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The North Face Awards $2500 Grant To Mahwah Environmental Group

Earth Crew supports a national effort to increase outdoor exploration among Northern New Jersey youth

The North Face has awarded an Explore Fund grant to the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization for the Earth Crew volunteer program.

The Explore Fund’s mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding nonprofit organizations that are working to re-connect children with nature. By encouraging an active healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection of youth to the outdoors can be nurtured. Earth Crew volunteers throughout Northern New Jersey and parts of New York carry out monthly service events that bring youth and youth minded volunteers together to promote environmental sustainability and connect suburban residents both young and old to the natural world.

MEVO Earth Crew was selected from over five hundred applications
submitted for the first of two grant cycles in 2012, because of its continued pursuit of its goals of service, sustainability, and environment. Since The Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided $625,000 in grants to non-profits working to connect youth to the outdoors.

“MEVO is growing rapidly and we need all the help we can get!” says Eric J. Fuchs-Stengel, MEVO's founder. “This Explore Fund Grant will help MEVO keep growing and allow us to continue to make a difference in local communities. It
recognizes MEVO as part of a national movement to inspire youth to explore the outdoors and care about the natural environment and our impact on it.”

MEVO Earth Crew was established in 2008 to, “Carry out service events that heal the natural environment and engage people in stopping environmental degradation.” Since it’s founding, the program has engaged over 230 high school and college students in environmental service work. They have planned over 40 environmental service events ranging from tree plantings to trash clean-ups to hiking trail rehabilitation, to handing out over 2600 compact fluorescent light bulbs to Northern New Jersey homes. They have inspired
students to major and minor in environmental studies and science and have held school assemblies in the Mahwah middle and elementary schools which sought to promote recycling and environmentally smart practices in and out of school. To date, the organization has carried out over 3000 hours of cumulative service in North Jersey and 4000 hours of administrative service work.

Earth Crew’s high school student leaders have graduated and gone on to schools such as Cornell, Princeton, and New York University. As well, their students The North Face Explore Fund Awards Grant to Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, Inc. leaders have been honored with awards such as the , AXA Community Achievement Scholarship, and the GE Regan Scholarship.

MEVO’s approach to environmental service is truly unique in the North Jersey area. The organization is a full 501(c)(3) not-for-profit lead entirely by high school and college students with the only members over the age of 22 being on the Board of Directors. This type of youth lead incorporation is a unique experience for any student involved, giving them outstanding opportunity to get hands on management, event planning, administrative, and leadership experiences.

Student leaders such as the organization’s founder, Eric Fuchs-Stengel, train incoming student leaders on outreach via e-mail and social media, networking, grant applications, incorporation management, and selling the ability and effectiveness an organization of youth to adults and partner not-for-profits organizations. MEVO has been able to advance its mission exponentially with the support of several important partner organizations like the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the New Jersey Botanical Gardens, , Mahwah Environmental Commission, Mayor Bill Laforet, and Bergen County Department of Parks for a never ending amount of volunteer opportunities and service events. Mahwah Public Schools District, DoSomething.org and all of their staff, and Board members Rebecca Fuchs, Karin La Greca, and many other local and non-local citizens are also a source of constant support, advice, and recommendations to their students leaders.

“The Outdoor Foundation has identified that a barrier to getting youth outdoors is lack of opportunity for kids to learn about and actually get to outdoors. We believe this has to happen at a grass roots, community level,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Participation at The North Face. “During the granting process, we make a conscious effort to reflect on what we refer to as the virtuous cycle. We first need to provide the opportunity for kids to get outside and play. If we can provide them with an initial positive experience outdoors, they will grow up inspired to care about their natural world.”

MEVO Earth Crew has been volunteering since 2008 and carries out volunteer service projects three weekends a month on Saturday or Sunday. They are currently recruiting new high school and college students leaders for 2012 - 2013 school year. To learn more about MEVO and Earth Crew visit www.mevoearth.org or e-mail mevo@mevoearth.org. For more information about The North Face Explore Fund, please visit www.explorefund.org.

The above is a release submitted to Patch by MEVO.

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Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Jessica Mazzola at jessica.mazzola@patch.com. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Suzanne Curry June 12, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Congratulations to MEVO. They are a great group fostering environmental awareness to high school kids and up.

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