NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — 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 Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program.
Classes will be offered by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County at the EARTH Center, in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park at 42 Riva Ave, South Brunswick. The 2019 course begins on Jan. 23 and meets every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through June 2019.
The Environmental Steward 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.
Registration, payment and program details for individuals or municipalities are available at RESMiddlesex.eventbrite.com with a registration deadline of Jan. 18. The program and materials fee for the course is $250.
Training sessions are taught by experts from Rutgers University, and non-profit 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 policy makers 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
“Students will be introduced to a network of experts and organizations that will become their environmental allies for years to come,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. “With over 60 hours of training, the Stewards will be ready to face all kinds of environmental challenges.”
“If you want to take action and give back to your community, the Environmental Stewards program is a great way to make our County a better place,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “Many Stewards volunteer with local schools, assist non-profits and green businesses, or go on to participate in their town’s environmental commissions or green teams. No previous science degree or experience is needed. Everyone is welcome.”
— Rutgers Cooperative Extension