Conserve Wildlife Blog

A New Science Partnership Grows on Long Beach Island

October 11th, 2023

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

CWF had a busy summer at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences (LBIF), having launched a new partnership this year to help strengthen their science programming through a grant from the Osprey Foundation. A number of offerings targeting both adults and kids, highlighted by three week-long science camps for ages 7-9 and 10-12, were developed and led by CWF’s staff. The LBIF facility, with its close proximity to both the ocean and bay, is an ideal location to feature New Jersey’s coastal species and their unique conservation challenges.

Campers watch as summer intern Victoria Rosikiewicz moves a clutch of terrapin eggs to a safe new nest.

The kids’ camps, including Junior Wildlife Biologists, Super Stewards for Wildlife Beach, and Beach, Birds, and Biology were headed up by CWF Education Director Rachel McGovern and our summer intern Victoria Rosikiewicz, with our staff biologists rotating in each day to provide expertise about their specific species and projects. Campers were treated to hands-on lessons and related arts & crafts activities about a range of species from diamondback terrapins to ospreys to piping plovers. One of the highlights of each session was the week-ending field trip to the beach where they learned that the beach is not just a place for us to have fun but a home for wildlife too.

Senior Wildlife Biologist Todd Pover leads campers in a lesson about beach biology.

CWF also offered several one-time-only programs at LBIF this summer geared more toward adults. CWF’s Ben Wurst led an evening walk on LBIF’s nature trail to watch osprey and learn about this iconic coastal species’ life history and recovery. Our biologist Todd Pover presented a lecture at LBIF about the recent habitat restoration at nearby Barnegat Light, built to aid endangered beach-nesting birds, as well as a walk at the site to see the project’s results firsthand…and the birds that use it. Capping off these programs was a lively special evening with Melissa Groo, renowned wildlife photographer, who shared her photographic journey and conservation approach to a packed full house.

Throughout July and August, CWF staff, led by Ben and Victoria, were on-hand to assist LBIF with more informal outreach activities and work on their grounds, everything from weekly Discovery Days, that featured public walks on the nature trail and the marsh to building a pollinator meadow to chipping in to help manage LBIF’s resident beehives. CWF conducted on-site migratory and nesting bird surveys, gathering information to help guide how LBIF’s grounds can be enhanced for wildlife. Throughout the season, CWF monitored diamondback terrapins nesting at LBIF, including relocating eggs to a “turtle garden” to protect them from predators. And of course, CWF was on hand to help LBIF celebrate the 17th Annual Barnegat Bay Day.

Summer intern Victoria Rosikiewicz shows a terrapin found at LBIF.

All in all, it was an exciting summer for our staff and the visitors who came to LBIF looking to learn more about science and wildlife! With a new partnership forged, CWF and LBIF are already looking at ways to build on this year’s programming – stay tuned for next summer.

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