NEWARK, NJ - Middle and high school students will get a hands-on opportunity to learn about water infrastructure and treatment at the Newark Pequannock Watershed.

The program is part of the city’s Department of Water and Sewer Utilities' watershed management plan. Students who graduate from the program will be eligible for paid internships with the city’s water department.

Department of Water and Sewer Utilities Acting Director Kareem Adeem said the program is academically progressive and socially empowering.

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“As we tackle current environmental justice issues in Newark and throughout the state and country it is important that we as a City invest in our future by cultivating and equipping the young minds of our own community to eventually be an asset and an ally in the growing fields of science and engineering,” Adeem said in a statement.

The program was developed with the Department of Neighborhood and Recreational Services and the Newark Board of Education. The city is also working with the Ready Set Grow Academy to implement the Newark Watershed Science and Leadership Academy, which teaches academic excellence through the sciences. 

Students in the program will be in an outdoor classroom environment on the grounds of Newark’s Pequannock Watershed in West Milford. During cooler months, students will spend most of their time in the watershed’s pavilion. 

Mayor Ras Baraka said students in the program will learn about possible future careers in biology, chemistry, ecology, engineering.  

“But the most important lesson they will gain is a greater understanding of the efforts we make at the watershed to provide Newark residents with water, and how they can get involved in both creating a sustainable world and becoming involved in the greatest of all careers – public service,” Baraka said in a statement.

The program offers assessments for students to determine their individual type of learning style. There is also a mentoring and leadership component since the classes are an extension of the mayor’s Leadership Academy.

High school students who complete the full curriculum will participate in an awards ceremony in June. There, they will be presented with a Young Scientific Leader of Tomorrow certificate and become eligible for the paid internship.

Interested educators who would like to have their school participate in the program should email Tiffany Stewart at stewartt@ci.newark.nj.us or call her at (973) 733-2690.

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