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The new Watershed Academy summer STEM seminar at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association wrapped up this past week with student presentations to Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano, Hopewell Township Mayor Harvey Lester, and Hopewell Borough Engineer Dennis O’Neal.

The pilot program developed for high school students interested in environmental science and engineering, featured STEM principled sustainability education.  Twelve local students undertook an intensive study into stormwater management and green infrastructure, and even designed their own rain garden systems.  The week featured guest speakers, geographic information systems (GIS) exercises in the Watershed’s computer lab, and a water quality field study, which prepared the group for their presentations to township officials.

The Watershed Academy took place in the new LEED-Platinum certified Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education. The Center’s innovative technologies served as tangible learning tools that informed the students’ designs for stormwater management systems. The program was built to utilize STEM skills to examine the causes and measure the impacts of stormwater runoff on our streams and the environment.

Anzano, Lester, and O’Neal provided feedback and recommendations to the students on their stormwater management designs for two Hopewell Borough properties.  The participants were very excited to present their methods and results to the expert panel, encouraging “green” methods be used in future local development and renovation.  Students highlighted the costs and benefits of their proposals and hope to see some of their suggestions in action during the years to come.

“The goal of the Watershed Academy is to engage high school students in our mission to protect and restore clean water in central New Jersey,” said Watershed executive director, Jim Waltman. “The students learned a lot of science and engineering and seemed to really enjoy it. I am confident that this group will make a tangible impact on the environment during their lifetimes.”

Photo (from left): The 2015 Watershed Academy students stand with Executive Director, Jim Waltman, Erin Stretz, Hopewell Township Mayor Harvey Lester, Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano, Education Director Jeff Hoagland, and Hopewell Borough Engineer Dennis O’Neal

About the Watershed Association: The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is dedicated to keeping Central New Jersey’s water clean, safe and healthy. Founded in 1949, the Watershed Association protects and restores water and the environment through conservation, advocacy, science and education.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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