Are you concerned about the environment? Would you like to have an impact in your community but don’t know how to do it?
Classes start in Atlantic County on January 19 and there’s still time to sign up for the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension's Environmental Steward training. This training is also offered in Essex and Somerset Counties.
The curriculum of the Environmental Steward Training is designed to introduce non-scientists to the science underlying key environmental issues in the Garden State. Leading authorities from academia are joined by colleagues from government and the non-profit sector to share understanding and insights with the students.
“Students not only receive facts, but also are introduced to a network of expert individuals and organizations who can be of service to them in the future as they wrestle with solving local environmental problems,” said Bruce Barbour, Environmental Program Leader with Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension (RCRE), the program’s originator.
The Environmental Steward Training is based on the existing model of the award-winning Master Gardener Program. Like the Master Gardener Program, students pledge to intern for 60 hours of volunteer service following the completion of the lecture portion of the course. Upon completion of the training and internship, certificates are awarded to the students designating them Rutgers Environmental Stewards.
“It is hoped that Rutgers Environmental Stewards will use this training as a stepping stone for further involvement in environmental work in their community and beyond,” said Barbour.” Our intention is to increase the number of trained and competent individuals who are available to work on environmental programs at the municipal, county and state level in New Jersey. We hope to cultivate leaders who will know how to seek out the information needed to solve the complex environmental problems facing our communities using resources available at Rutgers, from state government, and from the many excellent nonprofit organizations already working in this field."
The training includes classes a leadership component that addresses group dynamics, conflict resolution, and organizational communication. "If you want to be an effective environmental leader you need to know as much about communicating effectively and resolving conflict as about the underlying science that relates to soil, water, and atmospheric issues," said Barbour.
The Environmental Stewards Program in Atlantic County addresses issues specific to the geographic area including the coastal environment. Registration is still open for the Rutgers Environmental Steward Class of 2011. Classes will be held Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority on Delilah Road in Egg Harbor Township. Classes are also held in other parts of the state. For more information on the Atlantic County sessions, call 609-272-6950 or go to www.acua.com. For additional information on the program and other sites, go to http://envirostewards.rutgers.edu.