Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Ocean City’

Plover Power

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
Reflections Three Years into the Shorebird Sister School Network Program

by Stephanie Egger, Wildlife Biologist

Deep Creek Primary students with the migratory and wintering Piping Plover decal.

Deep Creek Primary students with the migratory and wintering Piping Plover decal.

As we begin to wrap up our third year of the Shorebird Sister School Network, we are able to reflect on how far we have come in just a short time. In our first year, we started with just one class at Amy Roberts Primary School (Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas), led by teacher Jan Russell, which was paired up with a class at Ocean City Intermediate School (Ocean City, New Jersey), led by teacher Deb Rosander. We presented the students with information on the full life cycle of the Piping Plover, commonly referred to as “our birds” in New Jersey. Really they are residents of The Bahamas, spending over half their life on the warm sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise water. Piping Plovers in The Bahamas,  in most cases, see less disturbance than what is experienced by plovers on their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.

 

We not only focus on breeding, migration, and wintering of the plovers, but the importance of their habitat to a suite of species. In The Bahamas, the tidal flats used by the Piping Plovers are of huge importance to the ecological value and economy of The Bahamas, as the flats are also used by bonefish, conch, and shark species. We had both classes conduct similar projects  interpretive signs placed on the breeding and wintering grounds  using their writing skills and original artwork. The students also participated in field trips where they learned how to use spotting scopes and binoculars to find and identify shorebirds.

Shorebird Sister School Network leaders and CWF biologists, Stephanie Egger and Todd Pover at Amy Roberts Primary School, one of the first sister schools in the program.

Shorebird Sister School Network leaders and CWF biologists, Stephanie Egger and Todd Pover at Amy Roberts Primary School, one of the first sister schools in the program.

Three years later, we still are teaching our core lessons, but have vastly expanded on the curriculum and projects, as well as extending the program onto another island, Eleuthera, which is just south of Abaco. We now are working with Cherokee Primary in the settlement of Cherokee Sound (Abaco) and Deep Creek Primary (Deep Creek, Eleuthera). We have continued working for the last three years with Amy Roberts Primary School and Ocean City Intermediate School. Back in the United States, we have added a second class from Ocean City, as well as the Leeds Avenue Elementary School Environmental Club (Pleasantville, New Jersey) led by Mary Lenahan. We’ve added new components to the curriculum such as bird anatomy, foraging differences between species of shorebirds, invasive species, habitat assessments (including macroinvertebrates) and marine debris.

 

We continue to implement interpretive signs as a project with classes that are in their first year of the program, but have come up with new and exciting projects to keep the students (and teachers) motivated and engaged to continue participating as a sister school. For example, during the second year we worked with Amy Roberts, we removed 1,500 Australian pine (Casuarina spp.) from Green Turtle Cay as it degrades the habitat for piping plovers and other species. We created a Piping Plover activity book complete with crossword puzzles, word searches, and mapping activities designed mainly by the students at Ocean City Intermediate School, Leeds Avenue Elementary School, and Amy Roberts Primary School. Because Cherokee Primary and Deep Creek Primary are new to the program this year we hope to have their students create interpretive signs, while the second and third year students in the Program may develop PSA-type videos this year and pen pal letters to their respective sister schools in the United States.

 

Throughout the year, each class receives one or two classroom lessons and a field trip. We keep busy during the few short weeks we have in The Bahamas; coordinating the field trips, conducting surveys, presentations, and working to continue to build and strengthen our existing relationships with partners, such as Friends of the Environment and local citizen scientists. This year, we’ve reached over 120 students in the program, both from the Bahamas and in the United States.

Official Shorebird Sister School Network Logo

 

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Shorebird Sister School Network is that we are able to provide lessons to the some of the same children throughout multiple years in the program, which strengthens the conservation messages we are trying to instill in the upcoming generations. We hope to foster a greater appreciation for wildlife, especially for the Piping Plover and its habitat, and inspire students to help now and later on in their lives as adults ensure the recovery and survival of the bird for years to come.

