The Wetlands Institute served as a Beach Captain for Clean Ocean Action’s Spring Beach Sweep for 7-mile Island on April 30. Twenty-three people, including members of Stone Harbor’s Borough Council and Police Department, showed up to remove trash and debris from the beac read more
Dear Terrapin Conservation Supporters,
More good news! New Jersey’s Senate Environment and Energy Committee and Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources committees recently met to consider Bill S-1625 and A-2949 to classify diamondback terrapins a as non-game indigenous species. The bill passed both committees and will move forward to a full vote. The Wetlands Institute is supportive of this bill that will provide terrapins greater protection and end the harvest in New Jersey.
If you would like to voice support for the bill, you can find contact information for your state representatives at the link below.
Migratory shorebirds are attracted to barrier island beaches for resting and foraging along their many-thousand mile long annual journey. Sanderlings are the shorebirds commonly seen running in and out with the waves, quickly grabbing food from the sand with their bills. One such individual we spotted foraging on Stone Harbor Point last fall carried around its leg a band with a unique code. By submitting the code, we learned that this sanderling was the oldest sanderling ever found- at least 13.5 years old! This individual, like millions of others, depends on opportunities to rest and eat undisturbed at critical habitats provided by our barrier island beaches year after year.
Want to help? Avoid disturbing birds on the beach and follow posted signage throughout the year.
Stone Harbor, NJ – On Saturday, March 26th, The Wetlands Institute will be hosting its 6th Annual Turtle Fest from 9:00am to 3:00pm. This fun-packed day will kick-off with a pancake breakfast with scheduled seatings at 9:00am, 10:00am, 10:45am, and 11:30am (reservations recommended).
Children can enjoy a different twist on the traditional egg hunt with a terrapin-themed egg hunt. They can also create arts and crafts, help a naturalist search for turtle hatchlings along the Salt Marsh Trail, and stop by the aquarium to watch the animals have breakfast too!
Reservations are recommended for breakfast seatings and can be submitted using the form at wetlandsinstitute.org/events/turtle-fest or by calling 609-368-1211. Gluten-free pancakes are available upon request.
The Wetlands Institute has hosted this event for the past 6 years in an effort to increase awareness for the human-related struggles the diamondback terrapin faces and to promote conservation of the species. To find out more about The Wetlands Institute’s terrapin conservation programs and how you can help please visit wetlandsinstitute.org/conservation.
About The Wetlands Institute:
The Wetlands Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation, understanding and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through our programs in research, conservation and education. We inspire visitors of all ages to appreciate and steward wetlands and coastal ecosystems by teaching them the importance of those systems and how they relate to their own lives. Visit our website at wetlandsinstitute.org to find out more about our programs and mission.
Wetlands Institute Faces Critical Challenges to Wetland Habitats
Climate Change, Rising Sea Levels, Loss of Biodiversity and Wetlands
Stone Harbor, NJ, – As a regional leader in wetlands conservation for almost 50 years, The Wetlands Institute located outside of Stone Harbor, NJ, remains at the forefront of vital wetlands research and education as it faces crucial conservation challenges to marine life and healthy wetlands. Situated on 6,000 acres of habitat for migratory birds and horseshoe crabs, the Institute is at the epicenter of the most complex and critical challenges facing the region: climate change, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity and wetlands habitat. To address these pressing challenges, the Institute has initiated an intensive education campaign to encourage public support for wetland and habitat conservation.
“These challenges can no longer be ignored,” said Institute Executive Director Lenore Tedesco. “Today, the threats to wetlands have never been greater with climate change and rising sea levels already impacting wetlands. The struggle to address these seminal issues and engage the public in understanding and mitigating these impacts is significant and The Wetlands Institute is responding to these needs.”
