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Christie Administration Announces $67.4 Million Available For Open Space, Recreation And Stewardship Projects
Hackensack Riverkeeper Takes Out the Trash
This Week In the Media: C&NN's News Roundup
Come and see the new natural area at Cadwalader Park!
DEP Launches Pilot Mobile Application for Reporting of Non-Emergency Environmental Incidents
Hackensack Riverkeeper Heads to Englewood: Mackay Park concludes season of an unprecedented 28 cleanups
New Jersey Honors Recycling Leaders, Poetry Contest Winners
New Jersey's Pet Friendly Camping Program Expands to Nine State Parks
Guest Blogs and Commentary from the New Nature Movement
Clarification of "New Study Shows More Children Are Walking to School"
Environmental Items in the News
Edelmans commit $25M to transform Rowan University Fossil Park
How to Raise an Environmentalist
SPN Press Release Announcing Denver Trip
EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns
See SEED in Theaters & Bring it to your town!
Evidence Means Different Things in ESSA and NCLB
|Christie Administration Announces $67.4 Million Available For Open Space, Recreation And Stewardship Projects
|Hackensack Riverkeeper Takes Out the Trash
Clean water organization removes nearly 40,000 lbs. of trash from the river in 2016
Hackensack Riverkeeper capped off its 2016 River Cleanup season on Sunday, November 20 with a volunteer cleanup of Mackay Park and Metzler Brook in Englewood, NJ. Including Sunday's cleanup, Riverkeeper organized and conducted a total of 28 cleanups that mobilized 900 volunteers to remove over 39,000 lbs. of trash, tires, and other debris from our waterways.
Some snow still clung to the ground on Sunday as volunteers pulled a section of couch, computer monitors, shopping carts, and a television out of Metzler Brook - a tributary of the Hackensack River that forms the western boundary of Mackay Park in Englewood.
According to Caitlin Doran, the organization's outreach coordinator, "Some of what you find at these cleanups is obviously dumped. Other items - we'll call them the usual suspects - like bottles, butts, and Styrofoam, come from everywhere and everyone. The big take-away at these events is that litter is everyone's problem."
Local company Benzel-Busch Motor Corps. sponsored the cleanup, and joined a long list of Riverkeeper's corporate and civic partners, including (in order of appearance): Bergen Clean Communities, Panasonic, Genzyme, Park Ridge Green Team, the City of Hackensack, Hackensack Clean Communities, SUEZ, Levi-Strauss, Tenafly Middle School, River Edge Environmental Commission, Samsung, Ralph Lauren, ING, Stryker Corp., Hackensack High School's Goin' Green Club, Royal Bank of Canada, Becton Dickinson, Goldman Sachs, Bayonne Nature Club, US Bank, BMW, Ernst&Young, SUEZ- New York Division, Oradell Environmental Committee, Samsung, and others.
Each year Hackensack Riverkeeper conducts River Cleanups - a major focus of the organization's Eco-Program season - from April through November. Other programs that provide the public with educational and recreational experiences include Eco-Cruises on the Hackensack River, Passaic River, and Newark Bay aboard the 30-foot research vessels Robert H. Boyle II and Geraldine Theresa, and its Paddling Centers at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus and Overpeck County Park in Teaneck. In addition, hundreds of people joined Riverkeeper at special paddling events at SUEZ's Oradell Reservoir, Lake DeForest and Lake Tappan. Hundreds more participated in special events like EarthFest Overpeck on May 14 and RiverFest - Pirates of the Hackensack fishing derby on September 24.
All told, just under 10,000 people were engaged through the organization's Eco-programs and events in volunteer and participation capacities alike. Involving the public is at the heart of Riverkeeper's mission - whether it's at a cleanup, on an Eco-Cruise, out in a kayak, or in any way that connects people with their river. All translate into a wider community of watershed stewards.
Leaders of community groups or companies looking to plan River Cleanup events in 2017 are invited to contact Outreach Coordinator Caitlin Doran at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at: Outreach@hackensackriverkeeper.org.
|This Week In the Media: C&NN's News Roundup
|Come and see the new natural area at Cadwalader Park!
This fall, D&R Greenway, the Cadwalader Park Alliance and the City of Trenton announced the opening of the Cadwalader Park Natural Area in Trenton.
The project included creation and enhancement of wetlands, meadows and woodland.
