Marine Summer Day Camp 2017 Memories

August 16th, 2017

As the final week of marine summer day camp draws to a close, we’d like to thank all campers and counselors for a great summer!

NJSGC’s summer camp program is dedicated to educating children about our marine world, with a special focus on creating awareness and appreciation for the marine environments of New Jersey. We hope to provide an exciting, week-long experience that is educational, safe, and most importantly, fun for the campers!

A typical day at camp starts with mornings spent outside observing and exploring the natural marine environments of Sandy Hook. By the afternoon, groups will make their way to the NJSGC headquarters building #22 for lab investigations, games, crafts, and more interactive exercises. Throughout the week, campers will visit a variety of sites on Sandy Hook including the salt marsh, ocean beach, maritime forest, and a few historical sites such as the lighthouse. Many activities are very “hands-on” in hopes of demonstrating to campers, like no classroom lecture can, the connections between living things on land and in the sea.

Here’s what has been happening at NJSGC throughout July and August:

Science of the Sea (3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders)

Oceanography Week (4th, 5th, and 6th graders)

Using Robotics in Ocean Exploration (7th, 8th, and 9th graders)

Science of Sandy Hook (7th and 8th graders)

Registration for 2017 is officially closed, but please visit our website for more information on next year’s program!

NJSGC’s Summer 2017 Edition of the ‘COASTodian’ Newsletter Now Available!

August 3rd, 2017

What’s going on!? Click here to find out more!

Things are definitely heating up at New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium this summer! While most New Jerseyans enjoy lazy, carefree days spent at the Garden State’s vast array of gorgeous beaches, NJSGC’s staff is working hard to advance knowledge and appreciation of New Jersey’s shorelines.

From Ocean Fun Days to our biennial research competition and ongoing rip current awareness campaign, NJSGC strives to inform the public about coastal and environmental concerns in new and exciting ways.

Communicating climate sciences, learning more about the origins of striped bass, and engaging youth in summer camp experiences are just some of the interesting topics covered in this edition of our quarterly newsletter. You’ll also find out which popular shore town snagged top honors in NJSGC’s annual “Favorite Beaches” poll!

Topics covered in the latest edition of the ‘COASTodian’ include:

Where Are They Now? Meet Our Brilliant Staff!
NJ’s Favorite Beaches 2017 Announcement
State of the Shore Report
Ocean Fun Days (recap)
Rip Current Awareness
National Network for Climate and Ocean Change Interpretation
Marine Summer Day Camp
FY 2018 Budget (update)
NJSGC Broadcasting Live from Asbury Pary Boardwalk (94.3 ‘The Point’)
Summer College Course Opportunities
Striped Bass Fishery Project (update)
Ocean County Pumpout Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Share your #NJSGC memories

Plus much more! Download your copy today.

Learn more about all the exciting things happening at NJSGC everyday by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or visit for any further updates.

NJSGC Nominee Jackie Specht Receives Coastal Management Fellowship

July 24th, 2017

Huge congratulations to NJSGC’s Coastal Management Fellowship awardee, Jackie Specht! The Rutgers University graduate student was recently matched with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service to continue studying the beneficial reuse of dredge material. We’re so proud! Learn more about Specht’s exciting opportunity here.

According to the NOAA, recipients of the two-year fellowships will “carry out innovative projects addressing living shorelines, ecosystems services, marine spatial planning, oil spill response, and the beneficial reuse of dredge material.”

Specht’s research interests “focus on the ecological impacts and drivers of changing gelatinous zooplankton populations.” The website for the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers includes a full profile on Specht’s educational background. Stay tuned for more exciting news in the upcoming Summer 2017 edition of The COASTodian!

NJSGC’s Education Specialist Mindy Voss & K-12 Program Coordinator Diana Burich Complete NNOCCI Training to Better Communicate and Interpret Climate Change

July 6th, 2017

According to their website, NNOCCI (National Network for Climate and Ocean Change Interpretation) is a collaborative effort led by the New England Aquarium along with several other notable environmental organizations and institutions, working to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating and translating climate and ocean science to a broader public audience.  The overall goal is to change the nature of public conversation about issues of climate change to be inviting, empowering and solutions-oriented.

NJSGC’s very own Education Specialist Mindy Voss and K-12 Program Coordinator Diana Burich recently teamed-up to complete this program, involving several weeks of hands-on training and interactive lessons through informative study circles. Voss and Burich hope to use such newfound experience and knowledge to help better communicate the impacts of climate change.


To learn more about Voss and Burich’s exciting involvement with NNOCCI, please continue reading below!

Can you give a brief overview of what NNOCCI is and your involvement?

