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Edelmans commit $25M to transform Rowan University Fossil Park
How to Raise an Environmentalist
SPN Press Release Announcing Denver Trip
EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns
Kindergarten, Naturally
See SEED in Theaters & Bring it to your town!
Evidence Means Different Things in ESSA and NCLB
EE at EPA: New teacher award winners and recent student award winners honored
White House, EPA Honor Environmental Educators and Student Award Winners
NJ Office of the Secretary of Education Invites Proposals for NJ STEM Pathways Network Program Information
Gardener News August 2016
Administration Honors U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions; Announces 2016 Green Strides Tour
Connecting iGeneration to the Natural World
New HS env. science program and partnership
New environmental tool empowers high school scientists
Links from Garden Collage
In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it
Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards 2016
"Discover DEP" Podcasts Provide Public with Friendly and Familiar Format for Learning About DEP's Mission
Greater Newark Conservancy Receives EPA Grant
Planting a Rain Garden in Bernardsville - Video
EARTH Center Opens Butterfly House for the 2016 Season
DEP launches aggressive program to protect state-owned lands from emerald ash borer infestation
Edelmans commit $25M to transform Rowan University Fossil Park             (Posted: 10-19-16)

Click HERE.

How to Raise an Environmentalist             (Posted: 10-19-16)

Click HERE.

SPN Press Release Announcing Denver Trip             (Posted: 10-19-16)

Four NJ Communities Travel to Denver for National Meeting on Reinventing STEM Education for Children

NJ STEM Pathways Network, Overdeck Family Foundation Lead Effort to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Opportunities for Thousands of Students

Four New Jersey communities will join 36 other groups from around the country in Denver next week as part of a White House-backed national campaign to reimagine how to deliver Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects to pre-K to 12th grade students, through partnerships with industry, museums, afterschool providers, universities and parents.

"We are proud to sponsor New Jersey's delegation so we can learn what's going on around the nation, bring it home and make it work here," said Laura Overdeck, Founder and President of Bedtime Math, Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation and volunteer Chair of the STEM Pathways Network ( ).

Two representatives from each New Jersey community will attend the Communities of Practice meetings in Denver on October 17 and 18. The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network chose four communities to work with a national organization that will show them how to provide the STEM education and experiences students need to succeed in college, career, and life. The selected communities are from Delran, Hudson County, Newark and a coalition of counties representing South Jersey.

The NJ STEM Pathways Network started in 2014, when Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks brought together a group of educators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to suggest ways to improve pre-K to 12 STEM education in the Garden State. The selected communities will work with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), a growing national organization which already manages 36 other STEM projects to benefit children in areas around the nation as diverse as California, Ohio, and North Carolina.

TIES received a $300,000 grant from the Overdeck Family Foundation to get the New Jersey project off the ground. Key to the idea is that each "community" is an integrated ecosystem, where schools, colleges, businesses and educators work together with students and parents to prepare for the STEM jobs that will drive the economy in the future.

New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks praised Overdeck's leadership of the Network and emphasized the value of having a national group guide the campaign.

"We had an impressive pool of 11 applicants, and I am very pleased with the ideas and level of innovation shown by the four communities that will be working with the national group," said Secretary Hendricks. "Having TIES guide the project will make all the difference in how quickly we achieve success."

Labor forecasts predict more than 200,000 New Jersey jobs in STEM fields must be filled by 2025. To begin to meet the need, the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network chose four communities that will find new ways to provide the STEM education and experiences students will need to be successful in today's competitive environment.

High-quality images available here:

EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns             (Posted: 10-5-16)

EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today invited rural communities to apply for planning assistance to develop strategies that help grow the economy and revitalize downtown neighborhoods. EPA is offering this assistance as part of Rural Advantage, a suite of federal economic development planning assistance programs for rural communities.

“Rural Advantage is helping communities reinvent themselves in ways that are good for the economy and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are excited to partner with communities that want to use their unique rural assets to create a brighter, healthier future.

Communities may apply for assistance through the following programs:

•           Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), which helps communities leverage local food enterprise to diversify their economy and renew their downtowns.

•           Cool & Connected, which helps communities use broadband service to create walkable, connected, economically successful neighborhoods.

•           Healthy Places for Healthy People, a new program that will help communities partner with health care facilities to catalyze downtown revitalization and to improve options for healthy living and economic opportunity.

