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Environmental Education and DEP

The field of environmental education (EE), directed towards youth, families and individuals, has been a component of statewide programming supported by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) since the early 1980s. It complements our regulatory and enforcement efforts and is part of the foundation that supports our mission.

We recognize that EE not only informs the public but also increases public awareness, applies comprehensive knowledge to the daily lives of all citizens, encourages involvement, and engages individuals in behaviors and skills that benefit the environment. DEP's conservation, natural resource education and interpretive efforts also serve to educate people of all ages while providing opportunity for experiential education, recreation, management and planning exercises, research and outdoor study. Through such efforts, we strive to create a more environmentally active and literate citizenry.

Environmental education is critical because complex environmental challenges require a well trained and environmentally aware workforce and an educated public who have the knowledge and skills to participate in solving these problems. Environmental education is also relevant because it helps to ensure the health and welfare of New Jersey by protecting human health; advancing quality education; expanding employment opportunities; promoting sustainable development; best practices and practical uses of technology; applying the latest scientific data, information and practices to New Jersey issues and places; and protecting the state's natural heritage.

The educational process is key in developing and designing initiatives that require the incorporation of environmental information and data into effective programs, materials, projects, software and other efforts that educate, motivate and activate the state's citizenry.

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