Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’

Meet the 2015 Honorees: Tanya Oznowich, Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Ms. Oznowich Recognized for Championing Environmental Education in New Jersey for Over Three Decades

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

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, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.


Ms. Oznowich earned her Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation/Interpretive Sciences from Slippery Rock University in 1981 and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Delaware Valley College in 2004. 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.


In addition to her role as a program developer, Ms. Oznowich is also a workshop facilitator, public speaker, environmental educator, and a grant writer. For her accomplishments in bringing environmental education to so many classrooms and communities, she has been honored by numerous state and non-profit agencies, including the New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Society for Women in Environmental Professions.


Join us to honor Tanya 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 Tanya a few questions about what working in environmental education means to her:


Name one thing you can’t live without.

I cannot live without experiencing nature. To see and smell it, listen to it, explore it in different seasons, different types of weather and different times of day and night; to walk, drive, paddle, sit or sleep in it. It is soothing, intriguing and invigorating. In it I find my God and my truest self.


What do you find most challenging about your profession?

In social studies elementary students learn about home, community and responsibility. In science they learn about the basic needs of animals and plants and the life-sustaining connections that we have with water, air, shelter, energy and land; then, the depth and breadth of what students must know and be able to do swallow these up. We each have an intimate relationship with our surroundings – we each are part of the Earth’s natural systems. This is our common ground and it beckons us to act as “we” societies instead of “me” individuals. I am grateful that green practices and sustainability have entered our worlds of education, business, development and government; our relationship with Earth systems must be considered and understood in all we do.


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

I have always been driven by passion and commitment but this is now fueled by excitement. I believe that education about the environment is a necessity. Is it becoming more common in New Jersey schools? Yes! There are increasing examples of it to being woven into science, social studies, health, the arts – all subjects and all grades. Many schools offer specialized courses and utilize outdoor classrooms, gardens, stewardship and citizen science projects. We have growing programs for green schools, eco-schools, healthy schools, urban schools and sustainable schools. Colleges and universities are pursuing similar initiatives and sustainability programs for businesses, municipalities and faith-based organizations are on the rise; and, nature-based pursuits are doing battle with our uses of technology. Do we still have barriers, challenges and needs to confront? Yes; but our environmental education efforts are taking hold and producing results, and the push for sustainability is strong.


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

Embrace the value of what you believe in, determine a course of action, and then begin; as Nike says, “Just Do It.”


What interests you the most about New Jersey wildlife?

Watching wildlife fascinates me and I love to sit still and quiet in nature to wait, watch and listen for the wildlife that eventually creeps, crawls, flies or swims by me. I love to look under rocks and logs and collect bugs from streams; to examine nests and tracks and turn over the soil to see what moves. What interests me most about wildlife is that wildlife captivates people of all ages. For many of us, they are the ambassadors to nature. I admire and appreciate the work of New Jersey’s wildlife experts who have the passion and commitment to study, protect and manage our diverse wildlife populations.

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 Tanya Oznowich, Pat Hamilton, and MacKenzie Hall 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.

Help Clean-up the Barnegat Bay Watershed!

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Barnegat Bay Blitz set for Wednesday, June 3, 2015

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Barnegat Bay

Concerned about the health of the Barnegat Bay ecosystem? Consider participating in a day of action for the Bay! The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be hosting its next Barnegat Bay Blitz clean-up day on Wednesday, June 3.


You can join thousands of volunteers as they fan out across the watershed, which includes all of Ocean County amd parts of Monmouth County, to clean up the Barnegat Bay Watershed and spread awareness about the people pollution impacting the Bay. Clean-up events are happening in all 37 municipalities!


To register for a clean-up, visit DEP’s website.


Barnegat Bay Blitz highlights include:

  • DEP Commissioner Bob Martin will be kicking off this year’s Barnegat Bay Blitz at the iconic Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Hundreds of volunteers will gather at this one location to learn about the Bay and start a day full of awesome stewardship activities. Take part in the fun at 10 AM on June 3rd at the Lighthouse! To volunteer, visit DEP’s website.
  • In the middle of Barnegat Bay, there are many small islands called Sedges. These islands are home to a number of species of plants and animals, but unfortunately are impacted by litter that the tide washes in. Volunteers by boat, kayak and standup paddle board will make their way out to many of these islands, including Island Beach State Park, Seaside Heights and Brick to sweep them clean of debris. Get involved!
  • It’s not just the bayfront communities that impact Barnegat Bay. Communities miles and miles inland also play a role. After all, we are all downstream! That is why at the Barnegat Bay Blitz, volunteers will work to clean up all over the watershed, from inland areas of Plumsted to the barrier islands. In Plumsted, a farming community, volunteers include more than just people! Llamas will also join the crew to help haul out trash and debris that volunteers collect from the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management area. To make friends with llamas, register for the Plumsted clean-up on DEP’s website.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, June 3, for DEP’s next Barnegat Bay Blitz!


Questions? Feel free to contact:

New Jersey Ospreys Banded for Scientific Study at All Time High

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Releases Results of 2014 Osprey Report

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Three Osprey Young Wearing Red Bands. Photo by Ben Wurst.

Three Osprey Young Wearing Red Bands. Photo by Ben Wurst.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) today released the 2014 Osprey Project Report, highlighting the number of nesting pairs, active nests and nest productivity for the raptors throughout New Jersey with data collected by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists, CWFNJ biologists and dedicated volunteers. A new all-time high number of young osprey were banded for future tracking.


“The comeback of these magnificent birds continues to inspire us, especially in combination with the parallel recoveries of bald eagles and peregrine falcons,” said David Wheeler, CWF Executive Director. “Ospreys depend on a strong fish population and healthy waters, so they are a strong indicator of our recovering coastal and inland waters in New Jersey.”


To keep track of the health of New Jersey’s osprey population, biologists and volunteers conduct surveys each year. These surveys focus on the most densely populated colonies of nesting ospreys in New Jersey. From the Meadowlands to Cape May and along Delaware Bay, a sample of each area is recorded. The data is used to determine the health of the population. While surveys are conducted, osprey nestlings are also banded with United States Geological Survey (USGS) bird bands for future tracking.


2014 Report Highlights:

  • In 2014, 420 active osprey nests were recorded. A total of 25 new nests were recorded this year.
  • With this data and last year’s census, the overall 2014 population is estimated at 567 pairs, up from 542 pairs in 2013.
  • 339 known-outcome nests fledged an average of 2.02 young per active nest, which is a slight increase from 1.92 in 2013.
  • A total of 526 young, a new all-time high, were banded by volunteers and staff with USGS leg bands for future tracking.


This season, weather conditions and prey availability were favorable for ospreys. Temperatures and precipitation were both average this summer. A common item in New Jersey osprey diet continues to be Atlantic Menhaden. The productivity of the ospreys is dependent on the health and abundance of coastal fisheries.


To help engage citizen scientists for the first time in over 20 years, young ospreys have been marked with an auxiliary color band in New Jersey. The new band, which is a red anodized aluminum rivet band, bears an alpha-numeric code. This coded band allows birders, osprey watchers and wildlife photographers the ability to identify individual birds. This new project, “Project RedBand” is focused on ospreys that nest in the Barnegat Bay watershed from Point Pleasant to Little Egg Harbor.


“The use of the auxiliary ‘red bands’ will help us learn a lot about the ecology of ospreys nesting on Barnegat Bay,” stated CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst. “Project RedBand will also help us engage local communities in osprey conservation and management by encouraging citizens to report re-sightings of banded birds. We are hopeful that this project will instill in New Jersey residents a long lasting appreciation for birds of prey and the habitat they require to survive.”


Learn More:

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