30 NJ School-Based Sustainability Projects Advance with Grant Funding

on Jun 02, 2020

Funded by the PSEG Foundation, grants will enhance healthy and sustainable schools and directly benefit students

Today, Sustainable Jersey announced the thirty recipients selected to receive a Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. Five $10,000 grants and twenty-five $2,000 grants were awarded to elementary through high-school public schools and school districts across the state.

The grants fund on-the-ground, sustainability and capacity building projects such as sustainable food production programs, waste reduction and recycling initiatives, health and wellness programs, outdoor classrooms and more.

“We’re proud to be able to support these important projects and look forward to hearing more from each grantee about how they make a difference in schools across New Jersey,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey. He extended his congratulations to all of the schools and school districts that received grants. “These grants will add momentum to solving our sustainability challenges while helping to ensure our future wellbeing,” Solomon added.

The PSEG Foundation has contributed $2.2 million dollars in funding to the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program for municipalities and schools. “The PSEG Foundation is committed to helping build sustainable and thriving communities by empowering and investing in the people, environment and infrastructure of the communities we serve, embodying our mission to help build better places to live and work,” said Rick Thigpen, senior vice president of Corporate Citizenship at PSEG and chairman of the PSEG Foundation. “Supporting Sustainable Jersey and local schools and school districts as they build sustainability programs puts resources where they’re needed to positively impact the environment and local communities, having a lasting impact on neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.”

SUSTAINABLE JERSEY FOR SCHOOLS GRANTS RECIPIENTS (project descriptions below):

  • Five $10,000 Grant Recipients: Belleville Public Schools, Roy W. Brown Middle School, Stillwater Township Elementary School, Wall Township Public School District and Westwood Regional Middle School.

  • Twenty-five $2,000 Grant Recipients:  Absegami High School, Bear Tavern Elementary School, Belleville Senior High School, Cedar Creek High School, Collingswood Senior High School, Edith M. Decker Elementary School, Franklin Township Elementary School, Holland Township School, Hopewell Valley Central High School, Kenneth R. Olson Middle School, Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence Intermediate School, Lawrenceville Elementary School, Merritt Memorial Elementary School, New Providence High School, Number 9 Elementary School, Oakcrest High School, Red Bank Charter School, Somerville Elementary School, , Wayne Hills High School, Wemrock Brook Elementary School, West Essex High School, Westwood Regional Middle School, Winfield Township School and Winslow Township School No. 6 Elementary School.

Proposals were evaluated by an independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee. The Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants are intended to help school districts and schools make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification. Currently 351 districts and 965 schools have registered to work toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

Recipients of $10,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Project Grants

County

Grant Recipient

District

Project

Bergen

Roy W. Brown Middle School

Bergenfield Borough

Sustainable Food Production Initiative: The school will provide an opportunity for its 7th grade students to study organic food production by growing fruits and vegetables using both indoor aeroponic and traditional outdoor gardens. Food waste from the cafeteria will be composted and the gardens will be used in the school curriculum.

Bergen

Westwood Regional School District

Westwood Regional

Fill-It Forward Project: In an effort to educate students about becoming more environmentally-conscious and civic-minded, the district has partnered with the Washington Township Green Team to implement the Fill-It Forward program. The program provides scannable stickers for refill bottles and each time the students scan their bottle to be refilled a .02 cent donation is made to a community in water crisis. The school will have an app that tracks of the number of refills and translates that into GHGs saved, waste diverted, amount of ocean pollution prevented, etc. The information and the importance of access to clean water will be integrated into the curriculum. Students will create videos about the project and monitor recycling levels of plastic bottles in the school

Essex

Belleville Public Schools

Belleville

Waterways and You: The grant will support district-wide participation in the NJ Trout in the Classroom initiative and begin a district-wide fishing program. The NJ Trout in the classroom is a national program that involves National Trout Unlimited and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The program is designed to involve students in raising trout in a fish tank from the egg stage to the fry stage of growth and then releasing them into streams in New Jersey. Students will learn about watersheds and waterways by completing the ECOschools WOW pathways.

