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EPA Provides Funding to Initiate Nine Environmental Education Projects throughout New Jersey

Release Date: 03/12/2004
Contact Information:
(#04011) New York, New York -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced environmental education grants of $70,562 to fund nine projects in New Jersey. The projects cover a variety of issues, including environment-friendly gardening practices, stream ecology, development aid protection of the water supply, nonpoint source pollution and eco-art. Students will also gain insight into ways they can pursue environmental careers.

Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, EPA Regional Administrator Jane Kenny, Project Director Patricia Rokosz and County College of Morris President Edward Yaw."People of all ages can make changes that will affect the future of our environment," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "Through environmental education, we can provide the resources and skills needed to improve environmental quality for years to come."

The nine grants, ranging from $4,000 to $18,000, will reach a large segment of the population in New Jersey including community gardeners, elementary and high school students, teachers and representatives from all levels of municipal government. In addition, watershed management groups across the state will be involved in conducting workshops on watershed concepts.

The projects educate audiences of all ages about the environment, including environment-friendly gardening practices, stream ecology, development and protection of the water supply, nonpoint source pollution, eco-art and environmental careers.

The projects in New Jersey receiving environmental education grants are:

Camden City Garden Club, Inc.
Educating Home Gardeners about Water Management

The Camden City Garden Club project will educate the public about the importance of efficient water use and the environmental impact of using water in the garden. The project will encourage English and Spanish speaking visitors to tour the Cityscapes Garden. The garden will feature interactive signage about using water efficiently. Visitors will also be provided with take home materials about the efficient use of water and other environment-friendly practices in their gardens. The new gardening techniques introduced will also include mulching, plant selection, rain barrel use and prevention of non-point source pollution.

County College of Morris
"From Stream to Sea: A Workshop Series on Water Quality for Middle School Teachers"

The primary goal of this project is to improve the environmental education teaching skills of 6th - 9th grade science teachers in northwestern New Jersey. The workshop series will help teachers implement environmental education programs at their schools with classroom lessons that meet New Jersey's science core curriculum standards. Using water as a theme, the New Jersey Statewide Initiative Regional Center at the college will conduct a series of teacher workshops and field trips using hands-on materials and activities. Teachers will then be able to bring these skills to their students. After learning about water pollution in the classroom, students will investigate a local pond's ecosystem, continue their investigations at its associated streams and study the streams as they flow to the ocean. Students will analyze water and study flow rates, currents and the plants and animals living in the ponds and streams.

Greater Newark Conservancy
Distance Learning Program: "My City, My Responsibility"

The Greater Newark Conservancy is partnering with Verizon to involve 8th grade students in Abbott school districts (urban centers in New Jersey that have been underserved in the past) in environmental issues in their coummunities. Participating teachers will attend a seminar to develop skills needed to explore communication technology and help students research environmental issues in their communities. The students will develop a publicity campaign and associated materials to teach other students about urban environmental issues. The educators will use the Internet to share their lessons, experiences and progress. Students will make presentations about what they have learned to other students using the distant learning technique of video conferencing. They will learn to integrate communication, organizational and critical thinking skills.

North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council
Tools For Community Resource Protection

The North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council is partnering with Sussex and Warren County Planning Departments, and the attention of community representatives in the Upper Delaware and Wallkill Watershed Management Projects to focus on issues related to natural resources, water quality and smart growth. Participants will develop their decision- making skills and learn about the competing demands for development and protection of the water supply and natural resources of Warren and Sussex Counties in northwestern New Jersey. The workshops will also provide technical and resource information and Geographic Information Systems tools to representatives from all levels of municipal government in order to help them protect resources in their communities.

North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council
Stream Trunk Teacher Training

The primary goal of this project is to enable middle and high school teachers in Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties to incorporate biological and chemical field testing techniques related to stream ecology and aquatic ecosystems into their science, math and language arts classes. The teachers are partnering with the County Soil Districts in Hunterdon, Morris, and Warren Counties, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-Division of Watershed Management's AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program. Together they are developing three one-day workshops that focus on watershed concepts, stream ecology, the value and function of riparian buffers, benthic macro-invertebrates (large invertebrates at the bottom of a body of water), Project WET and Project WILD activities. Followup sessions assess the benefits of the training program and its implementation in classrooms.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Worldwide Web-Based Watershed and Water Quality
Monitoring Educational Web site for New Jersey

This project will provide a Web site from which students and citizens can access information on watershed issues in most of New Jersey's urbanized watershed areas. The site will be maintained in English and Spanish and has a section in which volunteers can input their water data. Watershed reports on the site will be developed and maintained by the Rutgers University Center for Information Management in order to educate individuals on urban watershed issues such as flooding, nonpoint source pollution, degraded stream habitat, streambank erosion and limited riparian buffers. The Web site will be interactive and encourage critical thinking by helping users come up with and implement solutions to urban watershed problems.

The South Branch Watershed Association
The Explorer Project

This project will provide an interactive Web site to teach students the importance of protecting the land in a watershed area in order to ensure better water quality and maintain the health of the South Branch Raritan River Watershed. The project targets middle and high school teachers in the more than 80 schools in this watershed. Teachers will learn how to use the Web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) to help their students analyze land use changes and data sets in their communities. Explorer Project workshops will enable teachers to learn how to use the Web site and create activities to instruct students about environmental protection in their communities.

Teaneck Creek Conservancy
Teaneck Creek Conservancy, Inc. Education Grant

A "Hands Across the Creek" Education Grant will give 7th and 8th graders at Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin Middle Schools in Teaneck an understanding of past and present open space and land use issues. Students will examine the advantages of preserving open space to benefit air and water quality, provide contact with the natural world, reduce pollution and enhance biodiversity in Bergen County, New Jersey's most populous county. Students will learn about land use history, gain hands-on experience by engaging in Eco-art and technology projects and become involved in land use decision-making and environmental stewardship practices.

Wallkill River Watershed Group
Wallkill River Watershed Management Project

The Wallkill River Watershed Management Group is developing an environmental calender with information each month on environmental issues such as water conservation, stormwater management, point and nonpoint source pollution, watershed and community involvement in watershed management. The calendar will have events and meeting dates and information to encourage stakeholders to get involved in watershed projects. Stakeholder groups, government officials at federal, state, county, and municipal levels, and the educational, environmental and agricultural groups will work together to produce the appropriate inclusions in the calendar. By increasing public knowledge of how they can get involved in watershed planning, the public can become involved in discussions of innovative solutions, training seminars, watershed walks, canoe trips and develop greater awareness of the importance of watersheds.