ahec americorps watershed ambassadorPHOTO: Students in an advanced placement environmental science class at Henry Hudson Regional School classify macroinvertebrate samples by species. An Americorps Watershed Ambassador, Amy Chianucci (center) spoons out live animals as teacher Ms. Jessica Caruso (second from right, standing) observes. The photo was taken during a presentation at the school in April 2014.

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ — Students in the Henry Hudson Regional School district were given presentations on environmental science and stewardship during Earth Week by the Americorps Watershed Ambassador for Monmouth County. On April 20, 2015 Ruby Corman presented a program on macroinverterbrates for the students in the advanced placement environmental science class at Henry Hudson Regional School.

Macroinvertebrates are the larvae and nymphs of insects such as dragonflies, caddisflies, and mayflies, which help keep our environment balanced by eating harmful insects such as mosquitoes and by providing food for beneficial birds and wildlife. They also include crusteans such as crayfish and mollusks such as snails. They are important indicators of the water quality and habitat suitability for aquatic life.

Later in the day, Ms. Corman showed two fifth grade science classes at the Atlantic Highlands Elementary School the effects of litter and non-point sources of pollution on a watershed using a model. Using common household items, she simulated substances such as pesticides, animal wastes, motor oils, and fertilizers to demonstrate how they enter our waterways and storm sewers, flowing into Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays, and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.

The presentations have been sponsored by the Atlantic Highlands Environmental Commission and the borough’s Clean Communities program for the last three years to increase awareness of pollution in our watershed that affects our recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming as well as our freshwater reserves in underground aquifers.

Earth Day has been observed since 1970 as a day to emphasize the importance of a clean environment to all life on this planet. The New Jersey Clean Communities Program, administered by the NJ DEP, seeks to reduce litter in every municipality statewide, with the guidance of a Clean Communities Coordinator in every town. Environmental Commissions are required by law to be established in every town in the state to advise local governing bodies on issues affecting each town’s environmental legacy to future generations.

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For more information, contact the Atlantic Highlands Clean Communities Coordinator at 732-291-1444, or see the Clean Communities webpage on the Atlantic Highlands website under the tab “Government”.