NJDEP Seeks Americorps Watershed Ambassadors

Cultivating Future Environmental Leaders
Aug 01, 2018

The state Department of Environmental Protection is seeking 20 recruits for its 2018-19 class of AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors, a program that engages communities to protect and improve water quality. Watershed Ambassadors are the DEP’s facilitators in the field, collecting water quality information, giving presentations on clean water and championing partnership projects in which the public help make a difference in their communities.

“The AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program benefits the public in multiple ways, from training our future environmental leaders to educating communities about how to protect their water quality,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “These efforts engage many in the critical work of environmental protection and stewardship, adding to our overall quality of life.”

Applications for the 2018-19 class will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 31, or until all positions are filled. The state has 20 watershed management areas where ambassadors are placed with a host agency, which include watershed associations, soil conservation districts, municipal utilities authorities and county agencies.

According to the DEP, ambassadors work with all sectors of the public to improve the quality of N.J.’s waterways, foster community-based environmental activities and empower state residents to make responsible and informed decisions about their conduct and how it affects their local waterbodies and larger watersheds.

“AmeriCorps members come to us in September and graduate from the program in July,” Division of Water Monitoring and Standards Director Bruce Friedman said. “Throughout their 10 months of service, it’s remarkable to see all that they accomplish, engaging with N.J.’s communities and providing stewardship opportunities. As the program approaches its 19th year, the ambassadors continue to establish strong partnerships within the environmental community.These relationships strengthen our communities, and the ambassadors’ experience often leads to job opportunities after graduation.”

Through their partnerships, field work and thousands of presentations, ambassadors improve New Jersey communities by engaging citizens in science, stewardship and education. Members increase public awareness about the impact of litter and nonpoint source pollution on water quality, as well as the need to reduce nutrient sources such as fertilizers from reaching local waters.

Ambassadors are required to complete 1,700 hours of service over 10 or 11 months. Compensation includes a pretax annual stipend of $13,732; eligibility for health insurance benefits while serving as an ambassador; subsidized childcare, if qualified; deferment of qualified student loans during service; and extensive training throughout the program year. In addition, members are eligible to receive an education award of $5,920 upon successful completion of the program.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a bachelor’s degree and a valid driver’s license, and must have reliable transportation to get to and from field sites.

Those interested can apply to the New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program through the national AmeriCorps site. For more information, visit nj.gov/dep/wms/bears/americorps.htm or call program manager Amanda Lotto or supervisor Patricia Ingelido at 609-633-1441.

Send written queries via e-mail to NJWAP@dep.nj.gov. —J.K.-H.

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