EARTH CENTER, SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Are you concerned about the environment and want to learn how to make a difference?  Maybe you’re part of a municipal environmental commission or green team, and you want to do your best in caring for your community. You can do all this and more as part of Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program!

Classes will be offered by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County at the EARTH Center, in Davidson's Mill Pond Park at 42 Riva Ave, South Brunswick. The 2019 course begins on January 23 and meets every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through June 2019. 

The Environmental Steward program is designed to explain and analyze the environmental issues affecting New Jersey. Using science, teamwork, and natural resources, the Stewards will create plans to face the problems head-on. You don’t have to be a scientist to be a Steward- all you need is passion for the environment, education, and volunteering!

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Registration, payment and program details for individuals or municipalities are available at www.RESMiddlesex.eventbrite.com with a registration deadline on January 18th. The program and materials fee for the course is $250. 

Training sessions are taught by experts from Rutgers University, and non-profit and government organizations. To become a certified Rutgers Environmental Steward, graduates of the class portion of the program must then complete a 60-hour volunteer internship on any topic of their choice. Internships are unique and intended to align with the interests of the individual, the needs of the program, and the community.

Class topics include climate change, soil health, energy conservation, water resource protection, invasive species, wildlife management, habitat conservation, protecting pollinators, environmental policy, and more. Field trips to environmentally significant sites around the state are included as part of the program.

Examples of volunteer projects include:

  • Mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks
  • Engaging policy makers on reducing plastic waste
  • Restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities
  • Assisting restaurants in composting food waste
  • Building green infrastructure like rain gardens or rain barrels
  • Protecting and creating habitat for threatened and endangered species

“Students will be introduced to a network of experts and organizations who will become their environmental allies for years to come,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. “With over 60 hours of training, the Stewards will be ready to face all kinds of environmental challenges!

Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said, “If you want to take action and give back to your community, the Environmental Stewards program is a great way to make our County a better place. Many Stewards volunteer with local schools, assist non-profits and green businesses, or go on to participate in their town’s environmental commissions or green teams. No previous science degree or experience is needed. Everyone is welcome!”

For more information on the program, please contact Michele Bakacs at bakacs@njaes.rutgers.edu or call (732) 398-5274.

Text EXTENSION to 56512 to stay connected with events and updates from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County!

Middlesex County’s EARTH Center is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and part of a nationwide network that brings the research of the State land-grant universities to residents. Offices throughout New Jersey are cooperatively funded by the County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Rutgers University-New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. Rutgers Cooperative Extension educational programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. 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 at 848-932-3584.