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PurpleAir RFP Deadline Extension + Region 2 Citizen Science Bulletin - December 17, 2021
NWF: Educator E-News, 2021—A Year of Change
Celebrating 25 Years of the Great Backyard Bird Count
Thank you for Planting Trees with us this Fall!
Bring your outdoor classroom vision to life!
2021 at Duke Farms - and that's a wrap
Reminder: RFA for Purple Airs + EPA Region 2 Citizen Science Bulletin - December 2, 2021
Nature Explore: ‘Tis the Season
P2 News: December 2021
New EPA report reveals large climate and environmental impacts of U.S food waste
OCSCD December Newsletter
Gardener News December 2021 E-Newspaper
SJ: Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Ahead to 2022
November 2021 Green Strides Newsletter
Check out the latest Water Pages eNewsletter!
NPSNJ: Native Plant Legislation - We Need Your Help.
NWF: Wildlife News You Can Use
C&NN: Finding Nature: Gathering in gratitude
C&NN: November 2021: Children and climate activism
C&NN: What a difference our members make
Visit Cider Mill Preserve for the Beauty of Grasslands in Autumn
Finding Nature: Social change requires systems change
CWFNJ: Explorations November E-News 2021 News
Gardener News 2021 E-Newspaper
NPSNJ: Hudson News, Book Club, Secret Seed Exchange and more!
EPA: November Sustainable Materials Management Updates
NPSNJ: Enjoy our Fall E-News
NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program News
OCSCD Programs, Projects & News
Green Schools Network News
USEPA Links & News
Sustainable Jersey News
Cornell Lab of Ornithology News
Connecting Through Health, Wellness and Nutrition!
Water Pages eNewsletters!
U.S. Department of Education: Green Strides and ED Review
CIRES Education & Outreach Newsletter
These women are shaping the future of agriculture at Duke Farms
Children & Nature Network Digests
Water Pages eNewsletter!
Finding Nature: A safer return to school could be just a step (outside) away
Finding Nature: Celebrating Hispanic and Latinx leadership in the outdoors
NAS: Fall Migration is Here | Lawsuit Victory | Heat Waves
PurpleAir RFP Deadline Extension + Region 2 Citizen Science Bulletin - December 17, 2021             (Posted: 12-17-21)

3 big highlights for today’s bulletin:

  1. RFP EXTENSION – we will be extending the PurpleAir RFP for educational institutions to Friday, January 21stAs this announcement went out early November and gained traction as we hit the holiday season, we’d like to give everyone a bit more time to think through it.  And as always, if you have any questions, please reach out.
  1. COMMUNITY AIR MONITORING FUNDING – EPA has announced the availability of $20 million in competitive grants through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to enhance ambient air quality monitoring in communities across the United States, especially in underserved and overburdened communities that often lack access to adequate air quality information. EPA will award funds to support community and local efforts to monitor air quality and to promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and Tribal, state, and local governments.  Community-based nonprofit organizations, Tribes, states, and local governments may apply for the grants – see more info below & at the link
    1. There will be an informational webinar on Jan 11th @ 1-2pm
  1. And I have attached the EPA Region 2 technical assistance and funding resource guide for the month of December. This monthly guide is designed to be sent to assist communities and partners within EPA Region 2. It is a compilation of tools and resources relevant to community and economic development and includes important deadlines, application information, and webinars for funding opportunities. The final section is full of helpful grant writing resources.

This will probably be the last bulletin until 2022, so here’s wishing you a great end of the year & hoping you find time to relax and enjoy.


Rachael Leta-Graham

Citizen Science Coordinator

Laboratory Services & Applied Science Division

US EPA Region 2


Phone: 732-321-4438

You are receiving this message as a part of EPA Region 2’s citizen science mailing list.  If you would no longer like to receive these emails, please reply to this message with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line. This email is meant for informational purposes only in order to share relevant opportunities and not an endorsement of any business or group therein


  • Virtual Events
      • Jan 11th @ 12-1pm:  Framework
      • Jan 18th @ 12-1pm:Local Stories – Challenges and Successes
      • Jan 25th @ 12-1pm: Federal Agency Response


  • Two Opportunities with San Juan Bay Estuary Program:
      • EPA announced the availability of $20 million in competitive grants through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to enhance ambient air quality monitoring in communities across the United States, especially in underserved and overburdened communities that often lack access to adequate air quality information. EPA will award funds to support community and local efforts to monitor air quality and to promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and Tribal, state, and local governments.  Community-based nonprofit organizations, Tribes, states, and local governments may apply for the grants.
      • To be considered for funding under this RFA, grant applications must address ambient monitoring for at least one of the following types of air pollution: criteria pollutants (particle pollution, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, or sulfur dioxide) and their precursors or hazardous air pollutants, as defined by the Clean Air Act.
      • The grants do not require matching funds from organizations that apply. The grants will be focused on collecting information that addresses air pollution problems identified by communities and effective partnerships.
      • Through this grants program, EPA anticipates awarding a total of 50-70 grants or cooperative agreements.
      • There will be an informational webinar on Jan 11th @ 1-2pm


  • The Hudson River Water Alliance 2021 Breakfast Lecture Recordings are all now available on their YouTube channel.  The 2021 lectures covered a number of timely topics, from climate science and stormwater, equity in planning, water quality monitoring, land return to the Stockbridge Munsee Community, and more.

NWF: Educator E-News, 2021—A Year of Change             (Posted: 12-17-21)

ANJEC News             (Posted: 12-17-21)

Celebrating 25 Years of the Great Backyard Bird Count             (Posted: 12-17-21)

Winter Birding in New Jersey?
Winter is often a quiet time for reflection and solitude as people and the creatures around us await the return of warmer days. However, if you are willing to brave the cold, winter can also be a wonderful time for birding.

Birds are easily spotted even in the coldest months because they do not hibernate and are constantly looking for food. In New Jersey, there are several species that stay year-round, while others travel from
more northern areas to overwinter here.
Birds at a feeder in NJ. Video by Brad Fay.
Birding in Your Own Backyard
Winter birds enjoying seed at a feeder. Photo by Stephen and Judy Shelasky.
One of the wonderful things about birding is that it allows people to connect with nature from almost anywhere. There is no need to travel t0 experience the joy of watching a bird. This is the idea behind the Great Backyard Bird Count, organized each year by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society,
and Birds Canada.

For four days each year, nature lovers from around the world unite to count and record the birds they see and hear. The data from this citizen science project is used to monitor bird populations over time.

Next year marks the 25th annual Great Backyard Bird Count!
The event will be held from February 18th to 22nd, 2022, and it only takes 15 minutes to participate!
Plan a Birding Excursion
Pileated woodpecker. Photo from
Even though birding can happen anywhere, certain habitats attract more birds than others. Some of D&R Greenway's lands, including Cider Mill Preserve, Cedar Ridge Preserve, and
St. Michaels Farm Preserve, are birding hotspots. A pair of
pileated woodpeckers has also been active recently along the
a gift a gift.
Another source for birding ideas is
NJ Trails was founded as an all-volunteer group under
D&R Greenway Land Trust and is a great resource to learn about new places to enjoy nature. Visit the NJ Trails website and get outside to explore trails throughout central New Jersey!

Why not pack your binoculars in a 'Green Way' bag and visit some of D&R Greenway's preserves for a peaceful afternoon of winter birding? To secure your very own 'Green Way' bag, just give a gift to get a gift to show your love of the land and the
creatures who inhabit it.
Artists Patrick McDonnell and James Fiorentino hold their newly designed
'Green Way' bags. Secure your own and show your love for land!
D&R Greenway Land Trust
at the Johnson Education Center
One Preservation Place
Princeton, NJ 08540

Thank you for Planting Trees with us this Fall!             (Posted: 12-17-21)

Fall 2021 Recap
Volunteers take a break after planting trees in the Parkside neighborhood of Camden.
We are so grateful to each and every volunteer who helped plant trees in Camden, Newark, and across NJ! Below is a recap of our fall season, and a sneak peak at what's ahead for the spring.
Urban Airshed Reforestation Program (UARP)
We planted 40 trees along S. 4th Street & Whitman Ave in Camden this fall. These trees will help to clean the air and absorb storm water in an industrial area.
What a busy and fun fall planting season! In total, the UARP planted 155 trees throughout Camden and Gloucester City. Over 200 volunteers got dirty with us planting & mulching trees. A big thank you to all the community volunteers and residents who worked with us to organize these tree planting projects!

One of our standout projects was with the SJ Port Authority, held on October 23rd. Together with 39 volunteers, 40 trees were planted along the 1500 blocks of S. 4th Street & Whitman Ave. This area has heavy industry and illegal dumping issues. Planting a "living fence line" with trees will help to improve local air quality, absorb excess storm water runoff, and hopefully deter future illegal dumping operations. This neighborhood is also close to the Circuit Trails network, so now bikers and pedestrians will have a beautiful tree-lined street to exercise on as they make their way to Circuit Trail segments in Camden. Thank you to all volunteers for making a difference planting trees this fall!

Renaissance Trees Program
A tree recipient and volunteers pose with their tree along Sanford Place.
The Renaissance Trees Program wrapped up a busy season this fall! We worked in three different towns this fall - Newark, Somerville, and Trenton. Altogether, we planted 123 trees and 69 shrubs with 187 amazing volunteers. Thank you to everyone who came out to help!

One of our most memorable projects this year was along Sanford Place in Newark. The neighborhood previously had a gorgeous tree canopy, but many mature trees have been lost in recent years due to pests and old age. Working together with Valerie from the Sanford Place Block Association, we worked to canvass the neighborhood to see which residents wanted trees - and many did! With the help of 57 volunteers we planted 27 trees along Sanford Place and surrounding streets. The Block Association held their fall yard cleanup and bulb distribution event on the same morning, complete with food and music. Many tree recipients came out to enjoy the event and help plant their trees. The trees planted through this project will help clean the air and water, and will work to restore the tree canopy for future generations.

Thank you to all of our tree recipients, volunteers, community partners, and funders for all your help this season - we couldn't do this without you!
Tree Maintenance Events
Learn how to prune, mulch, and maintain your street trees with the NJ Tree Foundation!
Interested in working directly with NJTF staff to prune trees in your neighborhood? If so, let's have a Maintenance Day for your block! Please contact Meredith for Camden residents, and Crystal for North Jersey/Trenton residents. We'll have some fun while pruning and maintaining your trees!
Green Streets Update
The Green Streets crew planted 80 trees in Haddonfield.
If you have hired us to plant trees in the past 5 years, and those trees need some lovin', contact Lisa at for all of your tree maintenance needs! Stake removal, structural pruning, mulching - we do that!