Rural Advantage is part of the Obama Administration's commitment to place-based strategies to help communities develop competitive advantages. In these places, federal experts are working side by side with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions, bolstering coordination across agencies and improving how we interact with and serve community partners.

Under the Obama Administration, EPA and federal partners have provided rural advantage assistance to 83 communities, to date.  Sixty-eight communities have been selected for assistance through Local Foods, Local Places, and 15 communities have received assistance through Cool & Connected, ten of which are in Appalachia.

In 2012, Williamson, W Va., was selected to participate in the Livable Communities in Appalachia program, the predecessor to LFLP. Through that effort, a team of small-town development experts worked with Sustainable Williamson to create an action plan tailored to achieving the town’s goals, including improving access to food to realize better health outcomes.

Upon implementing the plan, Sustainable Williamson received an $80,000 planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. That grant helped create a Federally Qualified Health Center that later received an additional $650,000 to support clinic operations. Sustainable Williamson also established a downtown farmers’ market and community garden that increased access to healthy foods for Williamson residents. The Williamson Health and Wellness Center also received LFLP assistance, in 2015, to provide support to new entrepreneurs starting up their businesses in the local food and health care sectors, and to expand the community’s innovative approaches to creating a culture of health.

In Montrose, Co., the Cool & Connected action plan helped advance Proximity Space, an award-winning coworking project, and link it to the community’s efforts to build a walkable and investment-ready downtown. Coworking space allows people to access high-speed internet, conference rooms, and office equipment, and is one of many ways that small towns can leverage broadband to boost main street development.

Communities selected for this latest round of assistance will work with an EPA-supported team of experts, including through a two-day workshop, to develop strategies and action plans that enable them to realize their local revitalization goals.  The team will include people with expertise in community development, and representatives of the federal agencies that sponsor the three programs so communities can build connections and take better advantage of federal programs and resources.

Working with federal partners, EPA will select thirty or more communities for assistance through a competitive process.

EPA’s Rural Advantage federal partners are the United States Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority and the Economic Development Administration.

Communities may apply by submitting letters of interest by November 6. For more information and to submit an application, see:

Kindergarten, Naturally             (Posted: 10-4-16)

Click HERE.

See SEED in Theaters & Bring it to your town!             (Posted: 10-4-16)

Click HERE.

Evidence Means Different Things in ESSA and NCLB             (Posted: 9-6-16)

Whenever I talk or write about the new evidence standards in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), someone is bound to ask how this is different from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Didn't NCLB also emphasize using programs and practices "based on scientifically-based research?"

Though they look similar on the surface, evidence in ESSA is very different from evidence in NCLB. In NCLB, "scientifically-based research" just meant that a given program or practice was generally consistent with principles that had been established in research, and almost any program can be said to be "based on" research. In contrast, ESSA standards encourage the use of specific programs and practices that have themselves been evaluated. ESSA defines strong, moderate, and promising levels of evidence for programs and practices with at least one significantly positive outcome in a randomized, matched, or correlational study, respectively. NCLB had nothing of the sort.

To illustrate the difference, consider a medical example. In a recent blog, I told the story of how medical researchers had long believed that stress caused ulcers. Had NCLB's evidence provision applied to ulcer treatment, all medicines and therapies based on reducing or managing stress, from yoga to tranquilizers, might be considered "based on scientifically based research" and therefore encouraged. Yet none of these stress-reduction treatments were actually proven to work; they were just consistent with current understandings about the origin of ulcers, which were wrong (bacteria, not stress, causes ulcers).

If ESSA were applied to ulcer treatment, it would demand evidence that a particular medicine or therapy actually improved or eliminated ulcers. ESSA evidence standards wouldn't care whether a treatment was based on stress theory or bacteria theory, as long as there was good evidence that the actual treatment itself worked in practice, as demonstrated in high-quality research.

Getting back to education, NCLB's "scientifically-based research" was particularly intended to promote the use of systematic phonics in beginning reading. There was plenty of evidence summarized by the National Reading Panel that a phonetic approach is a good idea, but most of that research was from controlled lab studies, small-scale experiments, and correlations. What the National Reading Panel definitely did not say was that any particular approach to phonics teaching was effective, only that phonics was a generically good idea.

