VOLUNTEER NATURALISTS NEEDED – NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!
Endangered and Non-game Species Program begins Urban Wildlife Survey Project
By Hugh M. Carola
All people concerned with wildlife conservation in New Jersey and who possess wildlife identification skills are invited to take part in a new initiative begun by the NJ DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife. The Urban Wildlife Survey Project is being coordinated by the Division's Endangered and Non-game Species Program and seeks to list the bird, reptile and amphibian species that live in New Jersey's urban counties. Needless to say, Bergen and Hudson Counties fit the "urban" description as well as neighboring Passaic and Essex Counties and all four counties harbor a surprising number and variety of species.
The purposes of the Survey Project (which will be conducted on a long-term basis) are:
1. To monitor species diversity, abundance and distribution.
2. To establish or update critical wildlife habitat mapping in New Jersey for the Landscape Project; a new land-use tool based upon habitat requirements for endangered species.
3. To monitor the health and status of the environment.
4. To protect, conserve and restore wildlife in urban areas.
5. To benefit public education and awareness.
During Eco-Cruises, walks or presentations, one of the questions we most often hear is, "What can I do?" The stock answer (and always a good one) is for folks to contact public officials to support good environmental policies and oppose bad ones. The Survey Project offers an opportunity for field work and data collection that will be used to help protect New Jersey's wildlife habitat – a very good environmental policy. And you don't have to be an expert to help! Training sessions are scheduled and survey teams will bring novices and seasoned naturalists together. By the time you read this, there will be openings on turtle, songbird and waterbird survey teams. So break out the bug spray, dust off those binoculars and we'll see you in the field!
For more information or to volunteer, contact Project Leader / Outreach Biologist Marie Mockers-Numata at 609-777-4136 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.