NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION NEWS


Press Releases

NJDEP CURRENT NEWS RELEASES
DISCOVER DEP: THE OFFICIAL PODCAST OF THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
WHAT'S NEW? - NJ DIVISION OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASES

Return to EEdNews Homepage

CONTENTS:
EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Educators and Students
B is for bug when preschoolers make nature their classroom
Celebrate Butterfly Month with Unique Experiences and Classes
DEP News Releases
EE at EPA: New Student Award Winners Announced
This Week in the New Jersey Skylands
Help Us Choose Our 2018 Theme
How Environmental Education Influenced the Early Stages of the Green Schools Movement
USDOE Green Strides: The 2017 ED-GRS Honorees Are Here!
This Week In the Media: C&NN's News Roundup
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Honorees Announced
Dinosaur sites, preserved land, pipeline concerns & more
Children & Nature Research Digest and New Nature Movement Notes | April 2017
Juicy stories with a peel
State We're In - NJ's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries
EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Educators and Students             (Posted: 9-6-17)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce the winners of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). EPA honored these outstanding educators, along with winners of the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), at a series of events in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. From across the country, 12 educators and over 75 students were recognized for their exceptional contributions to environmental education and stewardship, including winners from New Jersey. 

“Through their work, these impressive educators and students demonstrate how community partnerships — between schools, business and government — can build and sustain environmental change,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Together, EPA and our partners are working to improve environmental literacy across the nation.”

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators award recognizes innovative educators who bring environmental education into their classrooms through hands-on, experiential approaches.

The PIAEE winners from New Jersey are:

Daniel Delcher, Essex County Vocational Technical School in Flanders, New Jersey

Daniel Delcher has been an environmental science and sustainable agriculture educator for eight years and currently teaches grades 9 through 12. He uses innovative, hands-on laboratory lessons and place-based learning experiences to teach his students about agricultural and environmental science topics. Students design and build their own hydroponics system using materials found at the local hardware store, which encourages experimentation and develops critical-thinking skills. Crops grown using the hydroponics systems are donated to the Culinary Arts instructors and food service personnel at the school to be used in classes and during school lunch. As his school’s Green School Coordinator, Daniel has been instrumental in developing and establishing “Going Green” Initiatives that are reducing the school’s environmental impact, creating a healthy and safe environment, and educating the entire school on the environment. Daniel’s efforts and leadership contributed to his school being recognized as a National Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2016.

Stephanie Bacskai, Holland Township School in Milford, New Jersey (Honorable Mention)

Stephanie Bacskai has 14 years of experience teaching K-12 students. Over the past 9 years, Stephanie has transformed the Technology Education curriculum to encompass integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Sustainable Education. Her environmental program provides hands-on opportunities for elementary students to use growlabs to learn about seed initiation, transplanting, and plant growth, and participate in environmental laboratory exercises conducted in a passive solar geodome.  Stephanie also introduced lessons on constructing rain barrels, which her students, dubbed the “Water Whisperers,”publicized. The school now has four rain barrels that were constructed and painted by students, and a fifth rain barrel is at the local community center.  The school built a garden with edible vegetables and plants, which has evolved into an even larger space that now serves as an outdoor living laboratory for first- and second-graders.

The President’s Environmental Youth Award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth.

The PEYA Winners from New Jersey are:

Traposquitoes: “Creating a Mosquito Trap Using By-Products of Compost and Solar Power”.  Christa McAuliffe School (P.S. #28) in Jersey City, New Jersey

Understanding that mosquitoes carry diseases, three eighth-graders decided to create a new-and-improved mosquito trap as part of their school’s STEM initiative. The students developed a solar-powered mosquito trap that uses compost by-products (carbon dioxide and heat) as a mosquito attractant. With this trap design, the team hopes to improve upon the conventional traps currently offered, and bring public attention to the fact that there are environmentally friendly alternatives to the traps on the market today. The Traposquitoes have already begun impacting the world beyond their community. They started a “Global Traposquito” initiative to connect with other students to reduce the global mosquito population.

Agri-Environmental Squad: “Wait…this wasn’t grown with soil?” West Caldwell Tech School in West Caldwell, New Jersey (Honorable Mention)

Students at West Caldwell Tech School established a gardening and donation program to promote awareness about healthy food nutrition. Because their communities do not offer community greenhouses, gardens or quality grocery stores, the students established a program in collaboration with the Culinary Arts and Food Service program. During their class period, they grow, harvest, clean, and cut produce and donate the vegetables to culinary arts students, staff from the Food Service, and St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark.

