Commission Achievements 2006-2012
Successful local initiatives help protect natural resources, health and open spaces
Asbury Park (Monmouth) 2007
Berkeley Heights (Union) 2006
Bethlehem Township (Hunterdon) 2006, 2007
Bradley Beach (Monmouth) 2009
Cape May Point (Cape May) 2010
Cape May Point (Cape May) 2009
Chatham Township (Morris) 2008
Cherry Hill (Camden) 2012
Cranford (Union) 2012
Cranford (Union) 2006
Cresskill (Bergen) 2009
East Brunswick (Middlesex) 2012
East Brunswick (Middlesex) 2006
Elk (Gloucester) 2007
Egg Harbor (Atlantic) 2006
Fanwood (Union) 2009
Hawthorne (Passaic) 2012
Hawthorne (Passaic) 2008
Hightstown (Mercer) 2012
Linden (Union) 2012
Long Hill (Morris) 2007
Manalapan (Monmouth) 2012
Manalapan (Monmouth) 2010
Mendham Township (Morris) 2006
Millburn (Essex) 2006
Millstone (Somerset) 2010
Montgomery (Somerset) 2009
Montville (Morris) 2008
Plumsted (Ocean) 2012
Princeton Joint, Township & Borough (Mercer) 2008
Roxbury (Morris) 2012
Roxbury (Morris) 2010
Secaucus (Hudson) 2012
Somerville (Somerset) 2012
Southampton (Burlington) 2010
Summit (Union) 2007
Verona (Essex) 2012
Verona (Essex) 2009
Voorhees (Camden) 2010
Washington Twp. (Gloucester) 2007
Westville (Gloucester) 2010
Westville (Gloucester) 2009
West Amwell (Hunterdon) 2008
Woolwich (Gloucester) 2007
Woodbridge (Middlesex) 2010
Asbury Park (Monmouth) Environment & Shade Tree Commission (2007)
A reactivated and re-energized Shade Tree Commission, now the Environment and Shade Tree Commission, is a partner in Asbury Park’s recent renaissance. Believing that restoration of the city’s tree canopy would raise residents’ morale and neighborhood pride, the commission, working with the Sierra Club’s Cool City Program and over 300 volunteers, planted 1,250 trees throughout the city’s residential areas and recreational spaces. The commission used door hangers to announce public meetings that informed residents about the project, which promoted partnerships among the City Council, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the school system, and led to a Memorial Tree Program, a Community Garden subcommittee and a weekly column in the local newspaper.
Using an ANJEC CD, the Commission produced a 30-minute Stormwater Basics video to help meet NJDEP educational requirements. Aired three times a week in August and September 2006 on the local community access channel’s Spotlight on Berkeley Heights program, the video covers
- The need to protect water;
- The importance of local watersheds;
- How to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff on local properties;
- The key role of trees to absorb excess nutrients and other pollutants, anchor the soil to reduce
erosions and diminish economic loss from flooding.
Working with the North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council (NJRC&D) the Commission put together a five acre riparian buffer planting project on Warren Rod & Gun Club property along the Wild and Scenic Musconetcong River. The buffer aims to help filter runoff from adjacent farmed property and to shade trout maintenance waters. NJRC&D obtained a $23,000 grant to install 1,250 trees and 250 shrubs, increasing the buffer from as little as 75 feet to 100-200 feet. The Commission recruited 40 volunteers to water, mulch and weed the area following a professional contractor’s installation and continues to monitor and implement a five-year maintenance program.
Because many township residents come from more built-up areas and are not used to rural living, the Commission decided to create a document that would explain country realities such as wells, septic systems, and coexisting with wildlife. The result, after three years of research and writing, was “Country Wisdom,” a 40-page 8 ½" x 11" booklet that provides information about the town’s natural resources and ordinances, and gives practical advice about living and in harmony with, the country. With the exception of printing and distribution, members of the Commission did all work on the document.