New Jersey Tree Foundation's Green Streets program provides temporary jobs for men under parole supervision, helping them get back on their feet as they learn new skills. Your town can hire our Green Streets crew to plant trees, maintain rain gardens, or prune, mulch, and water your existing trees! We are currently accepting bids for the spring 2022 season. Please submit bid packages to Lisa Simms at
Honorary & Memorial Giving
Tribute and memorial gifts offer a meaningful way of honoring a loved one, family member, or colleague. Celebrate a special occasion, honor a memory, or pay tribute to someone special by making a tax-deductible gift to the NJ Tree Foundation that will make an immediate impact on New Jersey’s environment. Donors will receive a letter of acknowledgement, along with the option of having a card sent to the honoree or relevant family members. Making a donation in someone's honor is a unique holiday gift that gives back!
UARP Turns 20! (And we want to hear from you!)
The Tree of Hope in the Cooper Sprouts Community Garden in Camden.
UARP turns 20 in 2022! Thank you for all your support over the last two decades planting trees in Camden and Gloucester City. In order to make this the best possible celebration, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this short survey with your ideas on how we can honor all those who have worked with us to plant trees in South Jersey. We hope to hear from you soon!
A Big "Thank You!" to our Funders and Volunteers who worked with us this Fall!
NJ Tree Foundation |

Bring your outdoor classroom vision to life!             (Posted: 12-17-21)

Click HERE.

2021 at Duke Farms - and that's a wrap             (Posted: 12-17-21)

Click HERE.

Reminder: RFA for Purple Airs + EPA Region 2 Citizen Science Bulletin - December 2, 2021             (Posted: 12-3-21)

Just a reminder that the RFA for the Purple Air loan to educational institutions is open until December 17th.   I encourage folks to reach out to me with questions.

  • If you’re not sure what you would do with the Purple Airs or what they could provide you, please check out the University of Rochester’s Air Sensor Stories materials, which were developed to help diverse audiences understand the potential of user-friendly air quality sensors to address communities’ questions and concerns about particle pollution.  These materials and workshop were developed with support from EPA and NIEHS.

This monthly guide is designed to be sent to assist communities and partners within EPA Region 2.  Please feel free to distribute to anyone that you feel might benefit from this resource guide.



Rachael Leta-Graham (she/her)

Citizen Science Coordinator

Laboratory Services & Applied Science Division

US EPA Region 2


Phone: 732-321-4438

You are receiving this message as a part of EPA Region 2’s citizen science mailing list.  If you would no longer like to receive these emails, please reply to this message with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line. This email is meant for informational purposes only in order to share relevant opportunities and not an endorsement of any business or group therein





Nature Explore: ‘Tis the Season             (Posted: 12-3-21)

Click HERE.

P2 News: December 2021             (Posted: 12-3-21)

Environmental Protection Agency

Pollution Prevention - EPA s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

In this issue:

Program Updates

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Includes $100 Million for EPA’s Pollution Prevention Program

Following the passage of the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, EPA announced that it will be making significant investments in the health, equity and resilience of American communities. The law delivers considerable funding to EPA, including an additional $100 million over 5 years for grants to states and tribes to provide P2 technical assistance to businesses. The additional P2 grant funding will particularly emphasize using P2 to address environmental justice in underserved communities. With this funding, more businesses will be able to get assistance to reduce toxic pollutants, cut water usage and lower costs, which will improve their operations while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and better protecting the communities in which they operate.

Read More

EPA Advisory Board Seeks to Improve Financing for Pollution Prevention

At its October public meeting, EPA’s Environmental Finance Advisory Board (EFAB) agreed to explore opportunities for and address the challenges of financing small manufacturer pollution prevention projects through a series of virtual workshops on the following topics with the goal of providing recommendations to EPA by the end of 2022.

  • Financial Structures: What financing structures will help reduce barriers to risk and create economies of scale for P2 financing? (e.g., tax incentives, insurance, bundling)
  • Models: What other financing models can we learn from and adapt for the P2 market? (e.g., Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), green banks, development banks, innovation funds)
  • Extension Programs: What technical assistance/extension programs could EPA leverage to support program expansion and delivery? (e.g., associations, EPA Environmental Finance Centers, state, and university-based extension centers)

For more information, please contact Alison Kinn Bennett

New Flyer Touts Benefits of Pollution Prevention

Small screenshot of TRI flyerEPA has a new flyer describing the benefits of implementing pollution prevention practices for facilities and surrounding communities. The flyer includes key statistics about the cost of waste to U.S. businesses and how much these businesses can save by preventing pollution, and important links to P2 resources such as EPA’s P2 calculators.

Read the Flyer

Grantee Highlight

Region 7 P2 Roundtable Hosts Fall Meeting

On November 17 and 18, 2021, the EPA Region 7 Pollution Prevention Roundtable (R7P2RT) hosted its fall meeting. More than 20 participants joined the meeting, including Region 7 P2 grantees and technical assistance providers, businesses, contractors (ERG), and EPA staff from Region 7 and headquarters. Topics and presentations covered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, partnerships with trade associations (including a presentation from EPA’s Smart Sectors Program), state program reports and updates, Biden-Harris Administration priorities, including environmental justice and climate change, an update on EPA’s regulatory landscape and direction, and 2021 Region 7 P2 award recipients. Meeting notes will be posted on the R7P2RT website soon.

Contact Nancy Larson ( at Kansas State University’s Pollution Prevention Institute for more information.

Read More About R7P2RT

P2 Helpline

The P2 Hub Helpline offers information and resources about pollution prevention. Please contact the Helpline or (202) 566-0799.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency P2 Program
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (7406-M)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 566-0799

New EPA report reveals large climate and environmental impacts of U.S food waste             (Posted: 12-3-21)

We’re pleased to share with you the newly released EPA report, “From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste (Part 1).” This report reveals the climate and environmental impacts of producing, processing, distributing, and retailing food that is ultimately wasted, and projects the environmental benefits of meeting the U.S. goal to prevent 50 percent of food waste.

A companion report, “The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste: Part 2,” will examine and compare the environmental impacts of a range of management pathways for food waste, such as landfilling, composting, and anaerobic digestion. We plan to complete Part 2 in Spring 2022. Together, these two reports encompass the net environmental footprint of U.S. food loss and waste.

Below are some key takeaways from the new report:

Each year, the resources attributed to U.S. food loss and waste are equivalent to:

o  140 million acres agricultural land – an area the size of California and New York combined;

o  5.9 trillion gallons blue water – equal to annual water use of 50 million American homes;

o  778 million pounds pesticides;

o  14 billion pounds fertilizer – enough to grow all the plant-based foods produced each year in the United States for domestic consumption;

o  664 billion kWh energy – enough to power more than 50 million U.S. homes for a year; and

o  170 million MTCO2e greenhouse gas emissions (excluding landfill emissions) – equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants.

Significant resources go into growing, processing, packaging, storing, and distributing food. The most important action we can take to reduce the environmental impacts of uneaten food is to prevent that food from becoming waste in the first place.

We hope you find this report useful and informative. Please share it with your networks.

For questions, contact Shannon Kenny (, Senior Advisor, Food Loss and Food Waste, U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development.

OCSCD December Newsletter             (Posted: 12-2-21)

December 2021
Untitled Design
In 2021 we celebrated the 69th year of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District. We remain committed to building and sustaining a conservation legacy by working with our partners and constituents to conserve, protect and restore our soil, water and natural resources by providing technical assistance, implementing restoration projects, and most importantly through education.
Your Soil Conservation District at Work
Soil Stabilization
Protecting Soil and Preventing Pollution
Soil Erosion - Preventable Pollution

Soil erosion involves the breakdown, detachment, transport, and redistribution of soil particles by external forces such as water, wind and gravity. The Environmental Protection Agency identifies eroded soil as the most common non-point source (NPS) pollutant entering our waterways today. NPS pollution stems from a variety of sources - agricultural land, construction sites, and other areas of land disturbance. Because of this, soil and nutrients that are eroded away from these locations are difficult to adequately control, especially once they reach local waterways. With the ever-growing demand for coastal property in the Barnegat Bay region – NPS pollution threatens the quality of coastal life that can result in economic losses, negative health impacts, and environmental degradation. In order to protect the Barnegat Bay watershed from the negative impacts resulting from NPS pollution, District staff work to enforce the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act of 1975. This Act requires all construction activities greater than 5,000 square feet to be developed in accordance with a plan to not only control erosion during construction, but to ensure effective soil stabilization preventing erosion post construction. Read the complete Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards. ?(Photo by Sean Yeats, Inspector 1, OCSCD)
Sediment Control - Sediment Barrier

With new and re-development happening all over Ocean County, you may have noticed the black fence surrounding many active construction sites. This fence is called a "silt fence" and it is one type of sediment barrier utilized during the construction process. The ultimate purpose of a silt fence is to intercept and detain small amounts of sediment from cleared and unprotected areas of a construction site. The fence is permeable, allowing water particles to slowly move through the fabric, while preventing larger particles of sediment from eroding offsite and depositing into a waterway or neighboring property. On all active construction sites, District staff enforce the use of sediment barriers as per the certified Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and the NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards. (Photo by Sean Yeats, Inspector 1, OCSCD)
Silt Fence Limitations

According to the NJ Standard for Sediment Barriers, (p. 23-1 in the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards), the contributing drainage area to the silt fence sediment barrier shall be less than 1 acre and the length of slope above the barrier shall be less than 150 feet. The slope of the contributing drainage area for at least 30 feet adjacent to the silt fence shall not exceed a 5% grade. When design criteria are not met or the volume of stormwater runoff to the sediment barrier is too great, the silt fence will fail, as seen in the image depicted here. Sediment barrier inspections shall be frequent, and repair or replacement shall be made promptly as needed. Sediment barriers play a vital role on construction sites to control erosion and minimize offsite sedimentation, however, they are just one of many erosion control measures that make up the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan for both the new and re-development projects occurring throughout Ocean County. Read the complete Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards. (Photo by Georgie Grieb, Inspector 1, OCSCD)
SPARC Project
Mike Joannides Jr. (left) and Dale Parsons Jr. (right) use high pressure hoses to move the recycled shell off the barge and onto the lease bottom. (Photo: Kristin Adams, PSM, Erosion Control Specialist, OCSCD)
Oyster Reef Restoration with Parson's Seafood, Tuckerton, NJ (Great Bay)

Ocean County Soil Conservation District's Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation project (SPARC) continues efforts to provide technical assistance to aquaculture farmers in the Barnegat Bay watershed to further develop the conservation practices of the NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative. Earlier this year, Kristin Adams, OCSCD Erosion Control Specialist, joined Dale Parsons Jr., owner of Parsons Seafood and Parsons Mariculture in Tuckerton, NJ as he and his crew deployed recycled oyster, surf clam and whelk shell on one of his shellfish leases in the Great Bay. Dale is a participating producer in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This program provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation and improved or created wildlife habitat.