For details on the 2017 PIAEE winners, visit http://www.epa.gov/education/presidential-innovation-award-environmental-educators-piaee-winners.

For details on the 2016 PEYA winners, visit http://www.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award-peya-winners.

For information on environmental education at EPA, visit https://www.epa.gov/education.

B is for bug when preschoolers make nature their classroom             (Posted: 8-17-17)

Click HERE.

Celebrate Butterfly Month with Unique Experiences and Classes             (Posted: 8-3-17)

Click HERE.

DEP News Releases             (Posted: 6-29-17)

DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFERS NEW OUTDOOR-RECREATION SKILLS PROGRAM GEARED TOWARD WOMEN AND FAMILIES
TIPS FOR BOATING WITH CAUTION THROUGH ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS OF BARNEGAT BAY
APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR 2017 GOVERNOR’S ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS PROGRAM
GARDEN STATE PRESERVATION TRUST APPROVAL OF NEARLY $81 MILLION FOR GREEN ACRES PROJECTS
COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE ON HOW TO PROTECT AND GROW DECLINING MONARCH BUTTERFLY POPULATION

EE at EPA: New Student Award Winners Announced             (Posted: 6-9-17)

Click HERE.

This Week in the New Jersey Skylands             (Posted: 6-5-17)

Click HERE.

Help Us Choose Our 2018 Theme             (Posted: 6-5-17)

Maybe you’re new to Earth Day Network or maybe you’ve followed and supported our work for years. Now, here’s a chance to help Earth Day Network select our theme for 2018. These are all huge topics that impact every person on earth, and are inextricably linked to today's climate crisis.

Plastics litter our cities and oceans, and growing evidence shows how they contribute to health problems in humans and animals.By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans! Plastic coagulates into great floating “garbage patches” that cover large areas of the Pacific. Plastics wash up on beaches and can be found in the stomachs of more than half the world’s sea turtles and nearly all of its marine birds. If plastic pollution was bagged up and arranged across all of the world’s shorelines, we could build a plastic wall around every shoreline and the sea. This is a problem we can help solve by cleaning up plastic trash, drastically reducing the amount of plastic used and recycling 100% of the rest.

We humans share our planet with at least 50 million species and one recent study said the number could be as high as a trillion. Over 100,000 new species are discovered each year. This vast number of different species called biodiversity directly or indirectly provides all the food that humans eat. Animals and plants depend on each other for food and habitat, too. Only healthy eco-systems can withstand and recover from disaster. So while humans may dominate, we really need to preserve biodiversity in wildlife, too. Studies show that endangered mammals and birds are especially affected by changing climate. Animals on every continent are being affected. Despite knowing about biodiversity’s importance for a long time, human activity has been causing massive extinctions and the current extinction rate is the worst species die-off since the dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago. Ever since the first Earth Day in 1970, we’ve had the US Endangered Species Act to help protect animals and their habitats. We’ve got to keep that strong and do much more.

Extreme weather events are increasing and scientific evidence confirms that these increases are related to human activities. According the US government studies, human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of extreme weather events. Heat waves and droughts, are the primary way that most people experience climate change. Over the last 50 years, much of the US and the world has seen increases in prolonged periods of abnormally high temperatures, heavy downpours, and in some regions, severe storms, floods and droughts. Extreme weather causes human injury and death, destroys property and infrastructure, disrupts agriculture and food production, increases poverty and can even cause famine and war.

How Environmental Education Influenced the Early Stages of the Green Schools Movement             (Posted: 5-11-17)

The Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly Journal Winter 2017 Click HERE.

USDOE Green Strides: The 2017 ED-GRS Honorees Are Here!             (Posted: 5-8-17)

2017 ED-GRS Selectees Announced
Green Strides Design

 

          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the News

 GRSlogo

2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools  Announced

The U.S. Department of Education announced the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on May 4th. Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions are honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. This year's honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity. Thirty-nine public schools (including five magnet schools and one charter school), as well as six nonpublic schools, received awards. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a predominantly disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are in rural areas. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 63 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources that all schools can use to move toward the three "Pillars" on which the awards are based can be found here.  >>>>

Learn From the 2017 Honorees

Take inspiration from the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees and read more about their work in our annual Highlights Report

Discovery Elementary Solar panels
A second-floor outdoor solar lab at Discovery Elementary School provides flexible learning spaces to explore the renewable energy sources onsite.

