The Heart of New Jersey

New Jersey is often perceived with negative connotations, but there’s a special side to it that a lot of people don’t know about. The Pinelands is a vast area in South Jersey, spreading over 1 million acres. It protects a pine barrens ecosystem and houses an array of wildlife and habitats, but what makes it a true gem is that underneath the forest floor is a 17 trillion gallon aquifer that offers some of the purest water in the nation to its residents. Unfortunately, the ecosystem is sensitive to human interactions like development, using pesticides, and more.

My thesis is meant to consolidate the extensive information available about the Pinelands and make it a little easier to get through for those who haven't heard of it, or for those who have and want a comprehensive overview to use as a reminder of their roots or a way to educate the people they meet. I've interviewed John Volpa, Director of Education at Pinelands Adventures, an initiative of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Mike Scullion, Land Steward at the Nature Conservancy in Southern New Jersey, and Ryan Rebozo, Director of Conservation Science at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, to help guide my information.

I hope my thesis can help clear up New Jersey's bad reputation and raise awareness of the factors that are threatening the ecosystem and the plants and animals that live in it, and possibly inspire viewers to be more environmentally-friendly.

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