Commitment to selfless-service is one of the Army’s core values, and volunteers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District exemplified this value on October 5th by sharing their expertise with hundreds of Elizabeth, New Jersey science school students during ‘Estuary Day’ held at the Peterstown Community Center in Elizabeth, N.J.
Estuary Day demonstrates the importance of education and community participation in preserving the environment.
Orchestrated by Future City Inc., and sponsored by the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association, the event’s success is attributed to a joint partnership with the support of local officials.
Partnering organizations included the Army Corps' New York District, Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association (sponsor), City of Elizabeth mayor’s office, U.S. Coast Guard, Kean University, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, Infineum, Phillips 66, Veolia, and support from the Office of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, and Office of Rep. Albio Sires.
Mr. Joseph J. Seebode, the Army Corps' New York District Deputy District Engineer, made the introductory remarks at the opening ceremony.
"Estuary Day exemplifies a strong partnership with a common goal to inform our future leaders about the importance of sustaining and improving the health of the estuary," said Seebode. “The Army Corps and its partners have many roles, and focus on improving the New York and New Jersey Harbor Estuary. It is our hope that each and every one can leave from today’s workshop with a little bit more knowledge about the estuary and ways we can affect changes in our watershed."
Estuaries are national treasures -- vital ecological and community resources whose health affects our health and the vibrancy of our communities and economy. In a setting which was not a typical classroom, participating agencies staffed table displays and served as instructors, discussing with students their respective organization’s mission as it relates to the estuary and environmental stewardship.
It was especially rewarding for the Corps and served as another opportunity to provide pupils with information about the Corps and its many environmental initiatives in the region. By sharing their knowledge, volunteers imparted how important the estuary is to the region and the nation and students were able to take with them their newfound knowledge to share with others on what they experienced and learned at Estuary Day.
Using a variety of visual aids, Ms. Lisa Baron, project manager and marine biologist lectured at the Corps’ education workshop about the New York and New Jersey harbor estuary and its significance. Using presentations and informative poster boards she elaborated about the ecosystem, and restoration activities associated with Corps restoration projects and studies.
“For 18 years, Elizabeth Estuary Day has had a significant ongoing partnership of federal, regional, state and city leadership to collaborate and develop sustainable resilient estuarine education for our local science students, said Michelle Doran McBean, Future City Inc. CEO and event sponsor. Through our ongoing partnership, active collaboration and respectful cooperation we are proactively impacting on our future estuarine stewards”
Partners continue to provide new knowledge and exposure for our students to then realize how unique our city’s location is within the NY/NJ Harbor.