Environmental Camp – ANNUAL EVENT

This was the third year for our Environmental Camp which was held the last week of August. The Camp consisted of four environmentally themed day trips. 25 students experienced: 1) a tour at the Suez water treatment plant to learn how water gets from our reservoirs to the tap; 2) City Green in Clifton to spend a day at an organic urban farm; 3) Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and 4) a tour of Secaucus’ own municipal waste treatment plant. 

 

Sustainable Jersey Schools

The Secaucus Board of Education passed a resolution in June to participate in Sustainable Jersey for Schools. We have communicated with the Board of Education about the necessary actions to complete for certification in 2018

 

Food Waste Program at the High School – NEW!

We have purchased a rocket composter for the high school as part of our food waste recycling program with funds received from the Bonus Recycling Grant. We expect to start the food waste recycling program in the fall and plan on having the High School and Middle School Science Club be actively involved in the care and maintenance of the composter.

 

Community Gardens

The Community Garden at Fountain Park was refurbished and adopted by a local Secaucus business – Intersection – who helped us restore the park by replacing rotting boards, fence repair and painting. The community garden, which has 14 raised beds, has been in constant use for seven years.

The Community Garden at the Xchange is up and running! 39 brand new plots were available in 2017 for its first season. Our community gardens are a huge success story and are in high demand. Please be sure to register early in the year to reserve your plot for the coming season. Community Garden Application & Guidelines.

 

Clean Up Program – ANNUAL EVENT

This past 2017 season we conducted 10 clean ups for the Town of Secaucus. We organized our first ever town wide Earth Day Clean up at Mill Creek Marsh with over 60 people in attendance. In addition, we held corporate clean ups with Macy’s, Integrity House & Schneider Electric and organized our second annual clean up on Penhorn Avenue. The Town receives a small amount of money from the HCIA for every clean up held – this past year we raised $2,500 through our clean-up program which we use to help purchase more supplies for the future.

 

Sustainable Jersey

Secaucus is one of 48 towns out of 428 participating municipalities in New Jersey that have attained Silver Certification. Every two years a municipality needs to re-certify to maintain its certification level. We have just completed the rigorous recertification process which was submitted in September 2017 and are awaiting the results regarding our continued certification level. We feel confident that Secaucus will once again be awarded Silver Certification.

 

Environmental Summer Speaker Series – ANNUAL EVENT

For the second year, throughout the month of July, the Environmental Summer Speaker Series was held every Wednesday night from 7:00 – 8:00 at the Meditation Garden behind the Recreation Center. This year’s theme was pollinators and included speakers discussing the benefits of Bats, Bees, Butterflies and Birds and the environmental challenges all these pollinators are facing.

 

Green Cleaning Products for Town Hall

A list of alternative, eco-friendly cleaning products was compiled for use at Town Hall. All products introduced were comparable in both price and effectiveness to traditional cleaning products. Eco-friendly cleaning products are generally more environmentally sound and better for the health of those exposed to them.

 

Water Bottle Refill Stations For Town Hall – NEW!

New water fountains with a water bottle refill station have been purchased for Town Hall in order to promote the use of reusable water bottles. These fountains include a water filter that removes the “tap water” taste, impurities and can fill reusable bottles hands-free.

 

Green Restaurant Certification

Our Green Restaurant Certification program is an ongoing initiative in Secaucus to reward restaurants that exemplify environmental and social responsibility.  Restaurants are surveyed on different aspects of sustainability but particularly on their adherence to Secaucus’ ban on Styrofoam. Once certified, restaurants receive a Green Restaurant Certification sticker to display in their window. At this time there are 11 Secaucus restaurants who have completed our survey and have been awarded our Green Restaurant Certification sticker.

 

Curb Side Tree Inventory

The surveying of curb side trees has continued this summer and is an ongoing project here in Secaucus. The tree inventory allows us to check for tree health, as well at size and density. The tree inventory directly relates to the results we have received from the I-tree program.

 

I-Tree Report

Using our tree inventory data, we work with a tree professional to turn our data into the right format for I-tree software. The results showed the economic value of our trees in terms of air quality, storm water management, age and species distribution and the percentage of tree canopy in Secaucus. 

 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Organic Farm Share

Now in its second year of operation, residents who signed up for our vegetable share receive a bag of organic, locally grown produce every Tuesday from School Lunch Farm. Pick up is at the Recreation Center between 2:00pm and 9:00pm. Options range from whole and half shares, along with raspberry and honey shares. The program has been well received for its seasonal variety and freshness. The program runs for 22 weeks – June thru November. For more information or to join our CSA program for 2018, please go directly to www.schoollunchfarm.com or call 908 451-0051.

