The Sun and Crowds Came Out for Ocean Fun Days 2022

May 27th, 2022

The warm weather and sunshine was not the only thing New Jerseyans were excited about last weekend, as the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC), in partnership with New Jersey Natural Gas, hosted Ocean Fun Days. On May 21 and 22, children (and children at heart) flocked to Island Beach State Park and Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook Unit to learn about our ocean, environmental science, and energy conservation. 

The 19th annual Ocean Fun Days was back in person after two years of virtual programming. Smiles were contagious during fun events like crab races, seining for marine life, the energy scavenger hunt, guided walking tours, and other enjoyable ways to learn about our coastal environment and ways to protect it. For those unable to attend in person, NJSGC created OceanFunDays.org complete with videos, handouts, activities, and other parent and teacher resources for kids. 

NJSGC Executive Director Dr. Pete Rowe reflects on the day, “New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium was as excited as our attendees to have Ocean Fun Days back in person. I am so proud of our incredible staff and partners for pivoting to virtual programming for the past two years. The sunny summer-like weather made this year’s event even more special. We (staff and attendees) all had big smiles and soaring spirits.”

NJSGC Executive Director Dr. Pete Rowe educates excited attendees about fiddler crabs.

Rosemary Higgins, College & Special Programs Coordinator at NJSGC, who has been coordinating Ocean Fun Days since its humble beginnings in 2003 couldn’t help but exclaim her excitement on this year’s success: “This event is the product of hard work and team collaboration. Our sponsors, along with the over 50 exhibitors at both locations, came together to make this event in its 19th year a big success. The willingness to share knowledge of marine and coastal topics and energy conservation with the public creates a unique free event fun for the whole family just in time for summer. I can’t wait for our big 20th annual Ocean Fun Days next year!”

Rosemary Higgins, College & Special Programs Coordinator at NJSGC teaches girl about seashell morphology. 


“We had a fantastic turnout, and it was great to see so many friends, colleagues and visitors come out to support this event.  The organizations that participated shared so many creative activities for people to learn about ocean sciences, and we hope that visitors left with increased understanding and a sense of caring for marine and coastal environments.” Says Diana Burich, Director of Education at NJSGC.

NJSGC Director of Education Diana Burich (right) poses with participant to show off arms painted with seahorses and starfish.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium appreciates all the enthusiasm and bright smiles all our attendees brought with them for Ocean Fun Days. Ocean Fun Days 2022 was one for the books! Did YOU attend Ocean Fun Days this year? If so, they’d love to hear your thoughts! If interested, please take part in the 2022 Ocean Fun Days Survey. NJSGC would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for working together to make this event such a great success. “Sea” you next year! 

The 20th Annual State of the Shore Report

May 26th, 2022

As the days grow longer and sun shines brighter, New Jerseyans once again emerge from their annual winter slumbers to trade in their boots for flip flops and head to the coast. Leaving the dark cold days of winter behind, beachgoers look forward to another season of fun on the Jersey shore.

This summer is projected to be both hotter and wetter than usual due to weak La Niña conditions. This year’s State of the Shore Report will further explain and expand upon the causes of these conditions and more, but the bottom line is: pack an umbrella with your sunscreen and sunnies. Read more in this year’s State of the Shore.

NJSGC invites media and tourism representatives to learn more about the ever-changing conditions of our shoreline from a group of local scientists and environmental managers. Like past years we hosted the State of the Shore press event at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club located on the iconic Asbury Park boardwalk, with guest speakers including NJSGC Coastal Processes Specialist Dr. Jon Miller and NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette.

From left to right: NJSGC Coastal Processes Specialists Dr. Jon Miller, NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, NJSGC Coastal Resilience Specialist Laura Kerr, and NJSGC Executive Director Dr. Peter Rowe.

Dr. Jon K. Miller (NJSGC/Stevens Institute of Technology) delivered a promising report at this year’s State of the Shore media event, announcing that NJ beaches are in prime condition heading into the Memorial Day Weekend (and more!). However, Dr. Miller warns of a busy hurricane season and the need for preparedness with climate change and sea level rise.

