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Cool Fact:

Breeding success of ospreys relies heavily on food supply and males ability to catch prey.

 

Volunteer Profiles

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


Robert Hergenrother

What CWF volunteer projects are you involved with?

Since 2011, I have been involved with the acoustic bat monitoring survey and have participated in a big brown/little brown bat count at a nearby residential house. I have helped transport any bats in need of rehabilitation to the NJ Bat Sanctuary. During the spring, I’m involved with the amphibian crossing survey in West Milford, NJ. In 2010, I helped with installing protective fencing for the beach nesting bird project at Stone Harbor and attended a NJ Wildlife Action Plan workshop, adopted a nesting platform for the osprey project in 2011, and was a student at the Rutgers/CWF Endangered and Threatened Species of New Jersey course.

Image of Robert, in his natural habitat.Zoom+ Robert, in his natural habitat.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?

The opportunity to help scientists carry out their essential research in wildlife conservation and restoration of natural habitats are always a rewarding experience for me. Whether it’s giving a donation, recording bat signals or helping a salamander safely cross a road, no matter how small or large one’s effort is in helping, it all makes a positive difference for our ecosystem in more ways than I could ever imagine. It’s fun work in knowing that your efforts help contribute to a prosperous environment for all wildlife and people to enjoy.

What do you do when not volunteering?

When not volunteering with CWF, I have volunteered in invasive plant surveys with the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team/NY-NJ Trail Conference, water quality sampling with the USGS, urban wildlife research with the Earthwatch Institute and benthic macroinvertebrate survey’s with the NJDEP Watershed Watch Network. Non-volunteer activities that I greatly enjoy are wildlife watching, learning more about wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, stargazing through my telescope, model railroading, hiking, playing the keyboard, learning to build decorative birdhouses, watching New York Yankee games, exploring New Jersey and its historical sites, visiting aviation/natural history/railroad museums, and keeping up with the latest news in meteorology, climate change, sustainable energy, volcanology and NASA spaceflight.

What is your favorite wildlife memory?

In recent years, the acoustic bat surveys have been a very enjoyable experience. Any sightings of bears, turtles or owls, my favorite animals, are always an exciting experience. Hopefully, I will get the chance to travel to Canada and observe polar bears in the wild. That would be a very memorable wildlife experience.


Phil & Lorna Wooldridge

What CWF volunteer projects are you involved with?

Phil and I are involved with counting bats for CWF, and Phil is involved in the amphibian crossing in our township with other commissioners from the Liberty Township Environmental Commission.

How long have you been volunteering with CWF?

We took our herp atlas training eight years ago and have been involved in volunteering for CWF since that time, and more recently we became involved in counting the bat population in our church, which is right across the street from our house.

Image of CWF volunteers Phil & Lorna Wooldridge enjoy the outdoors at the John James property in Audubon PA.Zoom+ CWF volunteers Phil & Lorna Wooldridge enjoy the outdoors at the John James property in Audubon PA.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?

We love spending time observing wildlife that most other people miss, or aren't even aware exists around them. We would do it anyway, but formally volunteering gives a focus to our efforts and provides that year-by-year record that we might otherwise fail to keep.

What do you do when not volunteering?

Phil and I have become deeply concerned about how few nature experiences most people, and especially children, are having today. To help make a difference, we created a workshop and walk business called “Wise Owl Workshops”. Without these experiences we feel people won't value their natural surroundings or the wildlife that forms part of it, and that means they may not make any effort to protect these things for the future. Our hope is that, through the wide range of workshops and walks we offer, we can help others discover more about what is around them, and encourage them to spend time observing and learning about nature. At one of our pollinator workshops, a monarch caterpillar went into chrysalis, and we were able to gather the children attending the program around to observe this. For many of them this was a completely new and exciting experience.

We both also enjoy gardening, walking, teaching and fixing things!

Why did you become involved with the CWF volunteer projects?

As we are monitoring numbers of species on a yearly basis, we feel we are directly contributing scientific knowledge scientists are trying to build of wildlife in different locations. Amphibians and bats have been facing a number of challenges in the last number of years, and decades, and if we can do anything to help preserve these beneficial and wonderful creatures for the future, we want to be involved.

What is your favorite wildlife memory?

This is a hard one, because we have been fortunate to have so many. If I was to choose just one, it would have to be helping catch hummingbirds in a mist net at an Audubon center on the Arizona/Mexico border with our son Jack, who was eight at the time. We carried them in small net bags to a table where their vital statistics were taken, and they were banded. After a drink of sugar water we were allowed to release them from our own hands!