 

Learn More:

 

Stephanie Egger is a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Atlantic City Electric Holds Avian Protection Educational Event

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Details Measures Taken to Help Protect Wildlife and Improve Reliability

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo Credit: Atlantic City Electric. Pictured left to right are Ben Wurst, wildlife biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey; Ed Kaminski, senior supervising engineer, ACE; Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, ACE; and Mike Garrity, senior supervising scientist, ACE.

Photo Credit: Atlantic City Electric. Pictured left to right are Ben Wurst, wildlife biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey; Ed Kaminski, senior supervising engineer, ACE; Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, ACE; and Mike Garrity, senior supervising scientist, ACE.

Atlantic City Electric (ACE), in collaboration with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, recently held an Avian Protection Educational Event to promote a better understanding of how Atlantic City Electric helps protect birds and other animals, while also helping improve electric service reliability for customers.

ACE environmental scientists Cristina Frank and Mike Garrity detailed the various types of migratory and breeding birds that may perch or nest on power lines, including ospreys, which frequently nest on utility poles. They discussed various types of devices placed on wires and other infrastructure designed to minimize the risk of birds and other wildlife from coming in contact with electric wires and equipment.

“Hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through Cape May County each year,” said Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, Atlantic City Electric and head of the company’s Avian Protection Program. “We conduct field studies to determine areas throughout Cape May County and our entire service territory to determine which areas are of the greatest risk to birds and other wildlife.”

ACE senior supervising engineer Ed Kaminski explained how avian protection is an integral part of the design phase before constructing any new infrastructure projects or upgrading existing infrastructure.

“We are in constant communication with our environmental team, and, when necessary, we’ll enhance our infrastructure to minimize the risk to birds while helping reduce the number of related power outages to create a more reliable electric system for customers,” Kaminski said.

Atlantic City Electric recently completed infrastructure enhancements in Cape May, Ocean City and Strathmere, N.J., that addressed risks to avian wildlife. As a result, the company has not seen any bird-related incidents since in these areas.

Also as part of the event, Ben Wurst, a wildlife biologist with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, discussed the foundation’s role in helping manage and protect ospreys through man-made nesting platforms that provide a safer nesting alternative than utility poles. ACE partners with Conserve Wildlife to identify and address risks to birds throughout its service territory.

Birds routinely use power line poles and towers as perches to establish territorial boundaries, nest, hunt, rest, find shade and feed. Utility poles often provide perching or nesting opportunities in areas where few natural perches or nest sites can be found. If the configuration and location of utility structures are in areas where birds are attracted by favorable habitat or are in a migratory path, the chance of electrocution and/or collisions increase.

Learn more:

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

The race is on!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Ospreys are back and in need of nesting platforms

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

As you may know, ospreys are returning to New Jersey from their wintering grounds in the tropics. Most North American ospreys winter in N. South America, with large concentrations in Columbia. Our “jersey birds” are unaware that our coast was devastated by a huge post-tropical storm in late October last year. Some might be coming home to nests that were damaged or lost to Superstorm Sandy. We’re working diligently to replace or repair any and all platforms that were damaged by the storm. Last week we replaced the first nesting platform in Ocean City. We were lucky to have met a local filmmaker who put together this short film.

Osprey platforms faired well after Sandy

Monday, November 26th, 2012
Post-storm surveys and reports from public equal a sigh of relief!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

No doubt the effects of superstorm Sandy will be felt for a long time, especially to residents of coastal areas who experienced flooding with the associated storm surge. During the past two hurricanes, Irene last August and now Sandy, I was really worried that a lot of osprey nesting platforms would get damaged or lost during the storms. Luckily my worries didn’t become reality! So far most nesting platforms are still standing strong despite a 15′ storm surge with sustained winds of at least 70-80mph. I’ve heard of a few structures that have fallen down. Most were probably ones that were older structures that were constructed poorly or installed too close to the edge on the saltmarsh. Over the next couple weeks we’re planning on getting out to other colonies to survey for damage caused by Sandy.

An osprey platform after superstorm Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey.

  • Subscribe!

    Enter your email address to subscribe to the Conserve Wildlife Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Support Conserve Wildlife Foundation

    Support our efforts to protect New Jersey’s rarest animals, restore important habitat, and foster pride in New Jersey’s rich wildlife heritage.

    Join - Donate - Adopt a Species
  • Recent Comments