Dale and his crew are pictured implementing a conservation practice called Restoration of Rare or Declining Natural Communities for Oyster Bed Restoration or Enhancement/Replenishment, in which a 2-inch layer of recycled shell is deployed on Dale’s leases. The high-pressure hoses are used to physically move all of the recycled shell off of the barge and into the bay, where it will settle to the bottom and create an oyster reef. The restored oyster bed will support oyster growth and reproduction, provide habitat for other aquatic species and enhance water quality through oyster water filtration and the removal of nutrients and suspended sediments. A layer of spat-on-shell (live oyster larvae which has set onto recycled shell) will later be placed on top of the oyster reef to promote natural reproduction of oysters.

Through the District’s partnership with NRCS, the Aquaculture Initiative and the SPARC project, Kristin assisted with the conservation plan for Dale’s EQIP application as well as the certification process as the conservation practice was being implemented. The District looks forward to working with NRCS and local aquaculture producers such as Dale in the future as we continue to expand opportunities for shellfish producers and improve the health of the Barnegat and Great Bay estuaries and ecosystems.
Oyster larvae that has set on recycled surf clam shell. (Photo: Kristin Adams, PSM, Erosion Control Specialist, OCSCD)
Dale Parsons Jr. (left) and Steve Bongard (right) discuss the morning’s operation. (Photo: Kristin Adams, PSM, Erosion Control Specialist, OCSCD)
Education Programs
Urban Agriculture Programs

State of the Food System Symposium
December 3 at 1pm

NJ Food Democracy Collaborative and Stockton University host New Jersey's first State of the Food System Symposium on December 3 from 1-4pm.
The NJ Food Democracy Collaborative is a state food system organizing and advocacy initiative, inspired by the food policy council model, focused on building resilience and equity in the food system through fostering collaborative action, affecting structural change, and advocating for innovation and optimization of public programs.

Gather at this virtual event to learn from each other's work and progress on this year's shared and interconnected food system challenges, celebrate our "wins", and find solidarity in learning as we face the challenges ahead. View symposium agenda. Pre-registration required.
Jersey-Friendly Yards Outreach Programs

Jersey-Friendly Yards - Landscaping for a Healthy Environment
December 7 at 7pm

Join this free webinar, hosted by the Hudson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. Explore the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, including the tools and resources that you can use to create a "Jersey-Friendly Yard". Learn the importance of a healthy foundation of soil, how to implement water conservation in the garden, and learn ways to attract pollinators, birds and wildlife to your yard using native plants. To register, please visit the Native Plant Society of New Jersey website, and follow the prompts to register for this program. For more information please email the co-leaders at the Hudson County Chapter.
Schedule a Jersey-Friendly Yards Program for Your Group
Calling all Green Teams, Environmental Commissions and Garden Clubs! Is your "Green Group" interested in hosting a Jersey-Friendly Yards webinar for your constituents? Jersey-Friendly Yards partners will provide a free 1 hour webinar discussing the importance of landscaping for a healthy environment. We'll start by introducing the tools and resources on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, explain how to get your soil tested, introduce water conservation practices, suggest appropriate native plants, and offer ways to attract and support pollinators and wildlife. Contact Karen Walzer and Becky Laboy to schedule a program.
Winterize Your Jersey-Friendly Yard
Create a Winter Wildlife Garden
Birds and other wildlife benefit from your "untidy" Jersey-Friendly garden. Here's a few tips to help support birds and wildlife in winter:
1) Leaves some leaves. Raking or blowing your leaves into your garden beds provide places for ground-scratching sparrows to search for seeds and invertebrates hiding under the cover.
2) Allow stems to stand. Seed heads left atop the stems provide food for birds and the hollow or pithy stems encapsulate and protect overwintering bee larva.
3) Supplement your garden with feeders full of high-fat foods such as nuts, suet and sunflower seeds.
4) A heated bird bath ensures a source of fresh water - a vital resource that's hard to come by in freezing temperatures.
5) Provide shelter and protection. Roosting boxes and brush piles allow birds and wildlife places to shelter from predators, inclement weather, and a cozy place to spend the night.
(Photo: Red-breasted Nuthatch clings to a feeder on a snowy day in winter. By Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, OCSCD)
Visit our website:
For more information about education programs, events and projects pertaining to soil, water, native gardening and natural resource conservation, please contact Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District:

Gardener News December 2021 E-Newspaper             (Posted: 12-2-21)

Gardener News December 2021 E-Newspaper
Featured Columnists
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
By Andrew Bunting 
Vice President of Public Horticulture
Spice Up the Garden, the Spice Bushes
Spicebushes are part of the genus Lindera, which is comprised of up to 100 species of both evergreen and deciduous species, that grow and can be cultivated in many areas and exhibit exceptional resistance to browsing by deer.
  Around The Garden
By Tom Castronovo
Gardener News
  New Jersey Now Has Pollinator License Plates
Hats off to New Jersey Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who was the Gardener News “Person of the Year” in 2014.
Morris County Park Commission
By Bruce Crawford
Horticultural Manager

A Holiday Plant for Seasons to Come
 Each December I enjoy highlighting a plant appropriate for the Holiday season that is rarely considered. Obviously, Poinsettias are the plant of preference for the season. I love the colorful display Poinsettias provide, but the plants always suffer when subjected to the indoor environment of a home and rarely live to see another Holiday season. By comparison, one seasonally appropriate plant that will live for decades is the white and golden forms of Snake Plant, formerly known in botanical spheres as Sansevieria.

 Growing Gardeners 
By Diana Dove
Environmental Educator

Youth Contests Give Children a Voice We Should Hear...
   Through the eyes of a child, their written words and art may express the simple but vital message that all of us need to protect our natural resources. Today’s youth and Growing Gardeners of all ages have messages to share for future generations. The National Garden Club Inc. coordinates national environmental Youth Contests inviting children and teens, in various grade levels, to share their artistic abilities and writing skills. An annual poster contest for students in Grades 1-5 features a choice to draw either Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl.  Students in Grades K – 9th grade may enter poetry; this year, it’s about birds. Art-loving youth in 4th – 8th Grade, who think outside the box (no pun intended,) may design an art sculpture using recycled materials. High school students in Grades 9-12 may find their voice, through the use of their pen, writing essays about vital environmental issues; this year’s essay theme is to write about preventing water pollution.  
N.J. Department of Agriculture
?By Douglas H. Fisher
N.J. Secretary of Agriculture

Different Perspectives on Property Beautification
Looking at the way we beautify our surroundings to be pleasing to our senses has been a consistent practice for thousands of years, ever since mankind evolved and started to re-mold the Earth.

Agriculture and Natural Resources
By Eric Houghtaling
New Jersey Assemblyman

You Can Visit Garden State Farms All Year Round    
This column often talks about the innovation of Garden State farmers. One of the things our agriculture community is doing very well is bridging the gap between farms and the public understanding and appreciation of farm life.
Unique Plants
By Bob LaHoff
Nursery Specialist

Southern Charm 
The holidays are here and for some that means Christmas trees, garland, poinsettias and wreaths. Now, when many think of trees this time of year, they envision the “harder” pyramid styles of Fraser fir, Balsam fir & Douglas fir. However, if you are a true “plant geek” Nordmann fir, Noble fir, Korean fir, Grand Fir and White fir may also enter your mind. And should we want to take this to a stratospheric level, Vilmorin’s fir, Abies x vilmorinii comes to my mind. Interesting side note, Vilmorin’s epithet is in honor of Pierre Louis Francois Lévêque de Vilmorin who is famous, in my world anyway, for developing a theory of heredity in plants. Vilmorin “recognized that it was possible to select certain characteristics of a plant and develop new varieties displaying the chosen characteristics” ( Vilmorin fir is a hybrid of Greek fir, Abies cephalonica and Spanish fir, Abies pinsapo. But I digress. While all of these tree types have a “typical pyramidal apex” there is a tree, a broadleaf evergreen, whose outline is somewhat pyramidal, but with a softer rounded outline.

Native Plant Society of N.J.
By Hubert Ling
Woolen Blankets for Plants?
No your plants don’t need blankets in winter; but just how do they survive? NJ has plant hardiness zones from 7b to 6a with expected lows in southern NJ of 5o F (zone 7b) down to -10o F in northern NJ (zone 6a). Just imagine standing still with the wind howling and the temperature a chill -10o F; how long do you think you would last? Well it wouldn’t be good for plant cells either, but they have several known cold weather survival mechanisms. 

The Town Farmer
By Peter Melick
Agricultural Producer?

Winter Injury
Now that winter is just around the corner, this might be a good time to talk about some of the different types of injuries and damage that can occur to fruit trees as well as other fruit and vegetable plants during the coldest months of the season. Probably the best way to differentiate between the different types is to break the winter season into thirds; early winter, mid-winter, and spring.

NJ Agricultural Society
By Al Murray
Executive Director

The Cost of Green Energy
In a September 1962 speech, President John F. Kennedy made a bold statement that by the end of the decade the United States would send astronauts to the moon. Quite the gamble considering Charles Lindberg first crossed the ocean in a tiny aircraft just 35 years before. As a result, the U.S. government committed $25 billion to the program, equivalent to over $100 billion today. Kennedy’s seemly impossible challenge was not only achieved but placed the United States at the apex of science and technology. 

The Garden Historian
By Lesley Parness
Garden Educator

The Mudlark and The Orchid
Part 2
Author’s note: Please read The Mudlark and the Orchid, Part I and the series introduction, Orchid Delirium, at archives or at

Turf's Up
By Todd Pretz
Professional Turf Consultant

Our Friend Robin... 
Our friend Robin lives at the Jersey shore and we have known her for over 35 years. My wife used to get on the school bus with Robin so they go way back.  Our kids grew up together, went to school together, picked apples, and we have had a lot of fun with their family over the years. When their house was completed, Robin seeded her lawn with Jonathan Green products and I have consulted with her on the lawn over the years.

Rutgers Outreach
Provided By Brian Schilling

A Look Ahead at 2022
The nearing of year’s end provides the opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and on the future. The challenges that 2021 brought us are evident, not the least of which are the vagaries of a persistent pandemic and several rounds of destructive weather. As 2022 approaches, I reflect with gratitude on the exceptional efforts of colleagues across Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) to ensure the resources and programs of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES)—and, more broadly, Rutgers University—have remained accessible to those that need them during challenging times.
The NJLCA Today
?By Gail Woolcott
Executive Director

Tis the Season to Be Thankful
 With Thanksgiving just behind us and the winter holidays on their way, many of us reflect on the year we have just had and think about all the things we are thankful for. I’m no different, and this year has been one of many to be grateful for. Of course, we are always thankful for our families and health, but the landscape, greenhouse, nursery, hardscape and especially the NJLCA have so reasons to count our blessing this year.
From The Newsroom
Homeowners can now put Toro’s Flex-Force Power System up against winter’s deepest snow drifts with the new Toro 60V* Power Max® Two-Stage Snow Blower. Forget what you thought you knew about battery-powered snow blowers — the new 60V Power Max is a force to be reckoned with.

