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Conserve Wildlife Foundation Team

Meet the dedicated staff and professionals behind Conserve Wildlife Foundation's important work.

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Liz Silvernail

Executive Director

A nonprofit professional with over 30 years of experience, Liz lends her project management, program administration, fundraising and communications skills to support the mission and long range goals of the Foundation. A graduate of Boston College, Liz’s interest has always been in conservation and environmental advocacy, working for both Scenic Hudson and NJ Keep it Green. As Director of Development at CWF for the past 11 years, she has formed strong corporate and donor partnerships to build resource capacity. In addition, her leadership has developed and implemented highly successful STEAM educational programs throughout New Jersey schools as well as the annual Women & Wildlife Awards, the James Fiorentino Traveling Art Exhibit: Rare Wildlife Revealed, and other outreach initiatives to promote public awareness of at-risk wildlife. She serves on the board of EarthShare New Jersey and has volunteered with the Garden Club of America, Junior League of Greater Princeton, and Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. In addition to her family, the other love of her life is sailing her boat, Perfect Timing, on the Barnegat Bay.

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Todd Pover

Senior Wildlife Biologist

Todd heads up our beach nesting bird project, including monitoring, management, and research of piping plovers, least terns, black skimmers, and American oystercatchers in New Jersey. In addition, he has worked with piping plovers across the flyway, most notably our education and research initiatives on the wintering grounds in the Bahamas, as well as in North America from Canada to Florida. He has been involved in the beach nesting bird project since 1994 and graduated from Rutgers University. When not working (or playing) on the beach, Todd enjoys traveling adventures, gardening, and culinary pursuits.

  • Phone: 609.306.4475
  • Email

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Larissa Smith

Senior Wildlife Biologist

Larissa has worked for the CWF foundation since 2000 as a Wildlife Biologist. She coordinates CWF's volunteers and works on the New Jersey Bald Eagle project, Eastern Tiger Salamader project as well as a variety of other projects. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Stockton College and an M.A. in Environmental Education from Rowan University.

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Ben Wurst

Senior Wildlife Biologist

Since becoming a full time employee of CWF, Ben has led the NJ Osprey Project, which is centered around monitoring and managing the statewide osprey population using citizen scientists. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science with emphasis in Wildlife Conservation from Unity College. Ben also works on a variety of other coastal conservation projects that include habitat enhancement, management of nesting peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and northern diamondback terrapins.

Outside of work, Ben enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two children. He is proud to provide habitat for wildlife in his own backyard by establishing native plants and growing large beds of annual wildflowers for pollinators. He also enjoys photography, boating, and woodworking. Ben collects salvaged wood that he uses to create reclaimed wood picture frames and other artwork.

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Emmy Casper

Wildlife Biologist

Emmy works on our beach and marsh nesting bird projects, primarily focusing on Americanoystercatcher monitoring in the Delaware Bay region of New Jersey. She also assists with CWF’s education efforts. Emmy previously spent three seasons with CWF as a beach nesting bird technician, monitoring breeding populations of piping plovers, American oystercatchers, and colonial bird species at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. She holds two degrees from Fordham University, a B.S. in Biology and Anthropology and an M.S. in Biology, during which she conducted her thesis on shorebird diet during spring migration in the urban estuaries of Jamaica Bay. A proud New Jersey resident, Emmy is passionate about protecting local wildlife and inspiring the next generation of conservationists. When she isn’t working, you can find her birding, beachcombing, practicing photography, or trying to corral her three dachshunds.

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Christine Healy

Wildlife Biologist

Christine manages several of CWF’s amphibian and reptile initiatives, including the Amphibian Crossing Project and outreach efforts for the federally threatened and state endangered bog turtle. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Marist College in 2014 and her M.Sc. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of New Hampshire in 2018, where her thesis work focused on moose mortality due to winter tick parasitism. Christine hopes to use her background in mammalogy and GIS mapping to expand CWF’s work with terrestrial mammals. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, drawing, and running along New Jersey’s network of canals and rail trails.

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Meaghan Lyon

Wildlife Biologist

Meaghan is responsible for writing Beach Management Plans that provide for the protection and recovery of listed species of beach nesting birds and plants on New Jersey’s beaches. Additionally, Meaghan works on native grassland habitat restoration for the state endangered Upland Sandpiper, surveying for rare bats in the Pinelands, and monitoring coastal wildlife populations. While striving to protect New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species, Meaghan has spent six seasons monitoring endangered beach nesting birds like the Piping Plover. She holds a degree in Human Ecology and her primary focus has been conserving species, protecting habitat, and connecting people to the natural world through education and outreach.

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Rachel McGovern

Education Director

Rachel facilitates educational programming, including education for schools and for the public. Rachel is a life-long resident of New Jersey and has always been passionate about protecting the animals that call the state home. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior. Upon graduation, Rachel joined the Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program and discovered her passion for environmental education.

Rachel most previously worked as the Program Director at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood, NJ where she managed a team of educators and organized the care of non-releasable raptors. Before that, she was the Education Director for Valley Crest Preserve and a Naturalist for the Morris County Park Commission. Outside of work, Rachel loves birding, camping, and spending time with her husband and dog.

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Leah Wells

Assistant Wildlife Biologist

Leah works on our bat research and conservation projects. As the coordinator of one of our projects - The Summer Bat Count, she is responsible for engaging our citizen science volunteers to conduct bat counts at sites where bats are known to be roosting. She also works on our other bat-related projects such as mist-netting and radio tracking, Bats in Buildings, and mobile acoustic surveys. Leah earned her B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University. Leah enjoys spending time outdoors by going on hikes, birding, kayaking, and taking her cats on harnessed adventures!

Special Concern

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Learn about some of the newest species in decline in New Jersey. From the bottlenose dolphin to the fowler's toad, this special listing applies to a growing list of species. Learn ways to help these sensitive species in New Jersey.

>>Explore our Field Guide


Conserve Wildlife Store

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We offer a variety of excellent wildlife books and field guides as well as shirts, hats, and other cool merchandise.