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CONTENTS:
USDA-NRCS Press Release: NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards
US GRS 2015 winners
Oysters, Cape May, and the Rutgers connection.....
PANJ green hour and ANJEE...
EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams
Master Gardeners Invite You to Their House
"Birds in my Backyard" an exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May.
Birth Announcement: Red-tail Royalty Hatch First Chick at Cornell
EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Champions
2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees Announced
EPA Report: Automakers Surpassing Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards
New solar panels may add to savings for Ridgewood school district
D.C. Announces 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Trout in the Classroom Video Feature
Great Backyard Bird Count Sets New Record for Species Reported
Preservation news - Land crossed by Batona Trail donated
Students Line Up for Google Science Fair 2015
USDA-NRCS Press Release: NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards             (Posted: 6-24-15)

NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards


Flemington, June 17, 2015 –  Four of the 16 Earth Team Volunteers recognized nationally for their work with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Jersey received their awards from State Conservationist Carrie Mosley on Wednesday. The award presentation took place at the Hunterdon County Complex where Mosley and the State Technical Committee were meeting following a conservation tour in Hunterdon County.

Clint Lehman of Toms River, Jennifer Nale of Marlton, and Kristy Northrup of Marmora were among the 15 volunteers who assisted with the Subaqueous Soil Survey of Barnegat Bay and earned the National Group Volunteer Award – Northeast Region for the many hours they spent on the water and in the lab, retrieving and documenting soil samples of the bottom sediments of the bay. This survey will help to inform crucial decisions made regarding the restoration of Barnegat Bay. The entire project was labor-intensive and could not have been accomplished without the 15 Earth Team volunteers who gave over 500 hours to the work. In addition to working on the Barnegat Bay project, Jennifer Nale assisted NRCS soil scientist Fred Schoenagel with field work.

Amanda Curry of Hillsborough won the National Individual Earth Team Individual Award – Northeast Region and also joined Mosley and the Committee for the presentation ceremony. A recent graduate with a degree in Environmental Science from Florida State University, Curry won the National Individual Volunteer Award for her work assisting the Frenchtown Service Center and four additional offices with a wide range of conservation work in both the field and office. She gave over 350 hours of her time throughout the summer and was nominated for the award by NRCS biologist Evan Madlinger.

Members of the Barnergat Bay group not present for the ceremony in Hunterdon include Ryan Sullivan (Forked River), Matthew Crane (Florham Park), Donald Arrington (Brick), Britta Wenzel (Lavallette), Mihaela Enache (volunteer through DEP Trenton), Bianca Reo (Parsippany), Alexa Ornstein (Manahawkin), Brian Nester (Virginia Tech grad recently hired as NRCS soil scientist in Kansas), Ruth Anderson (Virginia Tech student), Frank Tunstead (Brielle), Kevin Flynn (West Keansburg), and Michelle Gluck (Waretown).

Rob Tunstead, NRCS soil scientist, was also recognized as the recipient of the New Jersey NRCS Employee Earth Team Award for his outstanding leadership of the Subaqueous Soil Survey of Barnegat Bay Group. Rob coordinated and supervised their activities, attending to quality control and water safety.

The national
awards were announced in April during National Volunteer Week. To learn more about NRCS’s Earth Team program, visit www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov and navigate through Topics to People-Volunteers or contact Laura Coover at laura.coover@nj.usda.gov or 732-462-0075 extension 108.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

US GRS 2015 winners             (Posted: 6-24-15)

Administration Honors Schools, Districts and Postsecondary Institutions for Sustainable Facilities, Health, and Learning Practices

White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday to congratulate the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 58 schools and 14 districts were honored for their leadership in reducing environmental impact and costs, promoting better health, and ensuring effective environmental education. In addition, 9 colleges and universities were honored with the first-ever Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from the schools, districts and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques and banners in recognition of their achievements.

