- Program Requirements
- Is the Environmental Steward Program right for you?
- Testimonials – What do graduates say about our program?
- REGISTER FOR THE 2024 CLASS
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A Rutgers Environmental Steward is a trained volunteer equipped with the necessary skills to comprehend and address the significant environmental challenges impacting New Jersey. These dedicated individuals possess the knowledge and expertise to understand and prepare for climate change while advancing just, equitable solutions within their community.
The program has trained over 1,200 volunteers since 2005 in areas concerning climate change, soil health, alternative energy, water resource protection, invasive species, habitat conservation, wildlife protection, pollinator health, environmental policy, and more.
Our program focuses on science and public policy based on that science. Stewards learn about the techniques and tools used to monitor and assess the health of the environment. They gain an understanding of the research and regulatory agencies operating in New Jersey that focus on environmental issues, climate change impacts, readiness and solutions. Stewards are introduced to a network of expert individuals and organizations who can be of service to them in the future as they work on solving local environmental problems.
Rutgers Environmental Stewards work on a diverse array of projects including; protecting Pine Snakes in the Pine Barrens, plastic waste reduction, collecting water quality data, streambank restoration, storm water management, building pollinator habitat and improving community awareness.
Stewards attend weekly online classes on topics taught by leading researchers from Rutgers, government, and the non-profit sector. Each region holds several in person classes, giving participants an opportunity to experience and address local issues. Optional fieldtrips are offered to environmentally significant locations in New Jersey. Classes run for 17 weeks starting in January. Read more about class details.
In order to become a Certified Environmental Steward, Stewards must complete a 60 hour community based project of their choosing. The project helps Stewards get real world experience working to solve environmental problems in their communities.
The classes, fieldtrips, and project do not replace a science degree, but the certificate provides Stewards with a solid foundation of knowledge and confidence when presented with real world environmental problems.
Is the Environmental Steward Program right for you?
Stewards are typically excited about science and the natural world around them, want to engage with their local policy makers, want to do their part to make a difference, and are self-starters. Many Stewards go on to become members of their local environmental commissions, green teams, and planning boards.
Anyone can become an Environmental Steward! Our Stewards are accountants, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, librarians, environmental commission members, teachers, mechanics, at home parents and a variety of other backgrounds.
You do not need an environmental degree. You simply need a passion for the environment, a desire to learn, and a willingness to volunteer to create positive change in your community.
It is our goal that Stewards use their knowledge to expand public awareness of scientifically based information related to climate change issues and help create positive change in their communities.
Rutgers Environmental Stewards are volunteers. This program does not offer a credential that you can use in for-profit activities or commercial endeavors. The Environmental Steward title cannot be used for political advocacy, nor can our Stewards engage in political advocacy as part of their internship projects.
We encourage Stewards to advocate for smart environmental policy based in scientific research.