The Wetlands Institute: EarthShare NJ Member Spotlight

The Wetlands Institute: EarthShare NJ Member Spotlight

EarthShare New Jersey is dedicated to supporting the missions of our 20+ member organizations.  It’s an honor to raise workplace giving funds and rally company employees behind our members’ valuable volunteer projects from beach and park cleanups to osprey banding and dune grass plantings.

Our members represent leading environmental organizations from across New Jersey and the world working to improve health, air, water, land and wildlife issues through conservation, preservation and education. Our vision is for every business, organization and individual to become engaged with EarthShare NJ in order to protect our land, water, air and wildlife, and to make the state a healthier place to live, work and play.

This week we’re spotlighting the work of our member group The Wetlands Institute, which is located in Stone Harbor, NJ. The Wetlands Institute’s mission is to promote appreciation, understanding and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through programs in research, education and conservation.

Annually, the Institute educates over 18,000 visitors, of which 6,000 are school aged children.   From its inception, The Wetlands Institute has pioneered a number of research, education and conservation programs about wetlands and coastal ecosystems, and worked with numerous regional, national and international organizations to foster stewardship of these resources worldwide.

Founded by Herbert Mills in 1969, the Institute fulfills his life-long vision of creating a world-class research, conservation and education center in southern New Jersey that educates people of all ages about the beauty and wonders of the coastal environment, and the importance of that environment to their daily lives. His dream was to inspire everyone to want to conserve and sustain that environment forever. We are inspired by the organization’s work and know you’ll be, too!

We recently interviewed Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director of The Wetlands Institute, about the organization and its relationship with ESNJ. She graciously took time from her busy day to share some exciting news about The Institute’s recent projects and her perspective on our partnership.

1. What are some of the exciting projects you have coming up in 2014?

We are building a new elevated marsh walkway to replace the one we lost during hurricane Sandy. The newly designed elevated walkway will be in a much better location, with new research and education stations. It should be completed by mid-April. It is imperative that we finish the rebuilding effort before the Osprey return or we forfeit our FEMA grant that will cover a portion of the rebuilding costs.  This is a remarkable opportunity to enhance our public education programs, while expanding our wetland research capabilities.

We are taking part in organizing reTURN the Favor – a collaborative horseshoe crab conservation effort. As part of the steering committee, we are helping coordinate a major volunteer effort to rescue overturned and stranded horseshoe crabs on Delaware Bay beaches and other locations where horseshoe crabs are likely to need help getting back on their proper side. We hope to engage communities in this effort and promote awareness of the vital role the crabs play in the lives of humans and those of many migrating shorebirds.

We are working on implementing a marine debris prevention program which consists of taking a unique and holistic approach to marine debris education and outreach by fitting core program components within both a participatory approach and social marketing framework that allows individuals to take action against marine debris at all stages of its lifecycle – before it enters the water, once it is present in the water, and after it washes up on shore. The first phase of the program, monofilament recycling stations, is already underway.

2. What role does corporate giving and volunteerism play at your organization?

We recognize that companies seek multi-faceted partnerships that benefit the community, provide networking opportunities for corporate team members and help market their products or services to audiences in distinct ways. Strategic philanthropy is at the heart of The Wetland Institute’s corporate partner program. We work closely with our sponsors to build partnerships that provide valuable benefits to the environment, education and conservation, while simultaneously increasing the company’s visibility with key constituents. We can also help meet corporate sustainability goals through employee volunteer opportunities.

Corporate giving helps us to continue our impactful programs that are making a measurable difference in the coastal ecosystems that we all cherish.

Volunteers are an invaluable resource to The Wetlands Institute. None of what we accomplish every day would be possible without the help of our passionate and dedicated volunteers. From helping to support our research and conservation programs, to helping in the aquarium, participating in our education programs in supporting roles, and serving in valuable roles at our special events, our volunteers are a vital part of our organization.

3. In addition to funds raised for your organization via EarthShare NJ, do you see the relationship as valuable to getting your name out across NJ?

Our relationship with ESNJ is extremely valuable in terms of increased reach and exposure with workers across New Jersey. ESNJ makes workplace giving simple and helps create engagement which benefits our mission. Whether or not individuals choose us as a recipient of their donations, when they are touched by the importance of environmental conservation, they are likely to adopt sustainable behaviors that in the end benefit all of us and helps make them more receptive to our message.

4. Tell us about your board member Anne Galli and how her work, via EarthShare NJ, contributes to the growth and awareness of The Wetlands Institute?

Anne Galli has been an incredible force for The Wetlands Institute. Her representation of organization on the EarthShare NJ Board and as a representative at events has helped raise awareness of the Institute statewide and among our fellow EarthShare organizations.  She has been a tireless board member for the Institute and her service is simply incredible.

2014-01__039“2013 has been a year of great transformation and rebirth of The Wetlands Institute as we strive to refocus our efforts on mission critical research, conservation and education,” said Dr. Lenore Tedesco. “We have built an energetic, passionate, and dedicated team and are poised for greatness.” EarthShare NJ agrees and we are honored to represent the organization and look forward to sharing their mission from our state’s mountaintops to marshes.

 

Becoming an EarthShare New Jersey Member Organization

If your organization would like more information on becoming an EarthShare New Jersey member, contact Paula Aldarelli at 609-989-1160 or paldarelli@earthsharenj.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on workplace giving, volunteerism and special events.

Do you you know a New Jersey nonprofit organization working hard to clean and green New Jersey and protect its natural resources and wildlife? We want to hear from you! Please comment on our blog.

Photo Credit: Great Egrets at The Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor, NJ

 

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