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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)August 12, 2003

(Mahwah) – Officials of Ramapo College of New Jersey and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission today announced a collaborative effort in environmental education that will educate New Jersey’s students about the Meadowlands and foster the Meadowlands Environment Center as the premier environment center in New Jersey.

I’m very excited about the opportunity this initiative affords Ramapo College to expand on our three-decades-long history as a leader in environmental education and research. While continuing to serve the constituents who already are familiar with the innovative work of the Center, we will extend the Center’s reach to new audiences and under-served populations,” said Dr. Rodney D. Smith, Ramapo’s president.

Susan Bass Levin, chair of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and commissioner of the NJ Division of Community Affairs, is especially pleased about the collaboration with Ramapo College. The Commission, under the guidance of Governor McGreevey’s Smart Growth principles, is about embracing the communities around us and forming partnerships that will enhance our lives and the lives of generations to come. The expertise and enthusiasm that Ramapo College will bring to the Meadowlands Environment Center will help us solidify and expand the wonderful work that the Environment Center is famous for,” said Levin.

Ramapo College will expand the environment center’s outreach role, develop new curricula and programs that span the spectrum of K-12, undergraduate, graduate and continuing education. Also planned is the creation of a viable and robust education-based network with school districts and in-service teacher-enhancement programs. The facilities of the Meadowlands Environment Center will be utilized to offer on-site classes toward Ramapo’s Master of Science in Educational Technology degree. The initiative will include undergraduate cooperative learning experiences and a one-year post-baccalaureate fellowship in environmental education.

I look forward to the relationships we will build with students and faculty from nearby districts as well as those around the state, and to enhancing the use of technology to broaden the reach of the Center,” says Dr. Angela Cristini, director of Ramapo’s graduate program in educational technology and the Center for Technology Enhanced Education. She will oversee the work of the MEC. She adds: Ramapo will work to expand partnerships that enable us to apply for federal and state funding for environmental education. Meadowlands Environment Center programs will take advantage of the research generated by the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) to make their results available and usable throughout the state.” Dr. Victoria Madden, former science supervisor of the Paterson School District and an assistant professor at William Paterson University, is the Center’s project director.

The discussion with Ramapo to provide educational programming is, according to Robert Ceberio, executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, a strategic approach to expand our programming into areas of environmental education that we have never pursued.”

Ramapo College is uniquely qualified to assume responsibility for operating the educational component of the Meadowlands Environment Center.

  • The College has been the recipient of major grants from the National Science Foundation to enhance K-12 teachers’ knowledge of watershed issues and chemicals in the environment. In the last 10 years, several thousand teachers have participated in Ramapo College-sponsored programs.
  • Ramapo College was the first educational institution in the state to install fuel cells, a green” energy source that now powers two residence halls and a dining/conference facility and provides an uninterrupted power source for college computing.
  • With the help of a federal FIPSE grant, the College has infused environmental issues in courses throughout the curriculum.
  • Ramapo faculty have been awarded federal grants to examine contaminated communities and the effects of organic chemicals on marine estuarine animals.
  • Over a five year period, the College coordinated and served as host to the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Conference, bringing experts on such topics as global climate change and sustainability to present their research and solutions to environmental issues.
  • The College continues to be a leader in the fields of environmental science and environmental studies.

This exceptional facility and the programs generated here will broaden the concept of environmental education, inspiring educators and students alike, while creating an ideal site for lifelong learning,” concludes Smith.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, home of the Meadowlands Environment Center, has created public parks and recreation facilities in the Meadowlands for the past 25 years. Projects include nature preserves, hiking tails, wildlife habitats, a butterfly garden and launch areas for boats and canoes. The Commission is empowered with regional planning and zoning authority to ensure the environmental protection and enhancement of the Meadowlands District.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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