Bradley Beach (Monmouth) Environmental Commission (2009)
In 2008 and 2009, the Commission worked on Rain Garden Construction with Monmouth County Master Gardeners, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, NJ Department of Public Works (DPW), the school board, Shade Tree Commission and the Bradley Beach School Eco-Club to design and plant a 1400 square feet rain garden and outdoor classroom along the school's perimeter fence. The project required pavement removal and soil excavation. The group obtained project funding from the NJ Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.
Cape May Point (Cape May) Environmental Commission (2010)
Triangle Park Rain Garden
Under the leadership of the Environmental Commission, the site of a neglected historical monument that had become an eyesore and embarrassment was transformed into a pocket park and rain garden that now attracts garden and butterfly tours. The Commission recruited volunteers to plan the garden and raised funds to plant and maintain it. In the process, they had to remove a large concrete pad. The rain garden features a solar-powered bird fountain, a donated boat transformed into a planter, and many species of native plants that provide food and habitat for wildlife and local and migratory birds. The Triangle Park Rain Garden won the town’s 2010 Community Service Award for the project.
Cape May Point (Cape May) Environmental Commission (2009)
To create its Nature Guide, the Commission obtained funding from Cape May Point Taxpayers Association and the Cape May Point Civic Club. The full-color 12"x 24" folded brochure includes a reference map of the town and directions for two routes -- a Neighborhood Walk and a Beach Walk. The brochure explains the natural features to look for along each tour route, and includes many photos of the abundant bird and beach life, points of interest and a concise history of Cape May Point.
Township (Morris) Environmental Commission (2008)
After persuading the town council to support the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, the Chatham Environmental Commission followed up by carrying out the first action step of the Agreement - developing an Emissions Inventory for township operations. An important task, it established a baseline for setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and monitoring progress. An energy subcommittee of the Environmental Commission worked with the township administrator to record energy usage from bills and budget records. Using recognized protocols, the Commission translated natural gas, motor vehicle fuel and electricity units into carbon dioxide emissions. The Inventory presents CO2 emissions and energy cost information, and includes some recommendations for action. The Commission presented the Inventory to the township committee, which responded by making a commitment to investigate and implement energy-saving projects. The township has hired an architect to propose energy upgrades for the Administration Building.
Cherry Hill (Camden) Environmental Board (2012)
Rain barrel program
The Cherry Hill Environmental Board noticed erosion and other environmental issues arising from unmanaged stormwater, particularly at the Croft Farm Nature Area. With a grant from American Water they distributed nine rain barrels to each of three township schools. After students decorated the rain barrels that had been prepared by Girl Scouts, volunteers constructed a pollinator garden bed and installed the rain barrels. An additional nine rain barrels were decorated and installed at the Croft Farm Center. The group also developed a trail system on the property with a bridge built by an Eagle Scout.
Cranford (Union) Environmental Commission 2012
My Green Cranford web site
The Commission created its own web site, with the objective of being the “town square for all things green” in Cranford. The site has about 26 pages and attracts roughly 8500 visitors per month at an annual expense of $141. The site also features an electronic newsletter with Environmental Commission meeting updates, Green Team activities, events notices, ideas for sustainable living, a photo gallery of local wildlife and much more. The first successful campaign promoted through the web site was the Township’s expansion of plastics recycling by the Township, which led to the collection of four additional types of plastics at the recycling center. My Green Cranford also lists local businesses that qualified for certification in Cranford’s Green Business Program, and has a section that examines solutions to flooding from the Rahway River, a major issue for the community. Volunteer David DesRochers, a member of the Environmental Commission, manages the site.
Thanks to the Commission’s efforts over several years, in November 2005 the Cranford Township Committee enacted the first New Jersey municipal ordinance to require sustainable building standards for new township construction and existing buildings, based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Working with the Township Committee for several years on sustainability, the Commission conducted research, carried out an education program for officials, and proposed the ordinance. Cranford also encourages the use of LEED standards in redevelopment projects by offering density bonuses.
