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Special Projects

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is a private non-profit organization based in Brigantine and is the only organization in the State of New Jersey authorized to rescue and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and sea turtles. Since the Center's founding in 1978, more than 4,300 animals (including whales, dolphins, seals & sea turtles) have been handled by the Center. To learn more, visit

Throughout the year, the club awards grants to environmental organizations for various projects--from planting dune grass to rescuing stranded marine mammals. If you know of a worthy organization that needs help, scroll down for an application or contact Bette Della Torre at

​The following are just a few of our 2015 environmental-grant recipients: Save Barnegat Bay, Alliance for a Living Ocean, Clean Ocean Action, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the Terrapin Nesting Project.  

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center
The "Terrapin Nesting Project" protects nesting Diamondback Terrapins on Long Beach Island, their eggs and their hatchlings, and educates the public on the vital role they play in maintaining the health of Barnegat Bay's ecosystem. If you’d like to learn more or volunteer, click:
Left: Kathy and her young protégés with some of the 1300 baby Diamondback Terrapins incubated, hatched and released in High Bar Harbor. 

A  total of 1440 eggs were recovered on the north end of the Island--a phenomenal success rate! 

Kathy and her crew release young Diamondbacks.

This Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle washed up cold and stunned in Harvey Cedars last fall and was brought to the Center. After a few days warming in their pool, the turtle was transferred to the Baltimore Aquarium for long-term care.  

A visitor to Surf City last August, this healthy Harbor Seal drew quite a crowd before returning to the sea. 

Placing the unhatched eggs under screens helps protect them from predators.
 Kathy and her volunteers track moms-to-be and relocate their nests to hatcheries in High Bar Harbor and Holgate, where the nests are then monitored until it's time to release the babies. 
Beach Haven Future
Dedicated to beautifying the downtown area along Bay Ave., Beach Haven Future envisions hanging baskets, trees, decorative lighting,  planters and banners to preserve the seaside character of Beach Haven. To learn more, go to
Terrapin Nesting Project
Project Director Kathy Lacey and an intern (left) retrieve  baby Diamondbacks from their relocated nest in Holgate.

A new record! 18 Holgate hatchlings (above) in one nest!

Two Holgate youngsters (right)  soak up some rays in the "baby pool"  before returning  to Barnegat Bay.

Save Barnegat Bay
A 44-year-old community-based non-profit, Save Barnegat Bay restores and protects the Bay and its ecosystem through educational programs and advocacy campaigns.  
Save Barnegat Bay Education and Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Belfer displays just some of the recreational and economic resources of the Bay at an Educators Roundtable.
Student volunteers from Tennessee help plant a  native garden in Lavallette.
Through seining, students from Antrim Elementary School get a personal and up-close look at the Bay's ecosystem. 
To learn more, click here
On Oct. 28, Beach Haven Elementary became the pilot for a brand-new SBB educational program. Students are designing a "Defenders Badge," which all students in Ocean County can wear during their advocacy work. In January, grades 4-6 will also be asked to create a campaign to bring awareness to issues affecting the Bay--from something as simple as coordinating a clean-up to a more in-depth project such as a  letter-writing campaign. All students will receive a "Defenders Booklet" about Barnegat Bay with suggestions for future projects. The Garden Club of LBI is proud to be a part of this valuable program by providing funding for the Defenders Badges and Booklets.
At the kick-off for the Defenders Program, SBB volunteers drummed up interest with a talk on Diamondback Terrapins, the only turtles found in Barnegat Bay. The younger students also got to make their very own "jellyfish"--without the stingers, of course!  

Physical education teacher Mr. Cummins helps with jellyfish making.
Pre-K and kindergarten students were anxious to get a look at the "real turtles" brought by SBB volunteers.
Kimberly Belfer, Education and Outreach Coordinator for SBB, explains the pilot program to Interim Principal Linda Downing (center) as Joanna Peluso, a Education and Advocacy intern looks on. 
Ms. Belfer explains how  Diamondbacks are killed by crawling into the wide end of traps to get blue-fin crabs--their favorite food! Once inside, the turtles, who need to surface every 45 minutes to breathe, can't exit the narrow end and drown. Hence, the orange contraptions, called "excluders," which, when placed on the ends of the pots, prevent the diamondbacks from entering. 
The Defenders Program Kick-off at Beach Haven Elementary!
The Long Beach Township Recycling Center
The Garden Club cooperates closely with the Long Beach Township Recycling Center and this year has provided funding for a rain barrel and the publication of the ROTT WHEELER, a double-sided interactive guide to "reducing, reusing and recycling."
After years of success in High Bar Harbor,the TNP extended its efforts to the southern end of the Island last year. This summer, its second, the Holgate nursery set a record, releasing 511 new babies into the Bay.
Girl Scout Gold Award
If you've ever doubted that just one person can make a difference, you should meet Bethany Hartney.  Bethany noticed that the end of her street, 24th in Surf City, was "a popular place to gather at the end of every day as it offers a beautiful view of the sunset." But, there was a problem: the street end itself wasn't that attractive. So, armed with a grant from the garden club and a copy of the club's "Gardening at the Shore," Bethany set out on a beautification project that earned her the Gold Award in Girl Scouting. Congratulations, Bethany! 
Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences
In 2015, the club's partnership with The Foundation--as its affectionately known on the Island--resulted in a children's garden, a marsh boardwalk and butterfly and rain gardens.
SBB volunteer Phyllis Dittrich (left) explains the dangers of stinging nettles as Beach Haven Elementary Pre-K teacher Miss DiBiase looks on.
Clean Ocean Action
Clean Ocean Action is a coalition of more than 130 groups, hundreds of businesses and thousands of concerned citizen focused on improving marine water quality. Its premier citizen action program, "Beach Sweeps," now in its 30th year, is one of the longest-running coastal clean-ups in the world and continues to be New Jersey's largest statewide event.
Since 1985, Beach Sweeps has grown from one site with 75 volunteers to more than seventy locations and 101,000 volunteers who have removed more than five million pieces of trash from New Jersey's coasts and waterways! 

To learn more about COA, click here
Cathy Sutton and JoAnne McKee with two "budding" gardeners.
American Gothic--LBI style! JoAnne, Rick Bushnell and Cathy.
"Ents" guarding the crops!
Cathy and her protegees do a final inspection.
To Print Out This Document, click here.