Registration is now open for the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program’s first class in Mercer County. The 20-week program introduces volunteers to the science underlying key environmental issues in New Jersey so that they can tackle problems and offer solutions in their own communities.
Since 2005, hundreds of volunteers have made the commitment to protecting New Jersey’s environment by participating in the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program, which is offered by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
In weekly classes starting in February, participants will learn about a variety of environmental topics from leading Rutgers researchers, government leaders, and non-profit representatives. Class topics include climate change, solid waste and recycling, soil health, energy conservation, water resource protection, invasive species management, land use policy, wildlife ecology, and protecting pollinators. Optional field trips to environmentally significant sites around the state are included as part of the program.
The course runs from February to June and costs $260. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, which is located at 1440 Parkside Avenue in Ewing. Participants do not have to be county residents to participate in the program.
In order to become a certified Rutgers Environmental Steward, course graduates must complete a 60-hour volunteer internship of their choosing. Internships attempt to align the passion of the volunteer with the needs of the program and those of the local community. Previous internships have included monitoring shorebird populations, composting restaurant food waste, community single-use plastic ordinances, mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks, restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities, and creating rain gardens.
For more information and to register for the program, visit www.envirostewards.rutgers.edu or call Margaret Pickoff at (609) 989-6830.