“A two-stage battery-powered snow blower that could deliver just as much power as a gas model, was once a pipe dream — then we developed the 60V Power Max two-stage snow blower,” says Tom Werner, senior marketing manager at Toro. “This unit is identical to Toro’s gas two-stage model in every way, except it packs a powerful punch with our Flex-Force Power System, the most powerful battery in its class.”

Available in two models, the e24 and e26, the new snow blower is the only battery-powered unit designed with three battery ports. With two batteries on board, the e26 clears 30 parked car spaces on one charge. With a third battery port on board, you can harness the power of three 7.5ah 60V Flex-Force batteries to easily clear 45 parked car spaces in up to ten inches of snow.

Built with long-lasting, heavy-duty steel, the new 60V snow blower is tough and ready to deliver power without compromise to tackle your biggest snowstorms — just like the rest of the Toro two-stage snow blower family. Both models feature Toro’s innovative Quick Stick® chute control to put snow where you want it easily, and on the go. The new snow blower does not require shear pins and features a hardened gear and auger, plus an anti-clogging system. Additionally, Toro has equipped the e26 model with handwarmers so you can blow through the snow without the chill.

“The Toro Flex-Force Power System is all about flexible power. The interchangeable batteries can power any of the more than 35 tools in the Flex Force line, no matter the season or conditions,” says Werner. “The new 60V Power Max snow blower makes quick work of clearing serious snow, ice and heavy drifts — all on one charge.”

The Flex-Force system provides maximum runtime and power to the entire suite of more than 35 Toro 60V products thanks to cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology. For more information on the new 60V Flex-Force family, please visit Toro's website at

SJ: Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Ahead to 2022             (Posted: 11-29-21)

What Are You Thankful For This Year?
Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Ahead to 2022
The holiday season is a good time to reflect upon the things for which we are grateful. At Sustainable Jersey, our list is long. Inspired by our participating communities honored at the Sustainable Jersey Annual Luncheon at the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference, we have renewed energy for 2022.

Congratulations to the 52 towns that achieved certification in 2021. Thank you for coming back in force for our most dynamic Sustainable Jersey Annual Luncheon yet. We announced the recipients of eight special awards: Mayor Art Ondish Leadership Award; Business Leadership Award; Rookie of the Year Award; Creativity & Innovation Award; Collaboration Award and three Sustainability Champion Awards. Read about the 2021 certified towns and special award recipients here.

Thank you to the workshop panel speakers and everyone who attended the Sustainable Jersey sessions to learn how we can move sustainability initiatives forward. The presentations are available to view here. Thank you to the Board of Trustees, the green teams and task force members. Sustainable Jersey’s accomplishments would not be possible without the hard work of our participants and the support of our underwriters, sponsors and partners.

As New Jersey faces issues such as the climate crisis, a growing equity divide and environmental pollution, municipalities and schools want to be a part of the solution to these challenges. New Jersey communities are showing no signs of slowing in their commitment to sustainability. We will keep moving forward with your participation and look forward to working to create a new era of sustainability in New Jersey—one that secures economic, environmental and societal well-being in 2022.
Funding Available for Sustainability Projects
We are pleased to announce that the PSEG Foundation is contributing $200,000 to support another cycle of the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program. With this contribution, the PSEG Foundation has provided $2.8 million dollars in funding to support local sustainability initiatives in municipalities and schools across the state. Since 2009, Sustainable Jersey has distributed over $6.8 million in funding through the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program.

Funding supports efforts to implement projects that help municipalities gain points needed for Sustainable Jersey certification and make progress toward a sustainable future. This cycle will award four $20,000 and eight $10,000 project grants, and thirty $2,000 project or green team support grants.

An informational webinar will be held on Monday, December 13, 2022 from 1-2pm. You can register here. This webinar will review the application process, provide tips on crafting a successful grant proposal, and demonstrate how to use the online application portal.

Application Deadline: Friday, February 11, 2022
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Offering $10K and $25K Grants Through the Community Energy Plan Grant Program
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has created a Community Energy Plan Grant (CEPG) program for municipalities to develop a community energy plan to meet the goals of the state’s Energy Master Plan. New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan: Pathway to 2050 (EMP) established that community-level action is necessary to achieve the state’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

Community energy planning is the process by which communities collaboratively select and strategically implement emissions-reducing initiatives that fulfill the EMP goals. Grant recipients will conduct an in-depth analysis of initiatives to include in their Plan, starting with those identified in the Community Energy Plan Workplan Template.

There are two grant award levels:
  • All New Jersey municipalities are eligible to apply for a $10,000 grant
  • Overburdened Municipalities (see CEPG application for a list) are eligible for a $25,000 grant

Technical Assistance Available

Overburdened municipalities are also eligible for enhanced support, including technical assistance to develop and submit applications as well as assistance in the creation of the Plan.

Completing a Community Energy Plan will help municipalities meet the requirements of the Sustainable Jersey Gold Star in Energy.
Application Deadline: Friday March 18, 2022.

Upcoming Webinars

Learn more about this program in our upcoming webinars, Community Energy Plan Grants: A Primer and Creating a Community Energy Plan: Resources and Technical Assistance, listed in the section below.
Upcoming Sustainable Jersey Webinars
Community Energy Plan Grants: A Primer

Learn about the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ Community Energy Plan Grant Program, which provides funding and other resources to efficiently plan for and implement programs to achieve significant GHG reductions at the local level. This webinar will focus on grant application requirements, guidance materials, and technical assistance opportunities.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Make Your Town EV Friendly: New Statewide Model EV Ordinance, New Sustainable Jersey Actions, New Funding

A lot is happening in New Jersey to support the transition to electric vehicles. The State passed Public Law 2021, c.171 supporting EV infrastructure and created a Model Statewide Municipal EV Ordinance. Also, New Jersey's state agencies and public utilities have announced new funding for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Join Sustainable Jersey to learn more about how to make the most of these new resources.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

New Resources for Arts & Creative Culture Actions

This webinar is a refresher on existing arts and culture actions that gain Sustainable Jersey points toward certification. Panelists will also reveal new resources that connect arts actions to public health and municipal leadership, and discuss a project in Trenton that received a PSEG grant through Sustainable Jersey. Green Team members will learn how to use Arts and Culture actions to implement safe, healthy, and equitable policies and projects, and compete for financial support through the Sustainable Jersey grant support.
  • Leo Vazquez, Creative Placemaking Communities, Arts & Culture Actions Team Leader
  • Lauren Otis, Executive Director, Artworks
  • Ann Marie Miller, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, ArtPride New Jersey

Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Creating a Community Energy Plan: Resources and Technical Assistance

Join Sustainable Jersey to learn about the wide array of funding options available to help municipalities and school districts add electric vehicles to their fleets. Funding options exist for all types of fleet vehicles, including mid- and heavy-weight vehicles like buses and trucks, and EV infrastructure, such as charging stations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Funding for Transitioning Fleets to EVs

Join Sustainable Jersey to learn about the wide array of funding options available to help municipalities and school districts add electric vehicles to their fleets. Funding options exist for all types of fleet vehicles, including mid- and heavy-weight vehicles like buses and trucks, and EV infrastructure, such as charging stations.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Catch Up on What You Missed from Our Stormwater Session at the NJLM Conference
This 8-minute video provides an overview of the New Jersey Highlands Council and its work to protect the source of drinking water for 70% of New Jersey residents. Learn about grants and technical assistance provided by the Highlands Council to assist municipalities from the $70,000.00 grant to West Milford Township, Passaic County to inventory, assess and map over 4,000 catch-basins and 800 outfalls that form its storm sewer system to the Comprehensive Green Infrastructure Plans prepared for 24 Highlands municipalities in the Raritan River Watershed completed last year by the Rutgers Water Resources Group. And find out about some recently approved municipal projects as well as the Council's plans for additional resources to help municipalities better manage stormwater, protect drinking water and address climate change. To view entire Stormwater Tools presentation, click here.
Coming Soon!
Complete Streets Technical Assistance

Complete Streets help improve safety for people walking and biking. They create better places to live, work, play and do business. They balance the needs of drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, emergency responders, and goods movement based on the local context.

?Beginning December 6th, northern NJ municipalities located in the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) region will be eligible to apply for Complete Streets Technical Assistance to advance a project in their community.

Register now for two webinars to help municipalities identify potential projects and apply to this technical assistance program. The first webinar, on Thursday, December 9, 2021 from noon-1:00pm, will cover the type of assistance that can be completed through this program. The second webinar on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from noon-1:00pm will provide information about the program and how to apply.
Other Upcoming Event
Funding New Jersey’s Brownfields Webinar

Cleaning up and redeveloping former industrial and commercial properties can cost thousands to millions of dollars. Where can you get funding for your projects? Presenters from the NJ Brownfields Assistance Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will discuss several sources of funding available to New Jersey county and local governments, nonprofits, and private sector entities. You will learn about: NJEDA’s NEW Impact Fund; NJ’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF); NJ Water Bank Financing Program; EPA’s brownfields grants; the funding sources applicable to your specific brownfields project; how to bundle multiple sources of funding and why this is important.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 10:00am – 11:30am
Other Funding & Technical Assistance Opportunities
Technical Assistance to Brownfield Communities Program (TAB)

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) provides free technical assistance to state, regional, county, tribal, and local government entities and nonprofit organizations in EPA Region 2 (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands) interested in learning about, identifying, assessing, cleaning up, and redeveloping brownfield sites. NJIT offers a wide range of assistance, outlined in the flyer available here, and can also provide guidance and support to municipalities working on the Sustainable Jersey Brownfields actions. Contact Sean Vroom, at or 973-596-6415 to learn more or visit the NJIT TAB website.

NJ Zero Emission Incentive Program (NJ ZIP) Funding for Electric Vehicles Expands to the Greater Shore Area on December 1, 2021

?NJEDA has expanded the funding pool for its NJ ZIP pilot voucher program to $44.25M. The program, funded by Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds, helps to reduce transportation emissions and create economic opportunity within the state. Access to the program has been expanded to include qualified businesses and institutions in the greater Shore area.

