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Our winter lecture series consists of weekly daytime (Lunch and Learn) or monthly evening (Covered Dish Dinner) presentations occurring onsite at The Wetlands Institute.  Throughout the series, guest presenters from around the state share presentations and/or programs on a variety of scientific and cultural topics.

Lunch and Learn – Weekly

Join us for a weekly exploration of topics important to our coastal and wetland ecosystems. Bring your lunch and The Wetlands Institute will provide coffee and dessert. Each week we will feature a different speaker and topic of discussion! Please check back for complete presenter details.

When:  Fridays at 11:45am from January 6 – March 24, 2017.
Admission: $3 for members and $5 non-members

Please Note:  There are NO Lunch and Learn presentations on January 27, February 24 and  March 31 due to Covered Dish Dinner events.

Friday, January 20, 2017  Partners for a Structured Learning Experience

Presented by: David Cook, Structured Learning Experience Intern, Lower Cape May Regional High School

For the first time, The Wetlands Institute joins Lower Cape May Regional High School’s Structured Learning Experience program. As partners in the program, The Wetlands Institute is proud to host local high school student, David Cook, as he interns in our Education Department.  Come meet David, hear his experience and learn about this innovative program.

Friday, February 3, 2017  Nest box program for barn owls, American kestrels and flying squirrels

Presented by: Steve Eisenhauer, Regional Director, Stewardship and Land Protection, Natural Lands Trust

For almost 20 years, Natural Lands Trust has been coordinating a nest box erection and monitoring program for barn owls (a state special concern species that is rapidly declining in population), American kestrel (a state-threatened species now limited in the breeding season to Salem County of the five southern NJ counties), and flying squirrels (found in nearly every wooded area of reasonable size in all NJ).  The presentation will describe our experiences in Salem, Cumberland and Cape May Counties, and we will discuss population trends and problems.

Friday, February 10, 2017 Seeding the Future, Oysters and Stewardship on the Bayshore

Presented by: Lisa Calvo, Aquaculture Program Coordinator, New Jersey Sea Grant and Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University

Project PORTSPromoting Oyster Restoration Through Schools is a unique community-based restoration program that gives K-12 students an opportunity to experience environmental stewardship first hand as they help restore critical oyster habitat. Developed and coordinated by the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University, Project PORTS utilizes the oyster as a vehicle to acquaint students, educators, and the broader community with the bayshore environments and the methodologies and science of a real world oyster restoration project. To date students have built 20,000 shell bags that have been used to construct 5-acres of oyster reef habitat.

Friday, February 17, 2017 Point vs. Non-Point Pollution

Presented by: Jim Hansen, AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador

CSO? WMA? Join us to see what these mean and take a look at different forms of pollution with the local Watershed Ambassador Jim Hansen from AmeriCorps.

Friday, March 3, 2017 Conservation Action Education

Presented by: Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator, The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve

Education is a big first step towards environmental conservation and sustainability. However, even after being informed, there are many of us that do not take action or make eco-responsible decisions afterwards. Along with education, behavior change is what can truly make an impact. Come learn about what projects The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve are doing that provide the tools that can help members of the community adopt environmentally responsible behaviors.

Friday, March 10, 2017 Ecosystem Restoration at Lower Cape May Meadows

Presented by: Beth Brandeth, Biologist, US Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District

Description coming soon!

Friday, March 17, 2017 Exploring Horseshoe Crabs

Presented by: Karen Byrne, Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife

Learn about all things horseshoe crab. Topics will cover basic horseshoe crab anatomy, their importance with shorebirds and us, and about the Green Eggs and Sand curriculum that is being used by educators throughout the state.

Friday, March 24, 2017 Native Plants for Landscaping and Habitat Restoration

Presented by: Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director, The Wetlands Institute

The program will explore the uses of native plants to benefit wildlife in our area.  Dr. Tedesco will talk about plants suitable for our area and share results of plantings including plans for a new wildflower and monarch meadow in Stone Harbor.

Covered Dish Dinners – Monthly

Nothing could be better than an evening filled with meeting new people, eating great food and engaging in scientific discussion! Join us the last Friday of each month, January – March, as we bring in guest speakers from around the region to share their knowledge of important issues in the field of environmental science and biology. In the spirit of covered dish dinners, please bring an appetizer, entrée, salad or dessert to share with at least eight people. Please check back for complete presenter details.

When:  Friday Evenings January 27, February 24, and March 31, 2017 at 6:00pm – RSVP requested.
Admission: A covered dish plus $7 for members and $12 for non-members

Friday, January 27, 2017  Seven Mile Island’s Silent Parade

Presented by: Allison Anholt, Research Scientist, The Wetlands Institute

An impressive migration of waterbirds occurs every fall along Seven Mile Island and is documented by the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Avalon Seawatch. We will discuss the numbers of waterbirds passing Seven Mile Island, which in some years exceeds one million, the types of birds that make up this tremendous movement, and how to identify them for yourselves from land.

Friday, February 24, 2017 Restoring Working Lands for NJ’s Rarest Turtle

Presented by: Kristen Meistrell, Stewardship Project Coordinator – South Region, New Jersey Audubon

New Jersey is home to the bog turtle, a small, secretive reptile that lives in open freshwater wetlands. This state endangered, federally threatened species is an important part of our state’s natural heritage. Habitat loss, along with illegal collection and habitat degradation, is one of the bog turtle’s biggest threats and reason for decline.

Since 2013, New Jersey Audubon has been working with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor a small bog turtle population in Salem County while also working to restore and enhance the wetland.

During New Jersey Audubon’s first bog turtle survey in 2013, one young female was discovered – the first recorded bog turtle since 2001. Since then, 10 turtles have been observed at the site, including one that is over 30 years old! Using radio telemetry, several turtles have been tracked throughout the wetland, allowing biologists to identify habitat use while monitoring restoration success.

Because of this unique and growing population, New Jersey Audubon is working to expand and restore the wetland while creating native grasslands and pollinator habitat. Be sure to come out to learn more about New Jersey Audubon’s efforts to improve and restore habitat for New Jersey’s rarest turtle!

Friday, March 31, 2017 Pond Creek Restoration

Presented by: David M. Golden, Assistant Director, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife

The Pond Creek Marsh Restoration Project is a 428-acre site fully encompassed within the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area in Lower Township and the Borough of West Cape May, Cape May County.  The project site consists of the former Harbison-Walker magnesite facility and associated landfill, Davey’s Lake, and the majority of Pond Creek marsh. The principal project goal is to reestablish tidal inundation to a large portion of Pond Creek marsh without increasing the flood risk to the upper watershed or inundating the eastern marsh area, and allowing for habitat management of the northern marsh area.  In addition, an observation deck and proposed interpretive center will provide further wildlife viewing and educational opportunities. Come learn about this unique project firsthand!

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