Sweet news as Stockton’s maple project expands

stockton maple main

Growing up in Absecon, Debby Sommers loved being outside.

“I loved nature as a kid, but we didn’t call it that. It was just going outside,” said the retired Galloway Township Middle School science teacher. “We fished and crabbed and watched turtles lay their eggs and ducks bring their babies up so we could feed them Cheerios.”

But she said wasn’t taught about the Pine Barrens or environmental science until she went to college.

“It wasn’t until I went to Stockton that I fell in love with environmental science and learned to appreciate the unique ecosystems we live in,” said the 1977 graduate.

Part of that unique ecosystem is the Stockton Maple Project. The program began three years ago and is funded by two U.S. Department of Agriculture grants totaling more than $900,000 to promote maple sugaring in South Jersey.

Now as the education specialist for the project, Sommers can give back to her alma mater.

She was hired in September and has used her extensive contacts from 31 years of teaching science in sixth through eighth grades to establish a flourishing outreach program with at least 15 South Jersey schools.