Category: Environment

The Nature Conservancy – Addressing the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone

Nature Conservancy pic
Nature Conservancy

Since 1995, Thomas (Tom) Avellino of New Jersey has served as an investor, limited partner, and managing general partner with several private investment partnerships. Also active in charitable giving, Thomas Avellino supports several nonprofit organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy, through his family foundation.

The Nature Conservancy is working to address the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone,” an area of oxygen-depleted water that makes it difficult for marine life to thrive. The result of nutrient runoff, the dead zone extends from the coast of Texas to the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana.

Normally, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico covers an average of 5,309 square miles, but it has expanded to cover 8,776 square miles, or approximately the size of New Jersey. The cause of this expansion is likely the heavy spring rains, which pushed an excessive amount of nitrates from cities, farms, and other sources into the Mississippi River Basin’s waterways, which empty into the Gulf. As the dead zone destroys marine life, the economic consequences are far-reaching, especially for fishermen and others working in the seafood industry.

To address this issue, the Nature Conservancy is working with government bodies and farmers to find ways to prevent nutrients from leaving farmland. The organization seeks to curb runoff through better farming practices such as reduced tillage, crop rotation, use of cover crops, and nutrient management.

One specific area where the Nature Conservancy is working is in the Wabash River of Indiana and Illinois. The tributary is responsible for a particularly high discharge of nitrogen into the Gulf. Working with the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nature Conservancy has helped restore or protect 44,000 acres of floodplain habitat near the Wabash River, with the ultimate goal of restoring or protecting 10,000 more acres by 2022.


How to Become a Member of the Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Conservation Society pic
Wildlife Conservation Society

A graduate of the University of Miami, where he studied finance, Thomas Avellino has served New Jersey-based MJ Partners Group since 2004. Further to his work, Thomas Avellino contributes to the Bronx Zoo, which the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) oversees.

WCS membership offers free entry into each of the zoos it operates, including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium, for one year. Prospective members have three options available to them when joining:

1. On-site: Prospective members may visit the admissions booth at a WCS zoo to obtain membership using credit cards or cash. However, the zoo will not refund the parking charge incurred on the day the membership begins.

2. Phone: Calling (718) 220-5112 between 9 am and 5 pm on Monday through Saturday puts the caller through to the WCS membership office, where they may apply for membership over the phone. Those using this method receive confirmation emails within 24 hours of the call.

3. Online: By visiting, an individual can register as a WCS member and receive a printable temporary membership card for use as he or she waits for the permanent card.

Membership in the Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Conservation Society pic
Wildlife Conservation Society

Thomas Avellino is a finance professional who holds a degree in Finance from the University of Miami. Currently, Thomas Avellino serves as a managing general partner for MJ Partners Group in New Jersey. Outside of his professional work, Mr. Avellino supports charitable organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City. The organization works to conserve endangered regions and wildlife around the world, and also operates the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium. Donations to the society are tax exempt, and membership options include three categories.

Premium Membership – available for families or individuals, this membership offers free premium attraction access as well as free parking.

Basic Membership – also available for families and individuals, this membership tier offers free entry to society facilities.

Conservation Membership – the highest membership tier, this membership includes free access to all five society facilities as well as free parking and premium attraction access.