Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

South Orange Middle School Wins $10,000 Grant for Ecology Program

The following is from Sustainable Jersey:

The Rahway River

On April 25th, Sustainable Jersey for Schools announced 34 New Jersey schools selected to receive a Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. Representing South Orange-Maplewood and Essex County, South Orange Middle School was chosen as the recipient of a $10,000 grant to support curriculum development relating to the Rahway River.

SOMS will purchase additional equipment to expand its River Curriculum to include students from Maplewood Middle School and Columbia High School. More of the area around the Rahway River will be used to allow for a greater number of students to learn about water quality, biodiversity, and how to design and complete their own independent study projects. Past ecology projects focused on Rahway River include River Day at SOMS.

Kimberly Beane, STEM Supervisor for the South Orange and Maplewood School District explained, “with the Rahway River Field Work Project and through the process of inquiry and experiential learning, students are able to enhance their knowledge of our local watershed and the importance of preserving and restoring the ecosystem.”

“The science department at South Orange Middle School does an absolutely wonderful job creating learning opportunities that extend outside of the classroom and into the community. The Rahway River Field Work Project is an experience that students will remember for the rest of their life, “ said Lynn Irby, South Orange Middle School Principal and Green Team Member.

Four $10,000 grants and thirty $2,000 grants were distributed to fund a variety of projects including an outdoor science lab, sustainability curriculum, school wellness programs, hydroponic and aeroponic gardens, green walls, wind and solar energy charging stations, recycling and more.

“To be an innovative state, we must support our teachers, administrators and their respective communities as they shape the future of their students and schools for years to come,” said Randall Solomon, the executive director of Sustainable Jersey. He extended his congratulations to all of the schools and districts that received grants. “Grant funding will build capacity as schools embark on sustainability projects that directly benefit the students,” Solomon said.

The PSEG Foundation has contributed over one million dollars in funding to the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants Program. “We are proud to partner with Sustainable Jersey to support and help fund projects that provide sustainable neighborhoods, economic development and STEM education to empower a brighter future. By supporting sustainable education in schools, we can help guide children and engage entire communities in the ways to help transform the environment,” said Ellen Lambert, president of the PSEG Foundation.

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