PSEG Supports NWF Eco-Schools USA in New Jersey

$130,000 grant supports National Wildlife Federation and New Jersey Audubon Growing Sustainable School Initiative

03-05-2014 // Jessica Brown

Eco-Schools USA logo

New Jersey Audubon and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) are proud to announce the receipt of a $130,000 grant from the PSEG Foundation to strengthen the growing network of NWF Eco-Schools in New Jersey.  NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program provides resources and support to schools working towards sustainability and helps schools improve academic performance, save money and conserve resources. The PSEG Foundation’s generous grant will help to advance the organizations’ Eco-Schools project in New Jersey.

"PSEG is proud to support the development and enhancement of educational programs that inspire students to increase their understanding and interest in environmental and sustainability subjects and careers," said Ellen Lambert, president of the PSEG Foundation.  "Companies will look to the next generation of innovators to help with issues such as climate change and energy independence and that requires people with knowledge of sustainability."

PSEG’s partnership with NWFs Eco-Schools USA is aligned with the company’s corporate responsibility priorities which include collaborating with organizations that promote environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives and improving learning and educational opportunities in areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Funds from the PSEG Foundation grant are being used in part to fund a New Jersey Eco-Schools USA outreach position in the state to be an “on the ground” resource for schools to advance sustainability initiatives.

NWF's Eco-Schools USA is a holistic program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curricula.  This free and voluntary program helps schools make connections across multiple disciplines and engage children in authentic learning experiences that result in increased student achievement and a positive impact on the environment.  Eco-Schools is an international program in 59 countries. The program is hosted by the National Wildlife Federation in the United States, and coordinated by New Jersey Audubon in New Jersey.  In just one year, the program has grown from 43 to 109 schools in New Jersey.

Curtis Fisher, northeast regional executive director, National Wildlife Federation says, "We applaud PSEG’s commitment to sustainability and education. The National Wildlife Federation is incredibly grateful for this generous donation to Eco-Schools USA. This support will result in more schools, students, teachers and the whole community taking a wide variety of sustainability actions, including studying schools’ energy and implementing steps to reduce energy. Eco-Schools and PSEG share the goal of getting students excited about science, math and other key skills they need to be successful in the 21st economy by seeing real world applications of how math and science can make their schools better places to learn and make the world a better place to live one step at a time."

Jennifer Dowd, Eco-Schools NJ coordinator, New Jersey Audubon says, “Thanks to the grant from PSEG Foundation, we are training and mentoring teachers as they work through the  Eco-Schools USA program and nurturing a growing network of teachers to encourage peer learning, all with no cost to the schools.  With educators and administrators facing the challenge of tight school budgets, this free support is much needed and welcomed by our school communities.  We are also working to further expand the program by building new partnerships with businesses, conservation, and education organizations.”

"Eco-Schools USA projects fit easily into core curriculum," says teacher Colin McClain from Eco-School PS5 in Jersey City. "From designing an outdoor classroom to calculating the carbon output per light bulb in the school we are constantly incorporating science, technology, engineering, art and math into this work."

Students who are exposed to programs such as Eco-Schools USA that incorporate good STEM education see the world in a holistic way, gain skills in the process of inquiry, and become better problem-solvers and inventors who can utilize their knowledge of math, science and technology to design and engineer innovative solutions.

Once registered, Eco-Schools can earn awards that recognize their progress towards sustainability pathways laid out by the program such as energy conservation, water conservation, reducing consumption and waste and climate change education.  The prestigious Green Flag award is the highest award given and can be claimed by less than 20 schools in the nation with three of them in NJ.  NJ Green Flag recipients include Alder Ave Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Lawrenceville, and Unity Charter School in Morris Township. 

About NJ Audubon:

The New Jersey Audubon Society is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization that fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects New Jersey's birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey's valuable natural habitats. For more information: www.njaudubon.org.

About the PSEG Foundation

The PSEG Foundation (501c3) is the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG).  The Foundation generally supports and invests in programs in three areas: community and the environment, education and safety. The Foundation provides grants to organizations in communities PSEG and its subsidiaries serves. 

 

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