Cresskill (Bergen) Environmental Commission (2009)
To increase environmental stewardship for the Earthfest 2009, the Commission partnered with the Cresskill Educational Foundation on a celebration of Earth Day 2009, the first for Cresskill. They obtained participation from over 35 environmental or green exhibitors, provided displays and posters with green tips, a bike ride, a fun walk and clean-up of a nearby field and stream. The Earthfest attracted nearly 500 people, of which 150 participated in the bike ride and/or fun walk. They sold over 200 Earthfest t-shirts and reusable water bottles and over 150 reusable grocery bags. The $2,500 earned from sale of food and drinks was donated to the Educational Foundation.
To educate the public and gain support for environmental initiatives, the Commission created a web site in January 2005 to reach residents and inform them of the Commission’s many activities and events including lectures, bird counts, butterfly park walks and moth night events. Publicity through newspaper articles and GOOGLE searches quickly attracted site users, including more than 200 e-mail subscribers. Within the first year, the Commission expanded the website to include environmental travel information, photo scrapbook pages and video clips for people to display their nature pictures. The website has more than 170 links and by September 2006 hits grew to 11,000, including people from all 50 states, Washington, DC and 65 countries. The Commission is working on web versions of field guides and anticipating increasing use of the website.
The Commission obtained permission from the township to dedicate an old closed 14.7-acre landfill in the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) area as a township arboretum with passive recreation for local residents. The Commission
- Developed a phased plan;
- Partnered with the township’s alternative high school to obtain volunteers and teach students valuable work and life skills;
- Constructed a shed to house their library of recycled nature and gardening books and a museum of found old bottles;
- Designed and built a handicap accessible observation deck;
- Developed a curriculum to introduce young children to the great outdoors in a quiet, non-threatening way.
With funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to support learning experience on the use of solar power and construction, the Commission and students researched, designed a unique building with a handicapped accessible composting toilet, a work room and water tank. They also installed solar panels and drilled a totally solar-powered well. Future projects include creation of a solar-powered workroom on the site, a gazebo and greenhouse.
- Developed a township map, available on the municipal website, showing preserved open space and farmland;
- Reviewed development applications;
- Prepared ordinances for tree protection, Phase I site assessments, soil removal, and agricultural buffers;
- Advised the Township Committee and zoning officer on issues including a wetlands violation; and
- Planned and carried out the Township's first Arbor Day.
Fanwood (Union) Environmental Commission (2009)
In response to the Commission's request for help in creating a monarch butterfly sanctuary in the Fanwood Nature Center, Boy Scout Andrew Van Haasteren took on the garden as his Eagle Scout project for a Monarch Butterfly Way station. Consulting with the Commission, a Master Gardener and a Butterfly Garden Expert, Andrew devised a plan and organized volunteers to establish the habitat. A publicity campaign encouraged local businesses and residents to donate compost and vegetable discards. Master Gardeners of Union County donated plants and 42 volunteers helped plant 27 species in the 800 square feet plot, which has been certified as a Monarch Way Station. By summer 2008, 15 monarch caterpillars were spotted on the flowering plants. The Commission prepared an informative website and CD to promote the Way station.
Hawthorne (Passaic) Environmental Commission and Green Team (2012) Hawthorne interactive “Green Map”
Hawthorne’s Environmental Commission and Green Team created a map and campaign to promote exercise and wellness through safe walking and biking in the community. Partnering with residents, government, the Chamber of Commerce and the local historical society, they cataloged walking paths and community destinations in the Borough and engaged a local student to map them on the Green Map System. A local graphic artist converted the map into a downloadable and printable map, available on the Borough’s web site. The Environmental Commission launched the Green Map at its 20th Annual Cel-Earth-Bration fair, and promoted the walking/biking campaign through a “Where’s Waldo” promotion tied to use of the Green Map.
Hawthorne Borough (Passaic) Environmental Commission (2008) The Hawthorne Environmental Commission worked with its mayor and council and a local Eagle Scout to fund and implement improvements to Eight Acre Woods, a natural area owned by the borough. The Commission's goal was to increase environmental awareness among residents through opportunities to experience nature and view wildlife at the site. The Commission obtained donations of goods and services from local merchants, including a printer who made trail signs using recycled materials and low-VOC inks. The Commission and volunteers conducted a cleanup, cleared and marked trails, posted trail maps at various locations in the Woods, and installed recycled-plastic benches and trash and recycling receptacles. They celebrated at a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony when the work was complete.
