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RELEASE: 6/5/01
CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 292-2994

Harbor Watershed Education and Fishing Program for Urban Youth until June 21

The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Spring Urban Fishing Program is underway in the Newark Bay Complex for 175 youths until June 21.

DEP staff, through partnerships with the Hackensack RiverKeeper, Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority, and the Greater Newark Conservancy, take fifth and sixth grade students from area schools for a four-day program and environmental tour of local waterways, such as the Hackensack and Passaic rivers and Arthur Kill.

The program was started in 1997 in response to community concerns that their citizens may not be adhering to consumption advisories for locally caught blue crabs, shellfish and certain species of fish. DEP staffer Kerry Kirk Pflugh, currently Bureau Chief for the Division of Watershed Management's Raritan Region, developed the award-winning community outreach program.

"The program's goal is to foster community and youth awareness of the vital links between pollution, water quality and human health. Upon completion of the program, students show understanding of the surrounding land and waters, identification of fish targeted in consumption advisories, watersheds and food chains, and ways they can help prevent pollution," Pflugh said.

On day one, the children are given a classroom lesson to familiarize them with the bay area, and to explain the fish consumption advisories. Day two consists of marking storm drains to make the community aware of nonpoint source pollution, and then a cleanup on the waterfront. On day three, the youth are taken on an "eco-cruise" where they test water quality. Day four is a day of fishing on a local waterfront, and includes a fish dissection!

Participating communities have included: Elizabeth, Newark, Perth Amboy, Jersey City, North Bergen, Secaucus, Little Ferry, Rahway and Bayonne. This year's participants include the Elizabeth Port Presbyterian Center, the Hudson County Vo-Tech School in Jersey City, the Glady Hillman Jones Model Middle School in Newark and three schools in Bayonne--Washington, Midtown and Woodrow Wilson.

Photo Editors - Remaining dates are scheduled below.

  • June 5 - Jersey City: Storm Drain & Cleanup and Bayonne, Washington School,: Fishing
  • June 6 - Jersey City: Eco-Cruise leaving from Laurel Hill Park, Secaucus 9:30 a.m.
  • June 7 - Jersey City: Liberty State Park, Fishing June 12 & 13 Newark #1: Gladys Hillman Jones Model Middle School Classroom June 14 & 15 Newark #1: Storm Drain & Cleanup
  • June 18 & 19 Newark #1: Laurel Hill Park, Secaucus, Eco-Cruise
  • June 20 & 21 Newark #1: Branch Brook Park, Fishing

For more information, contact Jennifer Gurdak at (609) 292-2051 or Lynette Lurig at 633-1314.


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Last Updated: September 29, 2001