NNOCCI stands for National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. Their goal is to achieve a network of skilled and trained professionals who can effectively communicate ocean and climate science to public audiences to create a more positive conversation about climate change that is engaging, empowering, and solutions oriented. NNOCCI was created through a collaboration between the American Zoological Association (AZA), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and FrameWorks Institute. NNOCCI, with the help of FrameWorks Institute, has looked through and done the social science research to find the most effective ways to communicate science and climate change to the public.  Through a NSF grant, the research was turned into a training program for  informal science educators, to teach them the social science and how to implement these scientifically-proven ways to talk to the public about climate change, and how to create a positive discourse around climate change that is solutions oriented. This training program has been on-going every Fall and Spring since 2014. However, this spring the training was broken down into smaller study circles, and instead of a few intensive weeks of in-person training for educators across the country, the program spread out over 17 weeks and was broken up into 3 regional study circles –  a Southeast, Northeast, and West Coast. I was  part of the Northeast study circle, which included 18 other informal science educators from Maine to New Jersey. The training included a variety of live and recorded webinars, online reading, interactive activities, and three (two-day long) in-person meetings. We were given an assignment to complete each week, and communicated with each other on

How did participating in the study circle develop and enhance your knowledge of ocean and climate change? 

The biggest enhancement [I received] from the study circle is how to start and properly frame a conversation about climate change with a variety of audiences.  I learned how to get others to understand why they should care about climate change [and] how to teach the science so that others can understand it, [including] the root cause of the problem.  I learned techniques on how to keep the conversation positive, engaging, and hopeful, and how to steer away from the negativity and falsehoods that often surrounds climate change.  I learned to make others realize that if people come together in their communities, schools, or other groups, there are solutions that can make differences to slow (or even stop) climate change.

How do you plan on utilizing these new skills in your own study and teaching environment?

Besides just framing a conversation about climate change in the educational programs that I do, I plan [on] passing on all of the communication skills I learned to all our educators and  field instructors at NJ Sea Grant.  Next fall and winter I will be holding a few different training days to give staff an opportunity to learn these new skills.  It is my goal that all field trips at Sandy Hook will include a properly framed conversation about ocean and climate change with students [starting] in grade three up through college years. I will also pass along many of these skills to formal and informal educators at various professional development workshops that NJSGC participates in every year.

How might the NJSGC community benefit from your ongoing connection and work with the program?

Everyone in the NJSGC community will get a chance to learn the scientifically proven and effective techniques I learned about communicating climate change.  I think this will improve many of our programs and interactions with the public, so people better understand why some of the work done (and science research funded) by NJSGC is so important. For the education program, it is my goal that all field trips given by NJSGC at Sandy Hook will include a properly framed conversation about ocean and climate change for all ages.  My hope is that all students walk away from a field trip knowing the definition of climate and the ocean’s role in controlling it, understanding what climate change is and its impact on marine environments, why they should care, and what they can do about it.

I also made some great contacts through this program, from scientists at universities to educators at other educational programs in the area,. Hopefully we will be able to collaborate on future projects with them to improve or create new programming at NJSGC.  For example, through a contact I made [through NNOCCI], we already have a grant proposal out in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to create a six-week long educational work study program for under-served high school students in Monmouth County. This proposed program will help students learn how park and recreation activities along with protected natural environments enhance and create value in their communities. We just put in the proposal, so the grant has not yet been approved.

For more information on the NNOCCI program, please visit the Climate Interpreter website.

NJ’s 2017 ‘Favorite Beaches’ Announced at Awards Ceremony in Ocean City

June 29th, 2017

In honor of the July 4th holiday weekend, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium announced the official winners of this year’s ‘Favorite Beaches’ poll during a gorgeous beachside ceremony held at Music Pier in Ocean City on Thursday, June 29.  This popular shore town remains defending overall champion, snagging more than half the votes (which totaled 7,200).

The survey was first created in 2008 and initially deemed “New Jersey’s Top Ten Beaches,” to help encourage stewardship and pride in the state’s beaches while promoting a little healthy (and friendly) competition between NJ’s beloved beach towns. The contest has since become a highlight of the Garden State’s summer festivities.

But over the years we’ve come to realize something at NJSGC — New Jerseyans are passionate about visiting ALL different sand and surf hotspots throughout the state! So, in order to better recognize every part of our wonderful coastline, as of 2016 we picked individual victors from all  four coastal counties (while still naming a top overall winner).

Voting really started to heat-up in June 2017. So without further delay, here is the official breakdown!


  1. Ocean City
  2. Brigantine
  3. Margate


  1. Asbury Park
  2. Spring Lake
  3. Sandy Hook – Gateway National Park
  4. Belmar
  5. Ocean Grove


  1. Seaside Heights
  2. Beach Haven
  3. Point Pleasant Beach
  4. Island Beach State Park
  5. Ship Bottom


  1. Brigantine
  2. Margate
  3. Atlantic City
  4. Longport
  5. Ventnor

Cape May:

  1. Ocean City
  2. Sea Isle City
  3. Wildwood Crest
  4. Cape May
  5. Wildwood

Thank you again for your participation, and stay tuned for more details about next year! Please also visit NJSGC’s official Facebook and Instragram.

