by Steve Popowski, Wetlands Institute Volunteer

I have volunteered with The Wetlands Institute for over a decade, and what keeps me coming back are the opportunities to support the Institute’s dual mission of performing meaningful conservation research while also educating the region on coastal ecology.

On the research side, I have been a part of two long-standing conservation efforts related to the local diamondback terrapin population: 1) the summer morning road patrols (your honks and cheers are appreciated!), and 2) the terrapin barrier fencing that appears in various locations throughout Cape May County. Not only do these efforts represent direct conservation work, they also provide data for the Institute’s research that seeks to optimize the effectiveness of these barriers. This is especially important considering continued habitat loss.

Of course, I am no stranger to many of the Institute’s other efforts, including studies of box turtle populations in the local area, horseshoe crabs, and coastal birds, as well as the variety of education programs that the Institute completes. It has been a great 10 years!


Inspiring Stewardship – a note from the Institute

A smiling Steve Popowski happily reinstalls a stretch of Animex fencing along Stone Harbor Boulevard to help keep terrapins off the roadways.

We are so grateful for Steve’s dedicated volunteer service over the last decade. He has spent thousands of hours as a volunteer supporting our research and conservation work, especially our work with diamondback terrapins.

What he didn’t share is his work to motivate others to support our mission. Steve inspired his workplace, Aon Service Corporation, to give both time and financial support. He is an incredible ambassador for the Institute and helped us receive a $5,000 Aon Service Corporation Community Impact Grant. He then gathered a group of his colleagues to volunteer with us to remove and reinstall a 600-foot span of Animex fence as part of our Diamondback Terrapin Barrier Fencing work.

Thank you, Steve, for inspiring others to be stewards of our marshes and the creatures that rely on them!