Ramapo College of New Jersey students in 2022 will have an opportunity to get hands-on specialized experience on climate change issues thanks to support from a private grantor.
The grant for Teaching, Research & Action to Combat Climate Change will provide the means for four Ramapo students to work and study at the Meadowlands Environment Center and the Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute, both in Lyndhurst, N.J.; five students will do their work at the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.
“The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is excited to have Ramapo College students join the Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute and Meadowlands Environment Center next summer to help us prepare for and combat the effects of climate change,” said Vincent Prieto, President and CEO of the NJSEA. “These students will have the opportunity to work with top scientists, naturalists and educators whose unwavering dedication to bettering the Meadowlands environment is commendable and inspirational.”
MRRI is the NJSEA’s scientific arm and performs studies of the Meadowlands District’s vital natural resources, wildlife habitats, the Hackensack River and the surrounding environment. One of MMRI’s main objectives is assisting in the recovery of the region’s sensitive eco-system and preparing for future challenges such as sea level rise.
As the educational component of the NJSEA, the MEC teaches students in Grades K-12 a variety of subjects including ecology, sustainability, chemistry, biology, physics, natural history, astronomy, and healthy eating and nutrition. Classes are taught by Ramapo College educators through a partnership with the NJSEA. The grant will afford Ramapo students the opportunity to work with seasoned environmental educators to develop and help deliver curriculum units on climate change to students who come to the MEC on school field trips.
“The Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is delighted to welcome Ramapo students to spearhead the first-ever effort in the park to survey and remove the invasive plant species that have overtaken the native plants,” said Darren Boch, Park Superintendent. “Our staff, as well as local Paterson students, look forward to working with the Ramapo team on this project which will bring us together to interact, learn and get the job done.”
The invasive species removal team will be trained to identify the plant species in the spring and conduct the survey and removal of the plants during the summer of 2022.
The manager of the grant, Dr. Angela Cristini from Ramapo College, Professor of Biology and Interim VP of Institutional Advancement, sees these projects as great opportunities for all involved. “The next generation of environmental scientists and educators will have hands-on, real world learning experiences that will make a difference. I am hopeful that we will be able to extend and grow these programs in the future.”