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  • Kate Munning

2019 Recipients of Scholarships Selected

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is dedicated to supporting the next generation of New Jersey environmentalists and pleased to announce this year’s recipients of their two prestigious environmental scholarships. The foresight of their members and Trustees has enabled them to offer two scholarships each year to deserving college students from New Jersey planning environmental careers in their home state.

The 2019 recipients of the Rogers Family Scholarship, Xena Itzkowitz of Manalapan, and the Russell W. Myers Scholarship, Michael Allers of Frenchtown, have not only achieved academic excellence, but embody many values of the organization, including leadership and a passion for protecting our natural resources.

A Rutgers University and Raritan Valley Community College student, Michael Allers first established himself as a small business owner after graduating from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington. As the operator of Rain Fed Gardens Michael designed rain catchment systems for residential clients working to conserve water and build healthy soils. “I am now broadening my horizons to tackle larger systems and to have a greater impact on the overall health of New Jersey’s ecosystems,” explained Michael. “As a restoration ecologist my goal will be to return wetlands, estuaries, and coastal systems to a healthy equilibrium to sustain our native organisms and provide ecological benefits to residents of and visitors to our state.” While majoring in Environmental Studies at Rutgers Michael hopes to complete scientific SCUBA diving courses that will enable him to perform valuable assessments for dam removal and coastal restoration projects.

Michael has interned with both the RVCC Center for Ecological Studies and the Musconetcong Watershed Association. The Land Conservancy has helped to protect a portion of the Musconetcong watershed through its work on the Lubbers Run Greenway.

A graduate of Freehold Township High School, Xena Itzkowitz is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from The United Nations University for Peace while simultaneously completing a Master of Arts in International Relations from American University. Her interest is in securing reliable and potable water for all and so she is deeply concerned about plastic pollution, particularly the rising concentrations of microplastics in our freshwater resources. “Microplastics are tiny, often invisible, pieces of plastic that have now been found to be in every body of water on the planet,” Xena explained. “We have one planet and a significant responsibility to undo the harm we have done to it. It will take genuine effort and drive to reverse the damage that has been done. The good news is that we still can.”

A Phi Beta Kappa inductee, Xena is also a certified LEED Green Associate and previously served as President of American University’s Beekeeping Society. While her research and studies have taken her abroad to both Costa Rica and Norway, Xena is a lifelong resident of New Jersey and hopes to positively impact New Jersey’s environment through a career in science communication. Russell W. Myers was the first Director of the Morris County Park Commission and is the founder of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey. The Rogers Family Scholarship was established by Conservancy Trustee Emeritus Gray Rogers and his wife, Mollie, to expand the non-profit organization’s educational support for outstanding students dedicated to a greener, healthier future for New Jersey. Since 1983 The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has awarded $255,000 in scholarship funds as well as provided more than 102 paid internships. Applications for the 2020 Scholarships will be available at by January 1. This year’s scholarships totaled $15,000.

Below: Michael Allers taking discharge measurements on the Musconetcong River at Mt. Joy in Holland Township, NJ and Xena Itzkowitz conducting an assessment of trees to determine their carbon-capture capacity.

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