Discovery Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia

Discovery Elementary School is the largest Net Zero Energy elementary school ever built in the U.S. and the first in the Mid-Atlantic region. Sustainable features include 1,706 roof-mounted solar panels; a three-ply built up roof with two layers of ENERGY STAR cool roof coatings; a geothermal well field; solar preheat of domestic hot water; 100% LED lighting; ideal solar orientation and shading; and exterior walls using insulated concrete forms. Discovery’s energy costs are one-third that of comparable elementary schools. Discovery’s Eco-Action Team supports a variety of initiatives, including incentive programs to reduce lunch waste; collection of uneaten lunch food for donation; initiatives to promote walking, busing, biking, and carpooling to school; offering items like reusable lunch boxes, water bottles, and coffee mugs through the PTA; production of student videos on environmental topics; outdoor education through gardening and park cleanups; working towards the NWF Eco-SchoolsUSA Green Flag; and rewarding sustainable practices. Discovery has several outdoor learning environments, including a butterfly garden, an outdoor garden that uses rain barrels for its water source, and an outdoor exploratory lab that allows students to study the natural processes and species found in two bioretention basins. Teachers use Discovery’s extensive environmental signage in lessons. School leadership has redesigned the dining commons to enhance hygiene habits by requiring all students to proceed through a handwashing station prior to entering the area. Teachers are encouraged to take “brain breaks” with students frequently.  Monthly recipe challenges invite staff to bring healthy meals to share.  An annual "Biggest Loser" challenge combats obesity. Discovery has a robust school garden program and strong ties to local farms.  >>>>

Washburn School District elementary garden
Washburn students plant, harvest, and cook from the school garden every year, and have planted trees that will provide apples.

Washburn School District, Wisconsin

The Washburn School District serves roughly 630 students, 43% from economically disadvantaged households, in prekindergarten through 12th grade and its early learning center. The district has implemented a variety of energy-saving initiatives which include upgrading lighting, switching from electric to natural gas hot water heaters, districtwide recycling, and composting of garden waste. A team of students has created a community outreach recycling program. Classrooms take walking field trips instead of using buses whenever possible. Students in the ecology club choose an environmental topic each year and educate their peers with ongoing projects, culminating with an expert guest speaker who addresses an all-school assembly. Algebra classes conduct calculations of alternative transportation use to school. Washburn uses innovative techniques, including grazing goats in its invasive species removal, as part of its prairie restoration project. The district partners with community organizations for nutrition and agricultural education. Students engage in snowshoeing, skating, cross-country skiing, and canoeing. Washburn removed old asphalt and replaced it with a bioswale, pollinator garden, high tunnel greenhouse, outdoor lunch area, compost area, aquaponics lab, and monarch oasis. The district is home to a forested 40-acre environmental learning site. Learning opportunities include the Agripreneur Program, aquaponics lab, monarch butterfly study, and several sustainability-based classes. The ecology class conducts water quality testing, analyses habitats, and studies population density. Educators have access to an outdoor classroom kit, including a set of collapsible, lightweight chairs and clipboards, to allow classes that wouldn’t normally need to go outside to teach their content to spend time outdoors. >>>>

CMC students and faculty explore aspen grove
Colorado Mountain College students and faculty explore an aspen forest.

Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Colorado Mountain College (CMC) serves approximately 22,000 students at 11 instructional sites annually in a service area of more than 12,000 square miles across the state's Western Slope. Highlights of CMC's sustainability efforts include the installation of solar farms and geothermal systems; upgrades to HVAC systems, lighting, and insulation; and the addition of motion sensors. Despite campus climates ranging from high alpine to high desert, and at altitudes ranging from 10,152 to 5,348 feet, the college has undertaken initiatives to mitigate water use, including xeriscaping with native plants and nighttime watering; low-flow and sensored bathroom fixtures; and the installation of water bottle filling stations. Waste reduction efforts have included single-stream recycling; plastic and glass recycling; composting; participation in a local food recovery network to donate unused human-edible food to local nonprofits; and an organic recycling program in collaboration with a local pig farmer. The college offers a ropes course; has a co-ed college ski team and an outdoor mountain biking club; provides mental health specialists, physician assistants, and professional counselors; and coordinates with local community clinics. Community gardens, a greenhouse, and a student beekeeping club are features at various campuses. The new Bachelor of Arts degree in sustainability studies blends classroom instruction with experiential education. CMC’s natural resource management program focuses on hands-on experiential education designed to develop students’ skills in a variety of environments. CMC’s environmental science program is focused on environmental problems and biological and ecological approaches to addressing them. CMC offers a popular technical training program in solar energy with three certificates. >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Mundo Verde teacher uses Learning Lab

Learning Lab

Learning Lab is product of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools that provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action. Learning Lab offers in-class content, training, and tools; it also gives access to a curated catalogue of lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current educational standards, and were created by educators, for educators. >>>>

