Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Ospreys, art and outdoor fun at the New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo

Friday, September 16th, 2016

by David Wheeler, Executive Director and Corrine Henn, Communications Coordinator

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Despite stereotypes to the contrary, New Jersey boasts some of the most extensive outdoor nature activities of anywhere in the nation. This past week’s New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo proved it, introducing thousands of visitors to the many fun and important ways that people can experience nature and make a difference.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation offered some of these activities throughout the event, as well as information on how children can earn Girl & Boy Scout Badges.

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CWF biologist Ben Wurst (left) with his hardworking team.

One scout activity helps one of New Jersey’s signature raptors in its continuing recovery – the osprey. CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst led groups of adults and children in building osprey nesting platforms. Wurst and his team will eventually relocate these platforms to nesting spots where ospreys are most in need. The children had a lot of fun decorating their very own osprey nests, which we kept as authentic as possible with lots of man-made nesting material.

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Nationally recognized artist James Fiorentino made a special appearance at CWF’s conservation tent on Saturday afternoon to sign posters for lucky visitors, in anticipation of the CWF traveling art exhibit, Rare Wildlife Revealed. The opening reception – which will unveil Fiorentino’s 25 striking images of rare wildlife species, and feature CWF biologists on hand to discuss the species – will be held on Friday September 30th at D&R Greenway Land Trust. Make sure you check out the show schedule and stop in to see his work!

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Renowned artist James Fiorentino holding poster of his original artwork.

Held by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the annual Expo is open to the public at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township one weekend every September. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather all weekend, surrounded by people with an appreciation for nature.

Check out some additional pictures from the event below!

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New Story Map Shows How Turtle Gardens Actually “Grow” Baby Terrapins

Monday, September 12th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Releases a New Story Map: “Turtle Gardens”

By: Michael Davenport, Wildlife Biologist & GIS Program Manager

The northern diamondback terrapin is an imperiled species of turtle found in brackish coastal waters along the northeast coast of the United States. Within New Jersey, much of the nesting habitat once used by terrapins has been lost to development and rising sea level. What little suitable nesting habitat remains is often inaccessible to terrapins due to bulkheads or other construction and road mortality is a major cause of terrapin mortality as they cross roadways seeking nesting sites.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Turtle gardens provide suitable nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins where little natural suitable habitat remains or is inaccessible. By enhancing the existing habitat at a site within the terrapin’s range to meet their nesting habitat requirements, terrapins can more safely lay their eggs within an area specifically set-aside for them.

CWF recently partnered with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) on a pilot project turtle garden on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The newly released Turtle Gardens story map details this project.


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Stadium Goes “Wild” for Wildlife Ballpark Event

Friday, September 9th, 2016

CWF PARTNERS WITH RENOWNED ARTIST JAMES FIORENTINO AND SOMERSET PATRIOTS BASEBALL TEAM IN WIN FOR WILDLIFE

by Emily Hofmann, Project Coordinator

 

It doesn’t get any more All-American than the national pastime, our national emblem, and a post-game show of fireworks – all part of the first-ever “Wild in the Ballpark” event. CWF partnered with nationally renowned sports and wildlife artist James Fiorentino, Studio 7 Fine Arts Gallery, and the Somerset Patriots to host this unique event at TD Bank Ballpark.

 

CWF supporters enjoy box seats provided by the Somerset Patriots.

CWF supporters enjoy box seats provided by the Somerset Patriots.

 

CWF Executive Director David Wheeler addressed the crowd of 3,500 from home plate with a speech about CWF, and his son threw the game’s honorary opening pitch. Wheeler then had the privilege of joining broadcaster Justin Antweil for an in-game interview on SPN.tv and WCTC radio throughout the fourth inning. And fans had the opportunity to meet Fiorentino as he signed wildlife posters at CWF’s guest booth.

 

Fiorentino signing a poster of his artwork for an eager fan

Fiorentino signing a poster of his artwork for an eager fan

 

The night kicked off “Rare Wildlife Revealed,” a traveling art exhibition partnership between Fiorentino and CWF. While his sports art has graced the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame and many other destinations, Fiorentino’s stunning wildlife watercolor portraits are the focus of this exhibition, which will visit over a dozen museums, galleries and other venues during the next three years.

 

CWF founder, Linda Tesauro with long time board member, Rick Weiman.

CWF founder Linda Tesauro with long time board member, Rick Weiman.

 

The exhibition officially kicks off this week at D&R Greenway Land Trust, located at 1 Preservation Place in Princeton, New Jersey.  The opening premiere will be held on September 30th at 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This free event will feature former Governor Tom Kean, along with CWF biologists who will discuss the rare wildlife species they work with – many of which are featured in Fiorentino’s paintings.

 

Watch below for highlights from the night and listen as Wheeler joined on the game broadcast to discuss the true beauty of New Jersey’s rare wildlife and its place in our changing state.

 

How Plastic Pollution Impacts Wildlife – And What You Can Do!

Friday, August 19th, 2016
PLASTICS MAY THREATEN WILDLIFE FOR MANY YEARS

by Corrine Henn, Communication Coordinator

For those of us who call New Jersey home, we’ve all likely witnessed the impact human activities have on our environment and the species who thrive here. Although habitat loss, illegal poaching and invasive species can be equally devastating to an ecosystem, the presence of plastic pollution around our state is a threat that almost every individual can be found personally culpable.

A jellyfish & a plastic cup cover - which is which? It's easy to see how a sea turtle could get confused and accidentally swallow plastic. Photo by Mike Davenport.

A jellyfish & a plastic cup cover – which is which? It’s easy to see how a sea turtle could get confused and accidentally swallow plastic. Photo by Mike Davenport.

