Somerset County Conservationist Is Newest Subject of NJ PBS’s 21 Digital Film Series

Now streaming at MyNJPBS.org/21

September 22, 2022—NEWARK, NJ — NJ PBS announced that an environmental steward in Somerset County, Cindy Ehrenclou, is the newest subject of the digital film series, 21, streaming at MyNJPBS.org/21.

Produced by NJ PBS’s NJ Spotlight News team, the 21 digital film series investigates life in New Jersey and whether where you live affects how you live through the stories of change-making residents in each Garden State county. The short documentaries, 6 to 10 minutes, are accompanied online by snapshots that provide statistics, resources and other essential information about each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

In the new episode Somerset County, viewers meet Bedminster native Ehrenclou, an avid kayaker and birder who has spent decades engaged in environmental conservation.  After initially focusing on land preservation, she switched her concentration to the importance of maintaining and checking water quality in streams in the wake of a changing climate and especially after storms, specifically working to preserve clean water in the Upper Raritan Watershed and other areas across Somerset County.  To that end, she is the executive director of Raritan Headwaters, and serves on the Raritan Basin Alliance, New Jersey Land Trust Network, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative Steering Committee, among other groups.

“It’s very important for people to know where their water comes from because it affects their health,” Ehrenclou says in the film. “There is a very strong connection between preserving land and protecting clean water. Our goal (at Raritan Headwaters) is to become a resource, share our expertise, make sure towns are armed with what they need to make good land use decisions.  We really have to be able to tell people how they can be better stewards of the Watershed without intimidating them.”

Among the organization’s efforts to educate and be a catalyst for change are community events, well testing, and teaching the public about eco-friendly choices like using less fertilizers on their properties and leaving some of the landscape wild.

Part of Ehrenclou’s mission is also to inspire the next generation to take up environmental stewardship. In 1996, she founded the nature education program which gives kids from the state’s urban areas an opportunity to experience and learn about wild places.

“I am very passionate about getting kids into the outdoors,” she says in the film. “They are, after all, the future.  They’re going to be the problem solvers because we’ve kind of made a mess.”

She adds, “Every one of us can make a difference, and wouldn’t it be great if we knew how.”

To gain more insight into Ehrenclou’s life and mission, watch her interview on NJ PBS’s weeknight newscast, NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi, Friday, September 23 at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on NJ PBS (check local listings). News segments are available online at NJSpotlightnews.org.

To date, the 21 series has captured stories and statistics from AtlanticBergenBurlingtonCamdenCape MayEssexOceanPassaic and Sussex counties on its way to a line-up of all 21 in New Jersey. A community engagement component is also being planned to stimulate conversation about life in the Garden State.

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Cindy Ehrenclou of Somerset County is featured in NJ PBS's 21 digital film series