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The Project Terrapin Team
2023 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, N. Sedge Island and Cedar Run Dock Road 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.

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. Alyssa Wagner
Research Assistant

Alyssa is a recent graduate at Marymount University, Virginia where she dedicated her time to the laboratory as a psychology/biology major and pre-veterinary minor. Alyssa assisted with hawksbilll and green sea turtle research in Belize.  The past two summers she has been 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 is a key member of our team! 

Ms. Kaylyn Ullman
Research Coordinator

Kaylyn is the Tuckerton Beach terrapin coordinator who will be graduating with a BA in Environmental Science next semester! She enjoys being involved with her community, and helping to educate people on our local ecosystem. She also really enjoy raising chickens, and gardening. Oh yea she is also a wife, and mother to 3 awesome girls! Kaylyn looks forward to bringing her community closer together with this project!"

Ms. Emi Keane
Research AssistnanT

Emilia (Emi) Keane is a rising  Biology major at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She's been an "LBI girl" her entire life and has a deep love of animals and books! Besides reading books from Ocean County Library, one of her favorite activities to do on LBI is exploring Barnegat Bay and birdwatching.  Emi will be helping with numerous terrapin projects during the summer. 

Ms. Thea Rosenzweig
Research Assistant

Thea Rosenzweig is a rising sophomore student-athlete at Middlebury College pursuing degrees in both Environmental Policy and Classics. Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, she has spent summers on Long Beach Island involved with Diamondback Terrapins since her elementary school days. She is passionate about marine biodiversity and has been a part of various projects related to Diamondback Terrapins, coral reefs, water quality, ocean acidification and the overall health of the Atlantic Ocean. Thea is looking forward to working in Southern Long Beach Island this summer!

Ms. Maya Doshi
Research Intern

Maya has been involved in Project Terrapin since last summer where she helped record information about the terrapins and hatchlings, as well as conduct road patrols and help with outreach events. She is excited to help out again this summer. 

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.  

Ms. Sadie Steiner
Research AssistnanT

Sadie is a rising senior Environmental Studies major with a concentration in ecosystem conservation at Denison University in Granville, OH. She spent the previous summer working as a clinic intern at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Manhattan specializing in avian care, and is excited to extend her work to terrapin research. Growing up she spent almost every summer at the Jersey Shore, and is excited to contribute to the preservation of its ecosystems and biodiversity.

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! 
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 continues 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. 

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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