Ewing Fall Spin


Register today to join the Ewing Green Team and the Ewing Bike Advocacy Group, a contingent of citizen volunteers interested in promoting a more bikeable Ewing, at the Ewing Fall Spin on Saturday morning, October 24th. This small coterie of Ewing cyclists have melded their various relevant experiences together to set up a first ever bicycle tour solely within the bounds of Ewing Township. We want to promote sociable, healthy lifestyles, and accessible, safe alternatives to the automobile in getting around. We are sure there will be a debriefing with lessons learned from the event, in the hopes that an annual Ewing ride can be spawned.

We will ride out from and return to the Ewing Senior and Community Center (ESCC) and enjoy a leisurely tour of the western and northwestern sections of our township (west of Rte. 31 – Pennington Road.) Pre-registration is required to guarantee a tee-shirt. The cost is $15 (for registrations received prior to October 17th) to cover the cost of tee-shirts. Registrations received after the 17th, including the day of the ride, cost $20. We will attempt to provide tee-shirts for late registrants but they may not be received in time for the ride.

So plan to join us at our first Ewing Fall Spin, as we work to raise awareness of bicycle safety and promote healthy lifestyles and a more bike friendly town.  If you are 18 or older, and live in or near Ewing Township, please join us on the morning of October 24th at the ESCC, 999 Lower Ferry Rd. To register, find printable pages at http://ewinggreenteam.org/ewingfallspin/.  We ask that you patronize the sponsors whose logos appear thereon.

To volunteer or offer suggestions, call Pete Boughton at 609-313-5021or email petejbo742@aol.com. Pete Boughton, Immediate Past Chair

Date: October 24th (Rain or shine)  In case of really inclement weather and the event has to be cancelled, we will try to contact you by phone and/or email. (so please print legibly on the registration form)
Meet Up: 8 a.m.  at the ESCC
Ride Starts: Promptly at 9 a.m.
Cost: $15 per person (includes a free tee shirt if your registration is received by October 17th.) $20 per person if received after Oct 17th.
Registration: You may register and pay at the ESCC Recreation Department Office or mail the filled out the registration form along with your check made out to the Ewing Twp. Recreation Department to:

Joanne Mullowney (Co-Chair)
Ewing Green Team
Ewing Municipal Building
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Registrations and payment must be received by Saturday, October 17th to be eligible for the $15 rate.

The Ewing police will escort us through intersections.

Standard safety gear (helmets) and road compliant bicycles required. (Specific rules will be forthcoming.)

Ewing Fall Festival of Fun at the Ewing Community Center

by Lisa Feldman

scarecrow3The Ewing Green Team is partnering with the Ewing Recreation Department and Arts Commission on Saturday, October 24th to expand Ewing’s annual Trunk or Treat to include pumpkin painting; the displaying, judging and awarding of the cash prizes for the our 2nd Annual Scarecrow Contest; and a special ‘fun’ fall home project – the opportunity for people to make their very own scarecrow to take home to decorate their yards, plus refreshments.

 2nd Annual Ewing Green Team Scarecrow Contest

Register today to participate in our 2nd Annual Scarecrow Contest with cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25! Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, design and durability. Let’s see how creative you can be with recycled materials.

All entries must be made of at least 80% of recycled materials in order to qualify. All Ewing residents, organizations, schools, families, businesses are welcome to participate. (And it’s free!) Pre-registration is required. Go to our scarecrow contest page for details and to register.  Any questions, call Lisa at 609-620-0722.

Judging will be on Saturday, October 24th at 4:00 during the Ewing Community Center’s Fall Festival of Fun. Judging will be done by our Ewing Arts Commission and own Mayor Steinmann* (schedule permitting). Completed Scarecrows must be dropped off at the Ewing Community Center no later than Friday, October 23rd, by 4:00 in order to be included in the contest. We ask that entries remain at the center until Nov 1st and may be picked up after that date.

Some limited supplies will be available at the Fall Festival to enable last minute registrants to participate in the Scarecrow contest. However, you must register and complete your Scarecrow by 3:30 in order to be displayed for judging at 4:00.

*There are 15 wooden frames for your scarecrows available on a first-come-first-serve basis 6’ tall x 3’ wide if needed. Please check off on registration if you are interested in frame. *

Date: Saturday, October 24th
Time: 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center
Cost: Free
Requirements: Just bring your creativity and willingness to join in the fun!

Busy Saturday for Recycling – RX Disposal in Ewing and MCIA Hazardous Waste Disposal Day

recycleimageTwo unrelated recycling events will be occurring today, the MCIA’s Hazardous Waste Disposal Day and a drug disposal day.  Please be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to dispose of your recyclables or unwanted prescriptions safely.  Read on for more information.

