Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Species on the Edge’

Gov. Kean, Biologists Enliven Premiere for James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibit at D&R Greenway Land Trust

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Over 200 attend kickoff for three-year art exhibit scheduled for venues across New Jersey and New York

This weekend the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation attracted over 200 art and wildlife enthusiasts to the premiere showing of their Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition at D&R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton.

More than 200 supporters, including Governor Tom Kean (and four of our Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest winners), attended our Opening Reception for the premiere exhibition of Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition at D&R Greenway Land Trust on September 30th.

More than 200 supporters, including Governor Tom Kean (and four of our Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest winners), attended our Opening Reception for the premiere exhibition of Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition at D&R Greenway Land Trust on September 30th.

Former Gov. Tom Kean headlined the program, along with the nationally recognized artist Mr. Fiorentino, Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) executive director David Wheeler, and D&R Greenway president & CEO Linda Mead. CWF field biologists were also present to discuss their innovative work protecting and restoring the region’s vulnerable wildlife species, many species of which were featured in Mr. Fiorentino’s paintings, as well as a live peregrine falcon, the fastest animal on earth, displayed by Mercer County Wildlife.

The event also honored several 5th-grade winners of the statewide Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest, who were congratulated by the former Governor and Mr. Fiorentino before a cheering audience to conclude the program.

Crowd gathered at the art opening reception at D&R Greenway.

Crowd gathered at the art opening reception at D&R Greenway.

Mr. Fiorentino has painted 25 stunning watercolor images of at-risk wildlife species from New Jersey for this exhibition, from the bobcat and bald eagle to the Pine Barrens tree frog and little brown bat. The exhibition will travel around New Jersey and the Northeast over the next three years.

At 15, Mr. Fiorentino became the youngest artist to be featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame with paintings of baseball legends like Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ted Williams; his sports art has since graced national magazines and landed him in interviews with ABC World News Tonight and countless other news studios. Now 39, Fiorentino’s Conserve Wildlife Foundation exhibit is being hosted at D&R Greenway through October 14.

“Renowned as one of the best sports artists in the country, Jim’s works hang in major museums,” says Governor Kean, who met the artist while serving as president of Drew University—Fiorentino was a student there in the 1990s, when his sports figures started receiving national attention. He was featured on ABC World News and in The New York Times. “In recent years he has turned to wildlife. Jim has created an amazing body of work… Many of the creatures he paints are endangered, and Jim celebrates their uniqueness and beauty.”

Fiorentino’s realistic paintings depict some of the state’s most endangered and vulnerable species. Among other venues, the exhibition will be shown at Salmagundi Club at 47 Fifth Avenue in New York next spring.

“Mr. Fiorentino’s incredibly evocative artwork inspires viewers by reconnecting them with the natural world all around us,” says Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director and wildlife author David Wheeler. “His watercolor paintings help to educate and engage viewers about the precipitous declines that many of these vulnerable wildlife species have suffered, and helps us bring attention to the very tangible steps that people can take to save these species.”

Gov. Kean and Wheeler wrote the foreword and introduction, respectively, for the art exhibition hardcover book accompanying the exhibition. Through October, sales of the original paintings, limited edition digital prints, the exhibition book, and wildlife merchandise will benefit Conserve Wildlife Foundation and D&R Greenway Land Trust.

“The subject of disappearing New Jersey wildlife speaks directly to the work that we do to protect habitats,” says D&R Greenway President & CEO Linda Mead. “As an admirer of James Fiorentino’s artistic talent, I am thrilled that we were selected as the premiere venue for this exhibition.”

Fiorentino started painting animals when he was 10, and he later became a trustee for the Raptor Trust in Millington, N.J.

“We rehabilitate 4,000 wild birds a year and release about half that number,” says Fiorentino. “These wild birds have had a tremendous influence on me. I enjoy getting close to birds of prey, and it brought me back to nature art.” Before going back to his studio to paint the details, Fiorentino sketches the animals up close, sometimes holding them, taking in their details.

His two young sons enjoy being in nature, the oldest son joining his father to draw wildlife, especially butterflies—proving that humans, too, benefit from having wildlife in their midst. “I am awed by what we see in our own backyard: the Eastern box turtle, great horned owl, pileated woodpeckers, foxes, hawks and butterflies,” says Fiorentino. “It’s an amazing backyard ecosystem.”