Fuel Up to Play 60 Logo

Fuel Up to Play 60 Funding Deadline Is June 14

Funding opportunities are available for any K?12 school enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60 and participating in the National School Lunch Program. The competitive, nationwide funding program is sponsored by the National Dairy Council, state and regional Dairy Councils, and other supporting organizations, the competitive, nationwide funding program provides money — up to $4,000 per year, per school — to jump start healthy changes. Funds are used to help schools implement one Healthy Eating Play and one Physical Activity Play from the 2016?2017 edition of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook. >>>>

Green Schools National Network logo

Become a Green Schools National Network Member

Through the Green Schools National Network (GSNN) membership program, you can show support to the green schools movement and become a catalyst for change for green schools everywhere. GSNN’s membership program is designed for leaders who use sustainability to drive innovation in their classrooms, schools, or school districts. >>>>

Education Facilities Clearinghouse Logo

The Education Facilities Clearinghouse Launches a New Website

The Education Facilities Clearinghouse (EFC) recently launched its new website with resources in areas including planning, design, financing, construction, contract management, operations, maintenance, school safety, and environmental issues. The EFC has gathered some of the best research pertaining to effective practices in learning environments. Learn more from the EFC's online library and contact the EFC for school facility expertise. >>>>

Events

CELF Logo

The CELF Education for Sustainability Summer Institute is July 1013

The Annual CELF Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability is July 10—13, 2017 at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. The Institute is an intensive four-day workshop that enables teachers to integrate the concepts of sustainability into their existing curricula. >>>>

Water Quality Monitoring Colorado Mountain College

Applications Open for the Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy

The Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy at Shelburne Farms in Vermont is a recently launched, year-long program for those wishing to be part of a learning community exploring education for sustainability, systems thinking, and school transformation. ?Applications are due by June 9. >>>> 

Shelburne Farms Logo

The Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Spend five  days with colleagues from around the country at an informative and restorative institute at Shelburne Farms in Vermont created to give educators the opportunity to deepen their understanding of education for sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, and part retreat. Participants develop connections between curriculum and community, work and dialogue together, and reflect in an inspiring setting that models sustainability and systems-thinking. >>>>

Wilton Manors Environmental Ed

The Get Out of the Classroom Conference Is August 3-4

The 2017 Get Out of the Classroom Field Studies Conference is set to take place August 3-4 at Northwest Passage High School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Join educators, practitioners, and innovators who have explored learning environments with their students through field studies, urban travel, and wilderness expeditions. >>>>

Webinars

Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series: May

The Green Strides Webinar Series promotes sessions that provide free tools to help schools reduce their environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education.  Consult the webinar calendar and submit your suggestions of free webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov for listing.

May 9,  6:30-7:30 p.m.  BEST Satellite (NASA)

May 10, 12-12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

May 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. One Year Crew (NASA)

May 17,  12-12:30 p.m. Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

May 23, 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Sally Ride EarthKAM (NASA)

May 24,  12-12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

May 31,  12-12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

May 31, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  NASA Digital Badge for Educators (NASA)

June 1,  6:00-7:00 p.m.  Journey to Mars (NASA)

June 8,  4:00-5:00 p.m.  Modeling the Solar Eclipse (NASA)

Connect with Green Strides

Green Strides: Resources for School Facilities, Health, and Environment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Facebook: @EDGreenRibbonSchools
Twitter:@EDGreenRibbon

If you received a forwarded newsletter, sign up to receive us directly next month.

This Week In the Media: C&NN's News Roundup             (Posted: 5-8-17)

Click HERE.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Honorees Announced             (Posted: 5-8-17)

Announcing the 2017 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Honorees
Green Strides Design

 

          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC  20202

 

FOR RELEASE:  May 4, 2017

CONTACT: Press Office (202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees Announced

Award Honors Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions for Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs, Improving Health and Wellness, Offering Effective Sustainability Education

The U.S. Department of Education today released the names of the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. A state education official was also honored for her efforts to advance school sustainability in the state of Georgia.

“I commend each school, district, and institution of higher education for their efforts to create a healthy learning environment for students, faculty and staff,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  “These schools have done exemplary work to help prepare the rising generation for the careers and challenges of the 21st Century.” 

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 39 public schools, including five magnet schools and one charter school, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 63 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.

New Jersey

  • George L. Catrambone Elementary School

            Long Branch, NJ

  • Long Branch Middle School

            Long Branch, NJ

Dinosaur sites, preserved land, pipeline concerns & more             (Posted: 5-8-17)

Click HERE.

Children & Nature Research Digest and New Nature Movement Notes | April 2017             (Posted: 5-5-17)

Click HERE and HERE.