STATE OF THE SHORE (press coverage):

NJDEP: Commissioner Visits Jersey Shore and North Jersey Lake Communities in Unofficial Start to Summer Season Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

94.3 the Point: NJ beaches in good shape, but one storm could change everything

Asbury Park Press: Jersey Shore residents urged to prepare for active hurricane season this summer

ABC7: NJ officials declare Jersey Shore, lakeshores ready for summer 

New Jersey 101.5: NJ beaches in good shape, but one storm could change everything

 

Jersey Shore Photo Contest 2022 Is Finally Here!

May 25th, 2022

New Jersey boasts some of the most picturesque beaches along the East Coast.  If you have a great shot that celebrates and embraces the natural elements of the Garden State’s beautiful coastline, submit the image to NJSGC’s revamped “Favorite Beaches of the Jersey Shore” photo contest! Ultimately, the top twelve photos will be used to create New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s annual desktop calendar for 2022.

About the Contest:

New Jersey Sea Grant’s graphic design team will select 24 photos from all entries received up until Wednesday, June 8th (5 pm EST).  Those finalists will then be posted on the NJSGC website where visitors can vote for their favorite throughout the month leading up to the July Fourth holiday.

New Jersey’s “Favorite Beaches” Photo Contest Submission Guidelines:

(If your submission does not meet the following guidelines, it will not be considered)

  • Only one (1) photo submission per person.
  • Entries should be submitted as an attachment via email to [email protected].
  • The email entry should include: name, email, photo location, and image title.
  • Stick to the contest theme: Natural Elements of New Jersey Beaches. We welcome both traditional and innovative approaches to this subject, but please no family portraits.
  • Photo files must be .JPG or .PNG format and a minimum of 300 DPI saved at a quality setting of “10” or higher and 8 ½” for the longest side.
  • Images should be horizontal (landscape).
  • Entries will be accepted until 5 pm (EST) on June 8th, 2022 on World Ocean Day.
  • Submit only your own original work.
  • Photos should be appropriate for a general audience. Explicit content is expressly prohibited.
  • Post-processing and digital manipulation is not allowed, but minor adjustments to contrast, filtration, subtle burning, and dodging are acceptable.
  • All entries become the property of NJSGC and may be used by the organization for other educational or marketing materials (the twelve finalists will receive an additional waiver for signature prior to publication of the calendar).
  • Do not include any logos or text on the photo.
  • By submitting your photo to this contest, you grant NJSGC permission to publicly display, reproduce, and use the photographs in all manner and media for any and all purposes, including related promotional purposes, in perpetuity. You also warrant that the photo is your original work and does not violate the copyright or any other personal or property right of any third party, and that you may be required to and can obtain any and all releases and permissions necessary for its use in the production of our calendar, including releases for any recognizable faces, unless they are incidental to a larger scene (e.g., a group of sunbathers on the beach).

Winners will be announced prior to the July Fourth holiday. These images will be used to create the 2023 NJSGC downloadable desktop calendar (https://njseagrant.org/desktop-calendars/), which will also feature useful coastal facts and information to help locals and visitors learn more about and appreciate the Jersey Shore.

To view last year’s winners, please click here.

Stevens Students Develop Coastal FloodHub to Help Track Coastal Flooding

May 23rd, 2022
On Friday, May 6, 2022, a team of Stevens Institute of Technology Computer Science students presented their Senior Design Project Coastal FloodHub at Stevens’ Annual Innovation Expo. Coastal FloodHub is a mobile app that will inform users in the New York and New Jersey region of tidal and storm flooding hazards. The app will also serve to further community science data collection and research while also assisting the user and their community for flood resilience needs.  
Stevens Institute of Technology Computer Science Students Present Senior Design Project "Coastal FloodHub"

Stevens Institute of Technology Computer Science Students (Left to Right) Patrick Juliano, Brian Wormser, Kyle Henderson, Eric Stazzone, Kai Engwall, and Michael Karsen.

In the past, Stevens had produced the highly-regarded peer-reviewed Stevens Flood Advisory System (SFAS), a desktop optimized visualization website that produces email notifications of forecasted flooding throughout the New York/New Jersey region.  However, it was regarded as too complicated by some users. The new Coastal FloodHub simplifies the forecast data and warnings into a more accessible format designed for your phone making these forecasts accessible for quick decision making.  

