By: Kimberly Redmond
Roxbury Township Public Schools scored more than $20,000 in grants to initiate green-minded, eco-friendly programs in the classroom.
Under the latest round of Sustainable Jersey for Schools funding, Roxbury received six grants altogether, more than any other district in the Garden State. It was also the only district in Morris County awarded funds.
The grants, which were announced in early February, distributed $180,000 to 39 districts across the state to support a variety of projects such as building outdoor classrooms, launching innovative recycling initiatives and creating student green teams.
In Roxbury, the district will use its $10,000 grant to further educational outreach by hosting two expos.
The first, scheduled for next month, will give students a chance to present sustainability projects they’ve worked on this year.
In the fall, the district plans to hold another event that includes outside organizations, businesses and groups to teach about various green topics. The expo will include information booths, classes, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages, according to the district.
Roxbury also won five $2,000 grants, the majority of which will fund a “sustainable business enrichment after school program” for students at its four elementary schools: Jefferson, Franklin, Kennedy and Nixon, according to the district.
The remaining $2,000 grant will be used at Lincoln/Roosevelt school to create an outdoor garden and composting project.
Launched in 2008, Sustainable Jersey aims to encourage districts initiate more green programs and activities.
It also helps districts make more progress toward their Sustainable Jersey certification. Through the certification program, municipalities and schools are provided training, tools and funding as they pursue sustainability programs.
To date, $1.7 million has been given to the 840 schools and 325 districts in New Jersey that are participating in the program.
In a press release announcing the latest grant recipients, Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Soloman said, “Our state’s students and teachers continue to inspire me with their passion for sustainability and commitment to New Jersey’s future. We are proud to support their efforts with grant money to help realize their vision.”
Altogether, the New Jersey Education Association has provided $1 million to support grants through the Sustainability Jersey for Schools program, according to officials.
NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller said the organization was “honored to continue to work with Sustainable Jersey on this important program that directs resources into our schools.”
He added: “Every day in the news we hear more and more about the importance of recycling and creating eco-friendly products, as well as the value of using sustainable resources. Our job as educators is to prepare the next generation with the skills, information and resources to become engaged citizens and leaders in our efforts to protect and save the planet.”
As of this year, all seven schools in Roxbury, have earned bronze certification through the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program.
Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic said she was “very proud” of their efforts to forward sustainability and said the initiatives being funded under the latest grant cycle will help support the district’s vision “to prepare our children of today for tomorrow.”