure to include some awesome, educational outdoor recreational plans for your summer vacation along the Jersey Shore!

sunrise-1170x500

Photo by Ray Hennessy.


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

Providing a Safe Haven for Diamondback Terrapins

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
A Closer Look at Project Terrapin, a Growing Initiative that Focuses on Diamondback Terrapin Conservation

by Kiran Sinha, 2015 Project Terrapin Field Team Member and Wildlife Conservation Intern

Terrapin Hatchlings by Kiran Sinah

Terrapin Hatchlings by Kiran Sinha

Diamondback Terrapins are a species native to coastal marsh areas in New Jersey. Terrapins are an interesting species, in part because they are the only native New Jersey turtle that has adapted to marsh habitats. Diamondbacks have been spotted all over the Great Bay area, increasingly so in the Manahawkin-Long Beach Island area. Although their shells are extravagant and beautiful, sometimes it is hard to notice them in the water, especially when it is dark and murky. Terrapins can travel by water and land; neither is safer than the other in the busy water and road ways of Barnegat Bay.

 

Diamondbacks in New Jersey have had a high mortality rate due to impact from cars and boats. In fact, only one in fifty hatchlings survive to a full-grown adult. One teacher and terrapin conservationist is trying to change that. Dr. John Wnek is a teacher at M.A.T.E.S High School in Manahawkin. Dr. Wnek is an avid terrapin conservationist and he incorporates it into his schoolwork as much as possible. For the past few years he has been rescuing terrapins in the Barnegat Bay area. Whether they are hit by a boat, a car, or trapped in a net, Dr. Wnek is there to help. He has many terrapins in his classroom, mostly those that he rescues. He introduced his love for terrapins to his students and they have joined in to help with a growing initiative, Project Terrapin.

 

For this project, Dr. Wnek and his students distribute over one hundred terrapin hatchlings to coastal high schools and colleges in New Jersey. These students and teachers keep their turtles in the classroom and take care of them for almost a full school year. At the end of May every year, the students and teachers from each school join at Island Beach State Park to release the hatchlings into the Barnegat Bay. When the turtles are hatched in the wild, they sometimes do not even make it to the marsh water or bay. Predators, such as seagulls, can pick them up easily when they are so small.

 

With the help from the schools, the terrapins are well fed and kept clean from diseases so they can finally be set free in their new homes. A very important part of maintaining the hatchlings while in the classroom is keeping track of them after they are released. Since the little turtles are too small to tag, we perform a procedure called notching. This process is like filing a human finger nail; it is quick, simple and painless. To notch a turtle shell, we use a filer to leave indents in the shell. As you can see from the pictures below, turtles have keratin plates that make up the shell, called scutes. In order to mark them accordingly to the year, we correlate each scute with the letter of the alphabet. This year we used the letters N and O, you can see the scutes that are marked on the hatchling and turtle. Once this process is complete, we finally set our little buddies go to where they can thrive and reproduce. The goal of this project is to help replenish the diamondback terrapin population, with the help of Dr. Wnek and his students, the next generation of terrapin conservationists.

Photo by Kiran Sinah

Photo by Kiran Sinha

Learn more:

 

Kiran Sinha is a summer 2015 Wildlife Conservation Intern with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and a 2015 field team member for Project Terrapin.

First Trip to the Beach for Newark Students

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
50 Fifth Grade Students from Ann Street School in Newark Visit Island Beach State Park

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager 

Ann Street School students taking a "shellfie" on the beach.

Ann Street School students taking a “shellfie” on the beach.

Remember the awe and wonder of your first visit to the beach? For many fifth graders from Newark, they experienced just that feeling this summer thanks to Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) and PSEG.

 

Through CWF’s WILDCHILD program, over 50 fifth grade students from Ann Street School in Newark spent a day at Island Beach State Park and learned more about nature and human impact on New Jersey’s wildlife and environment.

 

The Ann Street School students were thrilled at the sight of an active osprey nest, observed through a spotting scope, as CWF’s Habitat Program Manager and osprey expert Ben Wurst detailed the amazing ongoing recovery of New Jersey’s osprey population. The students also went on guided maritime forest hikes, toured the Island Beach State Park Nature Center, and connected their everyday actions to the larger environment.

 

“There is nothing quite as evocative and inspiring for a child as spending a day at the seashore, feeling the sand under your feet with the tangy fragrances of salt marsh and surf,” said David Wheeler, CWF Executive Director. “This connection with nature, and chance to experience the abundant wildlife of Island Beach — from red foxes to horseshoe crabs to black skimmers — can help our next generation of outdoor leaders become engaged with the natural world around us.”

 

Island Beach State Park interpretive staff led enlightening programs on the beach, where many students collected shells and walked in the sand for the first time in their lives. Interpretive staff also took the Ann Street School students seining on Barnegat Bay, where they dragged a large seine net out into the bay. Students got to hold mud snails, minnows and hermit crabs, and microorganisms in learning firsthand about the marine life in Barnegat Bay.

 

“The visit to Island Beach State Park is a culminating experience for my students. They spend the year researching and learning more about wildlife for the Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest, and then the trip brings it all together. The trip is where they can see the different ecosystems and animals that we have talked about throughout the year,” stated Sharon Cardoso, Ann Street School Teacher. “The students look forward to WILDCHILD, it is an incentive for them and they are motivated to keep their grades up so they can attend.”

 

The WILDCHILD program is made possible by generous support from PSEG.

 

“The students involved in WILDCHILD traditionally do not have the opportunity to have access to green space. PSEG works with organizations like Conserve Wildlife Foundation to help engage children in environmental education,” said Russ Furnari, Manager, Environmental policy, PSEG. “Through the support of the PSEG Foundation, we work with Conserve Wildlife Foundation to help get kids out into nature to learn about endangered species and that teach them to protect nature and protect the environment.”

 

Learn more:

 

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

Exploring our Largest Undeveloped Barrier Island

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
New website promotes natural resources and recreational opportunities found at Island Beach State Park

By: Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Make sure to bookmark: www.islandbeachnatureprograms.org!

Make sure to bookmark: www.islandbeachnatureprograms.org!

Over the past few months, we have been working with interpretive staff at Island Beach State Park to develop a new website. The new website showcases the rich natural resources available to visitors of the Park. Daily and guided programs are offered throughout the summer, starting in June.

 

Programs include:

  • Daily programs include: daily beach walks and Seining (these are free)
  • Guided programs (cost between $5-25) include: Birding by Kayak, Surfing, Coastal Cooking, Kayak Eco-Tour, Beginner’s Surf Fishing Clinic, Clamming, Moonlight Hike, Nature Photography Seminars, and more!
  • And there are several nature programs just for kids (including toddlers)

 

Make sure to point your browser to the new, Island Beach Nature Programs website. Check out the list of programs. Bookmark the site and share it with your friends! Make sure to include some awesome, educational outdoor recreational plans for your summer vacation along the Jersey Shore!

 

Ben Wurst is the Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.