Duncan also announced a new and improved Green Strides website, which features resources and webinars for all schools to go green, as well as all past honorees. The new and improved website is sponsored by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

“I congratulate these schools, districts and postsecondary institutions for their commitment to sustainable facilities, health, and classroom practices,” Duncan said.  “By exploring complex sustainability topics that affect our society, our environment, and our economy, students are learning to solve the challenges of the future and preparing for jobs that don’t yet exist.”

“President Obama believes we have a moral obligation to leave behind a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet for our children and grandchildren,” said Goldfuss. “That’s why inspiring and preparing the next generation of leaders to tackle the tough challenges facing our planet is so important. Today’s honorees have shown they are up to the task, setting an example that schools and districts across the country can follow.”

"We are building an environmentally literate world that will be cleaner and safer for future generations through programs such as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools." said Koch. "The award touches upon elements of NOAA's mission of science, service and stewardship and we acknowledge the honorees as well as all nominees of this award."

The honorees include 52 public schools and six private schools serving elementary, middle and high school students. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. Of the 2015 honorees 34 (47 percent) serve a disadvantaged student body and 19 (23 percent) serve rural students. Of the nine postsecondary honorees, one-third are community colleges.

View the list and the annual highlights report summarizing the work of each of the 81 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

Resources for all schools to move toward the pillars of the award can be found at www.greenstrides.org. The three pillars are 1) reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation; 2) improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness; and 3) providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Oysters, Cape May, and the Rutgers connection.....             (Posted: 6-4-15)

The next time you sit down and enjoy a plate of plump, succulent, delicious oysters, most commonly known locally as Cape May Salts, take a moment to thank our very own State University of New Jersey, Rutgers, because it's more than likely that the oysters you are enjoying were bred, cultivated and began life at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center (AIC) situated off Bayshore Road on the north bank of the Cape May Canal.

After spawning, viable oyster "seeds" or "spats" are sold to independent entrepreneurs who go about the arduous and time consuming work of actually raising or "farming" the oysters. Locally, farming oysters is now an important growth industry since it creates good year-round jobs and is reviving a valuable niche food source that many thought was gone for good.

The AIC also seeks to identify evolving markets for farmed oysters and new suitable locations to grow and farm even more oysters. Improving the quality of Jersey oysters is of paramount importance, but the overriding objective is sustainability. New Jersey's oyster industry was all but wiped out half a century ago by disease and over harvesting. The AIC's fundamental objective is to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of that collapse.

The resurgence of the oyster here in Cape May is a true success story. Now, New Jersey Audubon's Nature Center of Cape May in partnership with Rutgers has made possible an exclusive behind the scenes tour of this cutting edge scientific research facility. Scheduled tour dates are Saturday June, 13th, July 11th and August 8th from 9:30 to 10:30. Tour size is limited and preregistration is required. Contact the Nature Center of Cape May, 609-898-8848 for registration and directions, or to schedule private tours. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

PANJ green hour and ANJEE...             (Posted: 6-4-15)

Last night we saw the future and, perhaps for once, it looked good.

We were joined by four young people who gave us hope that they might be able to do a better job of protecting our future that we have.

Our four guests on the show were Keniah Newton from the Barack Obama Green Charter High School from Plainfeld, NJ, Anna Marsh and Danny Goldman from the Lawrenceville HS in NJ and Rekha Dhillon-Richardson from Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy in Pa.

Different backgrounds and experiences but all were smart, innovative, dynamic, competent, eloquent and passionate. Their joint achievements to date would take up too much space to list here but you can find out more on www.greenhourradio.com

As Anna noted, climate change should be the Civil Rights issue of today, energizing a new generation with the need to act. And those who currently have the power - their parents and their generation - need to listen to what these students have to say.

These students left me inspired and with real hope that today's youth just might be smart and passionate enough to avoid what Danny called, quite rightly, the possibility of catastrophic climate change. But we cannot wait until they have the levers of power. Let's do whatever we can to help them now.