Juicy stories with a peel             (Posted: 5-5-17)

Click HERE.

State We're In - NJ's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries             (Posted: 5-5-17)


NJCF logo small    Photo collage header

THE STATE WE'RE IN

by Michele S. Byers

Executive Director 

Michele S. Byers   

NJ's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries 

Ever wonder how New Jersey towns like Marlton and Marlboro got their names? Look no further than "marl," a soil also known as greensand.

Marl deposits date to the time when the southeastern half of this state we're in was the sea floor, and greensand was deposited in coastal bays and freshwater river mouths. The marl contains fossils of ancient shelled invertebrates and freshwater and marine forms of every vertebrate group - fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and even primitive mammals!

Colonial-era farmers discovered that marl - which contains clay and calcium carbonate - made great fertilizer. Many marl pits were dug in the narrow geographic band now known as the Inner Coastal Plain. Greensand was sold to farmers all over New Jersey and beyond.

Mosasaur

Mosasaur skull in New Jersey State Museum

Marl pits contained more than fertilizer. In about 1838, a farmer in Haddonfield, Camden County, spotted gigantic bones in a sand pit on his property. Two decades later, fossil hobbyist William Parker Foulke heard about the bones while vacationing nearby.

Foulke called in his friend, paleontologist Joseph Leidy, and hired a crew of diggers. They excavated the bones of an animal larger than an elephant, with structural features of both a lizard and a bird.

The fossilized bones were the world's first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton. The dinosaur died along the shallow coastline during the Cretaceous period 65 to 145 million years ago and sank to the bottom, where its skeleton fossilized in the greensand.

The creature was named Hadrosaurus foulkii after Foulk and Haddonfield, and was the first mounted dinosaur ever to be displayed to the public when it was put on exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 1868.

Nearly 160 years after the dinosaur discovery made Haddonfield the birthplace of American paleontology, the Garden State is still rich in fossils.

"New Jersey is a great place to be if you're a paleontologist," says David Parris, paleontologist and head curator of natural history at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

The state's most productive fossil region is the Inner Coastal Plain, which runs from Raritan Bay to the upper reaches of the Delaware Bay in Salem County. During the Cretaceous period - when New Jersey was located much closer to the equator, the Earth was warmer and sea levels higher - the Atlantic coastline was located there.

Thanks to their ancient history, the sediments of the Inner Coastal Plain contain fossils of both sea creatures like mosasaurs and giant crocodiles, and land creatures that lived in swamps on the edge of the continent, like the hadrosaurus.

Two Inner Coastal Plain sites where land has been permanently preserved are especially good for finding fossils.

The first is within Monmouth County's Historic Walnford Park, preserved with the help of New Jersey Conservation Foundation in the 1970s. The dig site, called Ellisdale, is yielding thousands of fossils of all sizes, from large to microscopic, all being studied at the New Jersey State Museum.

The second is the former Inversand Quarry in Mantua Township, Gloucester County, where mosasaurs - ancient sea lizards resembling Komodo dragons - were excavated. Thanks to donors, Rowan University purchased the quarry in 2016. It is now called the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and is available to Rowan students as well as schools and individuals attending "Community Dig" days.

The former quarry must be continually pumped to keep out water, but the marl there is so soft that paleontologists can dig with a garden trowel rather than having to chip through rock.

Due to suburban development, the site where "Haddy" the hadrosaurus was discovered is no longer a viable dig site. In fact, its exact location was lost until 1984 when a local Boy Scout named Chris Brees used old maps and Joseph Leidy's descriptions to rediscover it. Thanks to Brees' Eagle Scout project, the site is marked with a plaque commemorating its amazing history.

If you want to learn more about New Jersey's Inner Coastal Plain and the fossils discovered there, take time to visit the New Jersey State Museum. Among the exhibits are a full-size hadrosaurus, made from casts of the original bones excavated in Haddonfield in 1858, and a giant crocodile from Burlington County just found in the last couple of years!

You can even watch as scientists carefully remove this fossil crocodile from the rock in which it is embedded.  The original Haddonfield dinosaur is kept at the Academy of Natural Sciences and is too fragile to be displayed. Find out more about the NJ State museum exhibit at http://www.nj.gov/state/museum/dos_museum_exhibit-written-rocks.htm .

For a great online dinosaur exhibit, go to the Academy of Natural Sciences website at http://ansp.org/explore/online-exhibits/dinosaurs/.

And to learn more about preserving New Jersey's land and natural resources,  visit the New Jersey Conservation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

Archived PRESS-RELEASES are available upon request throught the webmaster.