Hazardous Waste Disposal Day

The MCIA will be running its final Household Waste and Electronics Disposal Day of the year today, September 26th from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  It will be held at John T. Dempster Fire School, Lawrence Station Rd in Lawrence Twp.

Accepted for recycling are the following:

Aerosol Cans | Used Motor Oil |Propane Gas Tanks | Pesticides & Herbicides | Car Batteries | Paint Thinner | Oil Based Paint | Stains & Varnishes | Gasoline | Anti-Freeze | Driveway Sealer | Insect Repellents | Mercury | Fluorescent & CFL Bulbs | Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

Materials Not Accepted:

NO LATEX PAINT | NO Heating Oil | NO Infectious Waste| NO Radioactive Materials NO Explosives or Munitions | NO Railroad Ties | NO Asbestos | NO Tires | NO Wood  | NO Fencing | NO Air Conditioners | NO Helium or Oxygen Tanks | NO Unknowns

For Mercer County Residents Only. Only Residential Waste will be accepted, i.e. no Commercial Business waste. Proof of Residency will be required (Driver’s License). For more information call 609-278-8086 or visit WWW.MCIANJ.ORG.

National Take Back Day

drugsThe Ewing Police Department will be participating in the DEA’s biannual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day  from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.    This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of them.  Just go to the Ewing Police Department at 2 Jake Garzio Drive.  Enter the main door and make a left to go down the hallway to the Police Department.  The Ewing Police will have an officer available between 10 and 2 to take the items. All medications are accepted, prescription and over-the-counter, as well as liquids.

All medications are accepted, prescription and over-the-counter, as well as liquids.  Hypodermic needles are not accepted.  The disposal is handled completely securely; all accepted medications with any labels that you leave on the containers are placed in a large cardboard box, lined with plastic.  At the end of the day the contents are taken to the prosecutor’s office.  The DEA will pick up and incinerate.

Guidelines for Drug Disposal

If you are unable to participate on the day the FDA’s guidelines for proper drug disposal follow:

Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.

If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter — to make the medication less appealing and unrecognizable — then put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

You should also remove any identifying information on the label to protect your identity and privacy.

Despite the safety reasons for flushing drugs, some people are questioning the practice because of concerns about trace levels of drug residues found in surface water, such as rivers and lakes, and in some community drinking water supplies. However, the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications and then naturally passing them through their bodies.  That said, the FDA does not want to add drug residues into water systems unnecessarily. The agency reviewed its drug labels to identify products with disposal directions recommending flushing or disposal down the sink. This continuously revised listing can be found at FDA’s Web page on Disposal of Unused Medicines.

National Take Back Day Information

Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Ewing Police Department, 2 Jake Garzio Drive

Becoming a Leaf Litter Bug: the Ecological Benefits of the Not So Perfect Yard


by Joanne Mullowney

Every autumn we post our Annual Autumn Cleanup article asking readers to rethink the prevailing custom of treating leaves as waste by raking them to the curb for Township pickup. We suggest instead that you channel your inner Environmental Steward by leaf cycling. The benefits of leaf cycling, the practice of hoarding your autumn leaf drop for use in your landscape, are many. They include the retention of raw materials for the compost pile, provision of an insulating winter cover in the garden, soil building, moisture retention, and reduction in the amount of resources our Township puts out for fall cleanup, saving taxpayer dollars. And while you might think that this leaves the yard looking a little less than perfect, less labor may be required as we strive to become Leaf Litter Bugs.

The Benefit of Providing Habitat

The somewhat messy yard contributes yet another important benefit – habitat, not a traditional concern of the average gardener. Did you know that despite its not so perfect look, leaf litter provides an important foraging space for a wide variety of birds, small mammals and insects? Also providing benefit is the untrimmed garden where ladybugs and lacewings reside in native grasses and pollinating bees settle in hollow plant stems. Butterflies and moths winter in chrysalides on the ground and baby spiders hide out amid the decaying plant stems.[1] Birds feed from dried seed heads in winter.

Some wildlife use the leaf litter and other dead vegetation to insulate them from winter’s chill, while others, such as earthworms feed on the litter, breaking it into smaller pieces. Bacteria and fungi in turn convert theses smaller pieces into nutrients which then sustain neighboring plants. They in turn help support biodiversity by becoming food themselves. Toads, beetles, ladybugs and much more also live in your backyard’s leaf litter. Each is an integral part of the food web.

