What is the NJ School of Conservation, and why do I care about it?
Located in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County, the mission of the NJSOC is to cultivate and encourage responsible environmental stewardship through education, providing the tools to resolve persistent environmental problems and build stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities. As a nationally renowned leader in environmental education for over 70 years, the NJSOC has served thousands of researchers, graduate students, environmental educators, and students. NJSOC was a nationally significant research center partnered with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Endangered Species program, and utilized by researchers from several universities including Rutgers University, Montclair State University and Hofstra University.
The School of Conservation occupies land and facilities owned by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and had been managed by Montclair State University since 1981 — until last year when, during the pandemic, citing fiscal challenges, MSU abruptly turned in the keys to DEP and shared that it could no longer continue to provide this program. At that point, the Friends of NJSOC stepped into the breach!
Every year, the State of New Jersey provided funding to MSU to run the School. This year, the Friends are asking the State to continue that funding and I am excited to share that the Friends of the NJ School Of Conservation (NJSOC) has announced that Senator Bob Smith, L-17 and Assemblyman John McKeon L-27 have agreed to sponsor a $3 million budget resolution to fund the Friends’ work in operating, repairing infrastructure, and restoring programming at the NJSOC.
The New Jersey Highlands Coalition enthusiastically supports the NJ School of Conservation and want to see it succeed and thrive in fulfilling its mission. We ask for your help TODAY to pass this resolution so the programs at the NJSOC can be fully funded. Please reach out to your three legislators (Senator and two Assemblypersons) and ask them to support this budget resolution for the School of Conservation.
The New Jersey Legislature must finalize the budget by June 30, but may do so this year as soon as June 21. This means we need you to act NOW to tell your officials you want them to support the budget resolution.