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.
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
- Municipal Award - Stafford Township (Ocean County)
- Watershed Group Award - Stoney Brook Millstone Watershed Association
"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,"
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,
"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