The Challenge

We have a tendency to want to put things in order at the end of the gardening season. Raking up and disposing of our leaves, chopping down dead flower stalks and grasses all contribute to a manicured appearance. So how do you balance a desire to have a not-so-messy yard (and not irritate the neighbors) with the needs of the interconnected web of creatures that provide biodiversity and heretofore underappreciated benefits to your garden?   First you have to realize that you don’t have to let your whole garden go wild; you can start out small. Just leave a section or two untrimmed or start in the backyard. One trick also is to settle the leaves under the branches of your shrubs. Give it a year and your leaf litter will have broken down while providing mulch and increasing the soil’s water retention abilities.

The Winter Garden

In addition, learn to appreciate your winter garden. I highly recommend The Garden in Winter by Suzy Bales to assist you in this task.[2] Light brown native grasses swaying in the wind look beautiful against the snow, as do the seed heads of Echinacea, Rudbeckia and Yarrows which all provide winter forage and are inviting to the birds.

So what to do with those leaves?

You might try a combination of methods. Rake out some of the leaves from the beds that are simply too much and might smother tender plants and cause them to rot over the winter. Add them to the compost pile or the leaf pile on the lawn while the rest remain in the beds. Then take your mulching mower and chop them up into small pieces. (Yes, using gas mowers is considered an unsustainable gardening practice, but consider the greater good.) Rake up most of the chopped leaves and place them back in the garden around shrubs and plants.   Not surprisingly, they are greatly reduced in volume and contribute to a more manicured look. The remainder can stay on your lawn and decompose there. Do this as needed until the end of the season and the leaves will break down over the winter providing your soil with valuable nutrients all the while enhancing habitat.

Then, don’t rush your spring cleanup. Many insects living in your backyard habitat do not emerge all that early. This past year I left the leaves in a large part of the garden undisturbed and they were quickly hidden by emerging vegetation. Some I pulled out and chopped for mulch and put back in the beds. This yielded a combination of leaf litter and mulch. It was fascinating to watch the birds forage in the leaf litter around the shrubs and perennials.

Set yourself a goal of gardening more sustainably by trying to reach a balance between aesthetics and respecting the natural processes occurring in the landscape. After all, Mother Nature doesn’t have anyone carting out leaves to the curb. Our world desperately needs more environmental stewards, eco-gardeners working in harmony with nature and conserving natural resources. We ask you to become a litter bug; a Leaf Litter Bug, that is.

[1] McManus, Melanie Radzicki, Before You Clean Up Plant Debris, Consider the Benefits of a Messy Yard. https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2000/Consider-Benefits-of-Plant-Debris.aspx , 10-01-2000.

[2] Bales, Suzy, The Garden in Winter: Plant for Beauty and Interest in the Quiet Season. New York: Rodale, 2007

Nuclear Power’s Place in an Uncertain Energy and Changing Climate World

by Joe Mirabella

iStock_000055421440MediumFor millennium no one knew how the sun worked. Then in 1905 Albert Einstein discovered that energy and mass were interchangeable with his famous formula, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared (E=MC2). In other words, a little mass can give a whole lot of energy. In the 1930’s it was discovered that if you bombard Uranium 235 with neutrons you create a chain reaction which can unleash that energy. This led to the development of the atomic bomb in WWII.

In 1955 the navy developed the first nuclear powered submarine. That technology was developed to generate electricity that is now operating approximately 430 nuclear power plants in the world, around 100 in the U.S. generating around 20% of our electricity. However, starting in the 60’s and 70’s, concern developed regarding the safety of these nuclear plants and the long term disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste. The nuclear accidents at 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima and the failure establish a long term nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada has rightfully fed into these legitimate concerns.

However alarms over the environmental effects of global warming resulting from massive CO2 emissions have led some environmentalist to reevaluate the relative dangers of nuclear power. Nuclear power plants emit no CO2 or any air pollution. Estimates vary but air pollution from burning fossil fuels for electricity kills around 1.5 million people a year worldwide from stokes, heart disease, COPD, cancers, asthma and other diseases (WHO). Coal is a particularly destructive source of energy not just from air pollution but from mining and disposal of millions of tons of toxic coal ash.

The Chernobyl accident accounts for all documented deaths from all nuclear accidents at around 78. Long term increased cancers from low level radiation spread from Chernobyl and Fukushima (none from 3 Mile Island) are difficult to measure and estimates vary widely from zero to thousands spread over decades but nowhere near that from burning fossil fuels.