One problem with NCLB's "scientifically-based research" standard was that a lot of things go into making a program effective. One phonics program might provide excellent materials, extensive professional development, in-class coaching to help teachers use phonetic strategies, effective motivation strategies to get kids excited about phonics, effective grouping strategies to ensure that instruction is tailored to students' needs, and regular assessments to keep track of students' progress in reading. Another, equally phonetic program might teach phonics to students on a one-to-one basis. A third phonics program might consist of a textbook that comes with a free half-day training before school opens.

According to NCLB, all three of these approaches are equally "based on scientifically-based research." But anyone can see that the first two, lots of PD and one-to-one tutoring, are way more likely to work. ESSA evidence standards insist that the actual approaches to be disseminated to schools be tested in comparison to control groups, not assumed to work because they correspond with accepted theory or basic research.

"Scientifically-based research" in NCLB was a major advance in its time, because it was the first time evidence had been mentioned so prominently in the main federal education law, yet educators soon learned that just about anything could be justified as "based on scientifically-based research," because there are bound to be a few articles out there supporting any educational idea. Fortunately, enthusiasm about "scientifically-based" led to the creation of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and, later, to Investing in Innovation (i3), which set to work funding and encouraging development and rigorous evaluations of specific, replicable programs. The good work of IES and i3 paved the way for the ESSA evidence standards, because now there are a lot more rigorously evaluated programs. NCLB never could have specified ESSA-like evidence standards because there would have been too few qualifying programs. But now there are many more.

Sooner or later, policy and practice in education will follow medicine, agriculture, technology, and other fields in relying on solid evidence to the maximum degree possible. "Scientifically-based research" in NCLB was a first tentative step in that direction, and the stronger ESSA standards are another. If development and research continue or accelerate, successive education laws will have stronger and stronger encouragement and assistance to help schools and districts select and implement proven programs. Our kids will be the winners.

This blog is sponsored by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

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EE at EPA: New teacher award winners and recent student award winners honored             (Posted: 8-24-16)

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White House, EPA Honor Environmental Educators and Student Award Winners             (Posted: 8-23-16)

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, recognized 18 teachers and 63 students from across the country for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship. These 2015 winners and honorable mentions for the annual President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) and 2015/2016 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) were honored for their work at a ceremony today at the White House. The event included remarks from Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator; Dr. John Holdren, President Obama's Chief Senior Advisor; and John King, Secretary of Education.

"These teacher and student winners are exemplary leaders, committed to strong environmental conservation and tackling problems including landfill waste and climate change head on," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Environmental education cultivates our next generation of leaders by teaching them how to apply skills in creativity and innovation. I have no doubt that teachers and students like these will someday solve some of our most complex and important issues."

The PIAEE awards recognize innovative environmental educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. Winning teachers led unique programs such as working with a local symphony orchestra to create music inspired by nature, raising horseshoe crabs, researching the impact of surface coal mining on salamander diversity, forming a job shadowing program, and starting an international collaboration with a school in Taiwan.

The PEYA awards recognize outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. Student projects featured activities such as creating a new eco-friendly fertilizer, restoring and conserving local habitats, promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods, analyzing the impact of solar panel installation, exploring a new water pollution mitigation method, and analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.

For information on environmental education at EPA, visit:
For details on the new PIAEE winners, visit:
For details on the new PEYA winners, visit:

NJ Office of the Secretary of Education Invites Proposals for NJ STEM Pathways Network Program Information             (Posted: 8-3-16)

Click HERE.

Gardener News August 2016             (Posted: 8-3-16)

Click HERE.

Administration Honors U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions; Announces 2016 Green Strides Tour             (Posted: 7-22-16)

          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202

Administration Honors U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions; Announces 2016 Green Strides Tour

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada, and Deputy Director of the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council Anisa Baldwin-Metzger joined U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. today to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 47 schools and 15 districts were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, 11 colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from honored schools, districts and postsecondary institutions received sustainably-crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.

“I congratulate these honorees that are leaders in school facilities, wellness and environmental education practices,” King said. “Their common-sense approach to investing more in education – rather than in utility bills – improves health and attendance, while exciting students about hands-on, real world learning. Healthy, safe and efficient facilities as well as access to sustainability education are innovative ways to boost productivity and performance at every grade level.”

"With ongoing threats to our environment, we need to prepare for a future different from our own.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School awards are an outstanding example to get today's youth to think and act towards building a more sustainable future," said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews.