Monmouth

Wall Township Public School District

Wall Township

Lettuce Hook You on Sustainability: The district will purchase an aquaponics garden system that will act as a hands-on STEAM-based teaching tool in the classroom. In addition to STEAM curriculum, students will learn about healthy food and hold a farmers market or donate the produce grown to the community.

Sussex

Stillwater Township Elementary School

Stillwater Township

Student-Led Efforts to Improve Recycling in the Lunchroom: A student-led Cafeteria Connection Recycling Team, in partnership with other school staff and the municipal recycling center, will develop a new recycling plan for the lunchroom to improve recycling rates.  The Team will design signage and other promotional materials as well as educate fellow students about proper recycling practices. Lessons about waste management, recycling and sustainability will be integrated into the curriculum.

 

Recipients of $2,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Project Grants

County

Recipient School

School District

Project Title

Project

Atlantic

Absegami High School

Greater Egg Harbor Regional High

There's so MUSHROOM for Health in our School!

The school will work with a local farmer on an oyster mushroom cultivation program that will teach students about the importance of decomposers, sustainable agriculture, and environmental entrepreneurship and stewardship.  

Atlantic

Cedar Creek High School

Greater Egg Harbor Regional High

Green Team Support

The school will support its green team efforts to complete Sustainable Jersey for Schools actions and purchase supplies needed for its initiatives.

Atlantic

Oakcrest High School

Greater Egg Harbor Regional High

STEM Presentation at Community Green Fair

The high school will have its students put on a STEM presentation for the students in the elementary schools during the Township Green Fair.

Bergen

Merritt Memorial Elementary

Cresskill

Nature's Classroom

The school will build an outdoor classroom that will be used to build gardening into each grade's curriculum and will be used by the Garden Club.

Bergen

Somerville Elementary

Ridgewood

Increased Opportunities for Sustainability Education

The school will fund its green fair and expand its outdoor classroom. The green fair will include a presentation from an arborist along with other activities that demonstrate the importance of trees.

Bergen

Westwood Regional Middle

Westwood Regional

In-School Recycling Center

The school will purchase TerraCycle Boxes to create a recycling center for items that cannot typically be recycled such as pens, art supplies, broken headphones and binders.

Burlington

Kenneth R. Olson Middle

Tabernacle Township

Plastic Collection Campaign

The grant will support a plastic collection campaign that will result in new tables and benches made out of the recycled plastic for the outdoor classroom.

Camden

Collingswood Senior High

Collingswood

Building Equity through Sustainability

The school will support its district green team with its Sustainable Jersey for Schools efforts with a focus on building equity through sustainability.

Camden

Winslow Township School No. 6 Elementary

Winslow Township

Vegetable Garden

The school will create a raised bed vegetable garden that will be incorporated into classroom lessons and educate students on how food is grown.

Essex

Belleville Senior High

Belleville

Native Plants Nature Walk

The school will create a nature walk that will encourage students to be more physically active and will utilize native plants to improve the school's biodiversity index.

Essex

Number 9 Elementary

Belleville

School Garden Upgrade

The school will enhance its edible school garden with additional raised beds for native plants meant to attract pollinators.

Essex

West Essex High

West Essex Regional

Outdoor Classroom

The school will build a mobile outdoor classroom to teach students sustainability lessons and integrate the environment into everyday learning.

Hunterdon

Franklin Township Elementary

Franklin Township

School Garden

The school will build an outdoor garden that will be used by students, teachers, the Garden Club and the schools' food service provider, who will use the produce to prepare school meals.

Hunterdon

Holland Township School

Holland Township

Coastline Biodiversity Lessons

The school will implement the Green Eggs and Sand curriculum in the classroom where students will explore the biodiversity of the Atlantic coastline and study the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab.

Mercer

Bear Tavern Elementary

Hopewell Valley Regional

Eco-Friendly Events

The school will "green" its events through the use of zero-waste party kits that include instructions and a guide on how to reduce waste at an event.