Hightstown (Mercer) Environmental Commission (2012)
Stormwater management ordinance amendments and updates
In the aftermath of severe flooding from Hurricane Irene, the Hightstown Environmental Commission advocated strengthening the town’s stormwater management ordinance to make it stricter than the State’s Model Stormwater Ordinance. The new ordinance will trigger stormwater review of more development applications and zoning permits by the Environmental Commission. It will also lead to greater opportunities for personal contact, education and (nonbinding) recommendations for small-scale, non-structural stormwater management techniques such as rain gardens, porous pavement, swales, rain barrels, etc. The ordinance was adopted unanimously in 2012.
City of Linden (Union) (2012)
Hawk Rise Ecological Sanctuary
The City has been redeveloping the Hawk Rise Sanctuary within the urban landscape since the capping of the Linden Landfill in 2007. This award recognizes the second phase of the project, which created the Hawk Rise environmental education site with funding from the Green Acres Program of the State’s Department of Environmental Protection. It includes construction of a wetlands trail system and the implementation of the Hawk Rise science curriculum in Linden’s public schools. Under NJ Audubon stewardship, an array of natural history programs for adults and families are now available.
Based on its experience reviewing and commenting on development applications, the Environmental Commission saw a need for a standard advisory document that would help applicants understand and address common environmental issues before getting to the Planning or Zoning Board review stage. The Commission developed an Applicant Handout for Environmental Issues that explains common issues that arise during review, such as stormwater runoff, steep slopes, wetlands, flooding, and plant/animal habitat. The Handout offers suggestions on Best Management Practices including reduction of impervious cover, planting of native species and elimination of curbing. The Planning Board and Township Committee approved the Handout, which is now part of the packet applicants receive at the start of a building project.
Manalpan (Monmouth) Environmental Commission (2012)
Water bottle reduction project
Concerned about plastic waste and other environmental harm caused by production and distribution of disposable water bottles, the Manalapan Environmental Commission set out to increase public awareness and encourage the use of reusable water bottles. The Commission decided a traveling exhibit would help educate the community at large. After their presentation on conservation and recycling to a fourth grade class at Taylor Mills Elementary School, the students helped to collect 365 bottles (representing the use of one per day for a year) from the cafeteria, and then helped to create a sculpture of water bottles. The exhibit also features educational information, written and researched by Commission members and printed by the town’s Department of Public Works. The exhibit has been displayed at the school and at Manalapan Day, and featured on a local television program, and will be featured at the Town Hall, then at Monmouth County Library for Earth Day 2013.
Manalapan (Monmouth) Environmental Commission (2010)
Green Matters in Manalapan: a television series
To reach a broader audience, provide environmental education and promote “greener” behavior, the Environmental Commission created a television series for the local cable TV station. Commission members developed the content, wrote scripts and helped edit the programs. They invited high school environmental club members to participate in the shows. The first three episodes focused on using compact fluorescent bulbs to conserve energy, building a rain garden and curbside recycling, which included a David Letterman-style “Top 10 Reasons to Recycle.”
After completing a comprehensive inventory, mapping, title and tax map investigation of approximately 70 conservation easements between 1998 and 2000, the Commission embarked on a project involving owner education and baseline inspection. In 2005, commissioners
- Reviewed and updated the previous easement records, creating a folder of information for each of the 167 lots with an existing easement;
- Drafted a letter to property owners, a monitoring form, and a brochure on conservation easements; and
- Hired a professional forester who would do the actual inspections.
A pilot mailing to a small group of property owners yielded 20 successful inspections. Individual follow-up letters informed owners of any significant problems. Each conservation easement file now contains a complete baseline set of information.
Millstone (Somerset)Environmental Commission (2010) Threatened & Endangered Species Protection ordinance
To protect the environmentally sensitive community of Millstone Township (at the headwaters of the Assunpink with extensive wetlands), the Environmental Commission undertook, with the support of the Township Committee, a mission to protect the local threatened and endangered species and their habitats. The Commission spent three years researching the areas and ways to protect them. With advice from their consultant, they developed an ordinance that strictly protects the T and E habitat, and that the Township Committee unanimously passed in 2010.
