New Jersey's Ospreys: A Symbol of a Healthy Coast

Support New Jersey’s ospreys with donations matching a $12,500 challenge to help Conserve Wildlife Foundation purchase a boat.

Every dollar counts…this time twice as much.

Ospreys are living barometers . They symbolize the resilience of life along the New Jersey coast. As a top tier predator who feeds exclusively on fish, their collective health is a direct link to the health of our coastal waters. Anyone can tell you that a healthy coast is essential to life at the shore. Clean water with abundant and healthy wildlife equals a booming shore economy. We have all benefited from actions and policy that have protected our air, land and water since the 1970s. Ospreys are no exception.

Please make a tax-deductible donation today to help Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ ensure the health of our coastal environment by purchasing a boat to monitor and maintain New Jersey’s osprey population.

Ospreys mate for life and return to the same nest site, year after year. Photo by Eric Hance.

The population of ospreys has grown from only 50 pairs in 1973 to over 650 today. Their nests now define our shorelines and line our intracoastal waterways. We take great pride in ensuring ospreys are around for future generations to admire. It’s essential for us to keep track of the health of the osprey population. They indicate the health of the areas where they live, in very close proximity to people, which is unlike any other bird of prey in the world.

Without your support – and a boat – we cannot continue to meet the demands of our growing role in managing ospreys.

Over the past decade, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, while working in close partnership with NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, has managed the osprey population through the New Jersey Osprey Project . In that time the population has grown by 40%, from 400 nesting pairs in 2006 to 668 pairs in 2017. 

37077426_1550157529361168_r.jpegSurveying a nest on Long Beach Island in 2017, the last year we were able to utilize a state owned boat. photo by Northside Jim.

Each year we coordinate nest surveys of the most densely populated nesting colonies, from Sandy Hook to Cape May and west along the Delaware Bay, using several dedicated volunteers. These specially trained volunteers access remote nests by boat and collect data on the nesting pair to determine nest outcomes. These surveys have been performed for the past 45 years and allow us to monitor the overall health of the population. 

We survey around 300 nests each year, from Point Pleasant south to Atlantic City and sometimes Wildwood and beyond. In 2017, a statewide census determined the population to be around 700 nesting pairs. Our recipe for success is from the unwavering support from philanthropic foundations, corporations, and individuals, backbreaking labor from our dedicated volunteers, and having the right tools to complete the task at hand.

37077426_155015759110290_r.jpegBen poses for a quick selfie with Osprey Project volunteers and USFWS partners after replacing an osprey platform on the Mullica River in fall 2018.

Outside of the breeding season for ospreys, where most of our work is focused, is to maintain their nest platforms. These man-made structures were essential in their initial recovery and are critical for their long term sustainability. Today more than 75% of all nesting pairs nest on these man-made nest platforms. With the help of many volunteers, we’ve installed more than 175 osprey nest platforms and repaired countless more over the past decade.

A critical piece of the puzzle had been a reliable work boat. Our past access to a boat through a partner is no longer available, so today we need to secure our own boat to lead this project into the future.

Our osprey work receives no dedicated funding from the state or federal government. Thanks to the Osprey Foundation, who is matching funds donated to this campaign, this means we need to raise $12,500 to leverage the match to purchase a $25,000 boat. 

We look forward to using the boat to maintain osprey nest platforms and monitor nesting activity year round and to educate the public about the importance of protecting this incredible species and the health of our coastal environment.

Will you help us to reach our goal before the end of March, when ospreys begin returning to their breeding grounds in New Jersey?

37077426_155015863816835_r.jpeg"Staredown." A six week old osprey nestling is photographed by Ben Wurst in the early morning light off LBI in 2016. 

To show our sincere appreciation, we will be happy to acknowledge contributors with these gifts:

· $100 - CWF membership & CWF Osprey Project t-shirt (to be made this spring)

· $250 – CWF membership & Limited Edition 5x7” matted and framed osprey print "The Guardian " by Ben Wurst

· $500 – CWF membership & Limited Edition 8x12” matted and framed “Staredown ” print by Ben Wurst

· $750 – CWF membership & Private 2-hour Osprey Ultimate Photography Excursion by boat with biologist Ben Wurst – two guests

· $1,000 – CWF membership & Private 3-hour Osprey Ultimate Photography Excursion by boat with biologist Ben Wurst – four guests

· $2,500 - CWF membership & half day Osprey Ultimate Photography Excursion by boat with biologist Ben Wurst – four guests

We are very grateful to the many people who recognize the value of ospreys in our coastal ecosystems and want to see these birds closely monitored, now and in the future. Thank you for partnering with us to stay on top of new and emerging threats to the health of ospreys, our aquatic ecosystems, and shore economy.

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $3,000 
    • 4 mos
  • Daniel Paulus 
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Tim Glenn 
    • $500 
    • 5 mos
  • Eileen Crossman 
    • $15 
    • 5 mos


Ben Wurst 
Trenton, NJ
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more