ELIZABETH — Balancing the Port and the environment are two components of a world class estuary – and on Oct. 14, an alliance of local partners with the support of elected officials conveyed this important initiative to over 200 area students at the 9th annual Estuary Day celebration.
Conducted a few yards from the Elizabeth River in the Peterstown Center, students arrived by the bus load as they participated in what turned out to be a very popular interactive experience complete with visual exhibits, live marine animals collected from the nearby estuary, classroom demonstrations on clean water issues, land usage and the environment.
Orchestrated by Future City Inc., and sponsored by the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association, the event’s success is attributed to a concerted effort and steadfast partnership with strong local support. Partnering organizations include the City of Elizabeth, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, Kean University, the offices of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Donald Payne and Rep. Albio Sires.
“Environmental educational workshops like Estuary Day are tangible manifestations of a year round commitment to environmental education and stewardship within our watershed school consortia,” said Michelle McBean, CEO of Future City, Inc. “Dedicated staff from Senator Menendez, Congressman Payne, Congressman Sires, Mayor Bollwage’s Office, and the Peterstown Community Center worked closely with all partnering agencies to make this event a superb success. The City of Elizabeth schools’ administration and science teachers have worked relentlessly in ensuring the workshops were educationally significant and integrated into their curriculum,” she added.
Lisa Baron, the Chief of the Army Corps’ New York Harbor Programs elaborated about how the Army Corps has many roles, and its focus on improving the New York and New Jersey Harbor Estuary. “This is another great opportunity to learn about the Estuary. Our hope is that by the end of the event you (students) will have a better understanding.” Baron along with Kyle Davis also lectured at the Corps’ education workshop sessions about the New York and New Jersey harbor estuary and the significance of balancing the Port and the environment, ecosystem restoration and mitigation, and port activities associated with restoration projects and studies.
“Students had another great opportunity to speak openly with experts in an effort to better understand the rich history of the harbor estuary and its current environmental condition. All participating representatives impressed upon students the importance of the estuary, and how each of the students has a role in protecting the estuary and becoming good stewards of the environment,” said McBean.
Robert Smith, Biologist U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explains to students the various marine life. (Photos Vince Elias)
Melissa Alvarez, Biologist U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staffing the touch tanks (Photos Vince Elias)
Lisa Baron, Army Corps’ Chief of Harbor Programs and Kyle Davis, engineer interact with students at the education workshop station. (Photos Vince Elias)
Dr. Stephen Knowles, U.S. Army Corps, uses an acrylic model of an estuary and demonstrates to a student how an estuary functions. (Photos Vince Elias)
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