Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife education’

Costume parade and live wildlife highlight Leonardo Nature Center grand opening

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

by David Wheeler

Witches, ghosts, ghouls, bats – and even dogs in costume – helped celebrate the grand opening of the new Nature Center, a partnership between Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) and the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.

Over 200 people visited Leonardo State Marina on a gorgeous autumn afternoon to enjoy the Halloween costume contest, pet parade, pumpkin painting, and light refreshments.

 

Yet the tiniest creature of all may have been the most memorable –

CWF Wildlife Ecologist Stephanie Feigin teaches children about the big brown bat.

a live big brown bat. CWF wilflife ecologist Stephanie Feigin showed the rapt families the unique adaptations that allow bats to fly, roost, and use sonar, as well as the surprising skeletal similarity between a bat’s wing and a human hand.

 

Maggie Mitchell, Superintendent at Leonardo State Marina, had this to say, “The Marina’s new Nature Center and partnership with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ will provide continued education to the Bayshore Area and expand on our presence in the community, many residents were grateful for this event and we look forward to hosting additional events in the future.”

Stephanie Feigin, CWF wildlife ecologist, Stephanie DAlessio, CWF Education Director, and Maggie Mitchell, Superintendent at Leonardo State Marina.

 

This partnership is designed to educate the public about important coastal habitat and diverse wildlife species that utilize the Raritan Bayshore area.  The grand opening allowed visitors of the center to get up close and personal with both local species like diamondback terrapins, and invasive species like the red eared slider. In addition to those two turtle species, the Nature Center also hosts a corn snake, bearded dragon, touch tanks and other activities for children to enjoy.

 

“Children and adults alike are often amazed to find out some of the wildlife species that live right in their backyards and neighborhoods – and now our Nature Center allows visitors to experience those incredible animals up close,” said CWF Director of Education, Stephanie DAlessio. “We are so excited to create a new generation of environmental stewards to help protect our coastal habitat and the wildlife that shares it with us – all while having fun connecting local families to nature.”

 

Just south of New York City, New Jersey’s Raritan Bayshore hosts an impressive wildlife diversity for such a densely populated metropolitan area. Leonardo State Marina is located in the Leonardo section of Middletown in Monmouth County, west of Sandy Hook and just north of Route 36.

 

The Nature Center is open daily from 10 am to 3 pm, with extended hours until 6 pm on Fridays. CWF and Leonardo State Marina also offer school field trips, summer programs, and special events throughout the year.

You can learn more about the Nature Center at or to inquire about school or community programs, call 732-291-2986 or email Stephanie DAlessio at Stephanie.dalessio@conservewildlifenj.org.

 

 

David Wheeler is the Executive Director of Conserve Wildlife Foundation and the author of Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the Garden State.

In season for giving, donor helps wildlife supporters double their gifts

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

DONATIONS TO BENEFIT CWF WILDLIFE EDUCATION PROGRAMS

By Emily Hofmann

Newark 5th-graders enjoy a day at the beach exploring nature as part of CWF’s WILDCHILD Program for underserved youth.

Connecting kids with the natural world around them does wonders for their health and self-esteem, builds leadership skills, and often fosters a love of science at a very young age.

And nothing awakens that environmental awareness like wildlife!

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s exciting hands-on programs – classroom presentations, field trips, live wildlife, and webcam lessons – teach children about the state’s rare wildlife and the need to protect it. And while some schools can cover the costs of these lessons, far too many can’t afford programs and field trips.

Through December 31, all donations to Conserve Wildlife Foundation to support our education and outreach to under-served schools will be generously matched by the Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation. This will greatly strengthen CWF’s ability to provide equitable opportunities for children in at-risk areas to become environmental stewards.

Thanks to that generosity, a donation of $25 will be worth $50, and a donation of $100 will be worth $200.