Visitors may see anything from crayfish or red tailed hawk to wood duck, Baltimore oriole, red-winged blackbirds, eastern bluebird, belted kingfisher and great blue heron.
For more information, click HERE.
|DEP Launches Pilot Mobile Application for Reporting of Non-Emergency Environmental Incidents
|Hackensack Riverkeeper Heads to Englewood: Mackay Park concludes season of an unprecedented 28 cleanups
On Sunday, November 20 from Noon to 3PM, Hackensack Riverkeeper will partner with the City of Englewood, New Jersey on a cleanup of Mackay Park. Riverkeeper volunteers and members of the public will focus on a tributary of the Hackensack River, which marks the park's western boundary: Metzler Brook. Riverkeeper thanks local company Benzel-Busch Motor Corporation for sponsoring this important volunteer event.
"Mackay Park is a significant recreational and natural asset to the city of Englewood and to the Hackensack River Watershed," says Executive Director Captain Bill Sheehan. "We are happy to participate in the enhancement of this important urban green space, which ultimately prevents litter from reaching areas downstream."
Mackay Park is located at 130 Englewood Avenue. Hackensack Riverkeeper will bring all materials needed to get the job done, including gloves, bags and tools. Volunteers are asked to bring a reusable water bottle, wear clothes they can get dirty and sturdy, closed-toed shoes - waterproof, if possible. Pizza will be served at the end of the event. For more information, prospective volunteers can contact Outreach Coordinator Caitlin Doran at 862-432-0766 or email@example.com.
|New Jersey Honors Recycling Leaders, Poetry Contest Winners
|New Jersey's Pet Friendly Camping Program Expands to Nine State Parks
|Guest Blogs and Commentary from the New Nature Movement
|Clarification of "New Study Shows More Children Are Walking to School"
|Environmental Items in the News
|Filmmakers give Staten Island Greenbelt the attention it deserves |
|Wildlife educator (and Best of Staten Island Award-winning writer) is seen Jessica Kratz leading a night walk (aka "Frog Watch"). Dayside, Beth Gorrie and Staten Island OutLOUD take viewers down the "poetry path" where bits of signage contain short poems. The MakerSpace Steamwagon — the ... |
|N.J. faces worst drought conditions in 14 years |
|Bill Kibler, director of policy for the Raritan Headwaters organization, said he agrees water conservation efforts should be intensified. "We can't control the rain. We get what we get," he said. "But we have an opportunity to control what goes out. " The primary cause of the state's ... |
|New effort to redevelop Porete Ave. |
|RCM principal Robert Ceberio said the redevelopment plan is focused on some 24 privately-owned parcels, including some vacant and some “abandoned, with tax liens on them,” spread over some 24 acres. Not included in the mix, he said, is longtime occupant Clayton Block, a masonry ... |
|CR District is recognized for making ‘Green Strides’ |
|The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and its Green Strides outreach initiative recognized the Council Rock School District last month during its “Real-World Learning” 2016 Green Strides Tour. This three-day tour stopped at Goodnoe Elementary School in Newtown on ... |
|How to Protect Kids from Nature-Deficit Disorder |
|No one has brought attention to this issue more than Richard Louv, co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network and author of Last Child in the Woods, The Nature Principle, and, most recently, Vitamin N: 500 Ways to Enrich the Health & Happiness of Your Family & ... |
|David Mizejewski Promotes NWF's Urban Wildlife Week |
|National Wildlife Federation spokesman, and naturalist David Mizejewski stopped by AOL's Build Series studios in NYC on 10/13/16 to promote NWF's 1st ever "Urban Wildlife Week" starting the week of Sunday, October 16, 2016. Mountain lions are struggling to cross the busy freeways in Los ... |
|Edelmans commit $25M to transform Rowan University Fossil Park
|How to Raise an Environmentalist
|SPN Press Release Announcing Denver Trip
Four NJ Communities Travel to Denver for National Meeting on Reinventing STEM Education for Children
NJ STEM Pathways Network, Overdeck Family Foundation Lead Effort to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Opportunities for Thousands of Students
Four New Jersey communities will join 36 other groups from around the country in Denver next week as part of a White House-backed national campaign to reimagine how to deliver Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects to pre-K to 12th grade students, through partnerships with industry, museums, afterschool providers, universities and parents.