Montgomery (Somerset) Environmental Commission (2009)
The Commission organized the fourth community Earth Day celebration to provide education about environmentally friendly practices. Coordinated with the Rotary annual run, the fair attracted a record number of vendors, music from several bands, and a clown. A key event was collection of over 8,000 pounds of computers and electronics for recycling. Residents learned about services offered by local businesses and organizations like the Shade Tree Commission, Sustainability and Open Space Committees, Sourland Planning Council and Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.
(Morris) Environmental Commission (2008)
Montville's Environmental Commission celebrated Earth Week by hosting a town-wide electronics recycling day. Working with the Key Club and the Paramus Women's Club, the Commission publicized the event using educational press releases about the importance of electronics recycling. Residents enjoyed refreshments and received receipts for the electronic material they turned in. The township collected a total of 18,000 lbs. of electronics, diverting them from the trash stream. The recycler - Urban Renewal of Newark - refurbished and donated 11 of the laptops turned in that day to Montville, which then donated them to soldiers being deployed to Iraq, so they could keep in touch with folks back home. The town had a special presentation for the soldiers.
Plumsted (Ocean) Environmental Commission (2012)
Kestrel awareness project
In January, Girl Scout Troop #559 asked the Plumsted Environmental Commission for help building bluebird nesting boxes. On learning of the recent addition of the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) to New Jersey’s Threatened Bird Species List, the Commission suggested shifting the focus to building kestrel boxes instead. They taught the scouts about the natural history and needs of kestrels, helped them to create a kestrel display, explained how to build wooden kestrel boxes, and helped them to obtain materials. The Commission’s Earth Day Celebration featured the kestrel exhibit and activities, including a visit from “Killy the Kestrel.” The team installed two kestrel boxes at Colliers Mills WMA and one at a local farm.
Joint (Mercer) - Township and Borough Environmental Commission (2008)
In November 2007, approximately 400 Princeton-area residents participated in a community tour event organized by the Princeton Joint Environmental Commission. The tour featured homes, gardens and commercial buildings that exemplify environmental sustainability strategies including renewable energy, energy conservation, Integrated Pest Management and rain gardens. The goal was to introduce residents to practical green building ideas, explore cost effectiveness, and demonstrate which approaches can be incorporated into new projects or as part of a retrofit. Builders, suppliers and landscapers who worked on the projects were present at each of the 5 sites on the tour to answer questions and talk about the sustainable features they employed. The Commission publicized the tour with posters, fliers and press releases explaining the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
Roxbury (Morris) Environmental Commission (2012)
Monofilament recycling program
The Roxbury Commission organized a campaign to collect and recycle monofilament (plastic) fishing line, which takes many centuries to degrade and can injure fish and other wildlife as well as boaters and swimmers. It cannot be recycled with household plastics. The Commission registered with the Boat US Foundation and installed 10 bins contributed by the Boat US Angler Program. They educated the High School Environmental Club and the Township Council about the impacts of improperly discarded fishing line. The bins were installed at Ledgewood Park Pond and Horseshoe Lake in time for 2012 fishing derbies. When the bins were emptied in August, they contained about six pounds of line, enough to extend eleven miles! This information will be entered into the Boat US online database, and the discarded monofilament will be recycled at a plant in Iowa.
Roxbury Township (Morris) Environmental Commission (2010) Community garden
The initiative to create a community garden on eight acres of Township-owned open space began in January 2007 under the Environmental Commission’s leadership. The Commission researched nearby community gardens and recognized an opportunity to encourage organic growing on land that had not been farmed for some years. Genesis Farms of Blairstown educated the Commission on best practices for organic community gardening and a local Master Gardener advised on soil testing. Local businesses donated time and equipment to install water lines and fencing. After a ribbon cutting on Earth Day, 2009, the garden operated at full capacity in its first season.
