Dear Friends, Your friends at the CMNWR hope that you are at ease with whatever has come your way during this time of hardship. We send condolences from our hearts to all of you who have suffered loss.  And now after all we have endured,  there is the welcome sight of light coming through the fog. Though most of the trails on the refuge have been open throughout the pandemic, our programs, Visitor's Center and activities have been suspended.  Now, we are very happy to be able to re-start the guided nature walks as well as to open the Visitor's Center, with the use of recommended protocols.  And the refuge is ready to welcome you.  With the Wild Cherry Tree in bloom, Osprey flying from the ocean with their catch of the day,  an occasional Bald Eagle overhead and the earnest persistent call of the Chuck Will's Widow throughout the night, the refuge is full of life and beauty.


The Visitor Center and Nature Store will be open Friday November 25th through Sunday, November 28th and Saturday December 4th and Sunday December 5th from 9am to 3pm  for our Annual Holiday Sales Weekends. 
10% Off All Items plus an additional 10% for members!
Plus, FREE Nature Poster with Purchase!

Masks are required if not vaccinated and inside  capacity is limited.

FAMILY FRIENDLY NATURE WALKS will be at the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. on Saturday November 26th and Saturday December.  Enjoy a Holiday Family morning walk!
Sanitized Loaner Binoculars are available for both Adults and Children.

VOLUNTEERS: All of our programs as well as the Visitor's Center are run by volunteers.  If you have an interest in joining us, either as a nature walk leader or as a staff member in the Visitor's Center,  please stop by and leave your contact information at the Visitor's Center.  When we are ready to set up our volunteer orientations, someone will reach out to you. 
Our location is 12001 Pacific Ave., Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
All the best to you, Connie - Writing for Friends of CMNWR

  • Thank you to our Refuge Friend and Member Kathy Quattrone for this extraordinary photo & description of Osprey mother and chick:

    “Only-chick (front) and his momma in their, how he has grown. He shows his young age with his white-tipped feathers and slightly deeper eye color, but he is almost her size now. He will perfect his fishing skills during August before they migrate south in September.” -Kathy Quattrone

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of three units....

The Great Cedar  Swamp Division is at the northern end of the refuge in Dennis and Upper Townships.  Habitats such as salt marsh, hardwood swamp, bog, grasslands and large tracts of forested uplands are used by wildlife such as blue-winged warblers, ovenbirds, and short-eared owls. The refuge connects with a state forest and the Pineland National Reserve. 

Read Our Newsletter!

Our Newsletter

Emily Dickinson

Where in New Jersey is the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge?

The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Cape May peninsula, the southernmost point in the state of New Jersey.  Because of its unique geography, the peninsula offers stunning views of sunrise to the east over the water of the Atlantic Ocean, and of sunset to the west over the water of the Delaware Bay.  The Refuge currently protects over 11,000 acres of peninsula habitat in its 3 refuge units: the Great Cedar Swamp Division, the Delaware Bay Division and the Two-Mile Beach Unit. These 3 units represent unique, diverse habitats: forested hardwood swamp, river estuary and ocean barrier island.   VIEW MAP


Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge 
is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is:

• To promote awareness of the Cape May Refuge and surrounding natural areas

• To foster public understanding, appreciation and support of the Cape May Refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System

• To advocate for the conservation and protection of wildlife, plants & their habitats in our community for the benefit of current and future generations.


If you see one of our majestic snowy visitors, please remember to maintain a respectful distance of at least 50 feet- The Friends of Cape May NWR have loaner binoculars and a spotting scope available for use at the Nature Store at Two Mile Beach.

Restoration Project Complete!

Marsh Restoration project at Cape May NWR complete!

Despite the challenges we've all faced this year, the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge has been diligently working on a marsh restoration project.  This project first began in 2014 after receiving funding from the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program and was completed this year!  Please see the press release below and the attached Fact Sheet for details on the project.  The employees at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge hope you are safe and encourage you to visit refuge lands to enjoy the outdoors!



