Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘women and wildlife awards’

US Biologist Wendy Walsh Honored for her Conservation Leadership

Monday, November 7th, 2016

By Mara Cige

wendy_walsh

Wendy Walsh, 2016 Leadership Award Winner

As a Senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2016 Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner  Wendy Walsh has proven herself invaluable in the endangered species field for her work with wildlife such as the piping plover, swamp pink, and seabeach amaranth. Her most notable work is with the red knot. Ms. Walsh took the species lead in the middle of the federal listing process. Her tireless efforts coordinating, analyzing and interpreting data, particularly detailing the effects of changing climate on these long-distance migrant shorebirds has made her work widely acclaimed as the final rule. From biology to policy, she has an uncanny ability to grasp important information and translate it for any species she finds herself working with. She has created partnerships with additional organizations to accelerate conservation efforts. In such collaborations, Ms. Walsh’s open-mindedness to others’ expertise makes for effective planning and implementation of the vision she has to one day recover all threatened and endangered species.

Join us to honor Wendy and the two other 2016 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, November 30th beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


CWF asked Wendy a few questions about what working in wildlife rehabilitation means to her:

 

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

“Engagement with the work. Of course there are those mundane tasks we all have, but in general I find my work highly engaging. Sometimes when I’m at home, I’ll think of some new resource or approach to a conservation problem I’ve been working on — then I can’t wait to bring that idea to the office and try to apply it. When it works, my job can also be very rewarding.”

 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

“I love that I’m constantly learning something new. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to learn about and observe so many species, and I’ve had the chance to really get to know a few in particular — piping plovers, seabeach amaranth, bog turtles, swamp pink, and red knots. And I’ve had the opportunity to work on such a wide range of issues — utility lines, transportation, mitigation, stormwater, beach nourishment, bird collision, volunteer programs, restoration, fishery management, listing, and most recently aquaculture. I’m very fortunate to have a job where there is always a new learning opportunity on the horizon.”

 

Do you have a New Jersey wildlife species that you like best? Why?

“From a non-scientific point of view, I love watching dragonflies and wading birds with my kids, and taking the family to count and tag horseshoe crabs. But professionally, I’m partial to the beach species I’ve worked on — piping plovers, red knots, seabeach amaranth. I enjoy the beach ecosystem, and I feel a responsibility to these beach-dependent species that face so many challenges along New Jersey’s human-dominated coast.”

 

What interests you the most about New Jersey’s wildlife?

“I’m fascinated at the contrast between New Jersey’s really remarkable habitats and ecosystems in the context of our equally remarkable human population density. Generations of pioneering conservationists from past decades have allowed our State’s wildlife to persist even with so many people. I view our generation — and my kids’ — as stewards of that conservation legacy.”

 

 What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

“I love spending time with my family, such as taking trips with my husband, Mac, and two daughters, as well as time with extended family — Mom, brothers, cousins. I enjoy working with my kids’ Girls Scout troops and helping at their schools.”


Please join us on Wednesday November 30, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Duke Farms’ Coach Barn to honor the contributions that Wendy Walsh, Martha Maxwell-Doyle, and Tanya Sulikowski have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

We are excited to recognize the leadership and inspiration they provide for those working to protect wildlife in New Jersey. Women & Wildlife will also celebrate the timeless and inspiring journeys of wildlife migration in New Jersey and beyond.

 

Three New Jersey Women Recognized at Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

Friday, October 30th, 2015
MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, Tanya Oznowich honored at Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s 10th Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

 

Our Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held at Duke Farms, recognized three women – MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich – for their leadership in protecting wildlife in New Jersey. The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman served as the keynote speaker.

 

The Women & Wildlife Awards celebrated Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and imperiled wildlife species.

 

“The inspiring leadership of MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich not only benefits New Jersey’s wildlife and the countless people who care strongly for our outdoors – it provides successful role models for the next generation of girls in scientific fields that have for too long held a glass ceiling for young women,” said CWF Executive Director David Wheeler. “Their unparalleled dedication and hard work – like that of the Women & Wildlife honorees over the past decade – has helped make New Jersey a national leader in wildlife conservation.”

 

The three honorees were recognized individually with awards in Inspiration, Leadership, and Education:

MacKenzie Hall, a powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, who began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 before joining the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in 2014, is the recipient of the Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award. She has been involved in a number of projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds.

In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners into dedicated environmental stewards. What may be most remarkable about Ms. Hall is her ability to motivate the public and inspire non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

 

Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner Pat Hamilton has worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries since 1980. She is considered to be the champion for Eastern brook trout, the state’s only native salmonid, and a species once extirpated from over 50% of its historical habitat due to human impacts.

Ms. Hamilton is one of three fisheries biologists in New Jersey endeavoring to strengthen the state regulations to further conserve native brook trout streams. Thanks to her efforts, more than 200 northern New Jersey streams have been designated as Trout Production Streams, which afford the streams higher levels of state protection.

 

The recipient of the Women & Wildlife Education Award is Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.

