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EPA Grants Help New Jersey Students Explore Their Coastlines

Release Date: 11/25/2009
Contact Information: Terry Ippolito, (212) 637-3671, ippolito.teresa@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) – New Jersey students will explore their coastal ecosystems as they participate in programs run by the American Littoral Society and the Atlantic City Waterfront Foundation. For many of these students, this may be the first time they encounter their shoreline as a learning environment. Both projects teach middle and high school students how to be stewards of their shores and local ecosystems. The projects, totaling more than $52,000, are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Middle and high school students will learn about New Jersey’s beaches, shores, estuaries, marshes, and barrier islands as they develop their own eco-projects and share their knowledge with their peers. Some students will be introduced to their state’s shorelines for the first time while others will be learning more about it to supplement their high school curriculum. Both projects emphasize the importance of taking action to protect the environment.
      “It is so important for young people to experience and understand the coastal ecosystems of New Jersey,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “These programs give students a whole new perspective on their ocean beaches, marshes and estuaries as they become more committed to protecting these special ecosystems.”
        EPA’s local and nationwide educational programs promote environmental stewardship and support excellence in environmental education. Since 1992, EPA has funded over $45 million in environmental education grants to support more than three thousand 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. For more information go to http://www.epa.gov/enviroed.

        The New Jersey recipients are:
          Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation
          Atlantic City, NJ
          http://www.atlanticcityaquarium.com
          $12,797
            The Atlantic City Aquarium, a subdivision of the Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation, will conduct two one week programs, Environmental Ambassador Workshops, for eighty middle school students. The participating students, from Boys and Girls Clubs in traditionally underserved communities, will take part in educational field experiences at four local ecosystems: an upland river valley, salt marsh, beach and the open ocean. The students will produce models or posters about what they have learned and use them for environmental presentations at their schools. The student ambassadors will encourage their peers to organize clean-up events and implement conservation practices. These hands-on and follow-up experiences foster environmental stewardship among the ambassadors and the students, teachers and community residents they will reach.
              American Littoral Society
              Highlands, NJ
              http://www.littoralsociety.org
              $40,000
                American Littoral Society (ALS) will expand its coastal environmental education programming to provide field-based learning experiences to an additional 400 students. The programming is designed to give students hands on experiences in local environments they may see but never get the chance to explore. The 12 week afterschool coastal environmental enrichment program, coastal environmental science immersion weekend and dune restoration programs target middle and high schools students from urban coastal areas. This ALS program also fills a gap in their environmental science program and enables traditionally underserved students in Camden, Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Newark and Keansburg to become better stewards of their coastal ecosystems.
                  Applications for the 2010 grants round are due on December 15, 2009. For more information on EPA’s environmental education programs, go to http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html
                    EPA’s environmental education web sites are: http://www.epa.gov/kids for Pre-K through Grade 4; http://www.epa.gov/students for middle grade students; http://www.epa.gov/highschool for high school students; and http://www.epa.gov/teachers for educators.