Coastal FloodHub applications don’t stop there. Users can use the app to send in their own reports of flooding to various organizations collecting community science flood data. Alternatively, it can simply be used for keeping individual records of flooding in particular areas.  

NJSGC Coastal Resilience Specialist, Laura Kerr, recruited an advisory team from Stevens Institute of Technology and New York and New Jersey Sea Grants to advise the student on the app applications, while the students developed the product for the advisory team.  Now that their project is complete, the Senior Design Team is currently working on getting the app pushed up to the Apple App and Google Play stores.  Soon, volunteers from coastal communities will be needed to use the app and provide feedback for version 2.0.  

Ocean Fun Days This Weekend!

May 17th, 2022

See You Soon!

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, in partnership with New Jersey Natural Gas, will be hosting Ocean Fun Days 2022 this weekend!

May 21, 2022 at Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park

May 22, 2022 at New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium on Sandy Hook

Both locations 11AM – 3PM rain or shine
Free admission and free parking!

Enjoy hands-on marine and environmental programs and exhibits. There will be giveaways and plenty of excitement, plus fun ways to learn about our coastal environment and energy conservation for the whole family to enjoy.

Learn how to use a seine net to catch native fish, crabs and other marine creatures. Test your local coastal knowledge or become a sand sampler and search for natural treasures on a guided walking tour. Hear first hand from New Jersey scientists and researchers all about the inner-workings of the ocean and the coastline and how to protect them for generations to come. 

Don’t miss out on these two days of FREE Family Fun!

Please visit NJSGC’s Ocean Fun Days homepage for more information!

GET SOCIAL by using the #OFD2022 or #OceanFunDays2022 hashtags!

Ocean Fun Days is returning this year as an in-person event.  All attendees should follow all government guidelines regarding face coverings and social distancing and check with their own healthcare providers for advice if they have any concerns based on their own, or their child’s, medical condition.

The 6th Annual Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium

May 9th, 2022

The 6th Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (JSJSS) hosted by Ocean County College in Toms River was again held virtually on March 25, 2022. The symposium included presentations of 10 student research papers, 6 posters and a guest speaker. The primary goal of the JSJSS is to promote research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics at the high school level, and to publicly recognize students for outstanding achievement. The event includes presentations from New Jersey high school students on their individual science research projects.

The NJSGC provides awards to the students with the Top Environmental Paper and Top Environmental Poster. At the 2021 Symposium, NJSGC presented a $300 award for the Top Environmental Paper to Saachi Kuthari from Millburn High School, Millburn, for her paper on Inactivation of MS2 Bacteriophage for Water Disinfection via Microwave Radiation and $200 awarded to Eric Wang from Millburn High School, Millburn, NJ for his paper on Effects of Various Soil Microbiomes on Native and Invasive Plants. 

As a member of the Executive Committee, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium proudly serves many JSJSS activities such as recruiting members to be Technical Paper Reviewers, Student Mentors, and Symposium Judge for Presentations and Poster Session. NJSGC’s Diana Burich and Jody Sackett served as volunteers. Special thanks to the Delaware Estuary Program, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Rutgers University, Kean University, Monmouth University, Georgian Court University, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The College of New Jersey, George Mason University, Save Barnegat Bay for also reviewing papers

 

New Jersey Sea Grant Attends Sea Grant Mid-Atlantic Meeting

May 3rd, 2022
From Headwaters to Coastal Waters Sea Grant Programs in The Mid-Atlantic Region Work Together to Enhance Coastal and Great Lakes Resources

Scenes from the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Regional Meeting held in Ocean City, Maryland on Apr. 4-7, 2022. (Photo by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant)

Several members of the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium team attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, which occurred April 5-7, 2022, in Ocean City Maryland. The conference is one of the best opportunities for programs within the region to network and collaborate with neighboring states. The meeting featured a variety of breakout sessions, mobile field trips, and panel discussions highlighting the impressive work of Sea Grant programs.