"It is exciting to see the great commitment that our nation's schools have for environmental sustainability," said Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada. "This exemplary effort will not only save these schools energy and much needed money, but it will also show that even the youngest in our society can reduce their carbon footprint and make a difference in protecting our planet."

“This year’s awardees have much to be proud of -- from innovative operational practices that save their schools valuable funds to pioneering education that involves students in the creation of a more sustainable world,” said Deputy Director of the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council Anisa Baldwin-Metzger.  “We commend these schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions on their hard work, and we applaud the Department of Education’s commitment to honoring their success in positively impacting the environment, supporting health and wellness, and advancing environmental and sustainability literacy.” 

Secretary King also announced the annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour, this year under the theme “Real World Learning.”  This year’s tour will take place in September and spotlight sustainability education in past and present school, district and postsecondary honorees in Pennsylvania.

The honorees were selected from a pool of nominations made by 27 state education authorities, including 25 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The list of selectees includes 41 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include three charter and eight magnet schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 27 elementary, 18 middle and 14 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations. Thirty-seven of the 2016 honorees (51 percent) serve a disadvantaged student body and among them are two community colleges and one work-college. 

View the list of all selected schools and districts and summaries of each of the 73 honorees.  More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the criteria for the award can be found here.


Efficient Landscape Irrigation Recommendations Save Customers Water and Money

SUEZ announced today that its enhanced customer delivery of daily lawn watering information throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware is in full gear for the summer season.

SUEZ, together with the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University, developed a simplified web interface system for customers to utilize in order to save water, time and money, yet still enjoy a green lawn during the warm months.

ET, short for EvapoTranspiration, is a measure of water loss from soil through evaporation and moisture loss from plant life through transpiration. It is influenced by air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation and wind speed. With knowledge of ET and recent precipitation, a daily value is calculated for the optimal amount of water the average lawn needs based on the day’s weather conditions within the specific SUEZ geographical service regions. This is then translated into a recommended amount of time that your lawn should be watered.

“I’m honored that SUEZ selected Rutgers to provide its customers with the most accurate weather data for its 2016 lawn watering program,” said David Robinson, NJ State Climatologist. “Our skilled technical team, in cooperation with SUEZ, is using an array of weather stations and state of the art hydrological equations to deliver the best information and guidance for the most efficient use of water for lawns within SUEZ delivery areas,” he added.

Outdoor watering can account for a 50 percent increase in water usage during the summer. Lawns are often over-watered, resulting in higher water bills while also wasting a precious natural resource. ET provides an effective way to conserve water while maintaining a beautiful landscape.

“We’re enthused to partner on this project with Rutgers, led by NJ State Climatologist, Dr. David Robinson, and offer our valued customers the option for daily lawn watering email notifications tailored specifically to their city and state,” said Rich Henning, Senior Vice President, SUEZ. “Applying the ET irrigation method also supports SUEZ target landscape water conservation efforts while helping to sustain a healthy green lawn,” he added.


Customers can receive free, daily electronic notifications on recommended lawn watering by logging onto the SUEZ website at, linking to the informational alert posted on their local home page, then registering with a zip code and email address for automatic ET data subscription delivery through early September. Alternatively, the data can be viewed simply by logging onto the local SUEZ website then manually navigating to the ET page as noted above.

Meteorological data compiled by Rutgers utilizes local SUEZ weather stations, stations from the NJ Weather and Climate Network, and the National Weather Service.

About SUEZ in North America SUEZ in North America operates across all 50 states and Canada with 3,400 employees dedicated to environmental sustainability and leading the resource revolution. The company owns 15 regulated water utilities, provides contracted public-private partnership services to 78 municipalities, offers water treatment and advanced network solutions to 16,000 industrial and municipal sites, provides drinking water, wastewater and waste collection service to 7.4 million people on a daily basis, processes 55,000 tons of waste for recycling and manages $3.3 billion in total assets. The company posted revenues of $1.3 billion in 2015 and is a subsidiary of Paris-based SUEZ. SUEZ We are at the dawn of the resource revolution. In a world facing high demographic growth, runaway urbanization and the shortage of natural resources, securing, optimizing and renewing resources is essential to our future. SUEZ (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) supplies drinking water to 92 million people, delivers wastewater treatment services to 65 million, collects waste produced by almost 50 million, recovers 14 million tons of waste each year and produces 5,138 GWh of local and renewable energy. With 80,990 employees, SUEZ, which is present on all five continents, is a key player in the sustainable management of resources. SUEZ generated total revenues of $17.1 billion in 2015.

