NORTH HALEDON, NJ - The Land Conservancy of New Jersey announced that North Haledon resident Justin Rozema, a graduate of Eastern Christian High School and student at Paul Smith's College, was awarded the Russel W. Myers Scholarship. Patrick Carney, a resident of River Edge and graduate of River Dell High School now enrolled at the University of Delaware, won the Rogers Family Scholarship. The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has awarded scholarships to students for the past 35 years, having granted $240,000.00 in that time and funded 85 paid internships. This year's scholarships were valued at $15,000.00.
The Land Conservancy said in a statement that the students "have not only achieved academic excellence, but embody many values of the organization including demonstrated leadership and a commitment to volunteer service."
Rozema is pursuing a Fisheries and Wildlife Science major and minoring in chemistry. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has selected Rozema for the last two years to act as a Seasonal Freshwater Fisheries Technician. In that capacity, his responsibilities include working on data collection with premier biologists across New Jersey, particularly with regards to a Raritan River watershed survey as part of a preserve established in Mount Olive by the Conservancy.
Rozema expressed his wishes to earn a master's degree and pursue becoming a fisheries biologist for his home state. “Fish are a very important resource. Not only are they valued as food and for recreational purposes, but they are a bio-indicator of water quality," Rozema said. "Certain species can tolerate only a small amount of pollutants, so their presence in a particular body of water can show it has been protected from pollution. It’s an amazing honor to be this year’s recipient of the Russell W. Myers Scholarship."
Russel W. Myers served as the first Director of the Morris County Park Commission and founded the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, and the scholarship is awarded in his name.
Carney is on track for a double major in Wildlife and Insect Ecology and Conservation. The University of Delaware's Entomology Club and Blue Hen Birding, of which Carney is president, has raised $1,200.00 toward protecting bird habitats in New Jersey and has put a team forward in New Jersey’s World Series of Birding for the last two years. Carney's summer is devoted to four research projects which will "quantify the impact of non-native plants on insects, analyze the preferred foraging locations of birds, determine the feeding habits of Eastern Bluebirds, and to study moth habitat," the Land Conservancy said.
“I’ve learned that our established natural areas, including our national parks, aren’t large enough to sustain biodiversity in the US, so it’s important that we landscape our privately-owned land to suit not just the needs of people but also those of wildlife," Carney said. "This is particularly true in a heavily populated state like New Jersey. I’ve found that most people really do care about the environment once they realize what we stand to lose. I see myself not only having a career in environmental work, but continuing to volunteer with groups dedicated to making a difference for New Jersey’s environment.”
Conservancy Trustee Emeritus Gray Rogers and his wife Mollie sought to increase educational opportunities for students working for the betterment of New Jersey's environment. Toward that end, they established The Rogers Family Scholarship.