Mercer

Hopewell Valley Central High

Hopewell Valley Regional

Eco-Friendly Events

The school will "green" its events through the use of zero-waste party kits that include instructions and a guide on how to reduce waste at an event.

Mercer

Lawrenceville Elementary

Lawrence Township

Green Team Achievers: Elementary Schools

The school will support the secondary school representatives of the district green team in their efforts to help their individual schools become more sustainable and work toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools silver certification.

Mercer

Lawrence Intermediate

Lawrence Township

Green Team Achievers: Secondary Schools

The school will support the secondary school representatives of the district green team in their efforts to help their individual schools become more sustainable and work toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools silver certification.

Mercer

Lawrence Middle

Lawrence Township

AeroGardens

AeroGardens will be used to support the integration of gardening into the classroom curriculum throughout all the months of the year - not just Spring.

Monmouth

Red Bank Charter

Red Bank Charter

Green Cleaning Awareness and Purchasing Pilot Program

The school will pilot green cleaning products in order to collect data that would support the district adopting a green purchasing policy.

Monmouth

Wemrock Brook Elementary

Manalapan-Englishtown Regional

Say No to Plastic!

The school will create a plastic reduction campaign targeted toward disposable plastic water bottles and educate students on the importance of drinking water.

Morris

Edith M. Decker Elementary

Mount Arlington

BAM! Body and Mind

The school will expand its District's Wellness Program by creating an Access to Healthy Water campaign in the school.

Passaic

Wayne Hills High

Wayne Township

Native Plant Pathway

The school will create a native plant pathway to the entrance of the school building using upcycled and sustainable materials.

Union

New Providence High

New Providence

Courtyard Greenhouse Upgrades

The school will upgrade its courtyard greenhouse for year-round use.

Union

Winfield Township School

Winfield Township

Outdoor Classroom

The school will expand its garden to include an outdoor classroom where students can learn and grow a larger harvest to donate to the senior center.

 

Quotes from Select $10,000 Grant Recipients (alphabetical by New Jersey County)

The Bergenfield Public Schools are thrilled to have Roy Brown Middle School selected to receive a 2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant funded by the PSEG Foundation in the amount of $10,000.  This grant will be used for our 7th grade science students to grow organic fruits and vegetables in both indoor aquaponic and outdoor soil-based gardens.  - Dr. Christopher Tully, Superintendent, Bergenfield Borough School District, Bergen County

 

Westwood Regional School District is honored to receive this grant to support our involvement in the Fill-It Forward Program, educating students on how their daily choices can impact their environmental footprint, including waste, emissions and even the ocean. With your support, we will more meaningfully develop environmentally-conscious and civic-minded students who will make a measurable, positive impact on not only the local environment but also the global water crisis. - Shelley LaForgia, Principal, Westwood Regional Middle School, Westwood Regional School District, Bergen County

 

Our district has been working on incorporating sustainable projects to enhance learning and awareness of our natural resources and to advance ecological balance", stated Dr. Richard Tomko, Superintendent of the Belleville Public Schools District.  "Being awarded and honored with these grants is evidence that our district students, faculty, Board, and administration are dedicated to the future of this community, and we are aware of the needs of our environment. - Dr. Richard Tomko, Superintendent, Belleville Public Schools District, Essex County

 

The Wall Township Schools are honored, thrilled and grateful to be the recipient of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant selection for 2020 funded by the PSEG Foundation. Our schools, community, business owners and most importantly the students look forward to partnering with Sustainable Jersey and PSEG in their efforts to build and create a stronger community that will have a positive impact for future generations! Our Green Team and staff are excited about this opportunity, so "Lettuce Hook You on Sustainability”.  - Anthony Abeal, Principal, West Belmar School, Wall Township Public Schools, Monmouth County

 

