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Army Corps and Partners contribute to successful Environmental Day in Elizabeth, NJ

Public Affairs
Published May 10, 2016
Lisa Baron, project manager, USACE, New York District, gives a presentation to students during a recent Earth Day event, focusing on the diverse range of missions/projects being performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lisa Baron, project manager, USACE, New York District, gives a presentation to students during a recent Earth Day event, focusing on the diverse range of missions/projects being performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Inclement 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.

Ms. 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.

The 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.

Seebode spoke about the importance of being responsible citizens while caring for our environment and the impact that our ecosystems have on our lives.

“When 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.”

“It 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.”

The 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.


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