For residents looking for organic produce, but are unable to commit to our CSA program, we brought in Veggie Mobile, sponsored by CityGreen, The Veggie Mobile offers organic produce during the summer months. It is located in the Plaza Center parking lot every Thursday from 11:00 – 1:00. 

 

Environmental Page of Town Website

Updating the Environmental Pages of our website is an ongoing project. This summer we tweaked and made changes in particular to the Parks & Recreation and Recycling sections of our website. New to our site is a tab on the right titled

 

EV Charging Stations, which will direct you to the four locations in Secaucus which were set up specifically to charge electric vehicles. Also, please check out our “Useful Links” tab which we added last year and can direct you to eco-friendly websites.

 

Environmental Newsletter – Green Times

Our 2017 Green Times Summer newsletter has been posted on the website. To conserve paper, we only print about 100 hard copy newsletters and distribute them at the Library, Recreation Center and Senior Center. We generally publish the Green Times twice a year to inform Secaucus residents as to the latest news and initiatives from the Environmental Department. Newsletters.

 

Tree Appreciation Campaign

In 2016, we raised approximately $9,000 from businesses and residents who responded with donations for our call to plant more trees in Secaucus. This enabled us to plant 45 new trees, all which have been planted. To continue our efforts to increase the tree canopy in Secaucus, we are currently offering FREE TREES, to any resident who has available curb side space in front of their property. Call Amanda at 201 864-7336.

 

CSIP Grant – NEW!

The result of the $30,000 CSIP grant that we received last year has resulted in the planting of 125 new trees along the Secaucus Greenway Trail behind the Secaucus High School. All trees are native species that are new to Secaucus and serve multiple purposes providing shade and acting as a buffer to soil erosion.

 

NJ Transportation Planning Authority – NJTPA

We have been chosen by the NJTPA as one of three towns to participate in a pilot program on an Alternative Fuel Readiness Plan. This study will help determine the best location and practices for stations servicing Alternative Fuel Vehicles and will serve as support for NJ State Master Plan. A draft plan has been reviewed and a guide book for municipalities will be available for the public in 2018.

 

EV Charger Stations - NEW!

Funded by a $20,000 grant “It Pays to Plug In” a New Jersey Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging grant, from the DEP, the Town of Secaucus has installed four electric vehicle charging stations. These chargers are located at the Recreation Center; the Library; Town Hall and the municipal lot on Huber Street. The charging stations were purchased from Chargepoint, the largest electric vehicle charging network to encourage the use of electric vehicles in Secaucus. EV Charger Stations locations.

 

Recycling Bin inventory in all Secaucus Town parks

We checked all the parks in Secaucus to see which parks still needed recycling bins and have started working with the DPW to place recycling bins in the parks where needed.

 

Show Us Your Garden

Our ‘Show Us Your Garden’ pictures sent in by Secaucus residents of their gardens is in full swing. Now in its third year, we showcase these garden photos on the Environmental page of the Town Website.

 

Storm Drain Medallions

An ongoing project, we continue to label all the storm drains that lead directly to our waterways with a storm drain medallion. These medallions will help remind and educate our residents about the importance of preventing pollution from entering our sensitive waterways, and above all, that storm drains are not to be used for dumping.

 

Pollinator Program – NEW!

Our pollinator program consists of four parts: 1) honey bees hives; 2) a wildflower meadow; 3) a butterfly garden; 4) a bat house.  All pollinators are in decline primarily due to habitat loss. The Environmental Department is working to help them thrive.

  • Honey Bee Hives

Honey bees are crucial for our ecosystem. To help the declining number of bees, we started with four honey bee hives and have recently increased to six hives set up on the property behind the Secaucus Animal Shelter. No trespassing signs have been posted to warn residents of the bees. The hives are now fully functional and should have harvestable honey, which we sell at Town Hall to help fund the future of the program.

  • Wildflower Meadow – NEW!

A trial wildflower meadow was planted along Route 3 East just west of the Shell Station. With help from Secaucus DPW, we planted Cosmos in the Spring which successfully grew and bloomed all summer with no maintenance required. Our plan is to expand the program to include a larger area along Route 3 West for next year.  Wildflowers not only beautify the area but also provide nourishment for bees and butterflies.

  • Butterfly Garden – NEW!