Learning about the eagles, ospreys, bats, peregrine falcons, butterflies, and other animals that might share their neighborhood engages kids with their environment,” says Liz Silvernail, CWF Director of Development. “Our education helps open children’s eyes to the wonders of wildlife and nature, regardless of whether their school can pay for our programming.”

This holiday season, CWF encourages supporters to give the gift with an enduring legacy for the next generation of scientists!


LEARN MORE:


Emily Hofmann is a Project Coordinator and Education Assistant for Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

Duke Farms’ Tanya Sulikowski Honored for her Conservation Education

Monday, November 21st, 2016

By Mara Cige

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

We had the pleasure of interviewing our 2016 Women & Wildlife Education honoree, Tanya Sulikowski, and are pleased to share some excerpts below.

As a Program Manager at Duke Farms, 2016 Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner Tanya Sulikowski works tirelessly to connect New Jersey’s people and wildlife. A champion in environmental education, she hosts hands-on creative projects that include bird banding and monitoring, as well as rain gardens and barrels just to name a few. However, Ms. Sulikowski considers her creation of the Teen Action and Leadership Opportunities for Nature program to be her greatest professional achievement because it inspires urban students to make lifestyle changes that incorporate their newly discovered love of nature. Her reach has extended statewide through her various roles within the Alliance for NJ Environmental Educators, where she currently serves as Vice President. (more…)

Kids are Back in School – but Their Summer Wildlife Lessons Endure!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation brought three conservation-themed summer learning experiences to the New Jersey coast.

By: Kendall Miller

I went back to “camp” this summer, seeing schoolkids learn first-hand about wildlife and what biologists do. CWF offered three summer learning experiences for the first time, each with a different theme, content, and location.

Observing the kids’ excitement and enthusiasm for nature was uplifting, and I was also impressed with how knowledgeable they all were. Offering hands-on opportunities – to learn about wildlife while experiencing these habitats – is so important in fostering an appreciation in the younger generations.

“Education is a major goal of CWF’s mission. Through project-based, experiential learning, we hope that camps like these leave impressions with children,” said CWF Director of Education Stephanie DAlessio, who developed the new program. “While we are out having fun, we are also learning about the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife and their habitats in New Jersey.”

This summer was a great start, and CWF is excited for the years to come!

Bayshore Adventure at Leonardo Marina
Seining, special wildlife guests and sandcastles along the Raritan Bayshore!

Located in the harbor, across from Sandy Hook, noisy terns and gulls fight over their catches as kids arrive in the morning to spend the part of their day learning about the bayshore environment. Sunny, sand-filled learning about marine and coastal wildlife and habitats, seining for coastal creatures, mini-science activities and special guests were balanced with a healthy dose of wiffleball games and sandcastle-building contests.

Kids met biologist and beach nesting bird manager Todd Pover. He talked about - of course - the piping plover, and issues with conserving threatened and endangered beach nesting birds.

Kids met biologist and beach nesting bird manager Todd Pover. He talked about – of course – the piping plover, and issues with conserving threatened and endangered beach nesting birds.

NJ State Park police officer Karl Mott and K9 Kelly, a police dog who finds lost cellphones, wallets, and even people. Campers were able to see her in action and participate in hiding drills.

NJ State Park police officer Karl Mott and K9 Kelly, a police dog who finds lost cellphones, wallets, and even people. Campers were able to see her in action and participate in hiding drills.

Wildlife Explorer Program at Duke Farms
Raptors, art and orchids on a North Jersey nature oasis!

Set in the lovely Duke Farms in Hillsborough, every day of this week-long camp was a new and exciting experience featuring different types of wildlife! Kids spent time exploring the grounds at Duke, played games and explored their creativity through art projects alongside famed artist James Fiorentino, met real life biologists and best of all – got up close and personal with all kinds of raptors (like the red-tailed hawk below), amphibians and reptiles. These memorable experiences will hopefully cement in their minds the importance of being stewards to their environment.

Campers explored the Orchid Range and saw a collection of plants from all over the world.

