New Jersey Receives Watershed Education Grant

Students and teachers in New Jersey 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, with the help of a $33,000 education grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

They will also find out how humans pollute those waterways as they pass through towns and cities and how to stop and reverse those impacts, according to a Nov. 10 press release.

"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."

Since 1992, EPA has funded $44 million in environmental education grants to support 3,000 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, N.J. $24,000

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, N.J. $8,953

The Great Swamp Watershed Association will work with fourth 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, online, 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.

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