Strathmere Plover Project aims to educate public and preserve endangered species

STRATHMERE, NJ (WPVI) – As you stroll through Corson’s Inlet State Park in Strathmere, New Jersey, you’ll find the various volunteers of the Strathmere Plover Project.

Their main goal is to educate the public and conserve the local plovers.

The plovers are an endangered species that use the state park as a breeding ground. The area is known for rich habitat that attracts many exceptional bird species including the American Oystercatcher, Plover and many more.

“Ringed Plovers themselves have a very big problem because you can’t see them,” says Deborah Rivel, an organizer for the Strathmere Plover Project. The group has put up several signs along the park grounds warning visitors to look out for the plovers because they are so small and camouflaged.

Human interference is a potential problem for birds and wildlife. Project volunteers are also urging visitors not to bring their dogs onto the beach, as the birds see them as predators.

The Plover Project members love educating the public about plovers and even letting them look through their binoculars to see the birds.

“For me, to walk on the beach and see the plover chicks and stop a group of people just walking on the beach and picking up shells and just saying, ‘Whoa, right here, look at this endangered bird.’ That makes me very happy,” says Peter Manzelmann, employee at Belleplaine State Forest.

The group of plovers on the beach started with four chicks and one mother and one father. The group knows that one of the chicks was caught by a robber crow. Unfortunately the group only sighted one chick last Wednesday and are concerned it may be the only one remaining in the litter. The mother’s name is Celia, the father’s name is Cliff and the chick’s name is Didi.

It won’t be long before the mother leaves the father to take care of the chick. After the father has finished, the chick is expected to fly and join the rest of the family in migrating south for the winter.

“They kind of populate the Jersey coast in the northeast and then fly to the Bahamas in winter,” says Manzelmann.

The group is expected to take off in the coming weeks.

When visiting Corson’s State Park, you are expected to be mindful of the birds and not disturb them in any way. Protective barriers will also be erected around the site to keep visitors out.

“But a lot of that is just knowing they’re here, and that’s why we’re here, because we’re trying to educate people about who they share the shore with and how important it is,” says Rivel.

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