"We are proud to sponsor New Jersey's delegation so we can learn what's going on around the nation, bring it home and make it work here," said Laura Overdeck, Founder and President of Bedtime Math, Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation and volunteer Chair of the STEM Pathways Network ( https://njstemecosystems.org/ ).
Two representatives from each New Jersey community will attend the Communities of Practice meetings in Denver on October 17 and 18. The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network chose four communities to work with a national organization that will show them how to provide the STEM education and experiences students need to succeed in college, career, and life. The selected communities are from Delran, Hudson County, Newark and a coalition of counties representing South Jersey.
The NJ STEM Pathways Network started in 2014, when Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks brought together a group of educators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to suggest ways to improve pre-K to 12 STEM education in the Garden State. The selected communities will work with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), a growing national organization which already manages 36 other STEM projects to benefit children in areas around the nation as diverse as California, Ohio, and North Carolina.
TIES received a $300,000 grant from the Overdeck Family Foundation to get the New Jersey project off the ground. Key to the idea is that each "community" is an integrated ecosystem, where schools, colleges, businesses and educators work together with students and parents to prepare for the STEM jobs that will drive the economy in the future.
New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks praised Overdeck's leadership of the Network and emphasized the value of having a national group guide the campaign.
"We had an impressive pool of 11 applicants, and I am very pleased with the ideas and level of innovation shown by the four communities that will be working with the national group," said Secretary Hendricks. "Having TIES guide the project will make all the difference in how quickly we achieve success."
Labor forecasts predict more than 200,000 New Jersey jobs in STEM fields must be filled by 2025. To begin to meet the need, the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network chose four communities that will find new ways to provide the STEM education and experiences students will need to be successful in today's competitive environment.
High-quality images available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145785679@N02
|EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns
EPA Offers Assistance to Help Rural Communities Revitalize Downtowns
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today invited rural communities to apply for planning assistance to develop strategies that help grow the economy and revitalize downtown neighborhoods. EPA is offering this assistance as part of Rural Advantage, a suite of federal economic development planning assistance programs for rural communities.
“Rural Advantage is helping communities reinvent themselves in ways that are good for the economy and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are excited to partner with communities that want to use their unique rural assets to create a brighter, healthier future.
Communities may apply for assistance through the following programs:
• Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), which helps communities leverage local food enterprise to diversify their economy and renew their downtowns.
• Cool & Connected, which helps communities use broadband service to create walkable, connected, economically successful neighborhoods.
• Healthy Places for Healthy People, a new program that will help communities partner with health care facilities to catalyze downtown revitalization and to improve options for healthy living and economic opportunity.
Rural Advantage is part of the Obama Administration's commitment to place-based strategies to help communities develop competitive advantages. In these places, federal experts are working side by side with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions, bolstering coordination across agencies and improving how we interact with and serve community partners.
Under the Obama Administration, EPA and federal partners have provided rural advantage assistance to 83 communities, to date. Sixty-eight communities have been selected for assistance through Local Foods, Local Places, and 15 communities have received assistance through Cool & Connected, ten of which are in Appalachia.
In 2012, Williamson, W Va., was selected to participate in the Livable Communities in Appalachia program, the predecessor to LFLP. Through that effort, a team of small-town development experts worked with Sustainable Williamson to create an action plan tailored to achieving the town’s goals, including improving access to food to realize better health outcomes.
Upon implementing the plan, Sustainable Williamson received an $80,000 planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. That grant helped create a Federally Qualified Health Center that later received an additional $650,000 to support clinic operations. Sustainable Williamson also established a downtown farmers’ market and community garden that increased access to healthy foods for Williamson residents. The Williamson Health and Wellness Center also received LFLP assistance, in 2015, to provide support to new entrepreneurs starting up their businesses in the local food and health care sectors, and to expand the community’s innovative approaches to creating a culture of health.
In Montrose, Co., the Cool & Connected action plan helped advance Proximity Space, an award-winning coworking project, and link it to the community’s efforts to build a walkable and investment-ready downtown. Coworking space allows people to access high-speed internet, conference rooms, and office equipment, and is one of many ways that small towns can leverage broadband to boost main street development.
Communities selected for this latest round of assistance will work with an EPA-supported team of experts, including through a two-day workshop, to develop strategies and action plans that enable them to realize their local revitalization goals. The team will include people with expertise in community development, and representatives of the federal agencies that sponsor the three programs so communities can build connections and take better advantage of federal programs and resources.
