Monday, July 16, 2012

Applications Being Accepted for Watershed Ambassadors Program

New Jersey is looking for its next generation of environmental leaders, young people with a hands-on desire to improve their state and the quality of life for all of our residents. Some of those future leaders are likely to be found in the Department of Environmental Protection's AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors Program, which is now seeking recruits for its 2013 class.

Coordinators are currently accepting applications for the next group of AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors through Aug 17. There are 20 potential watershed management areas across the state where an ambassador can be placed. Ambassadors work with all sectors of society to improve the quality of New Jersey’s waterways, nurturing community-based environmental activities, and empowering State residents to make responsible and informed decisions regarding their watersheds.

“Individuals who are selected for the Watershed Ambassadors program go through a rigorous training program that prepares them to work in the environmental field, particularly in the area of water resources,” said Jill Lipoti, DEP’s Division of Water Monitoring and Standards Director. "Ambassadors have proven to be extremely valuable resources in assisting the State in fill water quality information gaps.”

The DEP began hosting this federal AmeriCorps program in 2000. AmeriCorps is a national service initiative that began in 1993 and is also known as the domestic Peace Corps. The organization recently announced grants for programs, nationwide. New Jersey’s Watershed Ambassador Program was a recipient and received $260,000 in federal funding for 2013.

Ambassadors are expected to complete 1,700 hours of service in a 10 to 12 month period. In return, they receive a living stipend of up to $12,100 over the course of the term; eligibility for health benefits during this period; and training prior to and throughout their term of service.

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

In 2012, 20 individuals served as the DEP’s AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors. Current accomplishments to date include:

Nearly 600 visual and biological assessments completed:
  • Second year implementation of a new protocol for assessment of 100 lakes and 20 climate change stations;
  • 1,163 volunteers trained in the DEP’s visual and biological assessment protocols;
  • 1,294 educational watershed demonstrations performed reaching 25,944 people;
  • Engaged in community watershed projects generating about 7,000 stewardship hours;
  • Served as captains for Governor Christie’s Barnegat Bay Blitz initiative;
  • Serve as captains for Delaware River and Bay – Dash for the Trash Cleanups to commemorate National AmeriCorps Week

Interested applicants for the 2012-2013 Program should apply by August 17 online or by sending a resume and cover letter to the address on the website nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2012/12_0076.htm

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