Listen to what these young people had to say every day this week at 3 and 6pm on www.panjradio.com or later in the week via podcast on www.greenhourradio.com And share widely, particularly with educators and students - these young people deserve to be heard and others need to be inspired to raise the bar.

As Bob Dylan wrote;
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Gery Juleff
Host of the 'Green Hour'
www.greenhourradio.com
www.panjradio.com
panjgreenhour@gmail.com
609 529 0149

EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams             (Posted: 6-1-15)

Obama Admin’s EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams

Rule Will Provide Federal Backstop for Headwater Streams & Wetlands

Trenton – More than 4,000 miles of New Jersey’s streams, including those feeding the Delaware and the Jersey Shore, will gain federal protections under a final rule signed today by top Obama administration officials. The measure restores Clean Water Act safeguards to small streams and headwaters and wetlands that have been vulnerable to development and pollution for nearly ten years.

“From the Delaware to the D & R Canal, the waters that provide our drinking water can only be clean if the streams that flow into it are protected,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “That’s why today’s action is a huge victory for clean water.”

By closing a loophole created by Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006, today’s rule returns Clean Water Act protections to streams that feed the drinking water sources for more than 4 million New Jerseyans and one in three Americans. Millions of acres of wetlands, vital for flood control and filtering pollutants, will also again be shielded under federal law.

“For decades, the Clean Water Act has been a cornerstone of U.S. environmental protections—ensuring that millions of Americans have access to safe drinking water, pollution-free places for swimming, fishing, and hunting and reliable water sources for business operations and agriculture.  Unfortunately, these safeguards have been jeopardized by several conflicting court rulings that created confusion for businesses and made it difficult to go after polluters,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

“I’ve heard from thousands of my constituents about the need to restore these protections—and I’m pleased to see the Administration has done just that.  This rule will make clear which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act while maintaining appropriate exemptions for agriculture and creating greater certainty for business.  I strongly support the Administration’s proposal and will continue fighting to preserve clean water for New Jerseyans and all Americans for generations to come.”

The court rulings had put small streams, headwaters and certain wetlands in a perilous legal limbo, allowing polluters and developers to dump into them or destroy them in many cases without a permit. In a four-year period following the decisions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had to drop more than 1,500 cases against polluters, according to one analysis by The New York Times.

First proposed in March 2014, the joint rule by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is backed by robust scientific review and has gained broad support across a wide range of constituencies. Mayors, brewers, kayakers, anglers, small businesses, and farmers have signaled their support.  New Jerseyans joined Americans across the country to submit 800,000 comments in favor of the rule last fall.

Environment New Jersey, Clean Water Action, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, the New Jersey Sierra Club and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in conjunction with local farmers and businesses are holding a town hall meeting on the EPA Clean Water Rule tonight in Pennington and released a video – produced by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network – outlining public support for the rule.

“The Raritan, the Passaic, the Hackensack, the Delaware, the Hudson and Barnegat Bay – these water bodies define New Jersey. But they rely on a network of streams and wetlands that have been at risk for nearly 10 years. We are so thrilled that the Obama administration has finalized the Clean Water Rule and ensured that New Jersey’s vital streams and wetlands are once again protected,” said Dave Pringle, campaign director for Clean Water Action. 

New Jersey’s environmental advocates are among those pushing for restored stream protections for the better part of the last decade, gathered more than 70,000 comments from New Jerseyans and held more than 150,000 face-to-face conversations about the need to close the loophole in the Clean Water Act in the last year alone.

“We applaud the Obama Administration for proposing a new rule that will help protect important waterways, wetlands, and drinking water for the American people. This rule closes loopholes and ends different interpretations on how to protect clean water under the Clean Water Act. These are called ‘Waters Of The United States’ because they belong to all of US. They do not belong to developers, agribusiness, or polluters. They belong to the people of this country. The same politicians in Washington that want to drill in the Arctic, drill off of coast, prevent action on reducing greenhouse gases and deny climate change, are now trying to deny us clean water. This rule will help protect habitat, species, and fisheries, as well as prevent flooding and provide clean drinking water. We are supporting the rule and will fight with those in Congress with a dirty water agenda that will take the side of polluters and try to stop this rule from going forward. When Woody Guthrie said this land is your land, he also included the waters. Waters belong to all of us,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. 

