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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2013

Contact: Bob Considine (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION CELEBRATES 43rd ANNIVERSARY OF EARTH DAY;
A HOST OF EARTH WEEK EVENTS FOCUS ON SANDY RECOVERY

(13/P39) TRENTON – The Christie Administration is celebrating the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day by hosting a variety of green events across New Jersey this week to highlight the importance of preservation and protection of the state’s critical natural resources that enhance our quality of life.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials are joining local residents and students this week in these wide-ranging celebrations, which include everything from hikes, litter cleanups, beach sweeps, garden and tree plantings, rain barrel workshops, environmental fairs, recycling and clean air events, and numerous educational programs.  Many of the events this year focus on Governor Christie’s commitment to recovery and environmental protections from future storms following historic Superstorm Sandy.

“The leadership that is radiating from communities, organizations, schools and businesses on Earth Day and all of this week is inspiring,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Earth Day is a day to bring people together to appreciate and protect our environment, and it serves as a reminder that our natural resources should not be taken for granted. This year, as we still recover from Superstorm Sandy, it’s more important than ever to restore and rebuild the natural resources and open spaces that we work so hard to protect.”

Many groups are focusing on repairing trails damaged by the storm, cleaning up post-Sandy debris from waterways, and focusing on education as part of their Earth Day festivities. If you’re interested in finding an Earth Day or Earth Week event in your area, the DEP has assembled and posted an Earth Week Events calendar, detailing more than 80 fairs, cleanups and celebrations across the state. The Earth Week calendar can be found at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/seeds/earthday/april.htm

DEP staff participated in several events across the state today, including:

  • Paterson Great Falls National Park, where the falls were temporarily shut down to allow local high school students in this Passaic County city to clean up litter.
  • Rider University Earth Day Celebration, where an outdoor event is showcasing stewardship and sustainability initiatives on campus.
  • The Willow School in Gladstone, a 2012 DEP Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards winner, which is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center.
  • Summerfield Elementary School in Neptune, where fourth and fifth graders are conducting environmental science lessons for pre-K students.
  • Bergen County Technical High School in West Teterboro, which is hosting forums on environmental protection priorities on what students can do to help the environment and to foster potential environmental careers.

“Those of us who help protect the environment and educate others to do so often exclaim that ‘Earth Day is everyday’,” said Tanya Oznowich, DEP’s Environmental Education Supervisor. “I believe that is true. But it often takes someone’s first fulfilling Earth Day experience to introduce that curious and busy citizen to a lifelong commitment to stewardship and environmental protection.”

Since America's first official Earth Day on April 22, 1970 – also the birth date of the New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection – New Jersey has become one of the leaders in recognizing environmental problems and developing creative solutions. The state was the third in the country to consolidate existing past programs into a unified major state agency to administer aggressive environmental and conservation efforts.

Earth Day is celebrated in a variety of ways by schools, communities, parks and nature centers, organizations, companies, businesses, municipalities, families, volunteers, youth groups, and individuals.

In a recent proclamation, Governor Christie declared that Earth Day “symbolizes the importance our Nation places on environmental stewardship and serves to unify all of us on the practice of environmental protection each and every day.” To view Governor Christie’s proclamation, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/seeds/earthday/images/edproc13.pdf

For more information on Earth Day and Earth Week in New Jersey, visit www.earthdaynj.org

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Last Updated: April 22, 2013