Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the field

October 7th, 2011

Students help provide homes for ospreys on New York Bay

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Students and teachers from Bayonne High School stand in front of an osprey platform that was built this past week. © Ben Wurst

This past week I spent the day with students and teachers at Bayonne High School (BHS). I was there to help students construct three osprey nesting platforms. The platforms are being placed at the Bayonne Golf Club (BGC) along a portion wetland habitat that was restored by the BGC along New York Bay. This whole project began when I was approached a couple months ago by Tom Tokar, a teacher at BHS, about assisting them with the construction and placement of the platforms with some of his students. Tom and Larissa Drennan, a teacher at the Woodrow Wilson School, have involved their students in many environmental projects in Bayonne, one of which is where they grow mussels and seed them at the BCG. Ron D’Argenio, with BGC has supported their efforts from the beginning not only by offering up the BGC as a location to seed the mussels but also through financial assistance. Ron and the BGC are also fully funding this project as well, with a very generous donation to CWF.

This is a very unique opportunity. Bayonne is an area where I’ve never worked, and it’ll be the northern most location where I’ve ever installed an osprey platform. I always seek to expand CWF’s conservation efforts, and I also like to involve young adults in our work. Many of these students have never had the opportunity for such a project that involves such a magnificent species like the osprey, and some have never even worked with power tools so it was a great experience for them.

The platforms will be installed in early March 2012, just before ospreys return to New Jersey to nest. The students will also help install the platforms. At the BGC there is plenty of suitable habitat for ospreys even though it is surrounded by one of the largest metropolitan areas of the entire East Coast. Ospreys require open areas close to water (where they find food and protection from predators). They also look for other ospreys as a sign that the area has plentiful amounts of prey (fish). Over the past few years the osprey population along the Hackensack and Hudson Rivers has grown to three pairs in New Jersey and I’m hopeful that young produced from these nests will return to nest at the BGC in 2012!

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