Eastern Box Turtle by James Fiorentino.

Eastern Box Turtle by James Fiorentino.

Rare Wildlife Revealed: The James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibition is sponsored by Omni Distribution, LLC, Flying Fish Brewing Company, Merrill G. & Emita Hastings Foundation, Studio 7 Fine Art Gallery, and Somerset Patriots.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been a long-time partner with D&R Greenway, exhibiting our Species on the Edge fifth-grade art and essay contest winners annually in D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery. This year, the fifth graders art will be exhibited simultaneously with the Fiorentino exhibit.


For more information on James Fiorentino, please visit www.JamesFiorentino.com.
To learn more about CWF, please visit www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org.


Digital photos from the event are available upon request, as are high-resolution images of the original Fiorentino artwork.

Meet the Species on the Edge 2.0 Video Contest Winners!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Through CWF’s contest, high school students created videos to promote New Jersey’s wildlife

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

From left to right: CWF board member, PSEG executive Russ Furnari, CWF communications Manager Lindsay McNamara, first place winner Joseph Hernandez, third place winner Maya Ravichandran and PSEG Program Officer Lisa Gleason. Not pictured: second place winner Spencer Monhollen.

From left to right: CWF board member, PSEG manager Russ Furnari, CWF communications Manager Lindsay McNamara, first place winner Joseph Hernandez, third place winner Maya Ravichandran and PSEG Program Officer Lisa Gleason. Not pictured: second place winner Spencer Monhollen.

On Wednesday, June 1, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and sponsor PSEG celebrated and recognized the winners of the 2016 Species on the Edge 2.0 Video Contest, a statewide educational contest with a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus for New Jersey high school students.

 

The Species on the Edge 2.0 Video Contest invited students to submit an original video showing why wildlife protection is important in New Jersey. The contest showcased high school students’ interest in new media technologies, as well as their talent, creativity, and love of nature.

 

CWF’s 2016 first place winner and recipient of a $1,000 scholarship is Joseph Hernandez a senior in high school in Great Meadows, New Jersey. For the contest, Joseph created an impressive, captivating and informative video titled ‘The Secrets of Vernal Pools.’

Spencer Monhollen, CWF’s 2016 second place winner and $500 scholarship recipient is a sophomore at Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, New Jersey. For the contest, Spencer produced an excellent video focusing on New Jersey’s bog turtles.

CWF’s 2016 third place winner and $250 scholarship recipient Maya Ravichandran is a junior at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey. For the contest, she created a video which showcases a number of bird species throughout the Garden State and threats to their survival.

To learn more about our impressive and talented winners, visit our website.

 

The Species on the Edge 2.0 Video Contest scholarships were made possible by sponsor PSEG.

 

Since 2003, over 10,000 children from across New Jersey have entered Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Species on the Edge educational contests. The contests are a great way to engage and excite students into learning about New Jersey’s over 80 endangered and threatened wildlife species.

 

Learn more:

 

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

Fifth Graders from Across the State Honored for Art & Essays on New Jersey’s Rare Wildlife

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
2016 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Winners honored at Awards Ceremony

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

2015 Species on the Edge Winners with representatives from CWF and PSEG.

2016 Species on the Edge Winners with representatives from CWF, Wakefern, PSEG and GAF.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey celebrated and recognized the winners of the 2016 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest, a statewide educational contest open to all fifth-graders. The 14th annual contest encourages students to become wildlife biologists through their research and artwork on the endangered and threatened wildlife species in New Jersey.

 

“These talented children poured their hearts into the Species on the Edge contest, creating vibrant artwork and passionate essays about these rare wildlife species,” said David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “We are inspired to help connect the next generation of New Jersey conservation leaders with the natural world around them. Their art and essays illustrate the wonders of nature – and reveal many of the challenges we must overcome to help vulnerable wildlife survive in our densely populated state.”

 

Students were asked to draw a picture of one of New Jersey’s over 80 endangered and threatened wildlife species and compose an essay about how the animal became endangered and what can be done to help protect it. The Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest encourages students to learn about local environmental issues, express their concerns for the world around them, think creatively about ways to improve it, and to consider how their actions impact the natural world.

