Since 2005, hundreds of volunteers have made the commitment to protecting New Jersey’s environment by participating in the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program. Offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the program introduces volunteers to the science underlying key environmental issues in the Garden State so they can tackle problems and offer solutions in their own communities. Registration is now open for the 2020 class, the first ever to be held in Mercer County. Participants do not have to be County residents to participate in the program.
In weekly classes starting in February, participants will learn about a variety of environmental topics from leading Rutgers researchers and government and non-profit representatives. Class topics include climate change, solid waste and recycling, soil health, energy conservation, water resource protection, invasive species management, land use policy, wildlife ecology, and protecting pollinators. Optional field trips to environmentally significant sites around the state are included as part of the program.
The course runs for 20 weeks from February to June, and costs $260. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings from 4:30 to 7:30pm at Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, 1440 Parkside Avenue, Ewing, NJ.
In order to become a Certified Rutgers Environmental Steward, course graduates must complete a 60-hour volunteer internship of their choosing. Internships are unique and align the passion of the individual with the needs of the program and those of the local community. Previous internships have included monitoring shorebird populations, composting restaurant food waste, community single use plastic ordinances, mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks, restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities, and creating rain gardens.
For more information and to register for the program, visit www.envirostewards.rutgers.edu or call Margaret Pickoff at (609) 989-6830.
Cooperating Agencies: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Rutgers Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. Contact your local Extension Office for information regarding special needs or accommodations. Contact the State Extension Director’s Office if you have concerns related to discrimination, 848-932-3584.