Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards – A Guide for New Jersey Coastal Communities

October 10th, 2017

The National Wildlife Federation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the partners of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant “Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community” are pleased to provide this guide.

It is our hope that by highlighting ecological solutions to New Jersey’s coastal hazards, we can help communities prepare and adapt to ongoing and future changes, strengthening long-term coastal resilience for both people and wildlife. This guide advances practices that can help coastal communities to become safer and more sustainable in ways that work with, rather than against, nature. It describes ecological solutions to coastal community hazards, including measures to protect open space, enhance and protect coastal ecosystems (including beaches and dunes, coastal forests and shrublands, and tidal marshes) in ways that increase elevation and reduce erosion and flooding risks.

This project was recently awarded the “Outstanding Community Engagement or Education Award” for a planning project or initiative that has involved or resulted in significant advancement of community comprehension of planning issues or outcomes. BESCCH was nominated by the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association via Linda Weber and Sustainable Jersey.

Please visit NJ’s ‘Coastal Solutions Guide’ website for more information.

Environmental Science Adventures with the Boy Scouts

September 21st, 2017

Memebers of Troop 36 from Long Valley, NJ earned their Environmental Science merit badges on the shores of Sandy Hook earlier this month. Congrats to the Scouts, and thanks for joining us in the NJSGC lab!

For more information on NJSGC’s Scouts Program, please click here.

Introducing NJSGC ‘Highlights’

September 18th, 2017

Following the success and popularity of NJSGC’s quarterly newsletter the COASTodian, we’d like to provide more consistent and timely updates for our supporters to enjoy!

NJSGC ‘Highlights’ offers a weekly roundup of all the exciting things happening at the Consortium. From research and project achievements to staff updates to environmental/coastline concerns to current events involving the science and marine world – get a better inside look into all the hard work that helps shape and progress NJSGC!

Please find NJSGC’s new ‘highlights’ section under the ‘Communications’ tab. For more information or if you’d like to pitch any relevant story ideas, please contact our Communications Specialist Danica Bellini at

The ‘highlights’ just launched last week (Sept. 11-15), so let us know what you think!

NJSGC Job Opportunity: Part-Time Scout Instructors Needed for Weekends!

September 11th, 2017

The Education Program at NJSGC is seeking year-round, part-time instructors for their Boy and Girl Scout Programs. These innovative programs pair marine and environmental science education with merit badge requirements to help students grow as scouts, scientists, and stewards. Following a paid training period, you will lead scout groups on hands-on, interactive explorations of Sandy Hook’s salt marsh and barrier beach environments and provide classroom and laboratory instruction. Experience is not necessary, but a background in marine science, scouting, or education is helpful. Scheduling is flexible but the ability to work some weekend and evening (after-school) hours is a must. Interested candidates should email resumes to Rosemary Higgins or mail resume to:

Rosemary Higgins
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium
22 Magruder Road
Fort Hancock, NJ 07732

Register Now for Boy Scout Merit Badge Individual Enrollment!

September 6th, 2017

Hello from NJSGC!

For those still interested, classes for the Environmental Science and Oceanography merit badges (individual enrollment) are now confirmed for Fall 2017.

We are delighted to announce that the next Individual Enrollment Oceanography merit badge will be held at NJSGC on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 10:00 – 2:00 pm.  The fee is $35.00/scout and adults are free.

The next Individual Enrollment Environmental Science merit badge will be held at NJSGC on Sunday, October 1,  2017 from 10:00 – 3:00 pm. The fee is $45.00/scout and adults are free.

Registration is now open to the public, so if interested, please visit and the completed registration form will go directly to our Scouts Program Coordinator, Jody Sackett. Please feel free to contact Jody at or 732-872-1300 ext. 20 for more information.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing your scout here at NJSGC on Sandy Hook!

New Jersey Clean Marina Program Now Supports Over 40 Certified Local Establishments!

August 30th, 2017

The New Jersey Clean Marina Program  is a voluntary, incentive-based initiative that encourages marinas to adopt environment-friendly business practices to reduce pollution in local waterbodies.  The NJCMP is managed by the Coastal Management Office of the NJDEP and has entered into a formal agreement with the Extension Program to carry out additional tasks such as outreach to marina owners, yacht clubs and boatyards, coordination of educational workshops and provision of technical assistance.

The following marinas have been certified as New Jersey Clean Marinas by the New Jersey Clean Marina Program

BAYWOOD MARINA                                                                    MAIN ONE MARINA, INC.
BRENNAN BOAT COMPANY                                                      MORGAN MARINA
BRIDGE MARINA                                                                         MORRISON’S BEACH HAVEN MARINA
BROWN’S BOAT YARD                                                               MUNRO’S MARINA INC.
C-JAM YACHT SALES                                                                NEW LIBERTY LANDING MARINA
CLARK’S LANDING MARINA                                                     OCEAN GATE YACHT BASIN
CURTIN MARINA                                                                        PERTH AMBOY HARBORSIDE MARINA
DILLON’S CREEK MARINA                                                        PIER 47 MARINA
FORKED RIVER STATE MARINA                                               ROBBIES LOVELADIES MARINA
GARDEN STATE YACHT SALES                                               SCHOONER ISLAND MARINA
GOOD LUCK POINT MARINA                                                  SHERMAN’S BOAT BASIN
GREEN COVE MARINA                                                             SHORE HAVEN YACHT CLUB
HAGLER’S MARINA INC                                                            SHORE POINT MARINA
HARBOR VIEW CLUB AND MARINA                                       SILVER CLOUD HARBOR MARINA
HOBBY LOBBY MARINE                                                           SOUTHWICKS MARINA
JERSEY SHORE MARINA BOATS                                            SPENCER’S BAYSIDE MARINA
KEY HARBOR MARINA                                                              THE MARINA AT TALL OAKS
LEAMINGS MARINA, INC                                                          TWIN LIGHTS MARINA
LEONARDO STATE MARINA                                                     VIKING YACHTING CENTER
LIGHTHOUSE MARINA                                                              WILBERT’S MARINA


For more contact information on each marina listed above, please click here.

Each facility has successfully implemented sufficient best management practices, earning a Clean Marina score of at least 80%, thus demonstrating a commitment to protecting water quality and coastal resources by preventing and reducing nonpoint sources of pollution. Congratulations to all on your effort and success!

You can learn more about the NJCMP by downloading a copy of the brochure, requesting a copy of the NJ Clean Marina Guidebook, or visiting

Contact: Michael Danko

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.