This pilot program provides vouchers ranging between $25,000 and $100,000 to offset the cost of purchasing new, zero-emission medium-duty vehicles that will operate in the greater Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and Shore areas. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To learn more about this opportunity, click here. Municipalities can earn points for the Meet Target for Green Fleets and Purchase Alternative Fuel Vehicles actions.
Green Team Resources
Energy Efficiency Programs Transition Information
Information on New Jersey's Energy Efficiency Programs Transition is available on New Jersey's Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP) website. While NJCEP will continue to offer some energy efficiency programs, such as Local Government Energy Audits (LGEA), Energy Saving Improvement Program (ESIP), new construction, and solar programs, all of the investor-owned gas and electric utility companies will now offer energy efficiency programs such as equipment rebates, appliance recycling, and residential and commercial retrofits, directly to their customers. Please visit for information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and join the Energy Efficiency Listserv for additional details and updates.
Mark Your Calendars!
Sustainable Jersey events, trainings, funding opportunities, and more!

  • Dec 1: Community Energy Plan Grants: A Primer Webinar
  • Dec 7: Make Your Town EV Friendly Webinar
  • Dec 9: Complete Streets Technical Assistance Project Types Webinar
  • Dec 13: Sustainable Jersey Grants Program Funded by PSEG Webinar
  • Dec 14: New Resources for Sustainable Jersey Arts & Creative Culture Actions Webinar
  • Dec 15: Complete Streets Technical Assistance Application Process Webinar
  • Jan 12: Creating a Community Energy Plan: Resources and Assistance Webinar
  • Jan 26: Funding for Transitioning Fleets to EVs Webinar
  • Feb 11: Sustainable Jersey Grants Program Funded by PSEG Application Deadline
For more information visit 
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November 2021 Green Strides Newsletter             (Posted: 11-29-21)

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the November 2021 Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

States' Deadlines for Green Schools Applicants Are Fast Approaching!

Many states' application periods for 2021-22 cycle U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) nominees will be closing around the holidays. These deadlines vary by state. State educational agencies often collaborate with other state agencies and partners to administer the ED-GRS recognition award and will submit their nominations to the Department by Feb. 18, 2022 (an extension from the original Feb.1, 2022 state submission deadline). Check to see if your state participates in ED-GRS by locating your state recognition award administrator. Alternatively, you can contact your chief state school officer or state higher education executive officer. Hearing from interested schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions often helps states determine whether to make nominations. 

Director's Award Recipient Joe DaSilva and Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten

The 2022 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 1

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer ED-GRS. At the 2021 ED-GRS ceremony, Joseph DaSilva received the Director's Award on behalf of the Rhode Island team from Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, pictured above. Annually, the Director’s Award goes to the state education official who does the most to advance sustainable education in his or her state. If you wish to nominate a state education official, please send your nomination letter to by March 1, 2022. Any state education official who is involved in implementing the ED-GRS award, and who has not previously won the Director’s Award, is eligible for nomination. Read about the work of past ED-GRS Director’s Award recipients


Honoring Classified School Employees

ED received 25 nominations from 15 states for the second annual Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award, which honors and promotes education support professionals who provide exemplary service, including school nutrition, maintenance, paraprofessional, security, and transportation employees. The federal review is now underway, with peer reviewers completing two rounds to select semifinalists, and these semifinalist nominations will be submitted to the Secretary of Education for a final selection. In January, ED will announce a single national honoree and encourage all states to recognize their nominees in order to inspire excellence and innovative practices among classified school employees. More information is available online. Governors’ offices may contact with any questions. The deadline for 2023 nominations will be Nov. 1, 2022.

Meet the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Congratulations to the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. View the honorees and read about their work on the Green Strides’ website and on ED’s awards page. Three of the honorees are spotlighted below.  

Flance Center pumpkin seed lesson

Flance Early Learning Center; St. Louis, Missouri

Flance Early Learning Center serves a diverse population of children between ages 6 weeks and 6 years. Daylighting is used in 90% of the building, every classroom has immediate access to the outdoors, and classrooms are named for trees native to Missouri. Seventy-five percent of the school roof is covered with reflective materials, and the HVAC system can be controlled remotely. Rainwater collected from the Flance Center roof is captured in two 8-foot covered cisterns, which is then used to water and irrigate the garden. Flance received a donation of three compost bins, 30 recycling bins, two recycling carts, and numerous educational materials to help young pupils learn to practice good recycling habits. As a designated EnVision Center by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development since May 2020, the early learning center has provided over 25 tons of free, fresh produce valued at over $180,000 to families and local community neighbors via a weekly free fresh food box program. Flance’s garden consists of 20 raised beds in which students grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Urban Harvest helps with nutrition education in the on-site community garden. A school chef prepares nourishing meals, including organic baby food, incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. A display kitchen allows the school chef to conduct cooking demonstrations for families.

Christ the King Catholic School vermiculture

Christ the King Catholic School; Jacksonville, Florida

Over the years, Christ the King Catholic School (CTK) has enlarged spaces for STEM collaboration, built outdoor areas for gardening and observation, and developed a comprehensive agricultural program. Today, CTK offers mentoring and tours to staff from other schools, who visit to learn how to incorporate hands-on learning into their curriculum. Through annual Green Apple Day of Service projects and with financial support from the community, CTK has developed a five-acre outdoor classroom with a viewing deck and nature trails, a 700 square-foot raised bed garden, a water recovery system, solar panels, butterfly gardens, a chicken coop, and a blueberry house. Students collect organic matter for composting, manage vermicomposting, and utilize recovered rainwater for agricultural purposes. CTK installed two solar panels connected to the school’s electrical grid. Students monitor energy output and research the effects of weather and panel placement on energy production. CTK offers a salad bar that serves as an integral part of its agricultural program and developed its own nutrition curriculum. Leveraging its creek, wetlands, and acreage, CTK fosters opportunities for students to test water quality and learn about natural springs and creeks and how St. Johns River feeds into the Atlantic Ocean.

Gamble Montessori Garden

James N. Gamble Montessori High School; Cincinnati, Ohio

James N. Gamble Montessori is located in the heart of Cincinnati on a 14-acre campus featuring four outdoor classrooms and an extensive land lab with a maple grove, arboretum, spring bulb garden, permaculture orchard, raised beds for edible plantings, and kitchen herb garden. Every aspect of the school garden and orchard is maintained by students. They plan, build, plant, cultivate, maintain, and harvest. The Agriculture Career and Technology program is preparing the campus for a pollinator garden, a high tunnel hoop house, and an aeroponic tower garden. The environmental science curriculum covers a wide range of topics from biodiversity and ecological relationships; food production; water, air quality, and pollution; climate change; and human impacts on environmental systems to politics, ethics, and social justice. Students are involved in biodiversity labs, tree phenology studies, water quality tests, mock climate summits, and seminar discussions. During Intersessions, students get out into the world to connect community service to their in-class learning with practical life skills, hiking in the Smoky Mountains, whitewater rafting, urban farming and sustainability, animal rescue, and conservation. Students keep journals, discuss challenging issues relating to social justice and environmental sustainability, perform acts of community service, and synthesize their experiences into professional-grade presentations.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Student made moccasins, Two Eagle River

Two Eagle River School; Pablo, Montana

Two Eagle River School is a Bureau of Indian Education school, serving roughly 100 students, all of whom are eligible for free lunch, and it is run by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. Two Eagle River conducted an energy audit with Bonneville Power Administration, developed a comprehensive recycling program, and built a school garden. The school added programmable thermostats, power strips, and more efficient lighting. Two Eagle River requested recycling bins from the county. Students sort and audit the recycling, and teachers take it to a center monthly. The school has reduced paper use through a grant, making it possible to offer iPads to all students. Two Eagle River has several transportation efficiency strategies in place to reduce unnecessary mileage in its rural area. School sustainability programming emphasizes traditional beliefs, values, and ways of living, including care for the land, animals, and people; respect for Mother Earth; stories and seasons; and honoring elders’ wisdom. The efforts of the wellness committee to increase the nutrition of the food served at the school is evident in the school’s Thanksgiving feast, which features traditional foods such as elderberry soup, huckleberries, salmon, and bison. The school also sponsors barbecues, traditional Native American games, and a powwow. Students engage in experiential and place-based learning activities, such as salmon monitoring and weekly field walks. The school connects science, culture, and craft in the butchering and skinning of animals, quilting, and teepee making. 

Resources and Opportunities

Center for Green Schools 2021 Logo

Participate in a National Survey on Air Quality Measures in K-12 Schools 

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, with technical support from ASHRAE, is conducting a national survey to understand how indoor air quality (IAQ) strategies have been used by schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey data that is collected will be anonymized and will inform a national report. The short, 20-minute survey may be taken by a school district facilities manager or similar official by Nov. 30. 

Department logo, COVID mitigation by the numbers

COVID Mitigation Resources

The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new COVID-19 data dashboard to help the public keep track of the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 schools. Data is updated each week and presented geographically so that educators and families can understand the impact of COVID in their communities. Additionally, on Nov. 4, the CDC officially recommended that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNtech pediatric vaccine. To learn more about getting vaccinated or setting up a vaccine clinic at your school or community, visit Finally, to keep schools open and safe, the Department, alongside the CDC and the Rockefeller Foundation, is providing resources to states and schools for testing and other mitigation efforts, including:

  • Making staff available to state health departments through the COVID Workforce Initiative. This additional support from the CDC Foundation can be obtained by contacting CDC at this link.
  • Publishing a start-up guide for schools on how to launch screening testing programs.
  • Holding weekly “office hours” to connect schools to national testing experts to set up and sustain screening testing programs.
  • Launching a directory for schools to identify a provider and get started with testing within their state.
  • Releasing guidance for school districts on using American Rescue Plan funds to provide incentives to parents and guardians to participate in screening programs.
Center for Green Schools 2021 Logo

Spotlight on a Green Strides Resource: School Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheets

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (CfGS) developed a series of fact sheets about indoor air quality, designed to help people without a technical background understand some of the more complicated issues. While important public health measures are debated in schools across the country, indoor air quality measures offer a way to take concrete action to increase protection for everyone in school. CfGS brought together dozens of experts to create simple, straightforward resources about the most pressing topics. The series includes an overview, which gives a foundation, as well as fact sheets on ventilation, HVAC filtration, in-room air cleaners, and germicidal UV. More fact sheets are on their way and will be added to the series over the next month. 

Douglas Byrd High School Academy of Green Technology Student Led Tour

2019 ED-GRS honoree Douglas Byrd Academy was recently featured on A Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien for its Academy of Green Technology.