Press Contact: Jane Kunka 732-557-7775 or

Connecting iGeneration to the Natural World             (Posted: 7-21-16)

Click HERE.

New HS env. science program and partnership             (Posted: 7-20-16)

New Programs this Fall: Districts Launch Innovative Partnerships with Local High Schools and Colleges
See the third featured partnership in this article.

New environmental tool empowers high school scientists             (Posted: 7-6-16)

Click HERE.

Links from Garden Collage             (Posted: 7-6-16)

Garden Collage Goes Inside Edible Schoolyard

In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it             (Posted: 7-1-16)

Click HERE.

Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards 2016             (Posted: 6-29-16)

Applications for the 2016 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards Are Now Available
Click HERE.


Hackensack Riverkeeper-led program serves hundreds of urban/suburban kids annually

Ridgefield Park, NJ - When the Middle School students from Ridgefield Park finish up their Urban Watershed Education Program (UWEP) with Hackensack Riverkeeper this week, they will cap the field curriculum's Twentieth Anniversary. Originally called the Urban Fishing Program, it was designed to introduce students from New Jersey's more urbanized counties to their local waterways. With its newer name and wider focus, the program serves approximately 300 students and teachers each year. In 2015, Program Director Jodi Jamieson welcomed middle school groups from Bayonne, Carteret, Elizabeth, Jersey City and South Hackensack in addition to those from Ridgefield Park.

In addition to Riverkeeper staffers including Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola; dedicated Riverkeeper volunteers, and AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors, Harold "Howie" Nebling from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plays an important role in the program each year.

"Howie brings incredible expertise and knowledge of fish, their habits and natural histories to the program," said Jamieson, who's overseen UWEP since joining the Riverkeeper staff in 2006. "He's also a natural teacher with an infectious enthusiasm that resonates with our kids."

Here's how the three-day environmental education (EE) program works: Day One is classroom-based and introduced students to the twin realities of non-point source pollution and local fish consumption advisories - the latter of particular importance to the students' health and that of their families. Day Two sends the group into the field to engage in a Riverkeeper Eco-Cruise on the appropriate waterway (Hackensack River, Passaic River, Newark Bay or Arthur Kill) and has them conduct chemistry analyses to determine the water's Ph, salinity, turbidity, nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved Oxygen levels. On the final day, the entire group participates in a day of catch-and-release fishing; which doubles as a field biology / ichthyology course.

The evolution of UWEP began in the mid-1990s when NJ Audubon published Fishing For Answers in an Urban Estuary, a curriculum written in large part by Dale Rosselet, NJAS's current Vice President for Education. It was presented to Captain Sheehan who, in his pre-Riverkeeper days, embraced it as a means to focus specific attention on the Meadowlands, which at the time was still threatened with development. Two DEP staffers - Kerry Kirk-Pflugh and Lynette Luring - worked with him to finesse the original NJAS product so it could work with virtually any local middle or high school classes.

"Kerry and Lynette provided invaluable input which resulted in the then-Urban Fishing Program becoming known not just in Bergen and Hudson Counties, but throughout the entire Hudson-Raritan Estuary," recalled Sheehan. "It was real people doing real science in real-world scenarios - and it clicked. Thankfully, it still does."

The program originally included an additional day during which students conducted a campus cleanup and marked neighborhood storm drain catch basins with "NO DUMPING - DRAINS TO RIVER" medallions. Since then, upgraded stormwater rules require municipalities to do the marking - one result of years of environmental advocacy on the part of Riverkeeper and other clean water organizations.

"For us environmental advocacy and education go hand in hand, each one supporting the other," explained Jamieson. "For that reason alone I'm more than happy to see our program reach its Twentieth Anniversary."

Funding for UWEP is provided by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, which also lends the assistance of the Watershed Ambassadors each year. There is no cost for schools to participate in the program. Teachers and administrators wishing to learn more about UWEP can contact Jamieson directly at 201-968-0808 or by emailing

# # #

For reporters wishing to attend please call Jodi Jamieson in advance (917-804-8390).

