The Art and Science of Wildlife Biography at LBI Foundation Feb. 16

Ben Wurst takes a picture of a baby falcon as part of this job at Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. File photo by Ryan Morrill.

It’s sure to be a “wild” time at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies as “Northside” Jim Verhagen, a local photographer and blogger, and Ben Wurst, habitat program manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, discuss the art and science of wildlife biography at the the Feb. 16 installment of Science Saturday.

As LBIF Membership and Community Coordinator Jillian Schratz noted, “Lots of pictures and a lively Q&A will make this a fun and valuable session.

“Northside Jim is a bird enthusiast with some outrageous and whimsical pictures showing the lives of local wildlife that live on the Island. Wurst is the osprey expert who takes care of LBI’s ospreys and their habitats and captures stunning images of both in their most intimate moments.”

As Verhagen explained, “I’ll be sharing the very true story of the ‘Durt’ family of peregrine falcons I’ve been following and studying for over four years.

“From her humble beginnings in a flowerpot on the balcony of a condo in Wildwood Crest, to the very first moment she arrived on Long Beach Island in 2014, through her command of the Surf City water tower while she matured, to her eventual takeover of the Causeway Bridge, to the resurrection of The Shack through the new BOIS Tower built for her, this presentation is loaded with pics and videos from the entirety of the very real life of the Queen of The Causeway, ‘Jo Durt.’

“Through her story,” Verhagen added, “you will learn much about the biology of these incredible animals, the history of these birds on Long Beach Island, and the very difficult work involved with bringing the species back from near extinction.”

The presentation will also detail how a small app Verhagen wrote to help track birds has evolved into a massive database system used by scientists across the country.

The presentation coincides with the LBIF’s wildlife photography exhibit, on view in the gallery through March 16. Both Wurst and Verhagen have work featured in the show, “which focuses on the beauty of the N.J. natural landscape and animals found there,” said Schratz.

The Science Saturday presentation goes from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Admission is free for Foundation members. A $5 donation per person is requested from all other attendees.

For more information, call 609-494-1241 or visit


Reposted from The Sandpaper