In The News:

Cape May County Herald

94.3 ‘The Point’ (Ocean City)

CBS Philadelphia

Press of Atlantic City

OCNJ Daily

NJSGC Celebrates Wright State University Partnership

June 21st, 2017

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s partnership with Wright State University, Dayton, OH spans over two decades of educational growth and development.

Earlier this month, NJSGC’s Executive Director Claire Antonucci and Education Program Coordinator Diana Burich joined Wright State University’s Dr. William Slattery and 18 eager graduate students to observe the Garden State’s ever-changing coastline. The group, who are working towards their Masters of Science in Teaching Earth System Science at Wright State, participated in a program developed by Dr. Slattery and NJSGC known as “Ancient Ocean – Modern Ocean.”  The two-day expedition included searching for fossils at Poricy Park, surveying the lengthy shores of Sandy Hook, and investigating water quality and other biological parameters aboard a research vessel in Raritan Bay.

Here’s to another successful trip with Wright State University!

New Jersey’s Favorite Beaches 2017 Awards Ceremony Announcement

June 20th, 2017

Media Advisory

What: New Jersey’s Favorite Beaches poll, winners revealed

Where: Music Pier, 825 Boardwalk, Ocean City, N.J.

When: Thursday, June 29th at 11 a.m.

About: New Jersey’s Favorite Beaches is presented by New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. It is an annual public poll that began in 2008 to encourage stewardship and pride for the Garden State’s beaches. The results are based on a vote held from May to June. The overall top beach will be announced, and winners from each coastal county will also be honored.

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance by emailing New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Communication Specialist, Danica Bellini.

Ocean County Pumpout Boat Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

June 12th, 2017

June 2017 – On Friday (June 2nd), the New Jersey Clean Vessel Act Program joined in celebrating Ocean County for successfully operating its growing fleet of pumpout boats over the last 20 years.  Such significant contributions have helped improve water quality throughout Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor for the past two decades.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium was represented at the Seaside Park Yacht Club by Assistant Director of Extension and the Marine Recreation Agent of Fisheries & Boating, Michael Danko.

The federal Clean Vessel Act was passed 26 years ago, thanks to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection/Division of Fish & Wildlife for requesting and managing the approval of such federal funds. State funds are also provided by “Shore Protection” license plate sales.

The New Jersey Clean Vessel Act Program now operates as a partnership among the Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Monmouth County Health Department, the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, and Ocean County Planning Department (plus additional public and private entities).

Ocean County Department of Planning Director David J. McKeon was also recognized during the ceremony for such achievements.

Despite initial hurdles and reservations, the program’s first pumpout was successfully installed at Green Cove Marina located on the Metedeconk River. Nowadays, the approval, purchasing, and maintenance procedures for additional fleets run rather smoothly (with a current total of six operating boats). Services are offered free of charge.

The ongoing success of the Ocean County Pumpout Program relies heavily on partnerships with Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholder, Ocean County Planning Department, Ocean County Utilities Authority, Township of Brick, Borough of Seaside Park, Tuckerton Seaport, and the dedicated pumpout boat captains.

We wish the Ocean County Pumpout Program and all associates a very successful future in providing such phenomenal pumpout boat services.

For additional information, please visit the Ocean County Department of Planning website.

Learn more about the Clean Vessel Act Program here.

Beautiful Night & Great Turnout for Horseshoe Crab Twilight Beach Walk 2017!

June 12th, 2017

Participants explored the shores of Sandy Hook under the full moon on Friday, June  9 . The gentle tides

Featuring a guided hike along Sandy Hook Bay, this program also includes crafts, a power point presentation, touch tanks, and other discovery-based activities inside NJSGC’s classroom and laboratory.

The horseshoe crab mating ritual is set in motion by the full moon during early, warm summer months – which makes the Jersey Shore a perfect spot to examine such amazing living fossils before the official start of summer!

To learn more about this annual event, please visit our registration page.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Broadcasting LIVE from the Asbury Park Boardwalk with 94.3 The Point!

June 1st, 2017

June 2017 – Thanks to our longtime community partner, New Jersey Natural Gas, NJSGC will contribute weekly radio talks about ocean safety, current beach conditions, and other important environmental issues on “The Jersey Shore’s Hit Music Channel” – 94.3 The Point (WJKL) all summer!

Tom Hayes of NJNG with Claire Antonucci of NJSGC and Matt Ryan from The Point

Sponsored by New Jersey Natural Gas, broadcasts will take place every Friday throughout the summer, at approximately 8:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Among several “hot” topics, upcoming on air discussions will include:

Rip currents



Water quality

Summer events and activities

Expert members of NJSGC will lead each conversation with help from popular The Point radio DJs, including Matt Ryan.

Learn more about the New Jersey Natural Gas Asbury Park Boardwalk Studio at, where fans can also listen live 24/7.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium will continue posting updates and reminders on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Please visit for additional information, or contact NJSGC Communications Specialist Danica Bellini for any further questions and concerns.