Certification Project Details and Guidelines
Students are certified as Rutgers Environmental Stewards once they’ve completed 60 hours of classroom instruction and a 60 hour certification project based in their community. The certification project is one the Steward develops with guidance from the program coordinator. The project helps Stewards get real life experience tackling local and statewide environmental issues that contribute to or result from climate change. The culmination of certification is at our Annual Impact Summit where Stewards presents their project to a live audience via oral or poster presentation.
Certification project guidelines are as follows:
- Can be done individually or as part of a team;
- Can be done with a host organization or can be done on one’s own;
- Should match volunteer’s skill and ability and personal interests to assure satisfaction and effectiveness;
- Must be environmentally related;
- Should be achievable within an approximately 60 hour time-frame;
- Must achieve clear, measurable objectives;
- There must be a clear need for the project and outcome must produce benefits beyond personal wellbeing;
- Host organizations must agree to provide appropriate support, guidance and written evaluation in a timely fashion;
- The Rutgers Environmental Stewards must be represented on all promotional material for the project. For example, flyers should include the program logo and press releases should include the program as a partner along with a brief program description.
Stewards can organize and complete their project on their own or with a host organization, such as a local non-profit or government agency. Requests for assistance from host organizations are passed on to Stewards as potential projects. Planning for the community-based project is woven into the course portion of the program. Ideas are discussed throughout the course and specific classes are dedicated for planning purposes. Stewards must complete the program’s project planning form, and have it approved by the coordinator and host organization (if using one) prior to getting started.
Steward internship projects have focused on:
- Mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks
- Restoring native vegetation that improves habitat
- Completing habitat assessments of local streams
- Organizing a climate change symposium
- Reducing food waste in schools and restaurants
- Restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities
- Creating rain gardens that reduce rainwater
- Illustrating children’s books on an environmental theme
- Creating a photography show to draw attention to the Pinelands, pipeline issues, and climate change
- Surveying Osprey nests to determine population health
- and many other topics.
Stewards are encouraged to complete their certification within a year of completing the classroom portion of the program.
Use the Steward Project Database to explore all projects done in a particular subject area such rain gardens, bluebird habitat, invasive species removal, or climate change awareness. Our database allows you to search keywords to help you connect with ongoing projects such as Osprey monitoring on the Jersey shore or water quality monitoring along the Raritan River. Use the database to find projects and stewards focusing on reducing recycling contamination, improving storm water runoff issues, developing a guide for a local park and more. The database is meant to help you connect with other Stewards and draw inspiration from what they have accomplished.
Are you an organization that needs help from an Environmental Steward? Contact Michele Bakacs, the state program coordinator, with your ideas for internship projects.