From left to right: Laura Kerr, Samantha Kreisler, Pete Rowe, Tom Herrington, and Diana Burich. (Photo by Samantha Kreisler | New Jersey Sea Grant)

Our team was able to share information, form new partnerships, and learn about innovative projects happening in our states. NJSGC representatives included Pete Rowe (Executive Director), Diana Burich (Director of Education), Samantha Kreisler (Communications Specialist), Laura Kerr (Coastal Resilience Specialist), and Tom Herrington (Coastal Community Resilience Specialist).

Many of our staff were given the opportunity to showcase their impressive work at NJSGC. Diana Burich gave an informative presentation on NJSGC’s work with underserved minority students in Asbury Park and Neptune. Laura Kerr and Tom Herrington also gave presentations on the tools they’re using in the New Jersey community.

Diana Burich gives an informative presentation on NJSGC’s work with underserved minority students in Asbury Park and Neptune. (Photo by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant)

The awards ceremony took place at Fager’s Island for the presentation of the Mid-Atlantic Awards. NJSGC’s own extension specialist Tom Herrington received the 2021 Outstanding Outreach Award was for his work with residents and government officials in Ocean City, NJ to find solutions for chronic nuisance flooding in the community.

Peter Rowe (left) presents Tom Herrington (right) with the 2021 Outstanding Outreach Award (Photo by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant)

With lots of new ideas, learned skills, and important connections the meeting was an overall success! Special thanks to those who helped put the event together. It was a pleasure seeing our colleagues at Delaware Sea Grant, Maryland Sea Grant, New York Sea Grant, North Carolina Sea Grant, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Virginia Sea Grant, and National Sea Grant.

Sea Grant Academy Class of 2022

April 6th, 2022

Last week, staff members from 34 different Sea Grant programs across the United States attended Sea Grant Academy. The week- long event, hosted by Oregon Sea Grant, took place in Annapolis, Maryland. The second session will take place in Georgia in September. The program was created as a professional development workshop to give Sea Grant employees valuable training and background information in a variety of fields, advancing working knowledge and the advancements of all Sea Grant programs.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium representative Samantha Kreisler, Communication Specialist, reflects on her academy experience: “Sea Grant Academy was rewarding and valuable. Not only did I further my knowledge of the inner workings within the Sea Grant network, but I also learned a lot about the different projects of the other state’s programs. I am looking forward to seeing my Sea Grant cohorts again in September!”

Take the NJSGC Stakeholder Survey

March 29th, 2022

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is currently updating our Strategic Plan for 2024-2027 to guide our work in the coming years. An important component of this Strategic Plan is stakeholder feedback to help drive our priorities and programs for the future. Do you have issues or concerns you’d like to see us address? Share your thoughts and opinions by completing our stakeholder survey.

This anonymous survey allows for stakeholders like you to provide input on significant issues affecting New Jersey’s marine industries, natural resources, coastal communities, environmental literacy, aquaculture, and more. Your responses will help us ensure that our Strategic Plan incorporates and addresses stakeholder needs. Please complete the survey by 5/18/2022 by clicking here.

We’re Back in Person for Ocean Fun Days 2022!

March 23rd, 2022

Save the Date!

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, in partnership with New Jersey Natural Gas, has announced the official dates for Ocean Fun Days 2022:

May 21, 2022 at Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park

May 22, 2022 at New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium on Sandy Hook

Both locations 11AM – 3PM rain or shine
Free admission and free parking!

Enjoy hands-on marine and environmental programs and exhibits. There will be giveaways and plenty of excitement, plus fun ways to learn about our coastal environment and energy conservation for the whole family to enjoy.

Learn how to use a seine net to catch native fish, crabs and other marine creatures. Test your local coastal knowledge or become a sand sampler and search for natural treasures on a guided walking tour. Hear first hand from New Jersey scientists and researchers all about the inner-workings of the ocean and the coastline and how to protect them for generations to come. 

Don’t miss out on these two days of FREE Family Fun!

Please visit NJSGC’s Ocean Fun Days homepage for more information!

GET SOCIAL by using the #OFD2022 or #OceanFunDays2022 hashtags!