Conserve Wildlife Blog

April 15th, 2024

Newark Fifth Graders Enjoy Annual Art Assembly with James Fiorentino

by Rachel McGovern, Director of Education

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’s Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest
encourages fifth-grade students to create artwork featuring endangered or threatened species in
New Jersey. Every year, fifth-grade students from Ridge Street Elementary School in Newark,
New Jersey eagerly participate in this contest as an integral part of the Soaring with STEAM
curriculum. This curriculum includes a series of specialized lessons taught by CWF educators
throughout the school year. To honor these students’ engagement, CWF organizes an annual
assembly featuring acclaimed artist James Fiorentino. Renowned for his diverse portfolio
spanning wildlife, sports icons, and landscapes, James embarked on his artistic journey at the age
of fifteen, with his work showcased in the Baseball Hall of Fame. During his visit to Ridge Street
Elementary, James shared his inspiring narrative and engaged with the young artists on the
subject of art.

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April 9th, 2024

Photo from the Field / Eclipse Osprey Platform Installation

by Ben Wurst / Senior Wildlife Biologist

Last fall I received a text from Kelly Scott, Resource Interpretive Specialist at Island Beach State Park about an osprey platform. She was kayaking within the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone and noticed one laying on its side – on a sandbar. I knew exactly which nest she was looking at. Later last year, I flew my sUAS to confirm her observation and make plans to get it back in working order before ospreys returned this year.

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April 5th, 2024

From Lost to Found: E97’s Story

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

During the 2020 NJ Bald Eagle nesting season the Camden B pair hatched and raised two chicks. This nest was located along the Cooper River, in Camden County on a small parcel of undeveloped land in a very urban area.

Camden B eagle nest with 6 week old chicks May 14, 2020: photo by: Marilyn Henry

On June 5, we received notification that the nest had fallen from the tree during a storm, at that time the two chicks were approximately nine weeks old. They were too young to fly since eagle don’t fledge until at least 11 weeks of age. At nine weeks of age they are the size of an adult eagle so they would be noticeable on the ground. Despite an extensive search by staff and volunteers there were no signs of the two nestlings.

Fallen Camden B nest, June 8, 2020

Local wildlife rehab centers were notified in case the young eagles were found and brought in for care. At that point we could only speculate on their fate. Then on June 28, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife Law Enforcement was alerted to eagles being held in a dog pen at a residence in Camden. NJDFW Conservation Officers visited the home and found the two missing eagle chicks. At this point the young eagles were twelve weeks old and should have fledged if they were still in the nest.

Camden eagles in dog pen; June 28th, 2020: photo K. Clark

The eagles had been kept in the basement and fed hotdogs and chicken. Fortunately for the chicks they were moved outside and an alert citizen reported the captive eagles. They were taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research for evaluation and treatment. After a week in rehab it was determined that they were healthy enough to be released. By this time the adults were no longer actively in the area of the nest tree. After eagle chicks fledge they still spend a few weeks in the nest area with the adults, learning to survive on their own. It was decided to release the two eagles in a remote area of Cumberland County. On July 9 the two Camden eagles were released at the site.

E/96 & E/97 at release, Diving Creek Cumberland County

Staff and volunteers temporarily provided supplemental food (fish and road-killed mammals). The release area has a large population of juvenile and sub-adult eagles who could provide the social learning the young eagles needed. A trail camera was set up at the food drop. E/97 wasn’t seen again at the release site. Her sibling, E/96 was seen in the area several times after her release.

On March 18th, 2024, Kathy Clark with NJENSP received an email from Jerry amEnde regarding a green banded eagle he photographed at Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware.

The banded eagle was E/97! We are thrilled to know that despite her not having a “traditional” start to her life, she has to survived to become a gorgeous four year old eagle.

E/97 , March 18, 2024: photo by Jerry am Ende

March 29th, 2024

Third Grade Students Host the Annual Bird Festival at Ridge Street Elementary School

by Rachel McGovern, Director of Education

The spotlight was on the third graders at Ridge Street Elementary School during the Annual Bird Festival! Over the school year, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey guided third graders at Ridge Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey through an exploration of the state’s fascinating birds as part of the Soaring with STEAM curriculum. Students delved into the lives of ospreys, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and other avian species while engaging in STEM-based projects. To culminate their learning journey, the third graders organized a festival aimed at educating parents, visitors, and younger students about the diverse birdlife in New Jersey.

Students gather to learn about peregrine falcons from third graders at Ridge Street Elementary School.
Photo Credit: Ashley Menniti
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March 27th, 2024

Exploring New Jersey’s Amphibian Migrations

by Leah Wells, Wildlife Biologist

Wood Frogs

 On rainy spring evenings, have you ever encountered large numbers of salamanders and frogs crossing the road? Do you ever wonder where they came from and where they are going? New Jersey’s forests are home to a group of amphibians that breed in small, temporary wetlands called vernal pools. Within northern New Jersey, this group includes wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and Jefferson salamanders. 

These salamanders are elusive, often concealed under foliage, moss, or in burrows created by small creatures.  They belong to the Ambystomatidae family, earning the nickname “mole salamander” due to their subterranean tendencies. Feeding primarily at night on various invertebrates like earthworms and insects, they, along with wood frogs, play crucial roles in forest ecosystems as vital links in the food chain and are indicators of ecosystem health. Emerging from winter hibernation during rainy nights in late winter and early spring, they embark on journeys to vernal pools for mating and egg-laying, marking the onset of the amphibian migration. 

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