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New Jersey Students and Teachers Wet Their Appetites for Knowledge Through EPA Education Grants Focused on Watersheds

Release Date: 11/10/2008
Contact Information: Terry Ippolito (212) 637-3671,

(New York, N.Y.) New Jersey students and teachers will soon be better caretakers of the environment through their participation in environmental education projects focused on the state’s watersheds. The projects, totaling almost $33,000, are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The students and teachers will explore the streams and brooks of the Great Swamp Watershed and the New Jersey Pinelands to understand how those smaller waterways become the Passaic, Mullica, Maurice and Toms Rivers. They will also find out how humans can pollute those waterways as they pass through towns and cities and how to stop and reverse those impacts.

“It is so important for young people to experience and understand the ways in which our rural, suburban and urban communities are linked by the watersheds and rivers they share,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “These programs will give educators and students the knowledge and skills they need to become the present and future caretakers of their environment.”

EPA’s local and nationwide educational programs promote environmental stewardship and support excellence in environmental education. Since 1992, EPA has funded over $44 million in environmental education grants to support more than three thousand projects across the country. Agency partnerships, including the National Environmental Education Foundation and the Environmental Education Training Partnership, have given thousands of formal and non-formal educators the skills and knowledge needed to teach students of all ages about safeguarding the environment.

The New Jersey recipients are:

Burlington County College
Pemberton, NJ
(609) 894-9311 x1287

More than 1,000 students in grades six through eight in often underserved schools in Camden, Burlington and Ocean Counties will explore the New Jersey Pinelands to learn the ecological principles, human impacts and the role environmental stewardship play in the Pinelands Natural Reserve, a large watershed serving 19 rivers. Pre- and post-trip classroom activities will enhance the lessons learned on the field trips. A poster contest will encourage students to incorporate the lessons learned about environmental stewardship into a visual message. Copies of the winning poster will be distributed to schools throughout the regional watershed to further encourage the development of stewardship for this important natural resource.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association
Morris, NJ
(973) 538-3500 x 20

The Great Swamp Watershed Association will work with 4th graders, one class from the upper and one from the lower Passaic River, and two high school classes from the Great Swamp Watershed and Newark, to teach students about the environmental issues affecting the upper and lower Passaic River. The program includes sessions in classrooms, on-line and during field trips. Teachers and students will learn about water quality issues impacting the Passaic and they will explore similarities and differences between the upper and lower river ecosystems. An innovative aspect of this program is peer-to-peer teaching: the high school students will teach the fourth graders. At a culminating event, students will share what they have learned about watershed stewardship with their communities.

For more information on EPA’s environmental education programs, go to Find out more about the 2009 educational grants program at EPA’s environmental education web sites are: for Pre-K through Grade 4; for middle grade students; for high school students and for educators.

In addition to its ongoing environmental education program and other programs aimed at youth, EPA has developed publications and activities that highlight the importance of protecting children from environmental risks. This year, EPA launched a new campaign to educate middle and high school students about climate change and its effects on children's health. Teens will create a new climate for action by taking action to address global climate change and encouraging their friends and families to do the same. For more information on the new campaign, visit