Despite broad public support for restored clean water protections, oil and gas companies, developers, and other polluters have waged a bitter campaign against them. The U.S. House has passed multiple bills to block or severely weaken the rule, including one measure as recently as two weeks ago.

“We welcome EPA’s adoption of rules that provide clarity and consistency to the implementation of the Clean Water Act.  The rule will help improve protections for water resources that are vital to a healthy environment and to the health of our state and the nation,” said Mike Pisauro, policy director for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, which is hosting tonight’s town hall meeting.

While today’s action signaled the final chapter in the decade-long fight for small streams and headwaters, advocates warned today that U.S. Senate leaders were more determined than ever to use their authority derail the Clean Water Rule. Last Tuesday, a key subcommittee adopted a measure by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to thwart the rule. This summer, the Senate is likely to use the Congressional Review Act block the clean water protections, setting up a veto fight with the president.

“Every one of the 216 waterways that feed the Delaware River Basin in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, first begins as a series of many tiny creeks and streams or wetlands that bubble-up out of the ground or flow down a mountain side.  But it is precisely those small waterways, vernal pools and wetlands that are not adequately protected and, in fact, are often filled, paved-over and piped underground for one form of development or another.  EPA’s proposed Clean Water Act Rules will help better protect these critically important waterways for the humans and wildlife that depend on them,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

****Please note our new office address in New Brunswick*****

Doug O'Malley

Director, Environment New Jersey

104 Bayard Street, Sixth Floor

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Cell: 917-449-6812; Twitter: @DougOMalleyENJ

Master Gardeners Invite You to Their House             (Posted: 5-14-15)

Master Gardeners Open Butterfly House to the Public

The Butterfly House located at the EARTH Center inside Davidson's Mill Pond Park will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 6. It will be open for the public's enjoyment from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Sunday in June, July and August thereafter.

This "hoop house" is filled with plants that feed and shelter butterflies and larvae native to New Jersey. The enclosed conditions allow visitors to take a close look at these beautiful insects. Visitors also will learn about butterfly host plants and attracting butterflies to the home garden. Interested children will be given nets and invited to capture butterflies for the house. Visiting the butterfly house, maintained through the Master Gardener Program, is a FREE activity.

Master Gardeners are trained by Rutgers Cooperative Extension experts to provide sound advice on horticulture and environmental stewardship to residents of their home county. Also found at the Middlesex County EARTH Center are various demonstration gardens including a huge vegetable display garden, and a 13-bed, hard-scaped herb garden.

"The Master Gardeners have contributed their time and efforts to so many great programs for the County," said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. "The butterfly house is a favorite for obvious reasons -- it's a fun and educational outing for families of all kinds."

"The whole County looks forward to the Master Gardener programs, especially at this time of year," said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. "Projects like the butterfly house allow all of Middlesex County, especially its children, to explore our connection to nature and appreciate its beauty."

The butterfly house and other gardens are located inside the County's Davidson's Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick.

If you have questions about planting spring bulbs or if an unfamiliar bug has invaded your house, no matter what season, Middlesex County's Extension office will assist you with the FREE Master Gardener Helpline.

Residents of Middlesex County are encouraged to call 732-398-5220 with questions on plants, bugs and home conservation practices. The Master Gardeners' training and access to reference material prepares them to identify insects and disease in gardens, and advise others on alternatives to herbicides and pesticides.

Rutgers University trained Master Gardeners are available from 9 a.m. until 12 noon Mondays through Fridays during the growing season. You can also e-mail your questions and concerns to mastergardeners@co.middlesex.nj.us.

Callers can also leave a message anytime, and staff will return the call as soon as possible.

