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

$8,960 of $12,500 goal

Raised by 153 people in 1 month
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.
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Ospreys are back and we're slowly approaching our fundraising goal on GoFundMe!

Besides donations here, we have also gotten some direct contributions to our office including a $750 donation from the PAWS Club at Toms River North High School. Students in the club chose to donate funds that they raised through fundraisers to this cause. I visited the school earlier this week and gave a presentation on ospreys to the club and other interested students and teachers. I'm very thankful for their awesome contribution to this fundraiser!

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I'm sure most of you who follow our work with ospreys, know that I'm a big advocate for using photography to help bring more awareness to them. From photographing nestlings with a macro lens to depicting volunteers after installing a nest platform, I believe they help tell a story to build a better appreciation for the species.

I was honored to be invited to participate in a photography exhibit, the WILD_LIFE, at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences over the past month. If you've visited there, then you've seen all the spectacular work, including a few of my photos of young ospreys. If you haven't, then you should try to get there before the show comes down on March 16.

If you purchase a piece from the show, LBIF will be donating 10% of their proceeds to this fundraising campaign, which is awesome! In addition to that, I said that I would donate 100% of the proceeds of my work to this campaign as well.

Thanks to the Sandpaper for featuring this news in the most recent edition: https://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/proceeds-from-photo-exhibit-to-be-donated-to-conserve-wildlife-foundation/1803785
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Two weeks, Tremendous Support, and Halfway There!

Wow, I've been blown away by all of the 110 generous donations to our biggest (and best) fundraiser! All the personal compliments, photos and praise for my work with ospreys over the past 15 years warms my heart! I wouldn't be able to do what I do without your support!! :)

My good friend Northside Jim posted a great story from last summer which highlights my passion for sharing these wonderful birds with others: https://exit63.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/a-quick-story-about-ben-that-boat/

With this new, larger boat, it will allow us to reach more nests and more people!
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Gorgeous day for some fieldwork! We replaced two aging and weak platforms and straightened another with the help of some great volunteers. I hear there have already been a few sightings of ospreys back in NJ. This is crunch time to "roll out the red carpet" for our returning ospreys!
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$8,960 of $12,500 goal

Raised by 153 people in 1 month
Funds raised will benefit:
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Inc
Certified Charity
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Trenton, NJ
EIN: 223130406
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