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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 12/20/00
00/152
CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

DEP PRESENTS AWARD TO DELAWARE BAY SCHOONER

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner (DEP) Bob Shinn will present a new watershed award Thursday to the Delaware Bay Schooner Project for exceptional educational achievement with its floating classroom.

Shinn will present the award at 3 p.m at DEP's headquarters, 7th floor large conference room, 401 E. State St., Trenton.

"The schooner's educational program offers a unique, creative approach to learning more about our watersheds. Under the leadership of Meghan Wren, the staff and volunteers with the schooner have done an outstanding job of educating children and adults of all ages through hands-on learning in a fun, real-life environment," Shinn said.

 
1997 N.J. Waterfowl Stamp by Rob Leslie
1997 N.J. Waterfowl Stamp by Rob Leslie depicts the A.J. Meerwald in the background.

Since undertaking rehabilitation of the historic A.J. Meerwald oyster schooner, New Jersey's official tall ship, Wren continues to expand the programs, reaching more than 5,000 students per year from New Jersey schools. From its home base in Bivalve, the schooner project has grown into an important statewide watershed education initiative, teaching students specific information about their home watersheds and partnering in watershed forums and data collection with other environmental organizations.

DEP's Division of Watershed Management introduced a new awards program this year to recognize exceptional accomplishments in this area, especially focusing on innovation, leadership and responsibility.

Shinn recently presented watershed awards for three other categories:

  • Business/Industry Award - Merck & Company, Inc., Whitehouse Station (Hunterdon)

  • Municipal Award - Stafford Township (Ocean County)

  • Watershed Group Award - Stoney Brook Millstone Watershed Association (Mercer)

"We are very fortunate to have these models to demonstrate the importance of restoring and maintaining our state's waterways for a high quality of life. Our awardees represent the best of these efforts and successes," Shinn said.

Merck & Company, Inc. was recognized for providing technical expertise and financial support to develop and implement a water quality monitoring program in the Rockaway Creek watershed in Hunterdon County. Scientists and environmental consultants examined and provided direction in establishing sampling protocols for the project.

Stafford Township received the Municipal Award for its environmental stewardship, especially for developing a stormwater recharge ordinance. The recharging of rainfall back into the groundwater table is critical in the coastal zone as all of the municipality's potable water comes from wells. The ordinance protects the municipality's water supply from saltwater intrusion and reduces the threat of flooding from increased runoff.

Stoney Brook Millstone Watershed Association in Pennington received the award for its exceptional work in creating community environmental awareness through educational programs, especially for students and municipalities.

The association has a demonstration organic farm where researchers, commercial farmers, students and the public learn nature-friendly farming and gardening techniques. Also, the Buttinger Nature Center provides outdoor programs for individuals and groups, including workshops, bird watching, hiking, and canoeing.

"This recognition program is a great opportunity for us to create public understanding and support of watershed management by the effective examples of our awardees. Each of them have shown commitment, direction and responsibility in this area," said Lance Miller, director of DEP's Division of Watershed Management.

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