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First Edition: July 29, 2022

Ramapo University Students Launch Climate Change Project at Meadowlands Environmental Center

(Mahwah, NJ) — Ramapo College Students and dozens of middle school students in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, got hands-on experience with climate change research this summer. The project, which launched an “artificial floating island” in the waters of the Meadowlands of the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) in DeKorte Park, was conducted in partnership with the Ridgefield Park School Board’s summer youth program involving students. 6th through 8th grade.

Subsidy Education, research and action to combat climate change This project was funded by private grantors and provided a means for Ramapo students to work and study at the Meadowlands Environmental Center (MEC) in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and the NJSEA Parks Authority.

The grant administrator, Dr. Angela Cristini, professor of biology at Ramapo College, said the project was a great opportunity for all involved. “The next generation of environmental scientists and educators had a hands-on, real-world learning experience that made a difference. We hope we can expand and grow these programs in the future.”

Ramapo student interns worked with World Sustainability Instructor Karin La Greca to develop module learning objectives and update the curriculum. They worked with MEC Disability Education Director Michele Daley to learn about her previous experience teaching this module and modify the activities to fit into her four 52-minute sessions offered at the MEC. Did. Interns built, tested, and modified prototypes ahead of their first session with middle school students in early July. They then worked with middle school students to create their own floating island.

artificial floating island (AFIs) are man-made floating structures and are recognized as successful tools for habitat restoration. AFIs serve a variety of functions, including water purification by absorption. Habitat for fish, birds and other organisms. breaking waves; and landscape improvement. AFI creates small ecosystems above water and floats wetlands. Two of the biggest benefits are improved water quality and diverse habitats.

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Climate change is impacting harmful algal blooms, or algae overgrowth in water. Bloom occurs when excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) combine with sunlight and warm temperatures. They can have severe adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems, economies and human health. These floating marshes help reduce algae by circulating phosphorus and nitrogen.

NJSEA President and CEO Vincent Prieto said: “The artificial floating island project is an excellent example of how the MEC engages students in themes aligned with important current events such as climate change and sea level rise. He should be commended for his outstanding work and dedication to his students.”

As an NJSEA educational component, MEC teaches students in grades K-12 a variety of subjects including ecology, sustainability, chemistry, biology, physics, natural history, astronomy, healthy eating and nutrition. increase. Classes are taught by Ramapo College educators through a partnership with the NJSEA.

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