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Cooperative Extension to offer Environmental Stewards Program

Post Date:02/25/2019 4:55 PM

TRENTON -- Are you concerned about the environment and want to learn how to make a difference? Maybe you’re part of a municipal environmental commission or green team, and you want to do your best in caring for your community. You can do all this and more as part of the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program!

Classes will be offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County at 1440 Parkside Ave., Ewing. The 2019 course begins March 14 and meets every Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. through July.

The Environmental Stewards Program is designed to explain and analyze the environmental issues affecting New Jersey. Using science, teamwork and natural resources, the Stewards will create plans to face the problems head-on. You don’t have to be a scientist to be a Steward -- all you need is passion for the environment, learning and volunteering.

“The Mercer County Park Commission is excited to partner with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County on the Environmental Stewards Program,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “We know from other counties that certified stewards go on to support schools, nonprofits and neighborhoods to develop improved environmental practices, and we look forward to seeing that come to fruition in Mercer County.”

Registration, payment and program details for individuals or municipalities are available here with a registration deadline of March 11. The program and materials fee for the course is $250.

Training sessions are taught by experts from Rutgers University, and nonprofit and government organizations. To become a certified Rutgers Environmental Steward, graduates of the class portion of the program must then complete a 60-hour volunteer internship on any topic of their choice. Internships are unique and intended to align with the interests of the individual, the needs of the program, and the community.

Class topics include climate change, soil health, energy conservation, water resource protection, invasive species, wildlife management, habitat conservation, protecting pollinators, environmental policy and more. Field trips to environmentally significant sites around the state are included as part of the program.

Examples of volunteer projects include:
• Mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks
• Engaging policymakers on reducing plastic waste
• Restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities
• Assisting restaurants in composting food waste
• Building green infrastructure, such as rain gardens or rain barrels
• Protecting and creating habitat for threatened and endangered species

For more information on the program, contact Meredith Melendez at melendez@njaes.rutgers.edu or call (609) 989-6830.


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