Wednesday, June 15 from 10AM-2PM: We will be conducting Water Quality experiments with the Ridgefield Park students at the Waterfront Park behind the DPW on Industrial Ave in Ridgefield Park. Students will also participate in an Eco-Cruise.

Thursday, June 16 from 10AM-2PM: We will be fishing with Harold Nebling of the NJDEP at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus at the new Promenade Deck.

"Discover DEP" Podcasts Provide Public with Friendly and Familiar Format for Learning About DEP's Mission             (Posted: 6-14-16)

Click HERE.

Greater Newark Conservancy Receives EPA Grant             (Posted: 6-14-16)

Project Expands Environmental Outdoor Learning for Newark Students

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $91,000 environmental education grant to the Greater Newark Conservancy to expand its environmental education program to include 1,750 kindergarten through sixth grade students in Newark Public Schools. The expansion focuses on teaching these students environmental stewardship, using outdoor hands-on learning as a learning tool. The project includes visits to the Conservancy's 1.3 acre Outdoor Learning Center, as well its 2.5 acre Hawthorne Avenue urban farm.

"This grant gives the Greater Newark Conservancy an opportunity to reach more children in Newark," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "By giving these students knowledge of their relationship with the environment, this project gives Newark elementary school students the tools they need to learn more about environmental protection."

The primary goal of the Greater Newark Conservancy's project is to increase environmental literacy among the participating students and encourage behavior that benefits the environment by demonstrating that care of trees, water resources and the natural environment is critical to a sustainable and healthy community. The project includes a "Sustainable Cities" curriculum of urban sustainable planning, lessons based on the protection of water ecosystems, and compositing among other environmental topics.

The Greater Newark Conservancy was one of three recipients to receive the 2015 round of environmental education grants from EPA Region 2, which is responsible for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight Indian Nations. A total of $222,000 was awarded in EPA Region 2 for the three grants and funding nationwide for this round of grants totaled more than $3.3 million. Nationally, EPA funded 35 grants from organizations in 26 states for the 2015 Environmental Education Grants.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed approximately $68 million supporting more than 3,600 projects. This competitive grants program supports environmental education projects that increase public awareness about environmental issues and provide participants with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment.

For more information on the new awardees and on how to apply for future environmental education grant competitions, please visit:

Planting a Rain Garden in Bernardsville - Video             (Posted: 6-2-16)

Click HERE.

EARTH Center Opens Butterfly House for the 2016 Season             (Posted: 6-1-16)

The Butterfly House, located at the EARTH Center inside Davidson's Mill Pond Park will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 4. It will then be open for the public's enjoyment from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Sunday in June, July and August (weather permitting).

This "hoop house" is filled with plants that feed and shelter butterflies and larvae native to New Jersey. The enclosed conditions allow visitors to take a closer look at these beautiful insects and be immersed in their surroundings. You can learn about butterfly host plants and how to attract butterflies to your own yard or garden. Interested children are welcome to grab a net and join the chase for butterflies to place into the house.

Visiting the butterfly house, which is maintained through the Master Gardener Program, is a free activity.

"The Master Gardeners have contributed their time and efforts to so many great programs for the County," said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. "The butterfly house is a favorite for obvious reasons -- it's a fun and free outing that both parents and children will enjoy."

"Projects like the butterfly house allow all of Middlesex County, especially its children, to explore our connection to nature and appreciate its beauty," said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee.

The butterfly house and other gardens are located inside the County's Davidson's Mill Pond Park located at 42 Riva Ave. in South Brunswick.

Master Gardeners are trained by Rutgers Cooperative Extension experts to provide sound advice on horticulture and environmental stewardship to residents of their home county. The Middlesex County EARTH Center also hosts several demonstration gardens, including a huge vegetable display garden and a 13-bed hard-scaped herb garden.

Residents of Middlesex County are encouraged to call or leave a message on the free Master Gardener Helpline, all year round, at 732-398-5220 with questions on plants, bugs and home conservation practices. The Master Gardeners' training and access to reference material prepares them to identify insects and disease in gardens, and advise others on alternatives to herbicides and pesticides.

Rutgers University trained Master Gardeners are available from 9 a.m. until 12 noon Mondays through Fridays during the growing season. You can also e-mail your questions and concerns to

DEP launches aggressive program to protect state-owned lands from emerald ash borer infestation             (Posted: 6-1-16)

Click HERE.

Archived PRESS-RELEASES are available upon request throught the webmaster.