Secaucus (Hudson)Environmental Commission – New Commission Project (2012)
In October 2011, the Secaucus Environmental Commission initiated a campaign to ban the use of polystyrene in local restaurants and school facilities. Having witnessed the large amount of non-degrading Styrofoam trash collected each year in local Hackensack River cleanups, and the damage it does to wildlife, the Commission believed that restaurants and schools should switch to paper and other biodegradable cups, plates and take-out containers. They started raising awareness with presentations at public meetings and schools, and through press coverage in the Hudson Reporter, Home News and Secaucus Reporter. At the Commission’s urging, the Council adopted a resolution in “to put a ban on Styrofoam in the Town of Secaucus.” Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill responded by switching to plastic and tin containers after depleting their inventories of foam containers. A local ice cream shop and a café also supported the ban. Dunkin Donuts switched to paper cups, but eventually switched back to Styrofoam due to complaints from customers. The ban attracted attention from the Dart Corporation and the American Chemistry Council, who both asked the Town to retract the measure. Dart officials met with Secaucus officials and the Environmental Commission, but neither side changed its position.
Somerville (Somerset) Girl Scouts (2012)
Tree nursery in honor of Girl Scouts 100th anniversary
With a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation, the Girl Scouts obtained and planted 200 seedlings in a specially created arbor to protect them for a few years until they can be moved to various locations throughout the town. Construction of the arbor was completed as a Boy Scout Eagle project and the arbor will be used for a community garden when the trees are moved to their permanent locations. Volunteers helped water, mulch and care for the young trees and will continue to do so as needed. Girl Scout volunteers created signs at the site to inform residents of the project.
Southampton (Burlington) Environmental Commission (2010) Rural Sustainability Plan
The Commission applied for and received a NJ Department of Community Affairs grant of $50,000 to develop a 20-Year Rural Sustainability Plan for the Township. In addition to administering the grant, coordinating professional consultants, and hosting six community visioning meetings, Commission members wrote the Carrying Capacity Report and the 2009 ERI that provided the basis for the final product, a Rural Sustainabiltiy Plan Vision 2030. The Planning Board adopted the Plan into Southampton’s Master Plan, and it received an Achievement in Planning Award from NJ Planning Officials in March 2010. Commission members estimate that they contributed over 1000 hours of labor to this project.
The commission participated in the Summit Clean Power Team with the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to raise local residents’ awareness and encourage enrollment in New Jersey’s Clean Power Choice Program, which allows consumers to purchase energy from renewable sources by paying a small premium. The Team created and implemented a town-wide campaign that connected participation in Clean Power Choice with global climate protection, energy conservation, recycling and sustainable habits. The result was an increase of enrollment from 55 to 130 Summit households in less than a year.
Verona (Essex) Environmental Commission (2012)
Go Idle-Free Verona
After members of the Commission noticed many idling cars and buses near local schools as parents and drivers waited to pick up students, they embarked on a campaign to increase awareness of the harm done by vehicle idling and to reduce idling in their community. They worked to get “No Idling” signs posted at the schools and in other areas around town. A comprehensive education campaign included newspaper coverage, posters, flyers and speaking engagements, as well as an elementary school poster contest and a Walk to School Day. In collaboration with students and parents the Commission produced a two-minute video, “Go Idle-Free Verona,” that was aired daily through the summer on Verona’s municipal TV station, reaching thousands of residents. Members “have noted a reduction of vehicle idling in town and a greater awareness regarding idling dangers.”
Verona (Essex) Environmental Commission (2009)
In 2004, to encourage recycling at the town's schools, the Environmental Commission created a five-page guide and started a pilot paper recycling project in an elementary school. Since then, the Commission has expanded the program each year, adding other schools in Verona. Recycling collection has grown from one ton of paper in 2005 to an estimated seven tons of paper in 2009, collected from all six schools in town. In 2009, the commission added aluminum, plastic and glass to the recycling program.