Schools across New Jersey are incorporating environmental education into their curriculum, a new movement inspired by a growing awareness of environmental issues and our shared role in understanding and resolving them. To a large degree, this growing prominence is thanks to Tanya Oznowich. She has been engaging the public in natural resources since 1979. Since beginning her tenure with the NJDEP in 1988, she has dedicated herself to integrating environmental science into New Jersey’s classrooms, from kindergarten to college.

 

The Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held on Wednesday, October 28 at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, included a presentation of the awards to the recipients, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and a silent auction.

 

Learn More:

 

We gratefully thank our generous Eagle Sponsors who made the Women & Wildlife Awards possible: PSEG, Atlantic City Electric, Janice King and Bill Masonheimer, and Eric Sambol.

 

 

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

 

Meet the 2015 Honorees: MacKenzie Hall, Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Wildlife Biologist Celebrated for Inspiring Non-Scientists of All Ages to Become Passionate Conservationists

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

A powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, MacKenzie Hall began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 and was been involved with projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds. What is most remarkable about Ms. Hall, however, is her ability to motivate the public to participate in these projects, inspiring non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

 
Ms. Hall has supported and participated in bat research projects throughout the state. She took part in colony monitoring, mist-netting, and banding, working through many nights in order to benefit these enormously important species. In 2012, she launched a “Bats in Buildings” program offering New Jersey homeowners bat-friendly “eviction” resources, as well as free bat houses for displaced colonies.

 

In addition to her involvement in bat conservation, Ms. Hall is a passionate advocate for New Jersey’s amphibians and reptiles. She worked to address amphibian mortality on state roads, teaming up with working groups to help species of frogs and salamanders safely cross roads during their spring breeding season. She successfully coordinated amphibian surveys throughout the state, a task requiring road closures, the cooperation of multiple municipalities, the recruitment and training of volunteers, and the willingness to work outdoors overnight on cold, rainy nights!

 
In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners alike into dedicated environmental stewards.

 

Join us to honor MacKenzie and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


We asked MacKenzie a few questions about what working in wildlife conservation means to her:

 

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

So much to do!  Somehow the day always ends with more on the to-do list than it started with.  Working statewide means a lot of ground to cover, a lot of emails to answer, and a lot of people to convince that the bats in their eaves aren’t looking to murder their family.  Every day is a different adventure, even if I never leave my desk.  Days that I actually get to spend up-close with animals or see our work making a difference – like finding kestrel eggs in a nest box we put up for them, or cupping a beautiful salamander in my hands and moving her to the safe side of the road – those are the little moments of glory that make it all feel so simple.  It’s also really great to work with people who look at the world the same way I do, and who I can keep learning from.

 

What do you find most challenging about your profession?

Same answer as the last one, I think.  This is work that’s never done.  We rarely get to clap our hands together and say, “Ok, that species is saved, who’s next?”  Most of our successes take years and years, a lot of educating others, a lot of help from others, and endurance.

 

Name one thing you can’t live without.

Sunshine…summertime.  These crisp October days feel clean and refreshing, but I don’t want to close the windows and put a coat on!  I want to bask in the sun like a turtle.  I want sand that’s almost too hot to stand on.  I want to run around in a tank top and pick berries and stay out in the balmy night in flip-flops, with frogs screaming from the trees.

 

What interests you the most about New Jersey’s wildlife?

Most of them live at or near some interface with the human world, because so much of New Jersey is covered in our footprints.  We’ve got falcons on skyscrapers and shorebirds raising their chicks between houses and beach umbrellas.  And yah, colonies of bats living up in the eaves.  There’s a sense of sharing, because we’re all trying to make the most of our little spaces.  We have so many chances to connect and commune with wildlife on common ground, if we just pay attention and learn to share nice.

 

Name one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

Figure out what you want the change to look like, and start with you.  Be a positive example for the people who are close to you, and they’ll help you pass it forward.  Don’t get too frustrated by the ones who don’t.


Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Pat Hamilton have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

 

This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.

 

Learn more:

 

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

Meet the 2015 Honorees: Tanya Oznowich, Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Ms. Oznowich Recognized for Championing Environmental Education in New Jersey for Over Three Decades

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

Schools across New Jersey are incorporating environmental education into their curriculum, a new movement inspired by a growing awareness of environmental issues and our shared role in understanding and resolving them. To a large degree, this growing prominence is thanks to Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.

 

Ms. Oznowich earned her Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation/Interpretive Sciences from Slippery Rock University in 1981 and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Delaware Valley College in 2004. She has been engaging the public in natural resources since 1979. Since beginning her tenure with the NJDEP in 1988, she has dedicated herself to integrating environmental science into New Jersey’s classrooms, from kindergarten to college.

 

In addition to her role as a program developer, Ms. Oznowich is also a workshop facilitator, public speaker, environmental educator, and a grant writer. For her accomplishments in bringing environmental education to so many classrooms and communities, she has been honored by numerous state and non-profit agencies, including the New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Society for Women in Environmental Professions.

 

Join us to honor Tanya and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


We asked Tanya a few questions about what working in environmental education means to her:

 

Name one thing you can’t live without.

