FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2023
Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
(23/P043) TRENTON –– The Department of Environmental Protection is seeking recruits for its 24th year of the AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program that helps protect New Jersey watersheds while creating environmental career opportunities for young people, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.
Applications for the 2023-2024 program are being accepted through Aug. 31 or until all positions are filled. The next class of Ambassadors begins in September.
“The AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program embodies the spirit of stewardship, from educating the public about how to protect their local watersheds to developing the next generation of New Jersey’s environmental leaders,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “When we empower others to protect the environment, we enhance the quality of life across New Jersey.”
Watershed Ambassadors are placed at local host sites in 20 Watershed Management Areas across the state to serve their local communities. Three part-time Ambassadors will be recruited to serve as Source Water Protection Ambassadors in northern, central, and southern locations to work on outreach and education campaigns that will lead to the protection of drinking water sources.
“Ambassadors complement the work of the Division of Water Monitoring, Standards and Pesticide Control which allows an extended reach far into our communities, delivering educational presentations and engaging the public in various stewardship trainings,” said Division Director Vic Poretti. “Ambassadors contribute approximately 600 data sets of waterbody assessments conducted at freshwater streams throughout the state on an annual basis.”
The skills learned by Watershed Ambassadors will serve them well as they advance in their careers.
“The AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program has helped me develop skills that are becoming increasingly relevant in the environmental field,” said Michelle Hatfield, who will begin working with the DEP’s Division of Water Monitoring, Standards and Pesticide Control this summer following her graduation from the Watershed Ambassadors Program. “It provided me with a multitude of experiences that no other programs have offered me.”
Occasionally, Ambassadors return for a second term of service with the Program. This year, Cameron Shapiro will work with The Authority of Cumberland County in Millville and serve as Watershed Ambassador for the Maurice, Salem and Cohansey Watershed.
“My term with the AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors has helped grow my confidence in important career skills like public speaking, data collection and analysis, and report writing,” said Shapiro. “The program also connected me with individuals in my field of study that I can look to for support during my career journey.”
Ambassadors are required to complete 1,700 hours of service over 10 months. Compensation includes an annual stipend of up to $25,000 for full-time positions and up to $13,235 for part-time positions. Members may qualify for health insurance benefits while serving as an ambassador, childcare assistance, SNAP benefits, and deferment of qualified student loans during service. They will receive extensive training throughout the program year. In addition, members are eligible to receive an education award of up to $6,895 for full-time and up to $3,447.50 for part-time positions. Visit the program’s recruitment page to learn more about program eligibility.
Follow DEP Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep, and LinkedIn @newjerseydep