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Winter


The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 2,500 sessions that provide free tools to reduce schools' environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach effective environmental education. Consult the webinar calendar, and submit suggestions for listing additional free, publicly available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Nov. 24, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Decarbonization:  How Do Our Current Needs Fit into the Transition? (Green Teacher)

Nov. 30, 2-3:30 p.m. Energizing STEM (ED and DOE) 

Nov. 30, 6-7 p.m. NASA’s Hunt for Signs of Life... Earth Reflections (NASA)

Dec. 1, 12-1 p.m. Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Dec. 1, 3-4 p.m.  Summarizing Your STARS Report for Senior Leadership (AASHE)

Dec. 2, 1-2 p.m. 2022 Competition:  Rules and Tracking Requirements (Campus Race to Zero Waste)

Dec. 6, 1-2 p.m. NASA’s Beginning Engineering Science and Technology Curriculum (NASA)

Dec. 9, 3:30-5 p.m. Environmental Literacy (ED and NOAA)

Dec. 9, 2-3:15 p.m.  Working Together to Save Energy (EPA)

Dec. 14, 1-2:15 p.m. Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Dec. 15, 12-1 p.m. Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Dec. 15, 2-3 p.m. Tracking and Reporting GHG Emissions (EPA)

Dec. 16, 1-2 p.m. Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Dec. 16, 2-3 p.m. Diversion Upstream:  Working with Purchasing to Prevent Waste (CURC)

Dec. 22, 1-2 p.m. Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Green Strides: Resources for School Facilities, Health, and Environment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Facebook: @EDGreenRibbonSchools
Twitter: @EDGreenRibbon
If you received a forwarded newsletter, sign upto receive us directly next month. 

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Check out the latest Water Pages eNewsletter!             (Posted: 11-29-21)

A Cleaner, Greener Fulton Street for Woodbridge
Fulton Street rain garden #4 construction, Woodbridge, NJ
Curb-cut for Fulton Street rain garden #4, Woodbridge, NJ
The intersection of Fulton Street and Coley Street in Woodbridge is abuzz with pollinators on late autumn blooms following completion of the fourth rain garden near the Fulton Street overpass. The design plan called for four rain gardens, totaling 3,400 square feet, to be installed in the public right-of-way to manage stormwater runoff.

Woodbridge Township Department of Public Works skillfully constructed all four rain gardens as part of a municipal green infrastructure initiative. The Water Resources Program provided the rain garden design plans and technical oversight of installation through an ongoing partnership with Woodbridge Township.

Rain gardens are a type of green stormwater infrastructure, designed to intercept runoff and allow stormwater to slowly infiltrate into the ground, recharging groundwater, enhancing water quality, and managing runoff. The gardens along Fulton Street intercept stormwater runoff from the roadway through a series of curb cuts and shallow basins. Runoff is managed from a combined impervious drainage area of 12,000 square feet, and the gardens have the potential to capture 266,600 gallons of stormwater annually.

Rain gardens are also planted with a diverse selection of grasses and flowering native plant species that add value to the landscape by attracting and supporting pollinators. As perennials go dormant for the winter, their seeds and structure provide food and shelter for wintering birds. Keep an eye out for next year’s blooms!
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp mallow) & Solidago rugosa (fireworks goldenrod), Fulton Street rain garden #2, Woodbridge, NJ
Completed Fulton Street rain garden #4, Woodbridge, NJ
Green Infrastructure at Pittsgrove Township Schools
As part of a partnership with the South Jersey Land & Water Trust, during the month of October, the Water Resources Program completed two green infrastructure demonstration projects in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, one at Pittsgrove Township Middle School and one at Olivet Elementary School.

Pittsgrove Township Middle School: Phase 1 of the detention basin retrofit project at Pittsgrove Township Middle School consisted of installing four rain gardens in the basin in August 2021. Two check dams were installed to divert the stormwater from the existing low-flow concrete channel into the newly built rain gardens. Phase 2 of the project consisted of naturalizing the basin area before the rain gardens to decrease stormwater flow and increase pollinator habitat. To achieve the design, the existing sod (turfgrass) was removed. The garden bed was prepped with seed and a coconut mating to help prevent the seed and newly installed plants from washing away during storm events. We can't wait to see the basin in full bloom next spring and summer!
Phase 1: Rain garden installation in the detention basin at Pittsgrove Township Middle School, August 2021
Phase 2: Removal of sod to retrofit the basin at Pittsgrove Township Middle School, October 2021
Artistic rendering of completed project at Pittsgrove Township Middle School
Olivet Elementary School: Phase 1 of the bioswale project at Olivet Elementary School consisted of installing a 3,255 square foot bioswale in the school’s courtyard.  In an already eroding area, the Water Resources Program team carefully made sure that the bioswale was at the correct elevation to allow water to flow and to mitigate further erosion from the rooftop and sidewalk. The garden bed was prepped with seed and a coconut mating to help prevent the seed and newly installed plants from washing away during storm events. A large stone rock flow area was placed at the beginning of the bioswale to slow down the initial stormwater runoff. Two rain gardens are planned for installation as part of Phase 2 in the northeastern section of the courtyard to capture, treat, and infiltrate the stormwater runoff from the rooftop and nearby sidewalk area. To be continued....
Olivet Elementary School courtyard before bioswale construction, May 2021
Olivet Elementary School courtyard during bioswale construction and installation, October 2021
50 Rain Gardens for the 50th Anniversary of
Earth Day - Featured Rain Garden for November 2021

The Water Resources Program worked with our partners to install over 50 rain gardens in 2020, while following social distancing guidelines, as part of our 50 Rain Gardens for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Initiative.  Last, but not least, this month we highlight rain garden #25!
Angelo L. Tomaso Elementary School
46 Washington Valley Road, Warren, NJ
Construction and installation of the Angelo L. Tomaso (ALT) Elementary School rain garden was completed on August 21, 2020. The design and installation of this rain garden was funded by a 319(h) grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to implement green infrastructure projects in the Raritan River watershed. The Warren Township Department of Public Works excavated the rain garden, and the Water Resources Program added bioretention media and spread a three-inch layer of mulch. The Warren Township Green Team and a 2020 Green Infrastructure Champion assisted with the planting. The managed drainage area of the rain garden is 9,200 square feet, and the rain garden is 1,900 square feet in size. The rain garden will capture, treat, and infiltrate approximately 157,170 gallons of stormwater runoff per year and will serve as a demonstration project to township residents of how they can incorporate green infrastructure on their property. Most importantly, the rain garden will be used as an educational resource for students and teachers at the school.
ALT Elementary School rain garden following planting, August 2020
HOLD THE DATES: Become a leader, become a
Green Infrastructure Champion!
The next Green Infrastructure Champions Training Program will be offered every other Friday from 10AM to 12NOON starting January 14, 2022!

All sessions for the 2022 training program will be offered via an online format.

Here is what we can offer as part of the program:
  • Training on green infrastructure planning and implementation
  • Technical support to develop a design for a green infrastructure demonstration project
  • Networking opportunities with other Green Infrastructure Champions for mutual support
  • Assistance with grant writing

2022 Training Program Class Schedule:
  1. How to identify green infrastructure projects in your town (January 14)
  2. Moving from planning to implementation of green infrastructure (January 28)
  3. Maintaining green infrastructure practices/projects (February 11)
  4. Stormwater management regulations, policies, and ordinances (February 25)
  5. Green infrastructure planning and implementation for Sustainable Jersey points (March 11)
  6. Green infrastructure projects for schools (March 25)
  7. How to design and build a rain garden (April 8)
  8. Retrofitting traditional detention basins with green infrastructure (April 22)
  9. Developing green infrastructure master plans for an entire site or neighborhood (May 6)
  10. Using green infrastructure to promote climate resiliency (May 20)
Registration is required (Coming soon to! Registration will open December 1); the fee will be $10/class, and attendance at a minimum of five (5) classes is needed for certification.

This program is partially funded by the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and is a collaboration of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program and the Green Infrastructure Subcommittee of Jersey Water Works.

Contact Hollie DiMuro ( if you are interested in becoming a Green Infrastructure Champion.
Municipal Action Team Green Infrastructure Initiative Updates
Camden Collaborative Initiative Water
?The Camden Collaborative Initiative Water group met on November 17 via Zoom. The group got an update on the Adopt-a-Drain program which will officially start in the next few weeks with about 25 people already signed up. Partners are also excited about the new Port Roads Project which involves road improvements on Broadway and Atlantic and nearby streets which will include curb bump-outs with green infrastructure as well as other improvements. The rain garden projects at the Historical Society and Gateway Park have been completed. Additional projects at Cooper Poynt and Molina School are nearly completed, too, with major redevelopment of playground areas and incorporating green infrastructure throughout the properties. Also, SAVE THE DATE, Tuesday, November 23 for the Camden Environmental Summit 2021. Register for the Summit HERE (!

The next regular meeting will be on December 8 at 2PM via Zoom. Please go to the following to get added to the email list:

Gloucester City Green Team
The Gloucester City Green Team meeting for November 10 was cancelled.

The next regular meeting will tentatively be on December 8 at 1:30PM via Zoom. The group is considering moving the meeting to accommodate new members. Please contact to join the green team mailing list.
Jersey City START
START members met on October 28 at 2PM via Zoom to discuss plans for how the group will move forward when the new LTCP permits are finalized, given that Jersey City will be covered by the PVSC regional LTCP.  This plan must address flooding due to CSOs, and cost sharing and allocation is still being finalized and is only focusing on grey infrastructure solutions.  The JCMUA is in the process of a green infrastructure siting analysis to be completed by the end of the year.  Resilient Northeastern NJ presented on their regional flooding/hazard mitigation planning project and requested START’s help in providing feedback on their documents as they are produced.  Jersey City’s Master Plan is being presenting at the November 30 Special Planning Board meeting.  

The next START meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 16, in accordance with the new bi-monthly schedule.  Contact for the link for the upcoming meeting or to be added to the email list. 
Newark DIG
Newark DIG met on October 26 to discuss recent activities and initiatives of Newark DIG partners. The Newark Office of Sustainability hosted Canoemobile, a program in Riverfront Park which offered guided canoeing on the Passaic River on October 14, 15, and 16. The New Jersey Tree Foundation held successful tree plantings on October 1 on Fairmount Avenue, October 16 on Sanford Place, and on October 20 in Branch Brook Park. Newark DIG’s own Nathaly Agosto Filion will be honored at the NY/NJ Baykeeper Annual Gala at Kearny Point on October 27.

Newark DIG Zoom meetings are on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 11AM. Please contact to attend and for more information about any of the listed events.  

Paterson Green Team
Paterson Green Team met virtually on November 17 to discuss the state of the group and future event planning.  There will be a clean-up event hosted by the Girl Scouts and PSE&G at the Paterson Great Falls on December 4 (December 5 - rain date). Residents who attend can learn more and sign up for the Adopt-A-Catch Basin program in Paterson and will have the opportunity to tell their own water story at a live open-mic event with New Jersey Future. Members shared ideas for renewing the efforts of Paterson SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training), a collaborative group of community organizations, local government, and residents focused on stormwater, green infrastructure, and CSO (combined sewer overflow) issues.

