Mr. Bauer's AP Environmental Science students and Ms. Vorwerk's STEM - Environmental Sustainability students recently took a field trip to the Rutgers EcoComplex Research facility and the Burlington County landfill site in Mansfield Township. The EcoComplex is known as the "clean energy innovation center," and is located adjacent to the Burlington County Landfill. The goal and mission of the EcoComplex is as follows:
"Clean Energy and Environmental innovations can serve as a springboard for economic development, environmental sustainability and social equity. The EcoComplex is dedicated to moving inventions from the lab to real-world applications as successful innovations in our state's businesses and industries, and to promoting New Jersey as a center for alternative energy and environmental innovations and enterprises.
The EcoComplex has a mission to address the pressing clean/alternative energy, environmental, solid waste, and resource-recovery issues faced in New Jersey and beyond. It also serves as a hub of education and outreach for the clean/alternative energy and environmental community."
Students started their tour with a talk on the history of the building and the "green building design" of the complex itself. They learned about the entire campus and the many environmental studies done on the campus. They then took the bus to various locations to learn about the Burlington County landfill, where our trash goes, and how it is designed to have minimal impact on the environment, while producing and taking advantage of huge amounts of natural gas that powers the entire complex and over 6,000+ homes. They learned about how the county disposes of toxic waste today. The environmental science students also got a tour of the county's compost building, where they turn sludge from wastewater treatment systems into natural fertilizer by adding ground up recycled wood and microorganisms. The students took a tour of the greenhouse on site as well, which uses hydroponics in an environmentally sustainable way to maximize plant yields while using minimal resources. They also got a close up look at where our every day trash goes, and how the county disposes of it and ensures that it does not infiltrate our soil or water. It was a very educational trip and the students enjoyed it!