Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife education’

Story Map Brings Oystercatchers to Life Online

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

CWF Celebrates World Shorebirds Day With Release of Our First Story Map: “American Oystercatchers Through the Seasons”

By Michael Davenport, GIS Program Manager

Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF), today released a new interactive “Wildlife Story Map” in support of this Saturday’s first annual World Shorebirds Day! The Story Map can be viewed here!


A Story Map is a web-based interactive GIS map embedded with multimedia content, such as text, photographs, and video. CWF, working with GIS software developer ESRI and with financial assistance provided by a grant from the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, plans to make this Story Map the first of many, helping engage the public about New Jersey’s rare wildlife in a dynamic and interactive way.

 “American Oystercatchers Through the Seasons” tells the story about a species of migratory bird, the American Oystercatcher, which spends the summer breeding season along the New Jersey coast, but is present year-round along the southern New Jersey coast. Our state represents the northern limit of the species’ winter range. While some New Jersey birds migrate during the winter to Florida, those that breed in New England during the summer may end up spending their winter here in New Jersey.

This Story Map also provides stories about individual banded birds, which have been tracked on journeys between New Jersey and southern states such as Florida, as well as between New Jersey and more northern states, such as Massachusetts.

Make a donation today to support additional Story Maps!

How to Use the Story Map:

On the left side of the Story Map page are several “buttons” which will allow you to flip through the different seasons in an oystercatcher’s life: Breeding, Migration, and Wintering.  Each page provides information and photos and a map specific to that portion of the bird’s life cycle. By clicking on an individual point within the map, a box containing more specific information, and a photo in some cases, will pop-up. The map also provides the ability to zoom-in and out in order to see areas of interest in more detail.

This Story Map is especially exciting since it helps celebrate the first annual World Shorebirds Day. This event seeks to “…raise global public awareness about the conservation of, and research about, shorebirds. About half of the world’s shorebird populations are in decline, and the rate of habitat loss is worse than ever before” (World Shorebirds Day 2014).

World Shorebirds Day hopes to accomplish the following:

  • To raise public awareness about the need to protect shorebirds and their habitats throughout their life cycles;
  • To raise public awareness about the need for ongoing shorebird research;
  • To connect people with shorebirds through important shorebird sites around the world;
  • To get shorebird enthusiasts to introduce shorebirds to more birdwatchers;
  • To raise awareness about the need for increased funding for shorebird research, monitoring and conservation.

CWF’s shorebird leadership ranges from the American Oystercatcher celebrated in this Story Map, to the beach nesting birds along the Atlantic Coast, to the red knots and ruddy turnstones along the Delaware Bay.

Your support can help CWF develop additional Story Maps on other rare wildlife. Support our work on Story Maps on the American Oystercatcher and other important shorebirds in honor of World Shorebirds Day by supporting research, education, and public awareness efforts carried out by CWF:

We hope that this will be the first of many Story Maps that CWF will use in order to communicate the many fascinating stories that New Jersey’s wildlife have to tell.

Make a donation today to support shorebirds today!

Photo from the Field

Monday, May 16th, 2011

by Karena DiLeo, Assistant Biologist

The Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Awards Ceremony was May 6th at the New Jersey Education Association in Trenton.   We had a great turn out and would like to thank everyone who attended and submitted entries into the contest.  We received over 2,000 entries this year!  Winning artwork is currently on display at NJ Audubon’s Plainsboro Preserve and will travel to Liberty State Park on June 6th.

Angela Guo from Mercer County received her First Place certificate from CWF Executive Director Margaret O'Gorman and Board Member and sponsor Bob Coleman.

Valleyview Middle School Supports Bats!

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Students build bat houses and “Adopt a Species” to aid bats in these troubled times

by MacKenzie Hall, CWF Private Lands Biologist

Teacher Dan Gross and his sixth graders hold up their finished bat houses. © Mackenzie Hall

This April, for the second year in a row, I had the happy task of visiting the sixth graders at Valleyview Middle School in Denville, Morris County.  Valleyview  students have taken a great interest in bats lately…partly because their school sits a mere 3 miles from Hibernia Mine, New Jersey’s most important known winter den for resident species like the little brown, northern long-eared, and endangered Indiana bats.

Bats have always been a common neighbor in their town.  And since White-nose Syndrome appeared two winters ago, Denville residents have literally had a front row seat to the toll it has taken.  Many have seen bats flying on cold winter days, searching for food that would not be found, and many have seen the bodies of starved bats on the ground.

Valleyview Middle School has a fantastic science faculty, with teachers like Dan Gross and Chris Bias who aim to give the kids tangible experiences with topics that relate to their own community.   They chose to turn the White-nose Syndrome crisis into a learning opportunity:

Why are bats important?

What happens if we lose them?

What can we do to help?

Dan Gross and Principal Dan Finkle receive a certificate of appreciation for their symbolic Indiana bat "adoption." © Jaimie Kovax

The school invited us to come in and teach the students about their local bats and talk about the work we’re doing to help study and protect them.  I got to interact with the entire sixth grade, first finding out how much they already knew about bats and then teaching them a whole lot more!

I came back a second day to put the kids to work – we built six bat houses which will be installed in parks and other properties across the region.  Everybody (including me) had a lot of fun with the screw guns, hammers, and caulk…and my “no eyes poked out” success streak continues!

The school also made an “Adopt A Species” donation to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation to support our work.

Thank you, Valleyview Middle School!