The Institute took on these pressing issues by restructuring the research and conservation department, recruiting several key scientists, and initiating several new conservation and education programs. After Hurricane Sandy, the Institute constructed an elevated walkway over the marsh to enhance education opportunities and expanded monitoring programs that include detailed marsh elevation measurement stations to understand the impacts of rising sea level on local coastal resiliency. The Institute works with multi-partner teams to test experimental techniques in marsh restoration and habitat enhancement to stabilize natural areas and help stressed and declining animal populations.
Wetlands Institute personnel raise these important issues and solutions to the public through various programs and media. As they work to rebalance ecosystems and animal populations suffering from both natural and man-made stresses, they explore new methods to restore wetlands and barrier island habitats to maintain resilient coasts. They help diamondback terrapin populations cope with habitat loss and pressures from island development and roadways. Project teams rescue and return spawning horseshoe crabs to Delaware Bay waters and hatch horseshoe crab eggs to help stabilize their populations and accelerate population recovery.
To further raise these issues with the public, the Institute produced a new short documentary video featuring the important work of the Institute as it faces these challenges, and this past October, Institute Executive Director Lenore Tedesco took the message to the global TED network by giving a TEDxCapeMay talk entitled “See Climate Change.”
By Dr. Lenore Tedesco
A new addition to the research and education programs at the Institute is the installation of live video cameras. Three cameras are mounted on the tower and provide beautiful views of the marsh. They supplement the osprey nest cam and allowed us to observe our fledgling osprey Chance until she ultimately left for warmer climates to the south. One of the cameras looks to the southeast and includes the marsh walkway and another camera provides sweeping views of the marsh to the south of the Institute. The cameras are accessible via the Institute website.
The Jersey Shore and much of the Atlantic Coast from New York to the Carolinas was battered by heavy winds and catastrophic rain for most of the first week of October. Gale force winds blew from the northeast for more than five days and storm tides filled the marshes and back bays. During high tides for several days, the marsh grasses were invisible, and the first time visitor could mistake the marshes for open bays. These storm tides were added onto higher than normal tides that were related to the full moon on September 27th and 28th. The combination of astronomical high tides and storm tides resulted in the marsh being deeply flooded for more than nine days for several hours around each high tide.
An added benefit of the cameras is that they allowed viewers to see how the marshes were doing and track the early October storms from wherever they were. The cameras were extensively used during the storm. In fact, we had more than 9,700 visits to the livecam web page over that four day period. We are pleased to be able to provide this service to our community.
Lots of folks were wondering how the birds fared. Most hunkered down and waited the storm out. We are in the midst of the great fall migration and for most birds, the migration was interrupted and began again in earnest after the storm passed. The same is true for the monarch butterflies.
As I look over the marshes in the golden fall beauty, I am thankful for the services the marshes provide. Once again, the marshes did their job – and did it well, absorbing billions of gallons of flood waters and dampening waves. As I sat in my office, day after day, listening to the winds buffeting the building and watching the marsh become part of the bay, I gave thanks to Herbert Mills and his visionary leadership, for preserving these marshes for our well-being.
The new cameras allow you to enjoy the majesty of the marshes from wherever you are. Check them out!
Our volunteers give of themselves and bring with them their skills, abilities, and compassion and ask for nothing in return. Their commitment to the Institute is an inspiration to all of us. We recently held a celebration to thank these individuals.
Several of our volunteers helped at the front desk or with special events. Others gave their time teaching or assisting in the Aquarium and with Summer Nature Programs. Some also helped with terrapin projects such as spotting nesting females, installing nest exclosures to protect eggs from predation, and monitoring the nests for hatchlings.
This year alone, 71 Junior Volunteers gave a total of 1431 hours; 65 Adult Volunteers providing us with 1328 hours of service; and 112 One Day Volunteers assisted us for 344 hours. Together, these devoted individuals were responsible for an aggregate 3103 donated hours.
Our top junior volunteer for the year was Maria Riley who gave 110 hours of service.
Our top adult volunteer for 2014 was Diana McFadden (pictured above) with 230 hours donated.
Thank you for all that you do!