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Volunteer for Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Did you know that you can actually help spread the word to help protect the future of New Jersey's wildlife?

Image of A volunteer helps plant a tree seedling on an old fairway inside Cape Island WMA in 2010.A volunteer helps plant a tree seedling on an old fairway inside Cape Island WMA in 2010. © Ben Wurst

Education and awareness are the key to the survival of rare wildlife and our conservation efforts.

Our programs and projects would not be successful without the help from dedicated volunteers throughout the state. From assisting with road closures to help amphibians safely cross roads, helping to fence beach nesting bird habitat, listening for frog and toad calls, monitoring American kestrel nestboxes, counting bats, and installing and repairing osprey nesting platforms, you can support us and help to conserve and monitor New Jersey's rare wildlife. Most of these volunteer opportunities offer chances to get hands-on experience with wildlife management techniques in the habitat where these rare species exist. You will discover that New Jersey is an amazing state that is rich in biodiversity. You will also meet other like-minded individuals who are passionate about wildlife conservation and are not afraid to get dirty!

Volunteer Opportunities

Click on a project to get more information on ways you can help.

Volunteer Profiles

Volunteers are a very important part of wildlife conservation and management in New Jersey. Meet some of our valuable helpers.

Volunteer Projects

Image of A Blue-spotted salamander.Zoom+ A Blue-spotted salamander. © George Cevera


Geographic Area: Various Sites in Northern New Jersey

Time of year: March-April

Time commitment: 4-hour evening shifts plus training (usually 4 nights a year)

Duties: Volunteers needed to help move amphibians cross busy roadways in the evening and collect data.

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been partnering with NJ’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) since 2002 to protect early-spring breeding amphibians like the wood frog, spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander, and spring peeper during their annual migration. On peak nights each Spring, we work with a fleet of incredible volunteers to hustle amphibians across the road at rescue sites, collect data on the numbers and species seen, measure the impacts of vehicular traffic, and document additional amphibian crossings for future protection. A lovely article in the New York Times (April 2009) described our group as “chaperones to an amphibian dance.”

Click here for more information.

Contact: Allegra Mitchell at 908-852-2576 ext. 122

Image of A Piping plover.Zoom+ A Piping plover. © Robert Lin

Geographic Area: Various Sites in 4 Coastal Counties – Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May

Time of year: March and April

Time commitment: One time on the weekend

Duties: Beach Nesting Bird Project needs volunteers to assist with erecting protective fence at coastal nesting sites for piping plover, least terns, and black skimmers. Fencing projects are usually done on weekends in late March and April (schedule usually available in February). The sites vary although there are some in all four coastal counties (Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May).

Contact: at 609.628.0401 (e-mail preferred).

Image of A red knot in breeding plumage along the Delaware Bay.Zoom+ A red knot in breeding plumage along the Delaware Bay. © Bill Dalton
If you enjoy bird watching, the bay and safely interacting (social distancing) with people then this opportunity might be for you!

Part-time Shorebird Stewards are needed to protect critical shorebird beaches along the Delaware Bayshore. These include Villas beaches north to Reed’s Beach in Cape May County and Fortescue in Cumberland County.

Shorebird stewards support beach closures by being present at closed beaches during shorebird season to ensure that resting and foraging shorebirds are not disturbed. This job includes educating beach visitors as to why the beaches are closed and the importance of the beaches to horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds.

All stewards will be instructed on maintaining social distancing and adhering to all recommended practices for safety and personal protection.

Dates: May 9th through May 25th.

Hours: Stewards can choose the days they are available. Hours worked can be 4-8 hrs per day.

Stipend: Paid stipend

Positions filled for 2021 season

Image of Two-week-old kestrel chicks in a nestbox.Zoom+ Two-week-old kestrel chicks in a nestbox. © MacKenzie Hall

Geographic Area: 3 Project Areas – Clinton Area (Hunterdon, Somerset Counties); Amwell Valley Area (Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset Counties); Assunpink Area (Mercer, Monmouth Counties)

Time of Year: Spring (April, May, June, July)

Time Commitment: 3-5 hours every 2 weeks during the breeding season

Duties: Monitor a set of nestboxes to determine use and productivity by American kestrels. Volunteers will be assigned a group of boxes (between 12 and 20) to monitor every 12-15 days. Boxes are affixed to utility poles, trees, or buildings approximately 10-15 feet off the ground. Volunteers will need to have access to a vehicle capable of carrying a 16-foot aluminum ladder. Volunteers will climb ladder and observe boxes to determine occupancy of box by kestrels (or other wildlife species). Volunteers may need to add bedding, remove bedding, and/or destroy starling eggs. Data must be submitted online within 48 hours of nestbox checks.

