Jennifer Crow, a science teacher at Rumson's Forrestdale School, receives her 2018 Coastal Conservation Award from Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society.
In August the American Littoral Society will recognize two supporters for their outstanding contributions to coastal conservation.
Jennifer Crow, a teacher at Rumson School District's Forrestdale School, and Mayor Gary Engelstad of Bradley Beach, will join Chris Cole, a partner at Metrovation, and Greg Quirk, who is retiring from the American Littoral Society Board of Trustees, as recipient of 2018 Coastal Conservation Awards.
"The Littoral Society is honored to have supporters such as these," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. "Their efforts not only help us continue our work protecting and preserving the coast, but provide an outstanding example for others."
Pictured from left to right: American Littoral Society Executive Director Tim Dillingham, Littoral Society Restoration Director Capt. Al Modjeski, Bradley Beach Mayor Gary Engelstad, and Amanda Wheeler, a member of the Bradley Beach Environmental Commission.
Jennifer Crow will receive her award at a ceremony at the American Littoral Society's Sandy Hook headquarters on August 9 at 11:00 a.m. Mayor Engelstad will be recognized at 12:30 p.m. on August 10, near the Maritime Forest he helped restore in Bradley Beach.
Quirk and Cole received their awards at the Littoral Society's annual meeting on June 23 at Monmouth University.
A science educator in the Rumson School District since 1996, Crow has helped weave her passion for the environment into the Forrestdale School curriculum. This past year, she partnered with the Society in launching Operation Oyster: Two Rivers to bring attention to oysters and their importance to our waterways.
"Students in my classes seemed to know more about far away places than Sandy Hook or the local rivers and bays," she said. "I wanted my students to learn that these places are part of what makes their community special and if they want to continue to enjoy them, they need to give back by protecting them."
Resources for watershed education were scarce when Crow began teaching at the school, so she wrote a book for her students that focused on local estuaries. She also launched monthly walks to the Rumson Boat Ramp to take water samples so that students could experience real time science and recognize their role in improving local water quality issues.
During her tenure, Crow has worked closely with the American Littoral Society, Clean Ocean Action, NJ Sea Grant, and the Audubon Society.
On April 25, 2018 Mayor Engelstad signed an agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and American Littoral Society for support of a maritime forest in his Jersey Shore town. The agreement not only prohibits construction on the site for 10 years, but provides for native plant advice and supply from the USFWS, as well ongoing involvement by the Society.
Restoration of the forest began following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The work was focused on preserving what used to be a common feature along New Jersey's coast and to help protect the town from future storms.
"While I am, of course, honored to receive this award, I'm accepting it more as the Mayor of an extremely progressive borough as it pertains to innovation in coastal preservation," Mayor Engelstad said. "With our famous dunes, our soon to be natural shoreline at Sylvan Park and of course our Maritime Forest, Bradley Beach is blessed to have individuals and organizations that are committed to forward thinking of people that have a real compassion for the coast. None of this progress would be possible without the partnership of the American Littoral Society."
Metrovation was recognized for support of the Littoral Society's Operation Oyster program, which aims to improve water quality in New Jersey's bays and estuaries, as well as improve coastal resiliency through re-establishing natural oyster reefs. Cole received the award at the Society's annual meeting.
Metrovation, a property ownership and management company that operates The Grove at Shrewsbury and Brook 35 Plaza.
Over-harvesting and decades of pollution, accelerated by rampant development, have decimated New Jersey's natural oyster population. Oysters help keep water clean and oyster reefs help protect the coastline. They are nature's water filters, each one is able to clean up to 50 gallons of water a day. Oyster reefs also serve as speed bumps for waves during storms.
A donation from Metrovation went toward the purchase of a spat tank that is set up at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, NJ. The Littoral Society has another tank set up in Ocean Gate, NJ. The tanks, which serve as nurseries, are lined with bags of shell and seeded with oyster larvae. Larvae attached to shells are called spat.
Quirk is a former Navy officer, teacher, and school administrator. His professional experience and training as a CPA and EdD have been invaluable to the Society since his election to the Board in 2012. Most recently he served the board as treasurer, providing guidance through the Society’s business and accounting complexities and ensuring responsible management during a period of significant growth.
A portion of the Bradley Beach Maritime Forest.