Did you know?
Each spring, Red knots travel more than 9,000 miles from their wintering areas in Tierra del Fuego, South America to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.
On Wednesday, November 30, at Duke Farms' Coach Barn, we celebrated the 11th Annual Women & Wildlife Awards with a cocktail party and silent auction. This year, Wendy Walsh, Martha Maxwell-Doyle, and Tanya Sulikowski were awarded for their contributions to help conserve New Jersey's wildlife.
Wendy Walsh has been a dedicated biologist since she began her career at the Nature Conservancy’s South Cape May Meadows Nature Preserve. She started working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the year 2000, and is currently a senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist. Ms. Walsh was honored as a 2015 Endangered Species Recovery Champion by the USFWS New Jersey Field Office. She has proven herself invaluable in the endangered species field for her work with wildlife such as the piping plover, swamp pink, and seabeach amaranth.
Ms. Walsh’s most notable work, however, is with the red knot. She took the species lead in the middle of the federal listing process, placing her in a tricky and complex situation, heeding the various interests and technicalities of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Her work is widely acclaimed for the final rule that resulted from her tireless efforts coordinating, analyzing and interpreting data, particularly detailing the effects of changing climate on these long-distance migrant shorebirds.
Ms. Walsh subsequently strengthened ESA security measures for multiple endangered and threatened species along the east coast, thus taking a step towards their recovery. The final rule, listing the red knot as a threatened species under the ESA, went into effect on January 12, 2015.
In her spare time, Ms. Walsh created and implemented a volunteer monitoring program with the help of concerned citizens. The Adopt-A-Swamp-Pink program enlists the help of volunteers to adopt a swamp pink population, a wetland plant that blooms a unique and beautiful wildflower. This program monitors and protects this threatened species by obtaining trend data on an annual basis that assesses the overall health and stability of a swamp pink population.
Other projects she has worked on include oyster aquaculture on the Delaware Bay and the Liberty State Park Ecosystem Restoration Project. Known by her peers as an effective wildlife biologist who does not have to spend all of her time out in the field, Ms. Walsh exemplifies strong character and a record of accomplishments. 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, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Her 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.
With over three decades of dedication to resource management, hazardous materials, and environmental protection, Martha Maxwell-Doyle works at the Barnegat Bay Partnership as a project coordinator for estuary protection and restoration. She has previously spread her passion and knowledge at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) as the Deputy Director. Implementation of conservation and management plans are second nature given her years of experience at multiple national estuary programs. She oversees the management activities to create ecosystem-based restoration programs, and pulls from her experience at each estuary.
Mrs. Maxwell-Doyle created many professional and personal partnerships as a means to advance the ability to survey, restore, and monitor coastal communities including, but not limited to, Barnegat Bay shorelines. She diligently applied to grants until she successfully gained enough funding to establish the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetlands Assessment (MACWA). In her efforts to revive shorelines, coastal wetlands, and estuaries, she became recognized nationally for her knowledge of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy Development. She was appointed by Governor Christie to be a member of the 12-person Tidelands Resource Council responsible for the stewardship of the state’s riparian lands.
Mrs. Maxwell-Doyle takes her vast knowledge a step further by reaching out to communities to change their perception of grey infrastructure. Living Shorelines, the name of her initiative, along with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy Restoration Explorer, helps citizens consider green infrastructure solutions, with technical supervision and advice. With modern technology and development often hampering progress, she created an application that could be used on smart devices so individuals can assist in data collection while enjoying recreational activities. The Paddle for the Edge project enables volunteers to collect data about key biotic indicators and conditions of the Barnegat Bay shorelines while enjoying the environment through kayaking, canoeing, or on a stand-up paddle board.
Ms. Maxwell-Doyle graduated from Rutgers University’s Cook College with her bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and design. Mrs. Maxwell-Doyle is a state-certified hazardous mate¬rials response technician/CBNRE specialist; the first certified female. She and her husband Larry are members of the Berkeley Emergency Response Team for Ocean County.
Mrs. Maxwell-Doyle has gained a reputation as always being available for guidance and advice, especially for young women new to the environmental and wildlife field. Her enthusiasm for life and the environment drives her to do more than possible to repair New Jersey’s wildlife habitats while teaching others that a difference can be made. She has been and remains an outstanding steward, mentor, and inspiration to everyone she meets.
Tanya Sulikowski has worked tirelessly for the last 20 years to connect New Jersey’s people and wildlife. Mrs. Sulikowski earned her B.S in Conservation and Applied Ecology from Rutgers University and began her career as a field biologist for the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Following her work in the Pinelands, Mrs. Sulikowski embarked on a career as a middle school science teacher and used her hands-on knowledge of ecology to bring her science lessons to life. Her experiences in the forest and the classroom showed her what a powerful teacher nature can be.
In 2002, Mrs. Sulikowski moved to the Schiff Nature Preserve in Mendham where she developed a year-round calendar of environmental education programs, an extremely popular summer nature program, and built a strong local community focused on volunteering, ecology, and sustainability. As Schiff’s first full time Executive Director, she managed the 700 acre nature preserve and assisted with land acquisition and habitat restoration projects that benefitted species such as the wood turtle, barred owl and eastern box turtle. She also worked with community partners to create and lead the award-winning “Raritan River: Headwaters to Bay” program for high school students. After nine years at Schiff, Mrs. Sulikowski retired to earn her M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from Montclair State University.
Mrs. Sulikowski is currently the Manager of Programs at Duke Farms where she has facilitated yet another means by which she can reach and educate the public. At Duke Farms, she oversees hundreds of environmental education programs each year that are relatable to people of all ages. She manages this by hosting hands-on creative projects that include bird banding and monitoring, rain gardens and barrels and construction of bluebird houses. Mrs. Sulikowski also manages the community garden at Duke Farms, the largest in the United States. She also works with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation to create innovative professional development for teachers through the lens of the Duke Farms Eagle Cam, which has inspired more than 11 million viewers.
Mrs. Sulikowski considers her creation of the Teen Action and Leadership Opportunities for Nature (TALON) program to be her greatest professional achievement. This program has inspired urban students to make lifestyle changes that incorporate their newly discovered love of nature. Three young women that she has mentored through the TALON program are currently pursuing careers in conservation.
Her reach has extended statewide through her various roles within the Alliance for NJ Environmental Educators (ANJEE), where she currently serves as Vice President, and her partnerships with so many organizations dedicated to inspiring a love of New Jersey’s spectacular natural resources. Mrs. Sulikowski truly lives what she teaches. During her off hours she is an avid native plant and organic vegetable gardener and loves to hike, paddle and explore the planet’s wildest places with friends, her dog and her husband Bruce.
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- 2015 Winners
Learn more about the mission of Conserve Wildlife Foundation and its team members.