ELIZABETH, NJ – Several hundred Elizabeth middle and high school students became more environmentally aware as a result of attending the 15th Annual Estuary Day, October 9, at the Peterstown Community Center on Palmer Street.

The all-day event consists of environmental education and citizen science workshops for approximately 270 science students from John E. Dwyer Technology Academy, Thomas A. Edison Career & Technical Academy, and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy. They moved through a series of displays and classroom question and answer sessions. The object of the event is to inform students on the importance of focusing on how the land, atmosphere and water bodies are essential for reinforcing each other’s environmental health.

"This program demonstrates the importance of education and community participation in preserving our environment for future generations," said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, "The City of Elizabeth is a proud partner of Estuary Day and remains committed to creating a strong green foundation through the protection of natural resources."

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The students heard from Kean University undergrads Steffi Villagomez, a junior environmental biology major, and Esther Pierre, a junior chemistry major, how litter effects public health. “It gets into the water that fish drink, then we eat the fish,” explained Pierre. “We are polluting ourselves. It is a circle that comes back to the way we live.”

Marcus Jones, a senior at the Patrick School, and Lisanny Deliarosa, a senior at Dwyer, oversaw displays for three pre-college programs. Founded in 1992, the EnvironMentors is an environment-based mentoring program to encourage young adult leaders to become active stewards of their communities and the environment. The organization sponsors a contest where students can enter their projects. “It is all about learning about the environment, environmental issues, and making projects that are relevant to environmental issues,” said Jones.

The North Jersey pre-college chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers was also represented. The organization was founded to encourage the Hispanic community to enter the field of engineering.

Sebastian Prado Guacheta and Yovanny Gomez, both seniors at Dwyer, conducted a Spanish language project to make the Hispanic community more aware of environmental issues.

Estuary Day was sponsored by the Elizabeth River/ Arthur Kill (ER/AK) Watershed Association with partners include the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association; City of Elizabeth mayor’s office; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Harbor Estuary Program; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Kean University; New York/New Jersey Baykeeper; Offices of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-13) and corporate partners: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, NJ State Commission Hispanic Affairs, NJCWRP, Infineum, Phillips 66, and Dupont.