Students Gain Watershed Management Experience Through Raritan Scholars Project

Initiatives | News | Raritan River Initiatives

The Raritan Scholars program provides Rutgers students with internships related to watershed management in the Raritan River watershed. The program was originally proposed in 2013 by Dr. Judy Shaw, who then worked for the Bloustein School and coordinated the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative (SRRI). The course has been taught by Dr. Daniel Van Abs, a member of the Human Ecology Department at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, since its inception in the 2013 Spring semester.

According to Dr. Van Abs, “the fundamental goal [of Raritan Scholars] is to provide students with an opportunity to develop and complete a substantive project under the guidance of an internship sponsor, so that they can experience the work experience and better understand the value of watershed management.” Raritan Scholars students gain work experience, professional connections, and a better understanding of the watershed management field. Former Raritan Scholars students have gone on to careers in watershed management and related fields, with former students working for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SBMWA) , the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the National Parks Service.

Raritan Scholars partners include the SRRI, the Raritan Headwaters Association, the NY/NJ Baykeeper, the SBMWA, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, the Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Duke Farms, Somerset County government and often other county and municipal governments. Ongoing projects include the development of a public education website for Raritan Headwaters, which provides information about more than 50 subwatersheds, and the development of chapters for the Somerset County Environmental Resource inventory. Internship positions have included, water quality monitoring, farmland and open space preservation, and public education and outreach.

Raritan Scholars is open to Rutgers undergraduate students of all majors. Students who would like to participate in the course and organizations interested in becoming Raritan Scholars partners should contact Dr. Van Abs at