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Students Statewide Join Together for New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s 10th-Annual Environmental Exchange

OCEAN CITY, NJ – March 22, 2018 – There was plenty of time for serious discussion about discarded plastic bags on the beach, about trash in urban waterways and ways to ensure school buildings recycle as much paper as possible.

And the annual Environmental Exchange – concluding tomorrow – included plenty of hands-on opportunities for 108 students across the state to participate in roundtable talks, get a bird’s-eye view of efforts to fight beach erosion and see what it takes to create their own rain barrels.

The prevailing message? We are borrowing the Earth from our children, and we need to take care of it.

The two-day event is run each year through the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC), which works to ensure a strong cross-section of students from throughout the state participate in the program. This year, there were nine schools, each with 12 students, in attendance, said NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber, who secures new host communities each year and oversees every facet of the program.

Students began their work this morning observing the snowy sands of Ocean City, where the city’s public works department was spreading out sand, following the nor’easter that caused the sand to cliff on the beach. From there, the students went to the Music Pier on the boardwalk, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, for interactive activities.

They had the opportunity to learn from Lyn Crumbock of Lower Township, the recycling coordinator for Cape May County. Her important message focused on plastic bags, and the many ways in which they can hinder recycling.

Crumbock said the plastic bags often get stuck in the recycling machinery. That is why they should be brought separately to businesses and other places that accept them for recycling. Also, she said, other recyclables should not be stored in plastic bags, as the county won’t accept the contents for recycling.

“We won’t rip into the plastic bags to get the contents,” she said. “It would slow down the recycling process, and we don’t even know what the contents are. So, these plastic bags, and their contents, are brought to the landfill. Even with the good intentions of residents, we can’t recycle items given to us in plastic bags.”

 

The student’s work resumed back at The Flanders Hotel, a short walk from the Music Pier on the boardwalk, where the students attended various workshops and learned about the NJCCC’s litter survey, now underway statewide. Huber hoped many of the students could serve as volunteers in their communities, as the litter survey requires visits to hundreds of sites in New Jersey over the course of 2018.

Besides all the hard work, there was plenty of fun. Students joined in Zumba classes, watched a dazzling magician and enjoyed music, as they interacted with kids from schools in urban, suburban and rural communities.

As it is the 10th anniversary of the Environmental Exchange, Huber said the group welcomed back former participants who continue to embrace the anti-littering messages they first learned in elementary school.

Jill Baturin of Winslow Township, a retired teacher from Williamstown Middle School, had been involved in NJCCC for 10 years, retiring in 2014. She was happy to bring along a college junior, and two high school students who were among her sixth graders attending the Environmental Exchange.

“When I was at Williamstown Middle School, this was a great experience for me. I am amazed it is still going on,” said Devon Matthews, 17, a senior at St. Augustine Prep School in Buena Vista, who will be attending St. Joseph’s University in the fall to study psychology.

“My advice for these kids is to enjoy every bit of the Environmental Exchange,” said Matthews, as he watched students from East Orange smile for a camera on the Music Pier stage. “I also want them to come away with an important message about littering. It affects everyone. Plastic bags are everywhere. We need to conserve and protect the Earth if we want to keep it alive.”

Tori Crowley, 20, a junior at Rowan University in Glassboro, returned to the Environmental Exchange to interact with the students from Willamstown Middle School, her alma mater. She talked about a recent, two-week trip to India, where she had the opportunity to student teach.

“There was litter all over the roads and streams,” Crowley observed. “Many people in New Jersey really don’t know how important the anti-littering campaign is. I feel angry when I see a candy wrapper on the ground. But many don’t realize how far New Jersey as come, compared to other places in the world.”

Learn more about the NJCCC at NJClean.org

toriMadison Foti, 16, a junior at Williamstown High School; Tori Crowley, 20, a junior at Rowan University in Glassboro;
and Devon Matthews, 17, a senior at St. Augustine Prep School in Buena Vista celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Environmental Exchange.

NJCCC 10th pic banner

 

 

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N.J. Clean Communities Honors Delaware Township’s Kathleen Klink

SERGEANTSVILLE – The N.J. Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) recently honored Delaware Township’s Kathleen Klink with its 2018 “Clean Waterways Award,” for her ongoing river cleanups and for providing hands-on environmental education to young people.

Klink, the municipal clean communities coordinator, organizes regular volunteer cleanups along the Delaware River, often enlisting help from local youngsters to teach them the value of community service and preserving their environment.

“Our goal is to have a clean river and environment, but to also educate our children,” said Klink “If we can teach the younger generation how to do it correctly, we are helping our Earth and ourselves in years to come.”

Klink’s volunteer groups often finish their work with dozens of bags of trash, glass, plastics and, at least on one occasion a ten-foot rubber hose.
“These groups will remember what they find. They will remember that they made a difference and, hopefully, they will want to keep making a difference throughout their lives,” she said.