Please check out this great article and how you can help by planting certain Flowers they love....

Native Birds - Plant Wisely

Native Birds - Plant Wisely

Native birds, insects and wildlife cannot and will not eat non-native plants.
For the sake of our birds and wildlife, please choose ‘native plants’ for your gardens.
And DO NOT use pesticides or herbicides on your grassy areas!
For more information, check out the eye opening findings and writings of University of Delaware entomologist, Douglas Tallamy.

What To Do If You Find Baby Wildlife

What To Do If You Find Baby Wildlife

Spring is here, and with it comes baby wildlife season. As the warm season progresses, the chance of encountering young animals from baby birds to lone deer fawns to baby squirrels in our backyards and neighborhoods increases.

What should you do–and not do–if you find a baby animal in your yard or neighborhood? Read on to find out.

Watch out for the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive species....

It is slowly and surely making its way through the eastern region! Invasive species compete with (often out competing) the more sensitive native plants and wildlife. The Spotted Lanternfly will bore into the bark of trees and eat the phloem; which transports nutrients through the tree, eventually killing it. For more information on identifying and how to get rid of the pest please see the information below or visit

Tidal Marsh Restoration Area

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cape May National Wildlife Refuge....

manages property along the Delaware Bay including the Reeds Beach parcel. Reeds Beach includes a roughly 100-acre tidal marsh restoration area threatened by the effects of sea level rise, severe storms, and human intervention creating a stressed environment; which has led to marsh loss and conversion to open water, affecting the plant and wildlife in the area.

As part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Cape May NWR mission, the refuge began taking action in2014 when it was awarded Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program funding to reduce the growing risks from threats such as coastal storms, flooding, and erosion. Through this program funding, the USFWS and a contractor studied and designed a restoration plan for the 100 acre Reeds Beach parcel.

It was concluded that to best way to restore the ecosystem was to alleviate excess water from sitting on the surface of the marsh. Less water sitting on the marsh would allow the plants to become healthier which would allow the plant roots to hold and trap more sediment allowing the marsh to grow and keep up with sea level rise.

The restoration at Reeds Beach began in 2017 when10,000 feet of runnels were created over 48 acres. Runnels are shallow excavations created in a sinuous way to mimic natural creeks and streams. The runnels were created to connect low lying areas to existing creeks using a ditcher mounted on an amphibious tracked vehicle called a Marsh Master that has extremely low ground pressure. The ditcher cuts into the soil and thinly spreads the removed soil over the marsh.

In the fall of 2019, Cape May NWR launched the next phase of the Reeds Beach marsh restoration, by creating more runnels in the remaining 52 acres in-house with a smaller USFWS Marsh Master. As the marsh soil is very soft and muddy, it is easy for one’s foot to sink 2-3 feet into the muck; leading to difficulty for the Marsh Master. Over 1,000 feet of runnels were created, though the smaller machine was not adequate for the weight of the ditcher, so the Cape May NWR staff went back to the drawing board.

In the fall of 2020, Cape May NWR was able to dig the remaining 9,931 feet of runnels with the original larger Marsh Master, completing the construction phase in the Reeds Beach marsh . This final phase would not have been possible if not for funding that was provided by Ducks Unlimited, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Friends of Cape May NWR. In previous years, the Friends of Cape May NWR financially supported refuge interns. This financial support was used as a matching source in order to obtain a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.

Cape May NWR believes that this habitat restoration will improve vegetation health and provide enhanced habitat for wildlife including American black duck, saltmarsh sparrow, diamondback terrapin, and many fish and shellfish. The Reeds Beach marsh unit will be monitored through the coming years to measure the success of the restoration project by looking at vegetation changes, marsh elevation changes, water level changes, and species abundance just to name a few. To date, low lying flooded formerly non-vegetated areas adjacent to runnels have begun to vegetate once again. This project is a great education opportunity for saltmarsh health, how marshes buffer the coast and communities from storms, sea level rise and marsh restoration work.

