SANDY HOOK – The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s (NJSGC) headquarters at Sandy Hook is now home to a new rain barrel installation project that resulted from a team effort of the consortium, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program and the Boy Scout Troop 201 in Rumson, New Jersey.
The project was coordinated by Scout Ethan Sackett of Rumson as part of a service project requirement necessary to receive the Eagle Scout award, one of the highest honors in scouting.
The service activity is a central component of the Eagle Scout award process, which involves developing and leading an initiative to help institutions or organizations within the Scout’s community. Sackett, whose mother is an educator at NJSGC, chose to work with the consortium after learning about its interest and need for landscaping improvements at the organization’s Sandy Hook office building.
Part of the plan included incorporating rain barrels into the landscaping to provide an even greener method of irrigating the newly planted native shrubs.
Sackett took the lead on the project, obtaining three barrels as a donation from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the consortium. Additional materials for the project were donated by Twin Industries of Monmouth County, which supplied all the landscaping materials; and Home and Land Development Inc., which donated landscape edging, tools and equipment needed for the project.
Sackett also worked closely with NJSGC Water Resources Agent Amy Boyajian, who assisted him in the planning of the barrel installations.
The planning process began last September and reached fruition this spring when Sackett and a 40-person volunteer team of family, friends, scouts, and NJSGC staff installed the rain barrels and made a significant number of landscape and ground improvements to the exterior of Building No. 22 over the course of two weekends. “Developing the project was a great experience,” Sackett said. “I learned what it’s like to be a leader. The experience taught me how to be better organized and drastically improved my communication skills, as I had to relay messages to both the volunteers and members of the consortium.”
The rain barrels, which hold approximately 50 gallons, will harvest rainwater that will be used to maintain and nourish the organization’s landscaping, including native species shrubberies donated and planted by New Jersey Natural Gas in 2010.
Sackett’s Scout leaders are currently meeting to evaluate the project and decide on Sackett’s Eagle Scout award. Sackett is hoping to receive his Eagle Scout award by the end of the summer, which marks the 100-year anniversary of the first Eagle Scout award presented in September 1912.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment. NJSGC meets its mission through its research, education and outreach programs.
Additional information about NJSGC is available at njseagrant.org.