Although many forms of pollution impact our native species, the summer months at the Jersey Shore often result in a surge of plastic debris that are left behind or improperly disposed of. Plastic pollution impacts millions of wildlife species globally, and the diverse number of species in New Jersey are no exception.

The plastic pollution that accumulates in our waterways and elsewhere around New Jersey poses a serious threat to native species. Single-use plastic products like plastic bags, bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, straws, and even balloons are not only unsustainable, but particularly dangerous for the animals that may become entangled in them or accidentally ingest them.

Ospreys use trash as nesting material because (sadly) it is a plentiful resource that collects in the upper areas of the saltmarsh. It is a deadly component of their nests that easily entangles them. Do your part and pick up litter if you see it. © Ben Wurst

Ospreys use trash as nesting material because (sadly) it is a plentiful resource that collects in the upper areas of the saltmarsh. It is a deadly component of their nests that easily entangles them. Do your part and pick up litter if you see it. © Ben Wurst

A few years ago, CWF’s Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst and his dedicated group of volunteers who monitor the osprey nests along the coast began to hold onto the trash and debris collected in and around the nests. While it may not be the most visually appealing educational resource, it made the growing problem of plastic pollution personal for Ben, in a way that words aren’t always able to convey.

Plastic bags, one of the most common single-use plastic products, were overwhelmingly prevalent in many of the nests. And osprey aren’t the only wildlife species facing this threat. Seals, terrapins, shorebirds, fish, whales, sharks and dolphins can also be impacted by plastic debris.

The presence of plastic in our daily lives is interminable and difficult to eliminate completely, but there are a number of things we can do to minimize the impact our habits may have on our wildlife!


Clean up after yourself:
Whether you’re spending the day at the beach, having a picnic by a lake, or tubing down a river, make sure you take any trash with you before leaving and recycle what you can.

Be mindful of your surroundings:
If you’re out and about and notice that someone left some trash behind, take a moment to throw it away.

Reduce your consumption:
A number of small changes from millions of people can make a big difference. For starters, invest in reusable shopping bags and water bottles. And cut down on the number of miscellaneous throw away plastics you use, including straws and plastic wrappers.

Donate:
Consider donating to CWF to support our conservation projects and ensure our biologists and our volunteers are able to continue surveying and aiding species in need.


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Absolutely Fish Supports CWF Terrapin Program

Thursday, August 18th, 2016
DONATION SUPPORTS CONSERVATION OF NJ’S ONLY COASTAL MARSH TURTLE

by Corrine Henn, Communication Coordinator

Great Bay Boulevard in Little Egg Harbor is a favorite haunt for local fisherman, birders and tourists alike. While many locals and visitors celebrate the summer, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ’s Ben Wurst and his team of dedicated volunteers know that summer can mean something else entirely.

An increase in traffic on Great Bay Boulevard during the summer months threatens the survival of one particular species, the northern diamondback terrapin. Hundreds of female terrapins cross roads adjacent to their native habitat, our coastal estuaries, in search of suitable nest sites each year. Unfortunately, Great Bay Boulevard lacks a formal speed limit and mortality rates as a result of vehicle collisions are just one of the dangers the terrapin face.

“From what I’ve seen and experienced from the beginning of this project is that many more people are more aware of terrapins on the road,” said Habitat Program Manager, Ben Wurst. “It is critical to have the support of the local community as they are the ones who frequent the area the most and can really play a huge role in their long term conservation.”

Terrapin X-ing sign on Great Bay Boulevard. Photo by Corrine Henn.

Terrapin X-ing sign on Great Bay Boulevard. Photo by Corrine Henn.

The Great Bay Terrapin Project has done tremendous work to reduce road kill rates. More recently CWF has been collecting data to monitor the local population by taking measurements and notching individual terrapins as part of a mark-recapture effort. Our volunteers conduct road patrols to collect data on terrapins that are encountered on road and also help ensure that they cross safely. Along the most dangerous part of the road, a barrier fence helps to deter terrapins from entering the roadway. Both the fence and several “Terrapin X-ing” signs, have also aided efforts to curb mortality rates each summer.

An adult female northern diamondback terrapin hides within its shell. Photo by Corrine Henn.

An adult female northern diamondback terrapin hides within its shell. Photo by Corrine Henn.

Ensuring the future survival of the terrapin is, of course, a collaborative effort. We were especially thankful when Glenn Laborda, Dibyarka Chatterjee and Kristen Schmicker of Absolutely Fish presented Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey with a $5,000 check from the proceeds they raised throughout the Earth Day weekend in April.

Absolutely Fish has raised donations for CWF in recent years using a live educational terrapin on loan to the store from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences in Manahawkin, NJ.

A $5000 donation presented to CWF by Absolutely Fish for the Terrapin Project. Photo by Corrine Henn.

A $5000 donation presented to CWF by Absolutely Fish for the Terrapin Project. Photo by Corrine Henn.

According to Jennifer Ruivo of Absolutely Fish, “People come into the store specifically to see her and are generally much more willing to help, donate, or take information when we have a terrapin in store.” The turtle’s presence in the store garners support by bridging the gap needed for many to see that these animals, our neighbors, are in need of our support.

Following the donation from Absolutely Fish, Absolutely Fish representatives – along with Wurst and CWF Executive Director David Wheeler – conducted a survey of Great Bay Boulevard with CWF intern Carly Sibilia who demonstrated the data collection and notching technique of terrapins.

Stay tuned for post-summer update on CWF’s terrapin projects. And in the meantime, be mindful of your surroundings and be terrapin aware!


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