A new park has recently been added to the Town of Secaucus along Radio Avenue. Its name is Monarch Park in honor of the Butterfly Garden recently planted there by the Environmental Department. This new garden has also been certified by the Bergen County Audubon Society as a certified wildlife garden, meaning, it has all the necessary components to encourage butterflies to live, grow and thrive in a healthy habitat.

  • Bat Box Project – NEW!

With help from Secaucus DPW, we are putting up a multi-chambered bat house at Mill Creek Point Park. Bats eat thousands of mosquitos every night. Hopefully if we are lucky, we’ll be able to encourage some bats to take up residence here in Secaucus and help us with natural mosquito control.

 

Parks & Trail Guide

Our Parks & Trail Guide brochure hasn’t been updated since 2013 and a lot has changed in Secaucus since then! We are in the process of not only updating the information on the Parks link on our website, but also updating the information for the printed brochure that we distribute to all new residents.

 

Winter Eco Film Series - ANNUAL

We introduced a four-week documentary film series at the library last winter and will be continuing the series again this coming February. Every Thursday night in February, we will present a pertinent, environmentally themed documentary from 7:00 – 9:00.

 

Big Green Boxes

Now in its third year, the Environmental Department has installed Green Boxes specifically for the collection and recycling of used batteries and small electronics.  They are conveniently placed on the fourth floor of Town Hall, the Recreation Center, the Library, the DPW office on Secaucus Road, Harmon Cove clubhouse, Xchange, Clarendon School and the High School.

 

Spring Green Festival - ANNUAL

In 2018 we will be hosting, for the  7th year, our annual Green Festival which is held the first Saturday in May at the Xchange. A celebration of our planet, the event attracts eco-friendly vendors and exhibits! This event is popular with families and children; we offer hourly presentations, pony rides, exotic animals, music and river eco-cruises.

 

NYSE Comfort Partners Program

Secaucus has endorsed NYSE Comfort Partners Program that allows residents, who qualify by income, to take part in a FREE energy audit that can lead to FREE energy efficiency upgrades. Some upgrades could include repairing old and drafty attics, replacing inefficient boilers, and even help with roof repair. Call 855-333-9191 for more information. Click here for NYSE Comfort Partners brochure

 

Energy Audit

The Town is performing a Local Government Energy Audit (LGEA) for all of our municipal buildings and pump stations to see where we can cut energy costs and improve energy usage. We are working with Schneider Electric to find ways to reduce our energy usage.  The Town has submitted two years’ worth of energy data which Schneider will analyze to determine where we can save money.

 

NJ Direct Install

Secaucus is involved in the NJ Direct Install Program where we are replacing old lights and light fixtures to new LED lighting that will significantly reduce our energy usage and costs for municipal buildings including the Library, 7th Street Fire House, Town Hall, Senior Center, Community Center, Animal Shelter and the Old Recreation Center. 

 

Climate Action Plan

2018 will be our “Year of Energy” in Secaucus. We will be focusing on reducing out carbon footprint wherever possible as well as using more renewable energy. We will be working with Schneider Electric to come up with a Climate Action Plan. We are currently working on completing Energy Audits on all of our municipal buildings and completing our fleet inventory so that we can get an idea of what our municipal carbon footprint is. Then, we can come up with a plan to reduce our carbon footprint through different projects and initiatives. The Climate Action Plan will outline a 5-year timeline of work and initiatives. Once completed, the Climate Action Plan will be available for public input and review.

 

Green Roofs

The Town of Secaucus is applying for grant to help us fund a Green Roof at the Town Hall. The opportunity for green roofs in Secaucus is vast as it is surrounded by large warehouses many of which are currently in use. The Mayor and Council as well as the Environmental Department have been interested in starting a pilot program and create a green roof initiative where we start with the Town Hall to lead by example and challenge other corporations and warehouses owners to do the same.

Green roofs are an important part of moving a city towards becoming more sustainable. Roof space, especially in Secaucus, is abundantly available and making a town more permeable is in the best interest of the local government and taxpayers. Not only are green roofs important to the ecology but that are also important to the local economy for a number of reasons. Because of its insulation properties a Green Roof helps reduce the amount of heating and cooling costs.  It can absorb large volumes of water that can potentially be used for other kinds of water needs (i.e. gardening, cisterns, gray water). It also adds to the biodiversity of the community especially if ecologically beneficial plants are used. The absorption of sunlight may also help to reduce the heat island effect that plagues many communities. Adding permeable surfaces is an ecological and sustainable way to enhance a community prone to flooding. For these reasons, it is a great example of sustainability management and is a project we hope to complete for the year 2017 as part of our “Year of Energy”.