This is the second year for our Environmental Camp which will be held the last week of August. The Camp consists of four environmentally themed day trips. 25 students will experience a tour at the Bayshore Recycling plant, learn about organic farming at School Lunch Farm in Hackettstown, visit the Teaneck Nature Center, and enjoy an eco-cruise along the Hackensack River with the Hackensack Riverkeeper.
Sustainable Jersey Schools
The Secaucus Board of Education passed a resolution in June to participate in Sustainable Jersey for Schools. We have communicated with John Scheiner about the necessary actions to complete for certification in the fall.
Food Waste Program at the High School
We have purchased a rocket composter for the high school as part of our food waste recycling program using funds from the Bonus Recycling Grant of $24,750. We expect to start the food waste recycling program in the fall. John Scheiner will be responsible for training the custodial staff at the high school.
Global Wellness Day
The Secaucus Environmental Department was present at the first annual Secaucus Global Wellness Day, held at Xchange Place. Our table contained Earth Day coloring books for children as well as brochures about the department and brochures about the negative impact of bottled water. The department also presented a proclamation declaring June 11 as official Global Wellness Day.
Two plots at the community garden are currently in use by the Environmental Department. Plants, including herbs, pumpkins, and various flowers, were raised organically from seed and watered with the help of rain barrels. We have also cleaned out the compost bins of brush and garbage accumulated over the winter and currently have three of the four compost bins up and running.
The Community Gardens at the Xchange are currently being built. They definitely will be ready to be planted for next Spring, and possibly sooner if any residents are interested in claiming a plot early.
Honey Bee Hives
Honey bees are crucial for our ecosystem. To help the declining number of bees, four honey bee hives were set up on the property behind the Secaucus Animal Shelter. No trespassing signs have been posted to warn residents of the bees. Three of the four hives are now fully functional and should have harvestable honey and wax by next spring. We hope to add more hives next year.
Habitat for Humanity
Dave, Keri and Amanda met with David Banks – the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County, to discuss turning over their lot to the Town for use as a possible park. Keri and David are looking into the legalities of this transfer.
Our environmental corporate brochure has been updated. We have conducted 4 corporate cleanups with TD Bank, Integrity House, Schneider Electric and a first ever cleanup of Penhorn Avenue in which 14 businesses sent their employees to help in the effort. We are currently talking with Macy’s for a cleanup in the near future.
NEW! Additionally, we are having mini-cleanups with interns and volunteers every Wednesday morning from 8:30 – 11:00. Five mini grant applications have been sent to HCIA for the larger cleanups.
We are Silver Certified until November of 2017. We will start the recertification process in the fall of 2016.
Environmental Summer Speaker Series
NEW! Throughout the month of July, the Environmental Summer Speaker Series was held every Wednesday night, from 7:00 – 8:00 at the Meditation Garden. Topics included Composting, the Meadowlands, Honey Bees, and Green Lawns.
Green Cleaning Products for Town Hall
A list of alternative, ecofriendly cleaning products was compiled for use at Town Hall. All products introduced were comparable in both price and effectiveness to traditional cleaning products. Ecofriendly 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 were proposed 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
NEW! A Green Restaurant Certification program is being rolled out across Secaucus to reward restaurants that exemplify environmental and social responsibility. Restaurants are surveyed on different aspects of sustainability. When certified, restaurants receive a Green restaurant Certification sticker to display in their window.
Curbside Tree Inventory
The surveying of curbside trees has continued this summer, reaching over 600 trees in our total inventory with about 300 added this summer. 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.
Using our tree inventory data, we worked 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. We will put the results on our website shortly.
Bat Box Project
NEW! We are in the process of getting six bat house kits which we will have the boy scouts assemble and paint. We plan to call in Joe D’Angelie, a well-known bat expert in New Jersey, to help us to identify appropriate locations for these bat houses to assist the bats for habitat loss and for mosquito control.
CSA Organic Farm Share
NEW! Residents who signed up for our vegetable share receive a bag of organic, locally grown produce every Tuesday from School Lunch Farm, which they pick up at the Recreation Center between 2:00pm and 6:00pm. 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.
Environmental Page of Town Website
We did a huge overhaul of the environmental department’s page last summer. This summer we tweaked and made minor changes and we are in the process of including an addition of a “Useful Links” tab to direct residents to eco-friendly websites.
Our Summer newsletter has been posted on the website. We only print out about 100 actual newsletters and distribute them at the Library, Rec Center and Senior Center. Our newsletter informs Secaucus residents as to the latest news and initiatives from the Environmental Department.
Arbor Day Tree Appreciation Campaign
NEW! 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.
Additionally we applied for and have recently been approved for a $30,000 Community Stewardship Incentive Program (CSIP) grant to plant 50 large caliber trees along the Secaucus Greenway Trail.
NJ Transportation Planning Authority – NJTPA
NEW! We have been chosen as one of three towns to participate in a pilot program on Alternative Fuel Readiness Plan with the NJTPA. 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.
EV Charger Stations
We have been approved for a $20,000 grant “It Pays to Plug In” a New Jersey Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging grant, from the DEP for our electric vehicle charging station initiative. We will receive funding for four chargers to be located at the Recreation Center; Library; Town Hall and the municipal lot on Center Avenue.
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’ summer pictures sent in by Secaucus residents of their gardens is in full swing. Continued from last year, we showcase garden photos on 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.