Voorhees (Camden) Environmental Commission (2010)
Open Space Enhancement Plan
The Voorhees Environmental Commission observed that many of the 140 Township-owned open land parcels were not being utilized or appreciated, due to a lack of public awareness, access or maintenance. The Commission worked with a consultant to inventory, map, inspect and assess the town’s open spaces. They recommended 150 neighborhood-centered enhancement projects including parking, removal of fallen trees, and informational signage and outreach, as well as low-impact activity facilities suitable for the underserved senior population, trails and bike pathway connections to encourage physical activity and non-motorized transportation, and suggestions for corporate and volunteer support for the town’s open space network.
Working with the school district and the township Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA), the Commission hosted a day-long educational event for fourth graders, to convey the importance of water resources for environmental and human health. The agenda included a presentation by an Academy of Natural Sciences representative about the adaptations specific species make to live in water and a bus trip to the town’s water tower where students were surprised to learn that water storage was at the top, utilizing gravity power to deliver water. Students visited six stations in the base of the tower, each manned by volunteers, including the Delaware River Basin Commission, the MUA, the Environmental Commission, the US Geological Survey and the South Jersey Land and Water Trust.
Amwell (Hunterdon) Environmental Commission (2008)
Over 19 months, the members of the West Amwell Environmental Commission donated over 400 hours of their time and talents to update the town's Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). Without the help of any paid consultants, the Commission collected data and materials from state and county agencies, nearby towns and nonprofit organizations to revise their 30-year-old NRI. A local environmental nonprofit organization reviewed the draft revised NRI gratis. When the NRI was nearly complete, an anonymous donor offered to cover the cost of publishing the document, which the Commission is also distributing on CD.
Westville (Gloucester) Environmental Commission (2010) Conservation education and erosion control projects
The Commission decided to use two of their previous construction projects, a rain garden and a butterfly garden in a well-visited park, to encourage residents to create conservation projects in their own backyards. The Commission hosted a Rutgers Rain Garden Seminar, with free starter plants for the 22 attendees, and a Butterfly Garden seminar. Another 80 people heard talks on the Rain and Butterfly Gardens as part of the Woodbury House and Garden Tour. The Commission also worked with the county park and public works staff to correct severe stream erosion problems along the Butterfly Garden. Corrective action included establishing a five-foot no-mow zone and stabilization of the bank with Coir logs planted with native plants. The Commission funded the plantings and provided labor to secure the plants in the logs.
Westville (Gloucester) Environmental Commission (2009)
Adding beauty and art to natural preservation, the Commission restored a pond in a public park to demonstrate non-structural stormwater techniques, create habitat for honey bees and butterflies, and provide basking areas for the turtle population. The DPW provided the needed materials for Boy Scout Troop 40 to construct the turtle basking area. To protect the riparian area (2,000 square feet) adjacent to the pond, the Commission got funding from a local business for materials and planted the area according to a design by a landscape architect who volunteered services. The Commission received a grant for an elementary school mural project where the children painted the wildlife scenes that grace the entry to the Butterfly Garden. The Commission also worked with Rutgers, the Board of Education, NJ Department of Public Works (DPW), Master Gardeners and volunteers to construct a 242 square feet rain garden to control stormwater runoff.
Woodbridge (Middlesex) Environmental Commission (2010)Greenable Woodbridge
As envisioned by the Woodbridge Township Environmental Commission, “Greenable Woodbridge” is an effort to engage the entire community in becoming directly involved in taking responsibility for creating an energy efficient present and future. The Commission engaged businesses, volunteers and Township employees in a partnership effort to accomplish a number of activities: a “Greenable Woodbridge” guide on the Township website, a 20-page “Green News” edition of the Woodbridge News, organizing a series of public outreach programs for businesses, students and residents, and coordinating with a special School District Green Team to implement sustainability in the schools, with Green Teams operating in each of the district’s 24 elementary, middle and high schools.
In an effort to reduce waste, promote efficient resource use, and prolong the life of landfills, the Commission worked with the county recycling coordinator, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, trash haulers, and recycling market representatives to develop an ordinance requiring reuse or recycling of at least 65 percent of a project’s construction and demolition debris. Applicants for construction or demolition permits must approximate the amount of debris a project will generate, and submit information on the actual amounts disposed of and recycled. The Woolwich Township Committee adopted the ordinance in April 2007.