"Birds in my Backyard" an exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May.             (Posted: 5-14-15)

Backyard Birds!

Could there be a better place to observe and photograph birds than at the feeder in your very own backyard? If you are a photographer, you know the venue and the lighting; you are safe, warm and comfortable, and out of the wind in your own space, and you probably even know your subjects. Bill Bader has applied this simple concept to his recent, "Bird Series" which will be on exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May starting Friday, May 15, 2015, and running through the end of June.

According to Bader, "While watching birds sitting on the fence waiting their turn at the bird feeder one thing stood out, they had personality. Comical at times, serene at other times, they even exhibited an intimidating Clint Eastwood I-can-stare-you-down look. Although the artist in me realizes that it might be the light and angles creating these impressions, its still fun to imagine just what these creatures are thinking."

Bill Bader is a lifetime resident of South Jersey, a lover of photography since the 60's and owner of Cape Graphics since 1994. His personal interest in photography and computers has enabled him to exercise creativity in the creation of digital art pieces above and beyond the simple, but engaging wildlife images on display at the Nature Center's Art Gallery.

Questions about visiting the gallery should be directed to the Nature Center of Cape May, 609-898-8848. For more information about the exhibit or to purchase prints please visit the website: www.bcimageworks.com. Purchases benefit the Nature Center of Cape May.

Birth Announcement: Red-tail Royalty Hatch First Chick at Cornell             (Posted: 5-4-15)

Click HERE.

EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Champions             (Posted: 4-30-15)

(New York, N.Y. - April 24, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored six individuals and organizations from across New Jersey with Environmental Champion Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Donovan Richards, Chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, to present the awards to this year's recipients at a ceremony at the EPA's offices in Manhattan. Included in the awardees was a group of High School Students from Little Egg Harbor, who won a national President's Environmental Youth Award.

"The EPA is thrilled to honor the work of these environmental trailblazers," said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "These New Jerseyans work tirelessly to protect human health and the environment, inspiring us all to strive for a more sustainable future."

The Environmental Champion Award winners from New Jersey (in alphabetical order) are:

Angela Contillo Andersen, Long Beach, New Jersey
Angela Andersen is the Environmental Coordinator for the Township of Long Beach, New Jersey, and a Barnegat Bay Eco-Kayak tour guide. A tireless environmental steward, she has written and been awarded grants for rain barrels, a school garden, school compost programs, pollination gardens and hydration stations. Her service to the environment includes board memberships on the Association of NJ Recyclers and the Ocean County Solid Waste Advisory Council. She is also a columnist for Bay Magazine and the SandPaper.

Cooper's Ferry Partnership, Camden SMART Initiative, Camden, New Jersey
The Camden SMART Initiative alleviates the city of Camden's extreme urban water infrastructure challenges through the development of green and grey infrastructure projects. To date, the Camden SMART Initiative has constructed a total of 39 green infrastructure projects throughout Camden, which capture, treat, and infiltrate 4.3 million gallons of stormwater yearly that would otherwise contribute to the flooding of streets, neighborhoods, parks, and homes. SMART has also distributed more than 120 rain barrels to Camden residents, planted over 992 trees, engaged 3,890 community members, hosted 33 sustainability events and workshops, and collaborated with 35 project partners in the development of green infrastructure projects and programs.

Charles Pietarinen
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Trenton, New Jersey As Chief of the Bureau of Air Monitoring, Charlie Pietarinen has spent his career demonstrating the highest level of achievement as a public servant in the environmental field. He has extensive knowledge of ambient air monitoring instrumentation and practices and is New Jersey's principal liaison with the EPA and other parties on air monitoring issues. He also designed New Jersey's extensive monitoring network which reports various pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, particles and carbon monoxide, in the state's most populated cities and towns.

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Pennington, New Jersey The Association, Central New Jersey's first environmental group, has provided Conservation, Advocacy, Science and Education to the 25 municipalities in its watershed for the last 65 years. Among its recent accomplishments are: Conducting 302 educational programs, serving 7,874 participants from pre-school to adult; running the premier watershed volunteer monitoring program in the State, which is enhanced by a state-of-the-art science laboratory; and, successfully working to have a ballot initiative adopted for a stable source of long-term funding for open space.

Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE) Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University's SURGE is an environmental organization advocating for students to take action to protect the planet. SURGE worked with national environmental groups to host an event with former U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, who talked about the Clean Power Plan and the Alaska Wilderness Act. SURGE was also instrumental in the People's Climate March in New York City, organizing marchers on buses and trains from Princeton University, and leading a contingency of activists at that historic event. SURGE has continued to raise awareness and stay engaged in climate issues.

2014 PRESIDENT'S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARDS

Pinelands Eco Scienteers, "It's a Pressing Matter", Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey
A group of high school students from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, discovered that in many parts of the world, the only fuel available for cooking meals is wood from nearby forests, resulting in widespread deforestation. Under the guidance of Stephen Kubricki, this group of teenagers worked for four years to develop and distribute low-cost briquette presses that utilize bio-waste products - like peanut shells, corn stalks and banana peels - specific to each country where deforestation is a problem. They field tested their press in Guatemala and, with fellow students, completed 100 mini-presses for shipment to rural villages.

For more details, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa
Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://facebook.com/eparegion2

2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees Announced             (Posted: 4-30-15)

U.S. Department of Education
Green Strides

2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees Announced, Along With First Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees
Award Honors Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions for Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs; Improving Health; and Offering Environmental Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined by Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss today to announce the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Fifty-eight schools, 14 districts, and nine postsecondary institutions were honored for their promising efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, nine colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award, in the first year of that award category.
"These honorees are compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments," Duncan said. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and deserve the spotlight for embodying strong examples of innovative learning and civic engagement. We also are thrilled to add institutions of higher education to the list of honorees this year for the first time in the award's history."
"With so many tough challenges facing our planet, it is more important than ever to inspire and prepare the next generation of environmental stewards," said Goldfuss. "By creating healthier learning environments, reducing their carbon footprints, and teaching students lasting lessons about innovation and sustainability, today's honorees are leading the way for schools and districts across the country."
The schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies, with honorees selected from 28 jurisdictions. The list of 81 total selectees includes 52 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 35 elementary, 19 middle and 17 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 28 of the nominating authorities. Forty-seven percent of the 2015 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body, 22 percent are rural, and one-third of the postsecondary institutions are community colleges. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 81 honorees can be found here.
More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.

William Davies Middle School, Mays Landing, NJ
East Brunswick Vocational and Technical High School, East Brunswick, NJ
Timber Creek Regional High School, Erial, NJ
Princeton Day School, Princeton, NJ

EPA Report: Automakers Surpassing Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards             (Posted: 4-30-15)

Manufacturers competing to deliver most fuel-efficient vehicles

For the second consecutive model year, the automotive industry outperformed the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards by a wide margin. Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile - or 1.4 miles per gallon - better than required by the 2013 standard.

These were among the top findings released today in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) second annual Manufacturers' Performance Report. The report presents detailed information about how individual firms are complying with GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

"These findings are a terrific early success story for President Obama's historic effort to reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Automakers are racing to meet our goals. The American auto industry has never been stronger, we're creating jobs here in the U.S., selling cleaner cars here and overseas, and consumers are really benefitting from the innovations spurred by these standards."

The report found:

  • Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile better than required by the 2013 standard. This marks the second consecutive model year of industry outperforming the standards by a wide margin.
  • The majority of manufacturers (representing more than 99% of sales) met both the 2012 and 2013 standards. The remaining manufacturers have several more years to come into compliance.
  • Automakers are using the optional flexibilities built into the standards such as improved air conditioning systems and the use of fleet averaging. These flexibilities continue to increase consumer choice, spur technology innovation and decrease compliance costs all while providing manufacturers with options on how and when to make reductions.