I cannot live without experiencing nature. To see and smell it, listen to it, explore it in different seasons, different types of weather and different times of day and night; to walk, drive, paddle, sit or sleep in it. It is soothing, intriguing and invigorating. In it I find my God and my truest self.

 

What do you find most challenging about your profession?

In social studies elementary students learn about home, community and responsibility. In science they learn about the basic needs of animals and plants and the life-sustaining connections that we have with water, air, shelter, energy and land; then, the depth and breadth of what students must know and be able to do swallow these up. We each have an intimate relationship with our surroundings – we each are part of the Earth’s natural systems. This is our common ground and it beckons us to act as “we” societies instead of “me” individuals. I am grateful that green practices and sustainability have entered our worlds of education, business, development and government; our relationship with Earth systems must be considered and understood in all we do.

 

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

I have always been driven by passion and commitment but this is now fueled by excitement. I believe that education about the environment is a necessity. Is it becoming more common in New Jersey schools? Yes! There are increasing examples of it to being woven into science, social studies, health, the arts – all subjects and all grades. Many schools offer specialized courses and utilize outdoor classrooms, gardens, stewardship and citizen science projects. We have growing programs for green schools, eco-schools, healthy schools, urban schools and sustainable schools. Colleges and universities are pursuing similar initiatives and sustainability programs for businesses, municipalities and faith-based organizations are on the rise; and, nature-based pursuits are doing battle with our uses of technology. Do we still have barriers, challenges and needs to confront? Yes; but our environmental education efforts are taking hold and producing results, and the push for sustainability is strong.

 

Number one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

Embrace the value of what you believe in, determine a course of action, and then begin; as Nike says, “Just Do It.”

 

What interests you the most about New Jersey wildlife?

Watching wildlife fascinates me and I love to sit still and quiet in nature to wait, watch and listen for the wildlife that eventually creeps, crawls, flies or swims by me. I love to look under rocks and logs and collect bugs from streams; to examine nests and tracks and turn over the soil to see what moves. What interests me most about wildlife is that wildlife captivates people of all ages. For many of us, they are the ambassadors to nature. I admire and appreciate the work of New Jersey’s wildlife experts who have the passion and commitment to study, protect and manage our diverse wildlife populations.


Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that Tanya Oznowich, Pat Hamilton, and MacKenzie Hall have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

 

This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.

 

Learn more:

 

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

Meet the 2015 Honorees: Pat Hamilton, Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
Fisheries Biologist Honored for her Contribution to Wildlife Conservation

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Pat Hamilton Leadership Award Winner

Pat Hamilton Leadership Award Winner

Pat Hamilton has worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries since 1980, most recently as the Principal Fisheries Biologist. Ms. Hamilton has become a leader in managing and conserving coldwater fisheries throughout the state. She is considered to be the champion for Eastern brook trout, the state’s only native salmonid, and a species once extirpated from over 50% of its historical habitat due to human impacts.

 

For her Master’s Thesis “Wild Brook Trout Genetics,” she examined the genetic diversity of Eastern brook trout populations in streams throughout the Raritan and Passaic watersheds. In the first study of its kind for the state, Ms. Hamilton determined that the trout present today are part of a lineage dating back to when the last glacier receded from New Jersey – some 16K-18K years ago! Since this landmark study, she has worked to restore and protect not only this ancient fish, but also the pristine habitat on which it depends.

 

Currently, Ms. Hamilton is one of three fisheries biologists in New Jersey endeavoring to strengthen the state regulations to further conserve native brook trout streams. Thanks to her efforts, more than 200 northern New Jersey streams have been designated as Trout Production Streams, which afford the streams higher levels of state protection.

 

Join us to honor Pat and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


We asked Pat a few questions about what working in wildlife conservation means to her:

 

Do you have a New Jersey wildlife species that you like best? Why?

When I was 12 years old I caught the most beautiful fish I had ever seen. Carefully thumbing through a fish ID booklet, I realized I just caught my first Brook Trout. Even its scientific name, Salvelinus fontinalis, meaning living in springs, captivated me and, as I committed this name to memory, I vowed to become a fisheries biologist when I grew up. Now as a professional, I value this species for reasons well beyond my childhood memories. The Brook Trout is a Jersey native. Their wild, naturally reproducing populations inhabit small streams scattered primarily across North Jersey. The species is synonymous with cold, clean water. A host of other wildlife species benefit from their presence because these streams and their watersheds receive greater protections through NJDEP regulatory programs that govern land use. My first Brook Trout encounter was definitely a life altering experience for me!

 
What is your favorite thing about your job?

The variety – no day is the same – and in particular, any fieldwork that puts me in the middle of a trout stream!

 
What do you find most challenging about your profession?

Fisheries management has become very complex. Our science is better plus there is greater public involvement in our decision-making process. I find balancing ecological, economic, and social/cultural values to be the most challenging because often there are competing interests that must be addressed as part of that process.

 
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

Spending time outdoors fishing, especially when combined with kayaking. If the fish aren’t biting, it’s still a win-win.

 
Name one thing you can’t live without.

Water. Pure and simple.


Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall and Tanya Oznowich have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

 

This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.

 

Learn more:

 

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

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