Working with federal partners, EPA will select thirty or more communities for assistance through a competitive process.
EPA’s Rural Advantage federal partners are the United States Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority and the Economic Development Administration.
Communities may apply by submitting letters of interest by November 6. For more information and to submit an application, see: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth
|See SEED in Theaters & Bring it to your town!
|Evidence Means Different Things in ESSA and NCLB
Whenever I talk or write about the new evidence standards in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), someone is bound to ask how this is different from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Didn't NCLB also emphasize using programs and practices "based on scientifically-based research?"
Though they look similar on the surface, evidence in ESSA is very different from evidence in NCLB. In NCLB, "scientifically-based research" just meant that a given program or practice was generally consistent with principles that had been established in research, and almost any program can be said to be "based on" research. In contrast, ESSA standards encourage the use of specific programs and practices that have themselves been evaluated. ESSA defines strong, moderate, and promising levels of evidence for programs and practices with at least one significantly positive outcome in a randomized, matched, or correlational study, respectively. NCLB had nothing of the sort.
To illustrate the difference, consider a medical example. In a recent blog, I told the story of how medical researchers had long believed that stress caused ulcers. Had NCLB's evidence provision applied to ulcer treatment, all medicines and therapies based on reducing or managing stress, from yoga to tranquilizers, might be considered "based on scientifically based research" and therefore encouraged. Yet none of these stress-reduction treatments were actually proven to work; they were just consistent with current understandings about the origin of ulcers, which were wrong (bacteria, not stress, causes ulcers).
If ESSA were applied to ulcer treatment, it would demand evidence that a particular medicine or therapy actually improved or eliminated ulcers. ESSA evidence standards wouldn't care whether a treatment was based on stress theory or bacteria theory, as long as there was good evidence that the actual treatment itself worked in practice, as demonstrated in high-quality research.
Getting back to education, NCLB's "scientifically-based research" was particularly intended to promote the use of systematic phonics in beginning reading. There was plenty of evidence summarized by the National Reading Panel that a phonetic approach is a good idea, but most of that research was from controlled lab studies, small-scale experiments, and correlations. What the National Reading Panel definitely did not say was that any particular approach to phonics teaching was effective, only that phonics was a generically good idea.
One problem with NCLB's "scientifically-based research" standard was that a lot of things go into making a program effective. One phonics program might provide excellent materials, extensive professional development, in-class coaching to help teachers use phonetic strategies, effective motivation strategies to get kids excited about phonics, effective grouping strategies to ensure that instruction is tailored to students' needs, and regular assessments to keep track of students' progress in reading. Another, equally phonetic program might teach phonics to students on a one-to-one basis. A third phonics program might consist of a textbook that comes with a free half-day training before school opens.
According to NCLB, all three of these approaches are equally "based on scientifically-based research." But anyone can see that the first two, lots of PD and one-to-one tutoring, are way more likely to work. ESSA evidence standards insist that the actual approaches to be disseminated to schools be tested in comparison to control groups, not assumed to work because they correspond with accepted theory or basic research.
"Scientifically-based research" in NCLB was a major advance in its time, because it was the first time evidence had been mentioned so prominently in the main federal education law, yet educators soon learned that just about anything could be justified as "based on scientifically-based research," because there are bound to be a few articles out there supporting any educational idea. Fortunately, enthusiasm about "scientifically-based" led to the creation of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and, later, to Investing in Innovation (i3), which set to work funding and encouraging development and rigorous evaluations of specific, replicable programs. The good work of IES and i3 paved the way for the ESSA evidence standards, because now there are a lot more rigorously evaluated programs. NCLB never could have specified ESSA-like evidence standards because there would have been too few qualifying programs. But now there are many more.
Sooner or later, policy and practice in education will follow medicine, agriculture, technology, and other fields in relying on solid evidence to the maximum degree possible. "Scientifically-based research" in NCLB was a first tentative step in that direction, and the stronger ESSA standards are another. If development and research continue or accelerate, successive education laws will have stronger and stronger encouragement and assistance to help schools and districts select and implement proven programs. Our kids will be the winners.
This blog is sponsored by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Follow Robert E. Slavin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertSlavin
|Archived PRESS-RELEASES are available upon request throught the webmaster.|