Montclair, N.J. – Watchung Elementary School was selected to receive a $10,000 2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grant funded by the New Jersey Education Association. Drury Thorp, Watchung’s STEAM and environmental science teacher, Principal Patrick Krenn, and parent volunteer, Sarah Paulsen, submitted the grant proposal for “The Connected Courtyard” project.
The Connected Courtyard project will turn Watchung’s overgrown inner courtyard into a thriving space that will feature a native plant garden, bird and beneficial insect habitat, and outdoor classroom with STEAM centers. Thorp and Paulsen crafted the vision for the project; Watchung’s Green Team, including the Montclair Garden Club and Twig and Vine Design worked together on the landscape design.
“Whether collaborating on STEAM projects to solve real world problems, hosting a community speaker series, or learning about the interdependence of species, Watchung School’s Connected Courtyard will be a place for students and the community to connect with the natural world in meaningful ways,” said Thorp.
Sustainable Jersey for Schools strives to connect participating schools and districts with financial and technical resources to successfully complete actions and make progress towards a sustainable future. Grants not only provide crucial financial support for projects that might otherwise not materialize, but also enable schools to complete actions that contribute toward certification, a prestigious designation to help schools and districts pursue a balanced sustainability program one policy, program, or resource audit at a time.
Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a certification program for public schools in New Jersey. Launched in October 2014, Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a program of Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward schools as they pursue sustainability programs. The process is one hundred percent voluntary and each school can choose whether it wants to get certified and the actions it wants to do in order to achieve enough points to get certified.