Local Toms River Schools Receive Sustainability Grants

Photo courtesy Toms River School District

TOMS RIVER – Sustainable Jersey for Schools recently announced that 46 New Jersey schools and school districts have been selected to receive grants funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). There were eleven $10,000 grants and thirty-five $2,000 grants that were distributed to fund a variety of sustainability projects in schools.

“This is an important program that directs resources into our schools and NJEA is proud to continue to work with Sustainable Jersey,” said NJEA Vice President Sean Spiller in a press release. “It is our job to help create a new generation of engaged citizens and leaders. We help ensure that we leave a better world for our students when we emphasize the value of sustainability.”

Of the 46 schools chosen, two schools from Toms River received grants. Toms River High School South received $10,000 and Toms River Intermediate East received $2,000.

The Toms River High School South project proposal was led by science teacher Christine Girtain. The school plans to partner with the Bordenstein Lab at Vanderbilt University to allow Authentic Science Research (ASR) students to participate in the Wolbachia Summer Research Project. This research project is a local and international initiative that contributes to the national Wolbachia database. This project will teach these students a specific aspect of sustainability while providing them with a great opportunity to work in a university lab environment.

The sustainability project at Intermediate East, led by teacher Kelly Natke, will help to update the school’s greenhouse with a heater, planter boxes and irrigation supplies. The fruits and vegetables harvested in the greenhouse will be used in the school’s cafeteria and cooking classes, showing students how sustainability can be practiced in their own lives.

“To have two of our schools earn Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants during this cycle is a testament to our district’s commitment to student-centered education and a sustainable future,” said Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent David Healy. “The greenhouse and garden project at Intermediate East and the Wolbachia Summer Research Project at High School South represent two diverse, innovative, and engaging initiatives that will have a lasting impact on our students. We are grateful to Sustainable Jersey, NJEA, and the regional partners that make outstanding opportunities like this possible.”

These newly received grants alongside Toms River Township’s Green Team have helped the township earn $36,000 in Sustainable Jersey grants in just the past year.

“Congratulations to the grant recipients. Sustainable Jersey for Schools aims to empower schools with the funding needed to implement important sustainability actions,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey. “We look forward to the completion of these projects and the ongoing efforts of these schools and school districts. The NJEA-funded grants allow communities to come together to improve outcomes for students, staff and the environment.”