Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Reserve, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ

Businesses and conservation groups seem like an unholy alliance but an environmental group sees the makings of a perfect partnership when it comes to restoring the Barnegat Bay.

David Wheeler, Executive Director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey said they're hosting a Barnegat Bay Business Forum at the end of this month with the goal of showing proprietors that protecting the Barnegat Bay is good for business. They're also hoping to connect business leaders with conservation organizations, according to the forum's flier.

"When they're engaged in many of these wildlife issues they're very willing partners and very excited to be a part of this process because they realize that they also want to have a healthy environment around their employees, families, their customers, their clients," Wheeler explained.

The Keynote speakers are Gerald Kauffman, author of Economic Value of the Barnegat Bay Watershed and NJDEP Deptuty Commissioner Michelle Siekerka.

Wheeler said it should never be about businesses verses the environment. He believes business leaders and conservation organizations should absolutely work hand in hand. " What we've seen in different parts of the state is that the business community can really help drive a lot of improvements ecologically when we have them as a partner certainly rather than an adversary," he explained.

The free forum takes place on Friday, March 28th at Ocean County College in Toms River from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, Wheeler said they also welcome business customers, students, educators and members of other conservation groups. Register at wConserveWildlifeNJ.org or call 609-292-3707. Lunch will be provided for guest who RSVP.

The event is funded in part by the Barnegat Bay Partnership.