Campers explored the Orchid Range and saw a collection of plants from all over the world.

Bill Streeter of Delaware Valley Raptor Center visited to talk about amazing birds of prey, bringing with him their resident educational birds. Campers sat in awe of these raptors like this red-tailed hawk.

Bill Streeter of Delaware Valley Raptor Center visited to talk about amazing birds of prey, bringing with him their resident educational birds. Campers sat in awe of these raptors like this red-tailed hawk.

Beach.Birds.Biology
A day afield with a beach nesting birds biologist!

Shorebird biologists know the importance of educating people about the plight of beach nesting birds in New Jersey, who rely on the beaches that people flock to in the summertime. So on three different occasions, parents signed their kids up to spend a day on the beach learning about these birds with CWF biologist, Emily Heiser – like the piping plover, American oystercatcher, black skimmer and least tern. Kids got to practice being wildlife biologists. They used spotting scopes to read tags on decoy birds and searched for camouflaged eggs in the sand. The day was also filled with games, beach scavenger hunts, and a fun poster drawing project to be put on display.

Campers spot some plovers and oystercatchers feeding in vernal pools along the inlet at Barnegat Light.

Campers spot some plovers and oystercatchers feeding in vernal pools along the inlet at Barnegat Light.

After learning about the plight of beach nesting birds, the kids got creative by drawing signs to be posted near nesting and feeding sites.

After learning about the plight of beach nesting birds, the kids got creative by drawing signs to be posted near nesting and feeding sites.


For more information about these educational programs, please visit our website at www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org , or contact our  Director of Education Stephanie DAlessio at (609) 292-9451.


Kendall Miller is a Program Coordinator at Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

Why are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Important to Wildlife Conservation?

Monday, December 15th, 2014

By: Stephanie Feigin, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Wildlife Ecologist

Photo: atlantaschoolguide.com

Photo: atlantaschoolguide.com

S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is an important learning tool for today’s students. It encourages critical thinking, problem management skills, and uses real world applications to promote innovation. S.T.E.M. has become a new way to prepare students for the future and help them succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society.

 

As technology continues to become more accessible to the masses and continues to play a major role in the lives of the general public, wildlife conservationists have begun to utilize these innovative advancements to reach new audiences on growing social networking platforms, and educating the public through new technologies on the importance of protecting wildlife.

 

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) uses new media and technology, such as live webcams and interactive story maps, to educate the public and advance our work to protect New Jersey’s rare wildlife. In an effort to highlight the importance of S.T.E.M. education in the classroom, Conserve Wildlife Foundation has launched a new Species on the Edge 2.0 Multimedia Contest.

 

Species on the Edge 2.0 is the first contest that CWF has specifically designed to focus on S.T.E.M. education. We hope that this focus will engage and teach high school students about science and New Jersey’s rare wildlife, while also capitalizing on students’ fast-growing expertise with technology. This contest invites all New Jersey high school students to submit an original video, application, podcast, digital graphic design, webpage, or other multimedia project showing why wildlife protection is important in New Jersey. The contest is free to enter, with prizes up to $1,000 in scholarship money thanks to our sponsor PSE&G.

 

All Species on the Edge 2.0 Multimedia Contest entries are due before April 30, 2015. For more information and to download your contest kit visit: www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org/Education/Edge2.0.

 

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The Species on the Edge 2.0 Multimedia Contest expands on the success of Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s existing Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest for fifth graders. The contest is open to all New Jersey fifth graders in public, private, or home schools. It is a great way to engage and excite students into learning about New Jersey’s over 80 endangered and threatened wildlife species. Educators praise the contest for encompassing inter-disciplinary teaching using science, language arts, computer technology, art, and geography. Judging takes place in March. Winners are notified by the end of April.

 

Entries for the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest are due before January 31, 2015. For more information and to download your contest kit visit: http://www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org/education/edge/.

 

 

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