For more information and to join the green team mailing list please contact 
Perth Amboy Green Team/SWIM
Perth Amboy SWIM members met virtually this month in conjunction with the Perth Amboy Green Team on Tuesday, November 16 at 6PM. The Green Team held a successful clean-up event on November 13 with participation from students, resident volunteers, and local businesses. Members discussed the potential of forming organizational structure, including officer positions and committees for specific Sustainable Jersey actions and interest areas. Planning for future Green Team outreach events included the discussion of how to better engage youth and retain audiences through participatory activities, giveaways, and ways for residents to take action at home. Partners also discussed the need to take inventory of city catch basins and educate residents about combined sewer overflows and the storm sewer system, potentially through an adopt-a-catch basin program. The City of Perth Amboy Clean Communities coordinator shared information about a campaign to deploy cigarette butt recycling receptacles in litter-prone areas.

The next meeting will be on December 21 at 6PM.  Please contact to be added to the email list. 
Trenton Green Infrastructure Partners
Trenton Green Infrastructure Partners (GIP) met virtually on November 16 to discuss ongoing partner initiatives and events including a successful tree planting hosted by the New Jersey Tree Foundation at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School on November 5. Temple University Landscape Architecture students shared their park design concepts for the Trenton waterfront. Members listened to details and discussed the City of Trenton Management Plan for Forests and Trees by DVRPC (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission). The RCE Water Resources Program and the City of Trenton completed work at the Hetzel Pool rain garden on November 10.

The next meeting will be on December 21 at 3PM via Zoom; please contact to be added to the mailing list for the group. 

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NPSNJ: Native Plant Legislation - We Need Your Help.             (Posted: 11-29-21)

We Need Your Help!

Dear Members and Friends of the Native Plant Society of NJ:

We need your help!!

New Jersey Assembly Bill A1580/S83: ( is coming to a vote on December 2. This bills establishes the “Jersey Native Plants Program” modeled on the successful “Jersey Fresh” and “Jersey Grown” programs to increase use advertising and marketing to encourage New Jersey consumers to purchase native plants at garden centers and nurseries.

This legislation has bipartisan support, but we need to have members of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey reach out to their legislators to get this passed. You can find your legislators from your address at Once you see your list of legislators (upper means senate, lower means assembly), click on them to get your Assembly people’s phone, email, and address.

The best thing to do is call your member and leave a message with staff member or answering service expressing support for Assembly Bill A1580 the “Jersey Native Plants Program” with a couple of reasons as to why. A similar bill S83 has already been passed by the NJ Senate. 

Each person who telephones is assumed to represent any number of people so your voice will really make a difference and let our legislators know that the NPSNJ is alive and active and that we really care about what happens to our environment!

So please help out and let your voice be heard before Dec. 2nd!


Hubert Ling PhD: President NPSNJ & the

NPSNJ Legislative Committee: Dr. Kazys Varnelis and Tara Howley

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NWF: Wildlife News You Can Use             (Posted: 11-29-21)


Habitat Crossing Projected to Begin Construction in January 2022

Years in the making, the wildlife crossing on the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills is expected to begin construction early next year. Experts have long said that this habitat crossing is key to helping save an isolated population of mountain lions in the region from extinction. “This is an unprecedented project that Los Angeles should be incredibly proud of,” said Beth Pratt, Regional Executive director in California for the National Wildlife Federation.

Read More From The Story That Appeared In The LA Times


How to Create Outdoor Spaces for All

The more people who connect with nature, the more we all benefit. Spending time outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic reduced stress and led to better mental health and well-being in many people.

But today 100 million Americans, including 28 million children, do not have access to a safe park near their homes. That’s why the National Wildlife Federation launched Thrive Outside Greater Philadelphia.

Learn What NWF Is Doing To Help Provide Safe and Equitable Outdoor Spaces


A New Regional Director for the Northern Rockies, Prairies and Pacific Region

We have exciting news! After a comprehensive, nationwide search, the National Wildlife Federation has selected our new Regional Executive Director for the Northern Rockies, Prairies and Pacific region. Erin Farris-Olsen joined the National Wildlife Federation in early November. We are excited to welcome Erin to our team!

Discover the experience and expertise Erin brings to the region


Monarch Conservation is a Cultural Issue, Too

Conservationists from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are working tirelessly to save the migratory monarch butterfly populations. Monarchs are an emblematic species in Mexican culture — and saving the monarchs also means preserving their important place in Latine heritage. One reason monarchs are important to cultural conservation is because of their historic connection to the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

In Celebration of The Recent Holiday, Read More!


New Flood Resilience Report Highlights Risk at the Community Level

For Tampa Bay residents, climate change is neither an unfamiliar nor a distant issue. Surrounded by the warming Gulf of Mexico, over 700 miles of eroding shoreline, and rising sea levels, Tampa Bay — including the main cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater — is extremely vulnerable to multiple climate impacts including hurricanes, and heightened flood risks.

Read More About the Harrowing Impact of Climate Change

The National Wildlife Federation
© 2021 The National Wildlife Federation, all rights reserved
The National Wildlife Federation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1583, Merrifield, VA 22116-1583

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C&NN: Finding Nature: Gathering in gratitude             (Posted: 11-29-21)

Click HERE.

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C&NN: November 2021: Children and climate activism             (Posted: 11-29-21)

Click HERE.

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C&NN: What a difference our members make             (Posted: 11-18-21)

Click HERE.

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Visit Cider Mill Preserve for the Beauty of Grasslands in Autumn             (Posted: 11-18-21)

Our Open Space is Open
Visit Cider Mill Preserve for Vibrant Fall Shades
A fall rainbow at Cider Mill Preserve in Autumn.
A Prime Example of Agricultural Grasslands
This month, the shades of red, brown, and green stand out at the Cider Mill Preserve, even on the dullest of days. This is a great time of year to explore Cider Mill, an important grassland resource in Hunterdon County's East Amwell.

Cider Mill Grassland Preserve is an 90-acre property in the heart of the agricultural landscape of the Amwell Valley. The property slopes gently south, providing a view of the Sourland ridge. 

The Preserve is part of the NJ Natural Heritage Program’s designated “Amwell Valley Grassland Macrosite” which totals approximately 1,593 acres and is considered a prime example of agricultural grasslands in New Jersey. This grassland complex is a critical area for grassland birds and has been identified as a high priority for protection.

The 90-acre preserve was purchased from Bryce Thompson and preserved in 2011 by D&R Greenway Land Trust, in partnership with East Amwell Township, The Open Space Institute, Conservation Resources Inc., Hunterdon County,
and the New Jersey Green Acres program.
Trails begin at the kiosk you'll find next to parking on Cider Mill Road, and lead through the fields, providing long views with birds and big sky. The Short-Eared Owl is not guaranteed!
Why Grasslands Are Important
Over the last half century, grassland birds have declined more than any other type of bird, by 53% according to a study by the Cornell Ornithology Lab.
That's an important reason to protect properties such as Cider Mill Grasslands Preserve, a foraging habitat for American kestrels, bobolinks, meadowlarks , grasshopper sparrows among other grassland species. Wintering short-eared owls and northern harriers have also been observed foraging on or adjacent to the site.

D&R Greenway maintains a thoughtful mowing schedule to avoid interrupting the nesting in the spring and summer.
Late autumn is a great time to visit.
D&R Greenway Land Trust
at the Johnson Education Center
One Preservation Place
Princeton, NJ 08540

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Finding Nature: Social change requires systems change             (Posted: 11-16-21)

Click HERE.

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CWFNJ: Explorations November E-News 2021             (Posted: 11-16-21)

November 2021
New Jersey Piping Plover Breeding Population Rises Sharply in 2021
A good year for New Jersey's piping plovers
despite setbacks caused by storms and predators

There was good news and bad news in the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program's annual 2021 New Jersey piping plover breeding season report.

The New Jersey piping plover breeding population increased to 137 pairs in 2021, the third highest since federal listing in 1986. That is an unprecedented 33% rise over the previous year and just short of the record high of 144 pairs in 2003.

On the downside, the number of chicks fledged statewide was just 0.85 chicks per pair, the lowest since 2013 and about half of the 1.50 federal recovery goal. The low productivity was largely the result of a severe Memorial Day weekend nor’easter and persistent predator activity throughout the season.

Read more about CWF's involvement in several key piping plover nesting areas and link to the State's entire 2021 Piping Plover Report on our blog!
Coastal Barn Owl Project Update
New barn owl boxes installed after successful fundraising campaign

The Coastal Barn Owl Project team is gearing up for another round of nest box installations in coastal southern New Jersey. After a successful fundraising appeal, we can now thank our donors by adding more potential nesting opportunities for barn owls, a species in population decline. 

Our fourth and most recent box was just installed on October 22 in the saltmarshes of Cape May County. With each install, the team is becoming more efficient, and we hope to get several more boxes up in key locations before early spring when the owls begin their search for suitable nesting sites.

Read more on our blog!
Uncovering Urban Reptile and Amphibian Diversity
The simple trick to study hard-to-find reptiles and amphibians

How do you survey for animals that spend most of their time hidden under leaf litter or wedged between fallen tree limbs and rocks?

In the case of reptiles and amphibians, the answer is to use coverboards!

Coverboards are materials that are intentionally placed within a potential habitat that trap moisture and retain heat, creating favorable conditions for our "cold-blooded" friends. This method allows scientists to study these hard to find creatures by attracting them to a set location, which is much easier than fruitlessly turning over rocks.

Read more about how coverboards work and how CWF is utilizing them on the blog!
The 2021 New Jersey Eagle Nesting Season in Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words

There are over 100 eagle project volunteers who monitor eagle nests during the season. They are an extremely dedicated group who not only monitor eagle nests but help to protect them. Volunteers become familiar with their pairs and get to witness all kinds of eagle (and other wildlife) activity.

We asked the volunteers to send us their favorite photos from this season to share with our followers and thank them for the hard work they do year after year for our eagles!

It was difficult for our volunteers to choose just one photo, but the whole collection offers an impressive look into the lives of New Jersey's eagles.

Thank you to the volunteers for sharing with us!

Read more on our blog and view the photo series.
Falcons Rule the Roost at Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic City
Atlantic City's newest penthouse suite is "for the birds"

This past week CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst had the pleasure of assisting Supervising Zoologist Kathy Clark with NJ Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program to install a new nestbox for state endangered peregrine falcons.

The family of peregrine falcons was using an old crow's nest on the glowing emblem on the side of the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel building. While they seemed to be doing well, that's no place to raise a family!

In order to give future chicks a better place to call home, a "peregloo" was installed on the roof of the hotel.

Read more about what it takes to install a nestbox in such a tricky location on our blog!
Thank you to all staff and management of the Sheraton Hotel and Tun Tavern who have supported the falcons and our efforts to provide a safe place for them to nest!
Welcome to the 2022 Species On The Edge Art & Essay Contest!
The deadline to enter is:
February 14, 2022

The Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest empowers 5th grade students to advocate for an endangered or threatened species from New Jersey through a well-researched, creative essay and original art piece.

