Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Exploring New Jersey’s Amphibian Migrations

Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

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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2024 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest Winners Announced

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024

by Rachel McGovern, Director of Education

For more than twenty years, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been organizing the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest, inviting all fifth graders in New Jersey to participate. This year marked another successful run, with an array of imaginative and captivating submissions pouring in from all twenty-one counties. Each entry examined the plight of a threatened or endangered species native to New Jersey.

To take part in the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest, students must craft an original piece of handmade artwork and compose an essay responding to a provided prompt. Both components of their submission center around a single at-risk species from New Jersey. We typically find that some species are represented more than others. This year, the golden-winged warbler stood out with numerous striking artworks spotlighting this bird. Other frequently chosen species included the blue whale, bobcat, and red-headed woodpecker.

Blue Whale by Chelsea Li (Jefferson Elementary School, Union County)
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CWFNJ Returns to Blue Acres Tremley Point for Fall Planting

Monday, November 13th, 2023

by Sherry Tirgrath, Wildlife Biologist

Restoring floodplains and protecting urban communities may not sound like a typical workday for the biologists of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ (CWFNJ). However, multiple staff and board members of CWFNJ were present at the annual Blue Acres Floodplain Restoration Fall Planting and Clean-up Day on October 27th, clearing weeds, trash and planting new trees and shrubs at the Tremley Point restoration site in Linden. Blue Acres, a program created by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, helps residents in low-lying areas that are subject to repeated flooding by buying out their properties and aiding in homeowner relocation. The acquired properties eventually become buffer zones, such as floodplains, that protect surrounding communities from the impact of storms and rising sea levels by acting as natural floodwater storage. The land purchased through the Blue Acres program may also be restored into functional wetlands, habitat for wildlife and open green space for the community to enjoy. Blue Acres not only provides disaster relief for residents whose homes have been destroyed or damaged by flooding and surges caused by large storms, but also contributes to the NJ Climate Change Resilience Strategy by proactively creating wetlands and floodplains to lessen the severity of future flood events.

From left: Christine Healy (CWF Wildlife Biologist), Leah Wells (CWF Assistant Wildlife Biologist), Liz Silvernail (CWF Executive Director), Sherry Tirgrath (CWF Wildlife Biologist), Nancy Sadlon (Phillips 66 Public Affairs Manager), and Marty McHugh (CWF Trustee) at the Blue Acres restoration event.
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A New Science Partnership Grows on Long Beach Island

Wednesday, 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.
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Shorebird Stewards on the Bay in May

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

Every May the Delaware Bay is host to the largest concentration of spawning horseshoe crabs in the world. The shorebirds come to feast on these high-energy eggs, fueling up for their journey north to their breeding grounds. Since the 1990’s the number of horseshoe crabs has been in decline which has led to a decrease in the shorebird population.

There are many different organizations that have been researching these species and trying to protect and help increase the numbers of both the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds. One way to help protect the feeding shorebirds is to restrict access to beaches, May 7th-June 7th, where the birds concentrate in high numbers when feeding. Trained Shorebird Stewards are posted at these restricted access beaches in Cape May and Cumberland counties, to help educate the public and answer questions about the birds and horseshoe crabs. So far this season the horseshoe crabs have been spawning and the shorebirds are slowly trickling onto the beaches. Over the next two weeks the numbers of shorebirds arriving should be increasing. It’s a great time to stop by one of the bay beaches.