NEWARK, N.J., June 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The PSEG Foundation and the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) are awarding nearly $45,000 to three programs that were named winners of the PSEG-ANJEE Learners in Sustainability (PALS) grant program. Each of the partnerships is a collaborative effort between non-formal environmental education providers and K-5 pre-service or practicing teachers, with an eye toward increasing the sustainability of New Jersey communities.
"PSEG is an environmental leader and its Foundation supports organizations that work together to foster environmental education," said Sheila Rostiac, PSEG's director of corporate social responsibility and president of the PSEG Foundation. "This was a competitive process that saw many worthy applicants. We congratulate those who were selected, and look forward to great things from their students."
"The PALS grant program creates partnerships in which teachers, community members and students all benefit," said ANJEE President Dale Rosselet. "Classroom teachers work side-by-side with non-formal educators, students learn about sustainable practices at school and at home, and communities celebrate student achievement. ANJEE is thankful for PSEG's continued support and to the many schools across the state that apply for funding."
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for science will be integrated into the projects. Lead partners from each organization or school district will participate in professional development provided by ANJEE; topics will include program evaluation and authentic assessment -- the assessment of student learning using a real-world situation or task to allow students to demonstrate what they have learned and the skills they have acquired. Grantees will also attend the annual ANJEE Environmental Education Conference in 2013, and present the results of their projects at the 2014 conference.
ANJEE - North
Celebrate the Children School, Morris County ($14,949)
Celebrate the Children Celebrates Nature is a partnership between Celebrate the Children School in Wharton and My Local Garden, a New Jersey-based business and community of organic farmers, gardeners, educators, permaculture designers, consultants and naturalists.
Through "train the trainer" professional development sessions, teachers and other school staff will be educated about biodiversity in nature through the use of gardens as outdoor classrooms. Practical Gardening Skills, Science in the Garden, Seasonal Considerations, Planning and Crops, Environmental Conservation, and Stewardship of the Environment are some of the instructional topics that will be covered. Ultimately, the project will also cultivate a more interdisciplinary approach to learning, focusing on special needs students in Grades K-5. As a hands-on learning tool, the existing raised bed garden on the school's Wharton Campus will be expanded. This will help students better understand the principles and purposes of water conservation, composting, plant life cycles, self-reliant food production and more. Connections with the local community will be made, and the garden will be used by teachers to expand science, language, history and math lessons.
ANJEE – Central
Mountainside School District, Union County ($14,995)
Growing Environmental Awareness in a Greenhouse will expand upon an existing garden project already taking place at a PreK-2 school in the district. A greenhouse will be built at nearby Deerfield School, and teachers of Grades 3-5 at that school will participate in workshops conducted by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. Sessions will focus on plant propagation, the management of greenhouses, and Gardening with Children. Utilizing the new greenhouse, approximately 250 students at Deerfield will learn how to compare and contrast the effects of a controlled versus uncontrolled environment on plants native to New Jersey. Through a variety of technology tools, students will study the characteristics of this specialized environment, and they will chronicle and communicate their findings with students from other schools, the public, and the Board of Education.
The project will become a permanent feature of the district's science program. Each year, as students move through the curriculum cycle, they will build upon their knowledge of environmental education in their own backyard. They will also sell the plants they grow and use the profits to purchase plantings for the following year.
ANJEE – South
Camden County 4-H Youth Development Program, Camden County ($15,000)
The Camden County 4-H Youth Development Program will conduct a five-day summer Teachers' Institute in Environmental Science (TIES) at the Camden County Environment Center in Cherry Hill and Camden Environment Center in Winslow Township. Teachers of Grades K-5 in Camden's 19 elementary schools will be invited to apply, and 20 will participate. The training will concentrate on high quality environmental science and climate science lessons with a follow-up component during the upcoming school year. Teachers will be supplied with the knowledge, skills, and materials to implement a high quality curriculum.
The Institute will strengthen an existing partnership between the 4-H Youth Development Program, Camden City Board of Education, and the Camden County Parks Department. On each of the five days, a different "expert" will present in the areas of weather, energy, environment, and service learning lesson planning. Issues related specifically to urban, at-risk communities will be explored. Seven competitive mini-grants will be awarded to participants that plan and conduct a student-led environmental awareness event at their school during the 2012-13 school year.
The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1985. Its goals include promoting and sustaining high quality environmental education across the state and providing networking and professional development opportunities for educators in a variety of settings. ANJEE members include classroom teachers, professors and administrators in colleges and universities, environmentalists in museums, zoos and nature centers, and professionals in governmental agencies and corporate settings. For more, visit www.anjee.org.
PSEG (NYSE: PEG) has a long tradition of caring for New Jersey's people and communities. Each year, the energy company and its employees invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours to improve the quality of life in New Jersey. The company's culture dictates that service to customers and community go hand-in-hand. For more, visit www.pseg.com.
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SOURCE Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)