Simple, Fun, and Free to Enter!

One winner from each county in New Jersey will be selected.
Open to all New Jersey fifth grade students.

The contest kit (including rules, species list, & entry form) can be found at the link below.
Welcome Autumn With A CWF Beanie
Stay warm wearing this official CWF beanie and show your support for conserving New Jersey’s rare wildlife! 

These comfy beanies are available for purchase from our online store for just $15.00.
Did someone forward this email to you? Sign up for Conserve Wildlife Foundation's monthly e-newsletter Explorations to connect to New Jersey's amazing wildlife.

Return to Contents News             (Posted: 11-16-21)

Coalition seeks reinstatement of federal wolf protections

Wolves face urgent, imminent and cognizable threats to their populations.

Report reveals certain amount of global warming irreversible

The climate crisis can no longer be ignored or avoided.

To accelerate climate action, start with mandating climate education in schools

Making climate education compulsory in schools is top priority to build capacity for a sustainable future.

Green Jobs: Earn while you sustain

Education has a crucial role to play in building the workforce for a new, greener existence.

10 environmental documentaries to stream this summer

Environmental documentaries have the powerful potential to influence the narrative of conservation.

12 best books on climate change, shared by climate activists

Read these climate activists' favorite books.

Most of the air pollution we breathe indoors comes from outside

As the masks are coming off — what does that mean for our air quality?

Addressing climate change is one of the best ways to improve public health

Here are five ways climate change is impacting health on a daily basis.

The Journey to Plastic-Free

This series details our associate's journey to going plastic-free and provides tips for you to do the same. Her experience shows that plastic-free switches can be affordable and have an immense impact on the environment at large.

How to make your shower plastic free without breaking the bank

If we all did this, the benefits to the planet (and our wallet) would be immense.

Making your daily hygiene and sink-based routines ocean friendly

Need an extra push to get started going plastic free?

Plastic-free living for the whole family

This Plastic Free July, learn how you can make your household plastic free.

EARTHDAY.ORG · 1752 N St NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036, United States

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Gardener News 2021 E-Newspaper             (Posted: 11-16-21)

Gardener News October 2021 E-Newspaper
Please Support our Advertisers and Partners
Featured Columnists
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
By Andrew Bunting 
Vice President of Public Horticulture
Pollinators in the Garden
In the last five to ten years there has been a growing interest among gardeners to add plants to their gardens that attract a multitude of pollinators. The butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa and other native milkweeds have been becoming more and more popular in the garden because they play an important role in supporting butterflies, especially the threatened monarch butterfly. Throughout the spring and summer this perennial that reached 1-2 feet tall has bright orange flowers.

  Around The Garden
By Tom Castronovo
Gardener News
  Let Us Pray
Prayers are needed for the agricultural, gardening, horticultural, and landscaping communities.

Morris County Park Commission
By Bruce Crawford
Horticultural Manager

Cyclamens for the Woodland Garden
 Some varieties of plants become pigeonholed into specific categories and on occasion it is difficult for even experienced gardeners to break free of this mindset. 

 Growing Gardeners 
By Diana Dove
Environmental Educator

A Children's Garden Begins with Just One Seed...
A schools garden is an exciting place to learn and can have a profound effect on children.

N.J. Department of Agriculture
?By Douglas H. Fisher
N.J. Secretary of Agriculture

Two Bites of the Apple
Summer is, of course, officially over by October and it is now time that we turn our thoughts and actions to the seasons ahead of us.

Agriculture and Natural Resources
By Eric Houghtaling
New Jersey Assemblyman

NJ Aquaculture Is Good for All of NJ    
There’s a lot more to New Jersey aquaculture than clams and oysters.

Unique Plants
By Bob LaHoff
Nursery Specialist

Friendship is a Gift 
Over the years many of our customers have become good friends. Horticulture, specifically gardening, seems to be a gateway for other conversations.  And while politics, religion and money sometimes present themselves (three things my parents told me to avoid talking about with friends), travel, entertainment and other hobbies have often been talked about too. One particular customer, now more of a friend, has for the past few years shared his love of gardening and the rewards he reaps from his own toils. 

Native Plant Society of N.J.
By Hubert Ling
What is a White Panicle Aster? 
White Panicle Aster or lance leaf aster, Symphyotrichum lanceolatum has leaves which are 3-5 inches long, narrow, and lance shaped thus the common and species name. A panicle is a cluster of extensively branched, stalked flowers. The genus name Symphyotrichum means clusters of hairs and most members of this genus are rather fuzzy except for the white panicle aster. This aster grows up to 4-5 (-8) feet tall; it is one of the last blooming aster in our area, thus it is especially valuable as a late season food supply for insects and a variety of other animals. 

The Town Farmer
By Peter Melick
Agricultural Producer?

Fall is for Planting 
  Now that the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler, our thoughts generally turn to harvesting our crops that were planted last spring. But the fall season is also the time to plant many crops. 

NJ Agricultural Society
By Al Murray
Executive Director

Stewards of the Sea
Recently, I attended an aquaculture tour sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau. The purpose of the tour was to educate our state’s legislators and their staffs about New Jersey’s vibrant shellfish industry, as well as to see first-hand an interesting project that restores oyster reefs in the Barnegat Bay.

Turf's Up
By Todd Pretz
Professional Turf Consultant

What happened this year? 
What didn’t happen? Here we go again on a wild rollercoaster ride thanks to Mother Nature. 

Rutgers Outreach
Provided By Brian Schilling

What is Agritourism, Why Are People Attracted to the Farm, and Where to Go?
What is agritourism? defines agritourism (agriculture plus tourism) as “the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and participate in farm activities.” There are other names for agritourism– “agritainment,” “rural tourism,” and “farm visits.” All are a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or the processing of agricultural products with tourism to attract visitors to farms and other agricultural businesses for the purpose of entertaining, educating, selling farm products, and creating a meaningful customer experience.
The NJLCA Today
?By Gail Woolcott
Executive Director

A Labor of Love 
 Each year, the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) tries to give back to our communities by performing a service project.
From The Newsroom
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Applications that meet eligibility and ranking criteria for ACEP received by October 29 will be considered for 2022 funding.
ACEP helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through two types of conservation easements; Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps protect working agricultural lands and limits non-agricultural uses to protect the long-term viability of the nation's food while supporting environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space. This component is also available for grasslands of special environmental significance, or high-quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.
Landowners interested in ACEP- ALE must work with a cooperating entity who will submit the required application materials. NRCS does not accept applications directly from producers. State and local governments, non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs, and several New Jersey land trusts are eligible to help interested landowners apply.
Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater, and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of these easements, and eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.
To apply for ACEP-ALE, or for more information, please contact Gail Bartok, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, at 732-537-6042 or Lauren Lapczynski, Easement Specialist, at 732-537-6046.
Applications for ACEP-WRE are available through your local USDA Service Center and online at

Gardener News November 2021 E-Newspaper
Please Support our Advertisers and Partners
Featured Columnists
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
By Andrew Bunting 
Vice President of Public Horticulture
Great Goldenrods
The goldenrods which were mostly disregarded for decades as a roadside weed have become very popular in recent years as great stalwart perennials that are durable and resilient in the landscape, attract a myriad of pollinators, are relatively deer resistant, and provide golden flowers throughout late summer and into the fall.
  Around The Garden
By Tom Castronovo
Gardener News
  They've Served Our Garden State with Distinction
I want to personally thank the following New Jersey legislators for constantly helping the agricultural, gardening, landscaping and nursery communities. I am going to list them alphabetically by last name so I don’t get myself in trouble.
Morris County Park Commission
By Bruce Crawford
Horticultural Manager

Itea - A Plant in Need of Rediscovery
 It is rare for a low maintenance shrub, capable of providing the garden with four seasons of interest to be relatively uncommon in the home landscape.  Oddly, this is the fate of Virginia Sweetspire and it was not until the late 1980’s that this plant began to gain limited recognition with gardeners. Botanically named Itea virginica, it seemingly appears to be a ‘late bloomer’ to the gardening world, yet it was a well admired plant in the 1700’s and is a plant in need of rediscovery!
 Growing Gardeners 
By Diana Dove
Environmental Educator

Youth Garden Clubs Inspire Future Gardeners
Teaching garden activities to children and teens can have an exponential impact for a lifetime. Joining a youth garden club offers endless learning possibilities and benefits for GROWING GARDENERS. A youth garden club could be organized through a: school, day care center, aftercare program, YMCA, camp, arboretum, park system, nature or environmental center, library, summer recreation program, swim club, church, community garden, scouts, farmer’s market, or a local adult garden club.     
N.J. Department of Agriculture
?By Douglas H. Fisher
N.J. Secretary of Agriculture

What We Do
From time to time, at agricultural events, meetings, or elsewhere, people ask me and others from the Department of Agriculture, “What do you all do in the department?”
Agriculture and Natural Resources
By Eric Houghtaling
New Jersey Assemblyman

Giving Thanks for Innovation of Garden State Farmers    
Each year as it gets closer to Thanksgiving, Americans take stock in the things for which we are thankful. A bountiful table set for dinner with family and friends symbolizes our good fortune.

Unique Plants
By Bob LaHoff
Nursery Specialist

Wordsmiths Evoke Fond Memories 
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower” Albert Camus. A French philosopher, author and journalist, Albert Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44, the second youngest to receive this illustrious prize. His most famous works include The Stranger, The plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall and The Rebel. However, it is his simple horticultural quote that speaks to me. His words are as poignant as they are poetic, truthful and deliberate, succinct and brilliant in composition. I have always been attracted to wordsmiths and their flare for language, particularly when it involves nature. Mr. Camus’ quote has me reminded of all the wonderful late fall color one can imbibe if they only take the time to look. Plants such as Sumac, Heuchera, Japanese Maples, Smokebush, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Viburnum types and Heavenly Bamboo are reminders of his words. A spectrum of color is still out there with rich shades of red, purple, yellow and orange. Poets, composers, authors, writers and novelists alike have written remarkable words depicting nature and with that comes personal relations to their words.

Native Plant Society of N.J.
By Hubert Ling
Toxic Strawberries and Sleeping Beauty
Our American strawberry bush Euonymus americanus is a moderately toxic native shrub which grows to 4-8 feet tall. In the fall this plant produces quantities of fantastic, hot pink, spiky, five lobed fruits which burst open to reveal 3-5 Day-Glo orange seeds; this expanded fruit is about 1 inch in diameter. The plant is really quite a conversation piece even if you can’t enjoy eating the “strawberries.”Euonymus americanus has a close relative in Europe the spindle tree Euonymus europaeus which is similar in form to its American cousin but grows to 18 feet and is perhaps a bit more toxic.