BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Five Bridgewater-Raritan High School students recently won the 2019 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award.

Aneesh Nagalkar, Pravar Jain, Ritika Thomas, Amogh Jupalli and Sujay Edavalapati have been working together on environmental projects since middle school. Their mission is caring for the environment, engaging the community, infusing sustainability and working together on real-life green infrastructure projects. 

On Dec. 9, the students were honored with the prestigious 2019 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the student-led category in a ceremony held at the New Jersey State museum for their project of implementing a rain garden near the 800 building at BRHS to promote environmental protection.

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The Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards program is New Jersey’s premier awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects throughout the state.

“It is truly an honor to recognize these environmental leaders who are shining examples for all of us to follow,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe said. “Their commitment and dedication provide proof that the spirit of environmentalism remains strong in New Jersey. We congratulate them on their outstanding achievements and thank them for helping to improve the health of our environment and our quality of life.”

The team gathered student volunteers as well as volunteers from the community and worked alongside their partners, Rutgers Cooperative Water Resources department and Raritan Headwaters Association, our local watershed. They created and designed a plan for the implementation of the BRHS rain garden to trap and remove chemicals from storm water runoff. 

The rain garden has treated approximately 3,600 gallons of rainwater thus far, removing the harmful pollutants that the stormwater runoff carries into the Raritan River. 

Their efforts did not stop there. They had a rotating schedule to water and nurture the young plants.

Their passion for clean environment has led them to launch a Green Infra club at their school to involve the students and community to work on real life environmental projects.