Alorah Bliese, a Vernon Township High School graduate, is this year’s New Jersey Watershed Ambassador for the Wallkill River in Sussex County. This month, her alma mater teamed up with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to show students how their advocacy of green infrastructure and environmental stewardship affects their community.
Bliese has a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and recently graduated from Montclair University with a master’s in marine biology and coastal science. Using a diagram model of the Wallkill River watershed, she led Vernon high school students in an interactive lesson where they were able to see how their daily actions affect local bodies of water.
She wanted the students to understand their place in a river community. She encouraged them to conserve water and reduce pollution, and to think critically about the world they live in and possible solutions to environmental problems. They discussed pollution and changing habitats.
Bliese’s lesson was especially important to the Green Team chapter at the high school, run by Cara Brown, a science teacher. This student-run environmental club, founded last year, focuses on making the school more eco-friendly. The club looks at the benefits of sustainability, both inside and outside the classroom. Their slogan is “Think Globally, Work Locally.”
For more information on the national AmeriCorps program, visit americorps.gov or nj.gov/dep/wms/bears/americorps.html.