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

We had 3 piping plover chicks born on TMBU last week!

For the past week, volunteers have kept watch from dawn to dusk over the 3 Piping Plover chicks that were born on July 13 at our Two Mile Beach Unit Refuge.

As tiny as cotton balls and blending in with the sand and terrain, this was no easy task! Unfortunately, 2 of the 3 chicks succumbed to predators even though both parents diligently watched & closely followed their chicks -who do not fledge for 30 days but were born running it seems. Predators include crows, gulls, ghostcrabs, feral cats, raccoons, coyotes, etc.  
(Also of note, the nesting, hatching & ‘brooding’ of endangered birds like the Piping Plover is one of the reasons why our Two Mile Beach Unit is closed from April 1 to September 30. The TMBU is closed in compliance with Environmental Laws protecting the resting, nesting, and feeding of ALL migratory birds-hence the reason humans and pets are prohibited from entering the beach during that time. We thank you for your diligence!)



July 22, 2021
Hi Gang,
CU Maurice River is once again hosting trips to witness this short-lived, amazing gathering of Purple Martins (see details below). One trip is SOLD OUT, but there are still spaces on 3 other evening cruises. If you've never seen this gathering of uncountable numbers of Purple Martins (before they migrate south), sign up for one of the cruises below!
21st Annual"Purple Martin Spectacular Cruises,"Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, NJ Enjoy a sunset cruise aboard the "Bonanza II" on the following dates. Gather a group of friends and family and book your spots: Wednesday, August 11, 2021Thursday, August 12, 2021Saturday, August 14, 2021 Every summer from late July through mid-August, hundreds of thousands of Purple Martins and other swallows that have nested in the Bayshore region and other parts of southern New Jersey congregate in the tall reeds somewhere near the Maurice River Bridge in Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, NJ.
The Purple Martins are following their instincts by "staging" in large numbers before beginning their mass migration to South America. The birds disperse to forage for insects during the day, building up fat and energy for their long trip. Then, at dusk, they gather to roost in the dense stands of Phragmites along the Maurice River. Whether compelled by "safety in numbers" or some other urge, it is an impressive sight as a few early birds then multiply into clouds of thousands upon thousands before settling for the night.
Slowly cruise the Maurice River at sunset to see the Purple Martins coming in to roost by the thousands. Local purple martin expert Allen Jackson and other CU Maurice River naturalists will be on board to interpret points of natural and cultural interest. 
CRUISE DATES:Wednesday, August 11, 2021Thursday, August 12, 2021Saturday, August 14, 2021
DEPARTURE:The dock at 8749 Berry Avenue Port Norris, NJ 08349 at 6:15 p.m.(this is a NEW location from previous years)*Registrants are asked to arrive no later than 6:00 avoid missing the boat
The boat cruise is approximately 3 hours longand goes RAIN OR SHINEA selection of desserts, light snacks, and soft drinks are provided
Reservations are required. Seating is limited to 60 passengers.The cost is $50 per person; please pay in advance.Tours sell out quickly, so secure your spot now!
To purchase your ticket(s)with a credit card online,Click below for: August 11thAugust 12thAugust 14th
To pay by check, call the CU Maurice River office to reserve your spot.Then make a check out to:“Citizens United” and mail to CU Maurice River, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332In the notes section please indicate that your payment is forthe Purple Martin Spectacular and the date of the trip you are booking
Contact the CU Maurice River office (856) 300-5331
CU Maurice River is a very active membership-based organization committed to preservation and protection of the Maurice River and its tributaries -- these tours are some of their many offerings.  Don't miss booking one of these cruises if you've never witnessed this amazing gathering of Purple Martins. And if you have witnessed it, I'm sure you can't wait to see it again and bring along some friends and family members who simply will not believe what they are seeing.
Enjoy nature's show!Pat