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The Project Terrapin Team
2022 Summer Research Staff

Project Terrapin supports habitat enhancement throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed.  We reach over 6000 people annually. However, with the recent pandemic, we continue to work safely and cautiously.   We work with multiple partners including Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, the Terrapin Nesting Project, Stafford Township,  Long Beach Township and New Jersey Fish and Wildlife. 

Dr. John Wnek
 Research Coordinator

John has worked with terrapins at Island Beach State Park and N. Sedge Island since 2002.  He is winding down his career as science supervisor at the MATES School in Manahawkin, and directs terrapin research and the Save Barnegat Bay Student Grant Program.  John is working on diamondback terrapin conservation projects as well as mentoring undergraduate and graduate students on various projects related to terrapins, habitats, Climate Change and natural resources at Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Ms. Mae Skrba
Sedge research Coordinator

Mae is a program and internship coordinator with NJ Fish and Wildlife at North Sedge Island.  She is an instructor with the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) and a graduate of UNC Wilmington and earned a Masters at Stonybrook University.  Mae serves as research coordinator at N. Sedge Island, which will focus on terrapin nest site assessments and mark and recapture of terrapins with the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone. Mae will supervisor and coordinate undergraduate interns throughout the summer months. Mae is a member of the Project Terrapin Steering Committee.  

Michele has been working with diamondback terrapins in conjunction with the Terrapin Nesting Project at LBI and in collaboration with Project Terrapin.  She conducts terrapin research in the Holgate section of Beach Haven as coordinator of the Rosema nesting initiative.  Michele is also a research advisor for the Mordecai Island Land Trust where she conducts wildlife surveys for shore birds and nesting terrapins.  Michele is also coordinating research at the Clam Cove Reserve and assessing terrapin nesting at the sand washover site in Holgate as part of the reserve.  

Ms. Michele Budd
Holgate Research Coordinator
Ms. Courtney Parks
Research Coordinator

Courtney Parks is from Acme, PA. She is currently completing her graduate degree at St. Joseph's University, PA, under Dr. Scott McRobert. She completed her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at Waynesburg University, PA.  Courtney is focusing her research on the nesting ecology of terrapins and is a veteran at Project Terrapin. Courtney brings her turtle experience as a field assistant on this project back in 2017 and 2019, and worked with freshwater turtles at Silver Lake, PA.  She completed her field research on terrapin nesting study at Cedar Run Dock Road in 2021. Thesis time!

Ms. Alyssa Wagner
Research Assistant

Alyssa is a rising senior at Marymount  University, Virginia where she dedicates her time to the laboratory as a psychology/biology major and pre-veterinary minor.  Alyssa assists with hawksbilll and green sea turtle research in Belize through her school.  This summer she is working in southern Long Beach Island with Michele Budd, assisting with the nesting project in conjunction with the Terrapin Nesting Project, Project Terrapin and the Long Beach Township Township Marine Field Station.   She has a passion for the environment and will be a key member of our team! 

Ms. Lauren Halloran
Program Assistant

Lauren is a recent graduate of Berry College in Georgia with a degree in environmental science.  She was a recipient of a 2020 Save Barnegat Bay Student Grant where she assessed water quality throughout the Toms River to determine pathogen levels as part of a project that is part of a "fix and find" sources of pathogens along the River.  Lauren works at Jenkinson's Aquarium. She assists us with our numerous research projects including field analysis of nesting soils at Cedar Run Dock Road in Manahawkin as well as education and outreach projects.  She recently compiled terrapin education and outreach materials from throughout the east and Gulf coasts. 

Mr. Richard Neff
Research Intern

Richard is a rising junior at Bridgewater Raritan High School where he dedicates his time to learning about nature and the environment through his school courses, reading on his own, and hiking with his friends and family. When Richard was younger he helped out with ReClam The Bay each summer and helped with the Raritan River Cleanup when he was home. He has spent his summers observing and learning about local wildlife. He is assisting us by being a scribe and helping out with tasks in the field.

Ms. Serena Celestino
Program Assistant

Serena is a Barnegat, NJ native, and loves spending her spare time exploring the wetlands. She is a graduate of Rutgers University double majoring in Ecology & Evolution and Geology. She has published in paleoecology for research on a Jurassic aged clam bed. She worked with the Nature Conservancy and American Littoral Society.  Serena is working with us on special projects that tie science, art and better understanding together to promote our terrapin conservation initiatives. 

MS. Dian Brennan  Volunteer
Dian worked on the Cedar Run Dock Road Terrapin Encounters Project this summer. 
Volunteers Extrodinaire
Thanks to the Burger Family for their dedication and support this summer. Our monitoring efforts would not be possible without Joseph, Lisa and Anthony! 

MATES Project Terrapin is a student-led initiative and there are desginated student leaders that oversee care, education, outreach and conservation.   Over 100 MATES students are involved in Project Terrapin with each student volunteering time. 

Passionate About Conservation?
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