 

This year’s ingenious group of winners was honored at an awards ceremony which was hosted at the New Jersey Education Association, in Trenton, New Jersey. The contest was sponsored by PSEG, NJEA, GAF, Atlantic City Electric, Church & Dwight and ShopRite.

 

The statewide contest drew over 2,000 entries from across the state. Since 2003, over 10,000 children from across New Jersey have entered the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest.

 

Learn More:

 

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

Winners of the 2016 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
2016 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Winners Represented on New Story Map

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s 2016 Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest gave fifth grade students from across the state the opportunity to research an endangered species and submit a drawing and essay written from the animal’s perspective. Meant to support awareness of endangered species in students, the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest encourages fifth graders to think like wildlife biologists as they gather research and learn about pressing environmental issues. The results of this contest are the subject of our newest story map!

sote2016

This interactive map allows the user to click on icons to see participating schools, first and second winners from each county, and honorable mention entries. Scrolling through the text on the left side changes the content of the points on the map. A click on each map point brings up more information, like the number of classes from each school that submitted an entry. While scrolling through the list of winners, users can even click on the schools’ icons to bring up the students’ names, essays, and artwork.

The format of this story map is simple and easy to use, allowing for an interesting, interactive way to display the hard work of students across New Jersey.

Learn more:

395 Abandoned Crab Pots Removed from Barnegat Bay Estuary

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
CWF Spearheading Project to Recycle Dangerous Fishing Gear and Create Healthier Bay Ecosystem and Local Economy

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

A pile of abandoned crab pots before being processed at the WeCrab community day.

A pile of abandoned crab pots before being processed at the WeCrab community day.

Through a series of public and private partnerships, and with the help of the local fishing community, CWF is leading a project to inventory and remove more than 1,000 abandoned crab pots in Barnegat Bay. These derelict pots, lost from storms or cut lines, can have devastating impacts on the bay ecosystem and local economy.

 

A phenomenon referred to as “ghost fishing,” these traps will often continue to catch and kill marine life when abandoned, like the Northern diamondback terrapin and otherwise harvestable crabs. These lost harvests translate to economic losses for fishermen and the local community. The pots also disrupt navigation and damage sensitive ecosystems.

 

In the first year of our two year project, our partners removed 395 of these abandoned crab pots from the Barnegat Bay watershed, championed by local fisherman RJ Cericola and his crew. Almost 260 other pots were assessed but not recovered.

  • RJ Cericola: 204 abandoned crab pots removed
  • MATES: 103 abandoned crab pots removed
  • Stockton University: 64 abandoned crab pots removed (40 near Waretown and 24 near Mud Cove, Little Egg Harbor Bay, reflected in the map below)
  • Monmouth University: 24 abandoned crab pots removed
Abandoned crab pots recovered by Stockton University.

Abandoned crab pots recovered by Stockton University.

Starting in December 2016, we look forward to working with RJ Cericola, our new partner Jeff Silady — ReClam the Bay boat captain and local fisherman — and bringing on a commercial fisherman to reach our goal of 1,000 abandoned crab pots recovered.

 

Some of the recovered pots were stored at Stockton University Marine Field Station in Port Republic and were inventoried for data; broken down and recycled by volunteers this past Earth Day.

MATES students collecting data at community data.

MATES students collecting data at community day.

Scientists, students, commercial crabbers and other volunteers gathered on April 23rd for the WeCrab Community Day to record data, clean and prep the recovered derelict crab pots for recycling. The WeCrab Marine Debris Project is a partnership between the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and Stockton University.

IMG_7465

 

Volunteers collected data on condition, cause of loss, weight, among other points. We are working to understand the impacts of abandoned pots and their distribution, gather information on the percentage of pots lost annually and also develop a long-term reporting system for lost pots and other fishing gear. Information collected from recovered pots help aid these efforts.

 

CWF’s abandoned crab pot removal project is funded by NOAA’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant. We are proud to work with our partners at the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental ScienceMonmouth UniversityStockton UniversityReClam the Bay, and volunteers. Conserve Wildlife Foundation is also working on an outreach campaign to raise awareness on the impacts of derelict crab pots and marine debris with additional funding from the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.

 

Learn More:

 

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