Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

Environmental Education Assistant

with Morris County Park Commission

Host Agency: Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and/or Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area
Address: 247 Southern Blvd.  Chatham, NJ 07928  and/or 472A Boonton Ave. Boonton, NJ 07005
Phone: 973-635-6629
Supervisor Name: Jenny Gaus-Myers, Supt. of Environmental Education
E-mail of supervisor: jgaus@morrisparks.net

Nature of Host Agency:          Government

Project Description: Host Agency Background: The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area are conservation and education facilities of the Morris County Park Commission.  The primary objective of the environmental education and natural resources unit of the MCPC is to foster an appropriate land ethic in citizens of the county and region that will serve to ensure the ability of the environment to sustain future generations.  These facilities are dedicated to the study and interpretation of the complex ecosystems they encompass, the values they sustain, and how these are impacted by our actions in the surrounding watersheds.  Special emphasis is given to the significance of protecting the quantity and quality of our water supply, maintaining the biodiversity of plants and animals, and instilling responsible values toward nature and an affinity for our natural world.

Position Description: The intern would serve as an Environmental Education Assistant at one or both of the sites listed above, depending on the preference of the applicant.  The intern will work with the Superintendent of Environmental Education to create and execute an environmental education focus project based on their particular strengths and interests, and the needs of the department, but general duties for any Environmental Education Assistant would include:

  • Assisting with educational programming: leading or assisting with interpretive walks, helping to staff educational activity booths at major events
  • Designing and constructing educational displays on  environmental and natural history topics
  • Helping to maintain native plant gardens and deer exclosure for educational purposes
  • Create simple instructional materials for use in programs

 Possible focus projects include:

  • Assistance with the coordination of area environmental non-profits and green businesses for the Morris County Parks Annual Earth Day Celebration, which educated 3,000 people last year on a wide range of natural history, conservation, and environmental issues.  The 2010 event will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and will focus on “Environmental Action for Everyone,” simple actions that anyone can take to help the planet.
  • Assistance with organizing the Migration Celebration, an event focused on migratory birds of NJ, which includes educational activities and displays, birding workshops, and bird walks for various levels.
  • Assisting with Adventures in Nature Summer Camp
  • Other project of intern’s creation, subject to the approval of the Superintendent

Nature of anticipated impact : Social, Environmental

Evaluation Plan:At the start of the internship, the Superintendent of Environmental Education will work closely with the intern to develop a focus project, create a work schedule, and to construct a list of objectives specific to the intern’s assignment.  Progress on these objectives will be assessed on a regular basis, and a final written report will be presented to the intern upon completion of their project.

Learning Objectives in plan:  The intern will have the opportunity to vastly expand his/her background knowledge in a wide range of natural history topics.  Additionally, they will learn many valuable teaching techniques applicable to any age group.  The intern will be invited to participate in educational staff trainings or any of the educator workshops that the staff regularly present, further building knowledge and skills.  All of this would be easily transferable to a career in conservation or environmental education.

-----