Community gathers for Environmental Day

U.S. Coast Guard representatives teach a workshop to students.
U.S. Coast Guard representatives teach a workshop to students.

ELIZABETH,NJ — Students and community leaders gathered at Elizabeth’s Peterstown Community Center last Friday in celebration of Environmental Day. The event, organized by Future City, Inc., the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association, and the city of Elizabeth drew more than 300 students from 14 area schools, along with representatives from various environmental agencies, offices and organizations.

The welcoming ceremony included speakers from the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NY/NJ Baykeeper.

Students participated in a variety of workshops presented by the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program, The Historical Society, GEO Health, Fish Advisory, Nosotros, Environ Mentors, among others. Students took part in interactive pollution displays, water quality testing, and learned about the impacts of ozone air quality on our watersheds.

Joseph Seebode, Deputy District Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps, New York District, said that the Corps is invested in instilling young people with a real understanding of environmental issues. “We take the environment very seriously,” said Seebode. “We try to instill in our students good stewardship.”

Seebode said that the Corps is engaged in water resources engineering, environmental restoration, coastal and river flood risk reduction and debris removal from waterways. “The Corps is very engaged in water resources engineering,” said Seebode. “We’re involved in a whole host of projects to protect people and the environment.”

Colonel David Caldwell, Commander of the Army Corps’ New York district, said that the event is all about creating the next generation of environmentally-aware students. “Environmental Day demonstrates the importance of preserving the environment and exemplifies a strong partnership with a common goal to inform the students, our future leaders, about the importance of sustaining and improving the environment,” said Caldwell.

Michelle Doran‐McBean, the CEO of Future City, Inc., said that the event is a strong example of proactive collaboration. “The workshops conducted on Environmental Day are the results of a year-round commitment and preparation by our partners for our environment and community,” said Doran-McBean. “The goal is to have the educational message out, engaging our students and participants in our community effort to respect, maintain and support our environment. It’s up to us.”