Conserve Wildlife Blog

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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.

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.

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.

Book Club: Spring Reading List

Thursday, April 6th, 2023

by Emmy Casper, Wildlife Biologist

Emmy’s Recommendations

Spring is in the air! With the days getting warmer and longer, now is the perfect time to pick a sunny spot outside and read a book. Here are some of my all time favorites that I hope will inspire you to get out in nature. Happy reading! 

In honor of Earth Day, which is just a couple weeks away, I’d like to recommend the beautifully written Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a botanist, university professor, and member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer intertwines her scientific knowledge of plants with an indigenous worldview, culminating in a powerful collection of reflections and teachings about our relationship with nature. Science is often considered an objective field (a scientist observes an object), but Kimmerer offers a more holistic perspective where the objects (in this case, plants) can be teachers, offering wisdom instead of just scientific knowledge. Her stories share a central theme of reciprocity and a reminder that we are responsible to protect the natural world in exchange for its many gifts. In a time when humans have become so disconnected with nature, Braiding Sweetgrass is an important and inspiring book I think everyone could benefit from.  

One of my graduate school professors assigned The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf as reading material for our Conservation Biology class. Up until that point, I had never heard of Alexander von Humboldt, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are so many things named after him! Humboldt County, Humboldt squid, Humboldt Current…the list goes on. Although Humboldt was a widely famous naturalist and geographer during his lifetime, he remains largely forgotten today. If you aren’t familiar with Alexander von Humboldt, I highly recommend this engaging biography about his life and contributions to science. You’ll follow Humboldt throughout his many explorations and learn how his writings shaped ecology as we know it today. You may be surprised to learn how much his work inspired well known historical figures including Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson, and John Muir! I still think about this biography regularly, and those who know me know I’m a bit passionate about Humboldt – I even named a piping plover chick after him! If you also enjoy the biography, definitely check out the companion illustrated book, The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt featuring beautiful original artwork by Lillian Melcher interlaced with Humboldt’s original notes and drawings from his journeys in the Americas.

And now a field guide recommendation. Since spring migration is upon us, a bird field guide seems appropriate. I know many birders are die hard fans of Sibley guides. Don’t get me wrong, I also love his illustrations and keep a portable copy of his guide on my phone. That said, The Crossley ID Guide by Richard Crossley is one of my all-time favorite reference resources for birds. Instead of illustrations, this guide features photographs (taken by the author!) depicting each species in various plumages and behaviors. Crossley even layers the photographs on backgrounds depicting the birds’ natural habitats so that the reader can learn what the birds may look like in different behaviors and from various distances (see the American oystercatcher plate above). It’s a very approachable field guide that can be helpful to any birder regardless of skill level.     

Emmy Casper Joins CWF as a Wildlife Biologist

Friday, October 14th, 2022

by Emmy Casper, Wildlife Biologist

Hi there! My name is Emmy Casper. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a new staff member of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. I am so excited to join the CWF team as a Wildlife Biologist working primarily on beach nesting and marsh nesting bird projects.

Relaxing with Bella and Peanut, two of my three dachshunds.