Meet Julie Blum

Julie Blum joined us as a Research Scientist in early August. Prior to joining, she worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, coordinating the development of a statewide strategy for increasing carbon storage and sequestration potential in the state’s natural and working lands. She also contributed to the development of prioritization procedures for tidal marsh restoration projects based on carbon storage potential, ecological significance, and vulnerability of coastal communities.

Julie received a Master of Science in the Ecology and Evolution program at Rutgers University in 2020, after completing a thesis on spatial and volumetric distribution of organic carbon in tidal marsh sediments. Earlier in her career, she earned a Bachelor of Science at Gettysburg College and spent several years working with various State and Federal agencies on data collection, data management, and geospatial analysis related to watersheds, water quality, coastal geomorphology, and climate resilience. Julie has always loved wildlife, especially birds, and she is enthusiastic to contribute to the ongoing collaborative research that is integral to the protection and restoration of the coastal habitats that so many species rely upon. With her background in coastal landscape dynamics, she will work with the Institute to improve tidal marsh management and increase resilience by investigating the ecological, geological, and chemical factors related to coastal change.

Meet Kirsten Chervenak

Kirsten Chervenak joined The Wetlands Institute team as our Visitor Services Coordinator in August. Growing up in the mountains of northern New Jersey, she has always had a passion for the environment and all nature has to offer. She has a background in environmental science and forest management from time spent attaining a Bachelor’s degree from Stockton University.

Kirsten has had opportunities to travel the country – and the globe – exploring various places like Yellowstone National Park, South Korea, and much of Greece. She spends her time outside of The Wetlands Institute exploring with her son and serving as an armament specialist in the New Jersey Air National Guard. Kirsten is so excited to be a part of The Wetlands Institute and is looking forward to working for an organization with such an amazing purpose.

Meet Kelianne O’Shea

My name is Kelianne O’Shea and I am the new Environmental Educator at The Wetlands Institute. I have my B.S. in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Since graduating, I have worked in Environmental Education in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Animal Keeping at the Cape May County Park/Zoo. I’ve worked with numerous species of animals including: capybaras, kangaroos, rattlesnakes, axolotls, and giant tortoises. The animals I enjoy teaching about and caring for the most are reptiles and amphibians; my favorite is the Amazon Milk Frog.

Throughout my career, I worked in both the Animal Keeping field and Environmental Education, and realized my passion is teaching about the environment. Growing up in South Jersey, I was able to spend my childhood at the beach, in the marsh, and exploring the woods, which inspired me to work in Environmental Education as I got older. I love inspiring and teaching the next generation about the wonderful world around them.

I am most excited to teach and inspire a variety of kids; from those visiting for the summer to the year-round residents. I know how much being outside and the environment impacted my life growing up, and I am extremely passionate in sharing all of my knowledge and ideas with the next generation, while also adding my new ideas into the already extensive programs here at The Wetlands Institute.