The Stillwater Township School District is overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to overhaul its recycling program into one in which the students, teachers and staff will come together to create a cleaner tomorrow. Our grant coordinator, Mrs. Elaine Makarevich, along with students and faculty recognized the need for a recycling program which instills recycling conscious habits throughout the entire school. We are incredibly excited for what the Sustainable Jersey Schools grant will allow us to accomplish with our project this year.  - Marissa Cramer, Principal/Supervisor of Special Education, Stillwater Township School, Sussex County

 

Quotes from Select $2,000 Grant Recipients (alphabetical by New Jersey County)

In collaboration with Drop the Beet Farm in Freehold New Jersey, the Absegami High School Urban Farming students are developing a mushroom cultivation farm with generous funding from Sustainable Jersey for Schools and a grant made possible by the PSEG Foundation. The Absegami students will enhance their understanding of organic farming through the cultivation of mushrooms in their classroom greenhouse. Our Urban Farming instructor Kerry Flukey says: "Growing the mushrooms will enable us to continue the work that we have put in with the school gardens and increase hands-on opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge of the farm to table movement." Students arriving to school in September will begin the cultivation process through composting, casing, casing inoculum, supplementation, pinning and cropping. - Bre Baker, Teacher of Engineering and Science, Advisor of Environmental Club, GSA, Envirothon Team, Green Team Member, Absegami High School, Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, Atlantic County

 

Westwood Regional Middle School is excited to be able to purchase several TerraCycle Zero Waste Boxes to sort and reuse or recycle different waste items typically associated with schools.  These additions will enrich our growing recycling efforts, allowing our Environmental Club students and advisors to both educate students and continue to lead efforts reducing our negative impact on the environment with items that are unable to be recycled through our local community options. - Shelley LaForgia, Principal, Westwood Regional Middle School, Westwood Regional School District, Bergen County

 

We are thrilled that the TES Green Team's grant proposal was selected by Sustainable Jersey for Schools. The $2,000 will enable our team to purchase seating that will be created by recycled plastic that we will collect for use in our outdoor classrooms at both of our schools. This seating will further enhance our engagement with nature and enable us to continue to showcase the importance of sustainability. Thank you, Sustainable Jersey for Schools, for your continued support of us in our efforts to educate our students about the importance of sustainability! - Shaun Banin, Superintendent/Principal, Tabernacle Township School District, Camden County

 

We are excited to mesh our sustainability program with our ongoing equity work to ensure opportunities for all families in the three diverse communities served by our high school. We believe deeply that to have something done right, you give it a name and put a team on it. We plan to use our funding to develop that team and take action.

- Scott A. Oswald, Ed.D., Superintendent, Collingswood Public School District, Camden County

 

The West Essex Regional High School Green Team is pleased to announce that we have been chosen for the 2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant funded by the PSEG Foundation in the amount of $2,000. As the ever-changing environment and climate increasingly become a topic of concern around the globe, West Essex quickly realized the increasing value of sustainability. In 2019, we launched our Green Team initiative with members from the student body to the upper administration. While covid-19 temporarily put many of our plans to the side, the STEM club and green team continued to work on a plan to install an outdoor classroom on the school campus. The goal is to connect students with nature and provide a green space for students to learn and work outside of the traditional classrooms. By hosting some classes outdoors, we hope to inspire students to get involved with their environment and to enjoy what nature has to offer us. With the 2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant, we are now able to bring this plan to life and get started on building a new space for future students. We humbly thank the PSEG Foundation and Sustainable Jersey for Schools for giving West Essex the opportunity to further explore sustainability and open our first outdoor classroom. - Abigail Boggier, Student, West Essex Regional High School, West Essex Regional School District, Essex County

 

Franklin Township School is beyond excited to receive a 2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. This grant will allow the school to work in collaboration with an Eagle Scout to build a school garden.  We can't wait to see the possibilities flourish and grow from our school garden. - Lindsay Gooditis, Principal, Franklin Township School District, Hunterdon County

 

