VINELAND, N.J. – Eleven high school students from Camden County, N.J. learned about environmental remediation, large-scale construction, and the importance of problem solving during a visit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District.
USACE hosted the students at the Vineland Chemical Company Superfund Site in Cumberland County, N.J. Students are participants in the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority Green Intern Program, which empowers students to visit with science and environmental-focused organizations throughout South Jersey and the Delaware Valley.
“We wanted the students to learn about environmental cleanup and some of the elements involved with a complex, multi-year construction project such as teamwork and problem solving,” said Heather Jensen, a biologist and Strategic Planner for the USACE Philadelphia District. “I think they also walked away with a better understanding of various career opportunities in science and engineering.”
Several USACE Philadelphia District employees participated in the tour. Project Engineer Steve Creighton explained the history of environmental remediation at the Vineland Chemical Company Superfund Site and described some of the processes used to clean up arsenic contamination. Project Manager Eric Charlier emphasized that some projects can take years to complete because of different challenges and variables encountered. Laura Bittner, chief of Hydrology and Hydraulics, spoke with students about how her section studies groundwater movement and its effects on contamination.
The visit with the Army Corps of Engineers is one of many during the five-week, intensive summer program. Other partner organizations include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Rutgers University, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
“We are learning about things that I had not heard about before – everyday it has been something new,” said Brianna, an eleventh-grade student who aspires to be a zoologist.
Quashaune, a 10th grader, asked questions about how USACE cleans sand and soil at the site. Many of the students were interested in the different career paths of USACE employees.
Students will be recognized for their efforts as part of the Green Intern Program and present their experiences to program hosts, family and friends during an Aug. 7 event at the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority building.