According to EPA's most recent CO2 Emissions and Fuel Economy Trends Report, model year 2013 vehicles achieved an all-time record average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg) - a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Average carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks are also at a record low. Fuel economy has increased in eight of the last nine years. There are more than three times as many 30 mpg vehicles than just five years ago, and fuel economy for SUVs has been increasing faster than for any other vehicle type.

EPA's GHG emissions standards cover light-duty vehicles from model year 2012 to 2025. The standards are projected to save 12 billion barrels of oil, and cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetimes of vehicles sold in these years. The standards are also projected to save consumers who purchase a new MY 2025 vehicle more than $8,000 in fuel costs over that vehicle's lifetime.

More information on the Manufacturers' Performance Report: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/ghg-report.htm
More information on Light Duty Vehicle Standards: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-light-duty.htm
More information on greenhouse gases and Fuel Economy Trends: http://epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm

New solar panels may add to savings for Ridgewood school district             (Posted: 4-29-15)

Click HERE.

D.C. Announces 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools             (Posted: 4-29-15)

Click HERE.

Trout in the Classroom Video Feature             (Posted: 3-24-15)

Teacher Lori Lacaillade's Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program at the Van Holten School in Bridgewater was recently featured on NJTV's Classroom Close Up. TIC is a supplementary educational activity made possible through a partnership between the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited. Teachers using the program provide a unique experience for their students and effectively teach lessons in a variety of disciplines.

To view the segment visit http://bcove.me/cxinqiad; it will also air this Sunday on NJTV at 7:30am, 12:30pm and 7:30 pm and again at the same times on April 5 and April 11. For information on the TIC program visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/tic.htm on the Division's web site.

Great Backyard Bird Count Sets New Record for Species Reported             (Posted: 3-3-15)

Click HERE.

Preservation news - Land crossed by Batona Trail donated             (Posted: 3-2-15)

Batona Trail
FAST FACTS:
ACRES:  1.75
TOWN: Woodland Township
COUNTY: Burlington
REGION: Pine Barrens
TYPE: Open space donation
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Land crossed by Batona Trail donated

 

Garfield DeMarco
J. Garfield DeMarco

J. Garfield DeMarco, whose family once farmed cranberries on the 9,400-acre Pine Barrens property now known as the Franklin Parker Preserve, has donated a small but important parcel to expand the preserve.


Earlier this month, Garfield gave 1.75 acres in Woodland Township to New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which co-owns the preserve with the State of New Jersey.


The gift is especially significant because part of the Batona Trail - a 53-mile hiking path through the heart of the Pine Barrens - crosses the parcel.


"We're very grateful to Garfield for his generosity in donating this land to New Jersey Conservation," said Michele S. Byers, executive director. "The Batona is an incredibly beautiful and scenic trail in the Pine Barrens, and it's wonderful that the land beneath this trail section is now preserved forever."


Garfield, a longtime supporter of New Jersey Conservation, said he was pleased to make the donation.


"I'm very proud of what my sister, Anna Lynn DeMarco Papinchak, and I accomplished to preserve and conserve such a vast area of New Jersey. The donation of the land through which the Batona Trail crosses is part of that family legacy," said Garfield.


"Our parents, Anthony R. DeMarco and Gladys Alloway DeMarco, would be most pleased to know that certain family members played such important roles in protecting the forest, streams and flora and fauna of the Pinelands, which they loved and for which they cared," he added.


New Jersey Conservation purchased the land for the Franklin Parker Preserve from the DeMarco family in 2003. In 2011 and 2012, staff and volunteers rerouted 7.2 miles of the Batona Trail to cross scenic sections of the preserve. 


With the rerouted Batona Trail, the Franklin Parker Preserve now has about 28 miles of hiking and mixed use trails.


Protecting the preserve's ecology is a priority for NJ Conservation! We have created a forest stewardship plan to ensure the continued health and well-being of the preserve and surrounding community. The plan is now before the Pinelands Commission and can be found on our website. All comments are welcome!

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