Environmental sustainability education teaches students about the essential STEM factors necessary for balancing a healthy ecosystem. Being able to model living ecosystems in classroom tanks and innovatively design watershed simulations foster the student's knowledge and ability to care for the viability of life. At Holland Township Middle School, the students observe firsthand the symbiotic relationships in the tanks, learning how to effectively empathize and communicate about the New Jersey coastal habitats. - Steph Bacskai, K-8 Enrichment and Gifted & Talented Teacher, Holland Township School, Holland Township School District, Hunterdon County

 

We continue to plan to promote sustainability in our schools throughout our learning community. We are pleased to accept this Green Achievers Grant to support our secondary schools: LIS, LMS, and LHS so each building can have an on-site Green Team Leader in 2020-2021. Our Green Team Leaders collaborate with our teachers, administrators, students and families to maintain and update Sustainable Practices, beyond the curriculum. We appreciate the ongoing support from Sustainable Jersey!  Thank you!! - Cari Gallagher, Third Grade Teacher/LML Facilitator, Lawrenceville Elementary School, Lawrenceville Township Public Schools; Andrew Zuckerman, Assistant Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools; Ross Kasun, Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools, Mercer County

 

Lawrence Township Public Schools are very excited to host AeroGardens in our classrooms. We plan to use AeroGardens in the area of STEM and in Social Emotional Learning.  Students, teachers and stakeholders will be working together to implement gardens in our classrooms, year-round, to balance learning with: investigation, environmental awareness and mindfulness in our education settings. We are grateful for this grant so we can continue to expand our sustainable efforts in LTPS for our students! - Cari Gallagher, Third Grade Teacher/LML Facilitator, Lawrenceville Elementary School, Lawrenceville Township Public Schools; Andrew Zuckerman, Assistant Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools; Ross Kasun, Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools, Mercer County

 

We continue to plan to promote sustainability in our schools throughout our learning community. We are pleased to accept this Green Achievers Grant to support our elementary schools: LES, BF, EPS, & SWS so each building can have an on-site Green Team Leader in 2020-2021. Our Green Team Leaders collaborate with our teachers, administrators, students and families to maintain and update Sustainable Practices. We appreciate the ongoing support from Sustainable Jersey for our students!  Thank you!! - Cari Gallagher, Third Grade Teacher/LML Facilitator, Lawrenceville Elementary School, Lawrenceville Township Public Schools; Andrew Zuckerman, Assistant Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools; Ross Kasun, Superintendent, Lawrence Township Public Schools, Mercer County

 

Red Bank Charter School is honored to receive this grant from Sustainable Jersey!  One of RBCs's bedrock beliefs is that all children should contribute to their larger world.  This grant will allow RBCS to educate and demonstrate to our young scholars about the myriad of eco-friendly products and how they help preserve our environment. - Kristen Martello, Ed.D., Head of School, Red Bank Charter School, Monmouth County

 

The Mount Arlington School District honors the contribution of PSEG Foundation which continues to provide opportunities for our community of learners. Through PSEG's generous grants the District has been able to implement several sustainable programs such as our Pedal-a-Watt program and our Math Models Matter programs. These programs provide our students with opportunities to discover applied math and engineering and help our students understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The BAM! Body and Mind initiative will serve as a focal point to promote healthy water access and consumption patterns. Resources from CDC’s Promoting Healthy Behaviors and BAM! Body and Mind programs as well as NJDEP and EPA resources will be used to educate students about the importance of water in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and why water management practices are important to protect water resources. Using digital technology students will address 10 themes: mindset, nutrition, movement, stress management, healthy water consumption, drinking water quality standards, water treatment practices, food and water, watershed management, and vegetable garden design. - Julie Crawford, STEM Coordinator/Enrichment Programs/Math, Mount Arlington School, Mount Arlington Public School District, Morris County

 

We are pleased and excited to receive this grant from Sustainable Jersey Schools.  It will be used to create a walkway and native plant garden at the entrance to our school, helping aesthetically and environmentally improve the first thing students and staff see each morning. - Kristen Caldwell, Library Media Specialist, Wayne Hills High School, Wayne Township Public School District, Passaic County


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