weather didn’t keep students from over a dozen high schools in Elizabeth, N.J.
from celebrating the cities’ Environmental Day April 30, 2016. Each year
students from their respective schools get together to show off their
scientific percipience, learn more about their environment and celebrate Arbor
Day and Earth Month. This year, about 300 students packed the City of Elizabeth
Community Center for the day-long event. Students rotated to stations where
they listened to presentations from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Elizabeth Historical Society, participating high schools,
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and other co-sponsors of the event.
Lisa Baron, project manager, New York District, gave a visual display and
addressed the students about the various and dynamic missions USACE undertakes
throughout its area of responsibility including dredging operations in the
Arthur Kill Channel. Students were amazed to learn about the different kinds of
material removed from the channel by USACE in order to enhance commerce in the
region and how that material was recycled and used to cap landfills, among
other things. Ms. Baron answered questions in regards to her duties as a marine
biologist and a project manager, while explaining USACE’s role in ecosystem
restoration, debris removal, overall condition of the estuary and the role
USACE plays in protecting the environment. Baron also articulated USACE’s
commitment to restoring environmental features of the Arthur Kill and creating
habitats for wildlife while bolstering and rebuilding the estuary.
crowd of teachers, students and co-sponsors then assembled in the main event
space for a welcoming ceremony. Remarks were given by Elizabeth Mayor Chris
Bollwage, Ms. Michelle Doran McBean, of Future City Inc. and USACE New York
District's Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management, Mr.
Joseph Seebode, who also represented all sponsoring partners.
spoke about the importance of being responsible citizens while caring for our
environment and the impact that our ecosystems have on our lives.
I was a young man I saw the commercial with the crying Indian in the canoe, and
that is what got me interested in my environment,” said Seebode to the crowd of
students and faculty “Ever since that day I have been fighting for our planet,
to make it a healthier, maintain it and make it a better place, so should you.”
is great to see our kids so invested in their environment,” said a 12th grade
teacher from Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy of Elizabeth. “This is an event that
many of my students look forward to all year-round.”
event ended with all of the students assembling in the main event space for an
environmental science expedition. Students from Dwyer Technology Academy in
Elizabeth displayed solar panels and a model of a home with lights that were
powered by solar energy. Students from Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. Leadership
Academy provided water samples and explained to onlookers the acidity levels of
each sample and how bacteria effects our water systems.