This article originally appears in the New Jersey Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s November 2018 newsletter.
On Nov. 7, Sharon Petzinger, senior zoologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, was honored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey with the 2018 Women and Wildlife Inspiration Award.
According to the foundation, Sharon has served as a dedicated champion for stabilizing the golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) population. She goes above and beyond in her responsibilities to generate the greatest conservation impacts, truly grounds herself in science, works to apply new research in bird conservation and habitat requirements in New Jersey and shows courage defending the scientific approach.
According to Sharon, her love of wildlife, especially conserving endangered species, coupled with her faith in God, helps her to stand strong and not give up doing what is right, no matter how difficult it is. It is also through the hard work of making and learning from mistakes and collaborating with others that gives us the endurance and wisdom to make a real difference in this world.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe personally presented Sharon with the award that night and touched on many of Sharon’s qualities and contributions with a bit of humor. Upon receiving the award, Sharon was humbled, honored, and in awe of the award being presented by the commissioner, but said none of this would have been possible without working together with others. Sharon said the reason she won the award — and the reason golden-winged warblers still breed in New Jersey — is because of the trust and collaboration with partners like New Jersey Audubon, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Public Service Enterprise Group; the sacrifices her family has made for her early morning excursions; and the support of her colleagues, coworkers and supervisors, all the way up to the Commissioner.
For more information about other honorees and the Women and Wildlife event, please click here.
To learn more about what’s going on with golden-winged warblers in New Jersey, click here.
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