Contact: Bill Pitts at 856-629-5783


Geographic Area: Trenton, NJ

Time of Year: Year-round

Time Commitment: 1 day a week for at least 4 hours

Duties: We always need help in our office. We seek a volunteer who can commit 1-day a week to help with light office work: mailings, administration, merchandise fulfillment etc. We can offer flexible hours within the regular workday. Computer skills are necessary. Our main office is located in Trenton. Parking privileges included.

Our main office at 609.984.6012

Image of Magnolia warbler.Zoom+ Magnolia warbler. © Bill Dalton

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a long-term, large-scale, international avian monitoring program to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program provides coordination for the BBS in New Jersey. Each survey route is 24.5 miles long with stops at 0.5-mile intervals. Surveys are conducted on a single day, usually during the first half of June. At each stop, a 3-minute point count of all birds seen and heard is conducted. Once analyzed, BBS data provide an index of population abundance that can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various geographic scales.

What are the requirements for participation?
  • Access to suitable transportation to complete a survey.
  • Good hearing and eyesight.
  • The ability to identify all breeding birds in the area by sight and sound. Knowledge of bird songs is extremely important, because most birds counted on these surveys are singing males.
  • New BBS participants must also successfully complete the BBS Methodology Training Program before their data will be used in any BBS analyses.

Although scouting the route before the run is usually a good idea, it is not a requirement, so becoming an observer requires that you commit to only one morning each June. The data are most useful when the same observer runs the route for several years, so we encourage people to make a commitment to run their routes for at least the three consecutive years, preferably longer. Most observers in New Jersey, except those with very rural routes find that the routes are best run on weekends to avoid excess traffic noise and Sunday is usually best.

For more information on the North American BBS, go to:

Currently the following New Jersey routes are in need of observers: 011 Holmansville (N. Ocean Co to Somerset Co), 018 Midvale (Passaic Co), 022 Dover (Morris Co), 023 Pottersville (Border of Hunterdon & Somerset Co), 026 Cranbury (W Middlesec & Monmouth Co), and 132 Spraguetown (S. Ocean and Burlington Co). Click here to view a map of general route locations.

If you are interested in becoming an observer, please contact:

Sharon Petzinger, N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife

Endangered and Nongame Species Program
1 Van Syckels Rd.
Clinton, NJ 08809

Phone: 908.638.5102
Fax: 908.638.6639

Image of Ben Wurst mans a CWF table at an event at Forsythe NWR in Oceanville.Zoom+ Ben Wurst mans a CWF table at an event at Forsythe NWR in Oceanville. © Kevin Holcomb

Geographic Area: Hunterdon County area

Time of Year: Women & Wildlife event in March; Golf event in May

Time Commitment: Minimum of one half day for an event

Duties: Volunteers needed to help in the execution of our two main fundraising events: Women and Wildlife Awards and Art Show and our Annual Golf Outing. Special event volunteers serve on an "event-by-event" basis. Volunteer duties include set-up, breakdown, registration, and other event duties.

Contact: Liz Silvernail at 609.292.3707

Image of From May - August hundreds of terrapins cross Great Bay Blvd. Slow down and allow them to cross or help in the direction they are traveling.Zoom+ From May - August hundreds of terrapins cross Great Bay Blvd. Slow down and allow them to cross or help in the direction they are traveling. © Ben Wurst

Geographic Area: Various roads in southern Ocean County

Time of year: mid-May through July

Time commitment: Any amount of time you can spare. Weekends are when more patrols are needed.

Duties: Volunteers are needed to help conduct road patrols in coastal areas where nesting female terrapins enter roadways.

Volunteers help educate the public about terrapins, our conservation efforts, and their threats in the environment. They record sightings of terrapins along Great Bay Blvd and other roads in suitable habitat. Data will be used to identify other road kill hot-spots. Volunteers also help terrapins safely cross roads. You can also collect injured and/or road-killed terrapins for egg harvesting and transportation to a local hatchery at the Tuckerton Seaport. Volunteers can also help maintain the terrapin fence along Great Bay Blvd.

Contact: Ben Wurst

For More Information:

- To Volunteer for the Citizen Science Program - Larissa Smith or 609.628.0402