New Jersey is a leader in land protection, protecting more than 25% of the state from development. As the most densely populated state in the U.S., conversion of land for residential, commercial and infrastructure development remains a significant threat to wildlife and habitat. Simultaneously, non-native pests and disease and climate change contribute significant stress to the environment, impacting the function of the land and its ability to provide clean air and water and essential habitat for wildlife. New Jersey’s long history of landuse and development has had an impact. Numerous non-native plants, animals and diseases (i.e., invasive species) have been introduced to the state and the large amount of suburban edge-habitats have created an over-abundant white-tailed deer population. This has resulted in many habitats being degraded and caused declines in numerous species of wildlife. While these issues are of great concern, impacting our lives, economy, recreational opportunities and simply enjoyment of the natural world, we can act.

As humans we are natural stewards, caring for our children, families, and communities. We can also care for the land through stewardship. Stewardship is the responsible care and use of natural resources that considers the interests of society, future generations, and other species. Through stewardship we can restore, enhance and maintain land and habitats that provide clean air and water and support wildlife.

Become a Trail Steward with New Jersey Audubon

If you’re a nature enthusiast with a passion for both preserving the environment and fostering connections within your community, New Jersey Audubon’s “Trail Stewards” could be for you. As the organization seeks to enhance the visitor experience and conserve our sanctuaries, Trail Stewards play a vital role in maintaining and improving hiking trails, ensuring accessibility, and connecting with like-minded individuals.

Contact [email protected] for more information and to signup.

Forest Stewardship

Forest Stewardship Planning & Actions provide healthy, resilient, diverse future forests for New Jersey. Check out these videos to learn more about what goes into a Forest Stewardship Plan, why New Jersey is actively managing forests, and how ecological forest stewardship can protect and mitigate against climate change, increase resiliency, enhance critical habitat, and provide natural resources to future generations.

A Forest Stewardship Plan is a tool that guides management of a variety of natural resources on forestland. While a Forest Stewardship Plan CAN focus on marketable forest products, it must also consider and address other issues such as wildlife, water resources, carbon, and/or historic and cultural resources found on the property. This emphasis on protection and management of noncommercial forest resources is a key difference between a Forest Stewardship Plan and a traditional Forest Management Plan. The USDA Forest Service first began encouraging landowners across the country to develop Forest Stewardship Plans for their woodlands in 1991 under the emerging USDA Forest Stewardship Program. Over time, the USDA Forest Stewardship Program has evolved, and today it is administered individually by each state’s Forest Service. While each state still follows the guidelines set forth in the federal program, they have tailored specific requirements to meet local needs.

Conservation Through Active Management

New Jersey Audubon’s Stewardship Department works to conserve wildlife and habitat through the active management, restoration and enhancement of public and private lands throughout the state. We do this by educating the public and landowners and by providing technical assistance in the design and implementation of conservation projects. We also help secure funding so that public and private landowners have the tools and the means to care for wildlife and habitat. You will find us on farms, in yards, at schools, in forests, on corporate campuses, in parks and wildlife refuges, maintaining and enhancing the function of the land for native species or helping others to do so. We listen to all opinions, consider economic concerns, cultural resources, and learn from the people we work with and the actions we take. We use both traditional tools such as forestry and farm equipment and novel approaches such as creating community partnerships and new markets for local and Jersey-grown products or providing access to specialize equipment or funds though financial programs.

We hope that you will get to know our work and be inspired to think about active conservation, management and stewardship on your own land or in your own community.

Video Resources

Incentive Programs for Working Lands

Staff & Personnel

Kelly Wenzel
Interim Director of Stewardship

Lindsay Gafford
Stewardship Project Director

Ryan Hasko
Stewardship Project Director

Danielle Bara
Stewardship Project Coordinator

Celia Vuocolo
Stewardship Project Coordinator

Alyssa Bright
Stewardship Specialist

Levi Morris
Stewardship Specialist

Contact Us

1024 Anderson Road
Port Murray, NJ 07865

TEL: 908-396-7413