All nuclear power plants are not the same. The Chernobyl reactor was a terrible, dangerous design that no longer exists and the Fukushima plant had major serious design flaws that could not handle the tsunami that struck it. Modern existing designs are far safer and more efficient and there are many advanced experimental designs that would eclipse even those. Fusion nuclear reactors promise unlimited clean energy from seawater with no nuclear waste and no possibility of a nuclear accident.

Long term storage of nuclear waste does not yet exist but existing intermediate term storage in concrete and steel silos could provide indefinite safe storage. Radioactive decay continuously reduces the dangers that these wastes pose. Existing and advanced nuclear reactor designs could use nuclear waste as fuel to greatly reduce or eliminate radioactive waste.

In conclusion: Nuclear energy has its risks that need to be evaluated seriously but its 60 year record is far less environmentally dangerous and destructive than burning fossil fuels. Existing nuclear power plants should be kept in operation and modernized whenever possible. New nuclear power plants may not be financially viable, at least in the short run, because of the current abundance of cheap natural gas unless there is a carbon tax or carbon credits. Later in this century fusion power may provide mankind with unlimited clean and safe energy but until then energy conservation, improved efficiency and renewable energies like solar are always the best way to go.

This is an overview of a presentation given by the Ewing Green Team’s Joe Mirabella.  For more information and to arrange for a presentation contact  him at ewinggreenteam@gmail.com.  Look for the slide show with presentation highlights coming soon.

Delaware RiverKeeper Publishes New Fracking Impact Study

IMG_0535A brand new Fracking Impact Study (August 2015) should be required reading for all of the residents who live  in and around the Delaware River in the shadow of the shale gas  boom.  The report  was commissioned and published by the  Delaware RiverKeeper Network, an advocacy group aimed at preserving the health of the Delaware River.   The Fracking Impact Study quantifies the potential harm to the environment and residents along the Delaware River Basin if the current moratorium imposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission were to be lifted.  This ban has kept gas companies out of the Delaware River Basin to date but without a permanent ban, the basin could be opened.

The RiverKeeper Network commissioned a comprehensive study by CNA Analysis and Solutions, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research firm, of what could happen to the region if the Delaware River Basin is opened up to  fracking.

The Delaware River, the 400 mile long free flowing river that forms the western border for our community,  is perpetually at risk from natural gas extraction companies because it sits on top of the Marcellus Shale,  the second largest gas field in the country.

The Potential Environmental Impact from Fracking in the Delaware River Basin  comprehensively details  the potential environmental impacts broken into categories of land, water, and air.

  • Land use required by the extraction process would cause a reduction in core forest areas, significant  in a densely populated area that cannot afford more habitat destruction and  loss of carbon storage.
  • Local watersheds would also be degraded due to the amount of water used in the extraction process.
  • Wastewater discharges of some key contaminants posed significant risks and increased erosion rates would contaminate the river headwaters.
  • Billions of cubic feet of methane gas would be added to the atmosphere annually and nitrous oxide creating smog would dangerously decrease air quality in a region that now has clean, high air quality.

This report adds needed weight to the growing body of scientific studies on the potential detrimental impacts of fracking.   Read the report and then add your voices to those opposing hydraulic fracturing along our western boundary and tell the Delaware River Basin Commission to make the fracking ban permanent.

Sourwood – August Tree of the Month

Oxydendrum arboreum. leaves and flowers, 7/15
Oxydendrum arboreum. leaves and flowers, 7/15

by Ann Farnham, LLA

The tree favored this month by the Ewing Environmental Commission is Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboretum, one of America’s most beautiful native trees. It is at home in the eastern and southeastern United States in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9. Ewing is located in USDA Zone 6b.

This specimen is located at a residence in the Mountain View neighborhood of Ewing. Sorrel Tree and Lily of the Valley Tree are two other names by which it is known.

Sourwood, a pyramidal, medium-sized deciduous tree (usually 25 to 30’ in height) with slightly drooping branches has glossy green leaves which turn brilliant scarlet in the fall.

Its bell-shaped, fragrant flowers appear in June through July in this area and are white pendulous clusters which persist for several weeks. Honeybees favor the flowers, from which they make a fine flavored honey.

Sourwood is unusual in that it gives us summer flowering as well as extraordinary fall color.

This fine tree prefers an acid, moist and well-drained soil. It will thrive in full sun or partial shade, although the fall color is best when the tree is located in full sun.

 Sourwood attracts few insects or diseases, none of which is serious.

The Ewing Environmental Commission welcomes suggestions for the Tree of the Month from all Ewing residents. Email suggestions or questions to lafarnham@verizon.net.

To calculate the value that trees add to your property, go to treebenefits.com/calculator/


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