“Kathleen has a great heart,” said NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber. “She’s the kind of person we need to help lead and educate our children.”
NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at www.njclean.org.

Delaware Clean Communities Group Photo 2018

 

 

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East Amwell Township School’s Environment Club Receives New Jersey Food Council Scholarship Award from NJCCC

EAST AMWELL, NJ – July 23, 2018 – The East Amwell Township School’s Environment Club has received the New Jersey Food Council Scholarship Award from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) for an ongoing commitment to innovative recycling.

Sharon Ernst, a fifth-grade science teacher at East Amwell Township School, who is also in-charge of the elementary school’s Environment Club, accepted the award. Ernst said she applied because of her pride in the fourth- and fifth-grade club members, adding the $1,000 scholarship was icing on the cake.

For the past 10 years, the East Amwell Township School participates in an organization called “TerraCycle” that aims to recycle traditionally “non-recyclable” items. Items can include anything from chip bags to beauty products, collected by the students, staff, parents and the entire East Amwell community.

Each classroom has a bin for collection. East Amwell sends about 20 filled bins every two months to TerraCycle. The recycler then sends funds from the collected products, which supports improvements to the school’s garden.

This well-tended garden comprises flowers, plants and crops. It also includes butterfly plants that attract different native butterflies, spice bushes, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, beans and cucumbers. Bird feeders and birdhouses also hang in the garden to attract birds for students to identify and study.

“I just wasn’t expecting this award,” Ernst said. “I’m just so happy about what my school and community is doing; I just had to share it. We can put that money towards investing in a cleaner school environment, adding more plants to our garden at school. We can even fix up the garden, maybe add some benches for people to sit and enjoy the view.

“The students learn so much from being outside in the garden and greenhouse,” Ernst added. “It’s a hands-on activity and they are absorbing it all. There are students who have graduated who come back to me and say, ‘I remember planting lettuce or the butterfly bush, and now I can identify certain native butterflies.’ That’s because of this garden.”

Linda Doherty, president of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), who was on hand to present the scholarship, said the East Amwell School is a “superb example of children committed to recycling and reaping the rewards of a healthy environment. We are proud of what the students have accomplished in East Amwell.”

Doherty, who also serves as vice chair of the NJCCC, said the students and teachers are helping both the NJCCC and NJFC fulfill a mission of education and advocacy.

NJFC has presented school scholarships to deserving, environmentally-active student groups for about 10 years at the NJCCC’s annual awards banquet.

NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.

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New Jersey Clean Communities Council Honors Jackie Wallace with the CCESE Volunteer Award

WILLIAMSTOWN, NJ – (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – Jackie Wallace, a Clean Communities Coordinator for Monroe Township, was awarded the Clean Communities Environmental Student Exchange Volunteer Award from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC).

Wallace received the CCESE Volunteer Award for her dedication and drive to educate students about keeping the environment clean and the value of litter cleanups across New Jersey, starting in her community.

“The state coordinator reached out to me years ago and asked me to get a bunch of students together for a cleanup,” Wallace said. “That’s how it all started. We are now in our ninth year of the student exchange program. We have to remember it’s all about the younger generation, they’re our future.

“The kids get so excited about the cleanups too. First they study the environment and about litter for six months. After six months, they bring their knowledge back to their hometowns and apply what they learned. These students are from all over too, cities, rural areas and shore towns. So not only are they learning about litter, they learn about culture and our state. My goal is for the students to carry what they learn with them and make our state a better place to live,” Wallace added.

“Jackie takes pride in our state, as everyone should,” NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber said. “The younger generation is the most important generation. If they learn about these topics while they are young, they can take that knowledge with them throughout their life and make a difference, and Jackie knows that. She focuses her work on it.”

NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.

Jackie Wallace

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New Jersey Clean Communities Council Honors Elyse Baron with “Municipal Coordinator” Award

SAYREVILLE– June 28, 2018 –The New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) has awarded Elyse Baron, Recycling and Clean Communities Coordinator of Sayreville, with the “Municipal Coordinator Award” for her dedication and outreach to the borough.

Baron routinely goes above and beyond her every day job, and brings along passion, drive and personality, said NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber.

Middlesex County officials nominated Baron in honor of the many educational programs and clean-ups she coordinates. Baron can often be seen around the Sayreville public schools, teaching students the importance of having a clean community.

“I bring awareness and education into the program as well as fun,” Baron said. “I was pleased to join in the NJCCC’s litter survey in my part of the state, helping to take responsibility for improving litter prevention.

“Having a clean community helps everyone in the long run and should be everyone’s goal,” Baron added.

Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O’Brien described Baron as one of the unsung heroes of Sayreville who continually work to many the borough a great place to live. “We can’t expect the next generation of Sayreville residents to fight litter on their own,” the mayor said. “Elyse is continually on the front lines in the areas of education and advocacy, which make her so deserving of this award.”

NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.