Maureen Barrett

What CWF volunteer projects are you involved with?

I have counted bats, surveyed horseshoe crabs, banded shorebirds, monitored bald eagles, surveyed reptiles and amphibians, listened for calling amphibians, and installed fencing for beach nesting birds. Am I missing anything?! My latest CWF project was getting an osprey platform installed in my backyard! Hopefully, a pair of osprey will also call it home next season.

How long have you been volunteering with CWF?

I’m not exactly sure, but I think some of my earliest involvement with CWF was banding shorebirds or participating in the Herptile Atlas.

Image of CWF volunteer Maureen Barrett on a polar bear expedition off of the Labrador coast.Zoom+ CWF volunteer Maureen Barrett on a polar bear expedition off of the Labrador coast. Image courtesy of Maureen Barrett
What do you most enjoying about volunteering?

Volunteering for CWF fulfills both personal and professional interests. I am a middle school life science teacher, but I am also a life-long learner. I love learning about nature and the environment. Participating in CWF projects teaches me about New Jersey’s wildlife while building a stronger foundation from which I teach.

What do you do when not volunteering?

Some of my favorite pastimes include bird watching, kayaking, scuba diving, mountain biking, watching the Phillies, or just walking a beach. When I am not doing any of that, I rest! Sometimes I have to take a break!

Why did you become involved with the CWF volunteer projects?

I first became involved with CWF to learn about New Jersey’s wildlife. As a child I spent a great deal of time outdoors, but at some point in my adult life, I got away from it – away from nature. Fortunately, I found my way back, and the CWF volunteer projects help me stay in touch with New Jersey’s outdoors.


Hans Toft

What volunteer projects are you involved with?

The osprey project

How long have you been volunteering with NJDFW/CWF?

About 25 or so years with the osprey project (maybe 30 or more?)

Image of While not volunteering to survey dozens of osprey nests in late June and early July, Hans enjoys sport-fishing with his two daughters.Zoom+ While not volunteering to survey dozens of osprey nests in late June and early July, Hans enjoys sport-fishing with his two daughters. Image courtesy of Hans Toft
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
  1. Working with the state biologists and learning from them,
  2. Getting involved with actual fieldwork,
  3. Watching the enjoyment and education of my students who work on the nest building, observations, and banding of the young, and
  4. The information in the newsletters and updates----in general it gives me great pleasure to see others learn about and gain an appreciation for the wonders of NJ's natural world.
What do you do when not volunteering?

Hunt ,Fish, Crab, Clam, Falconry, Garden,--and oh yeah work as a Natural Sciences Instructor at the Cape May Technical School.

Why did you become involved with the NJDFW/CWF volunteer projects?

I became involved because of my deep interest in all things wild and the places they live, and to learn more about the our wildlife populations in NJ and their habitat and to help those species that are in need—and to share what I have learned with others—mostly my students.


Pat and Donald Walker

What CWF volunteer projects are you involved with?

We like volunteering our services whenever we can make the time. We regularly check the newsletters for volunteering activities that focus on wildlife monitoring, management, and preservation. However, we do have our favorites which we participate in every year: the Calling Amphibian Monitoring Program (CAMP), the Shorebird Stewards program, and working with State of New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Image of The Walkers.Zoom+ The Walkers.
How long have you been volunteering with CWF?

We have been volunteering with the CWF since 2003. We began with the CAMP program and it quickly opened the door to many other volunteering opportunities.

What do you most enjoy about volunteering?

One of the things we like most about volunteering is getting to know and working with the scientists who have made conservation their life. When we see the passion and dedication these people put into their careers, it makes our efforts pale in comparison.

What do you do when not volunteering?

When not volunteering we enjoy some of our hobbies. We particularly enjoy hiking and wildlife watching. We rarely pass up an opportunity to add new birds to our life list. Anything that gets us outdoors and up-close and personal with nature is okay with us. In addition, Donald loves photography and Pat enjoys quilting and gardening.

Why did you become involved with the CWF volunteer projects?

We are both lovers of nature who really appreciate the diversity of wildlife and habitat around us. We realize that if we want to ensure that future generations have an opportunity to enjoy nature as we have, then we must do what we can to protect and speak for the species that cannot defend and speak for themselves. Volunteering for the CWF projects is our small way of assisting the teams of people who have dedicated their lives to this cause.


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