DEP AND CONSERVE WILDLIFE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE
PARTNERSHIP FOR STATE PARKS
(11/P3) TRENTON - The Conserve Wildlife Foundation is partnering this year with the DEP to conduct interpretive programs at three State Parks, with a goal of enhancing visitors' awareness of the State's natural resources and offering educational program for students, while providing more meaningful experiences for all park users, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The programs, to be run by environmental educators from Conserve Wildlife, will be offered at Allaire State Park in Monmouth County, Island Beach State Park in Ocean County and Spruce Run State Park in Hunterdon County, starting in the early summer season. They will be financed by the nonprofit group, whose board of directors has approved the partnership deal with DEP.
"This is a great example of how we can stretch our resources and keep our State Parks viable even during a tough economic period,'' said Commissioner Martin. "In the current economy, we cannot afford to run programs in all of our State parks, so this partnership presents an ideal solution that will benefit our park users. Conserve Wildlife is to be greatly commended."
Gov. Chris Christie and Commissioner Martin have pledged to keep all of the State's parks open, to ensure affordable recreational opportunities for State residents. But a lack of funds, combined with key retirements at some State parks, has made it difficult to offer environmental education programs that were once a staple of many of those parks.
Conserve Wildlife hopes to fill some of that void, in close cooperation with the DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry. It will offer programs that connect people to the outdoors, illustrate the natural diversity of our parks, engage youth in projects that enhance natural resource protection, and provide visitors with instruction in outdoor recreation.
Building on its successful "Birder in Residence" program offered at Island Beach State Park last year, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation will start to offer more programs at Island Beach this season, starting with statewide "Get Outdoors, New Jersey'' programs in June.
At Allaire State Park and Spruce Run State Park, programming will be developed from scratch, as neither park currently has any natural resources programming. Conserve Wildlife plans to offer programs to benefit day visitors, overnight campers, school groups and families.
"With this partnership, we are building on an existing relationship with New Jersey's State Parks," said Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director Margaret O'Gorman. "For the past few years we have worked closely with the State Park Service to support their programmatic efforts. This partnership allows us to expand our support for high-quality interpretation that is so important to the State Park experience."
The DEP sees this agreement as a natural extension of similar partnerships that exists with a variety of educational and "friends'' groups in many State Parks and Historic Sites across the state, said Amy Cradic, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Historic and Natural Resources.
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting New Jersey's endangered and threatened wildlife through research, conservation, restoration, management, education, and citizen engagement. It is a leading organization in the conservation of the state's imperiled species.
CWF strives to improve the quality and quantity of wildlife populations and habitats in the State through research initiatives, species and habitat management efforts, education and outreach projects and, in direct partnerships with residents, communities and organizations within and outside of our state's boundaries.
For information on Conserve Wildlife Foundation, go to: www.conservewildlifenj.org