Environmental Insights Program on Our Open Space Dilemma on Oct 26th

Land Preservation in a Built Out Community

Thanks to the foresight and vision of leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir and many others, 2016 marked the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.  It’s a perfect time to reflect upon and appreciate the many parks throughout the country that we are able to enjoy. It is also a great time to learn what we can do to preserve and expand upon the parks and open spaces in our town.  Join us for a presentation entitled Our Open Space Dilemma: Land Preservation Challenges in a Built-Out Community.   John S. Watson, Jr., Vice President of the D&R Greenway Land Trust, will speak to us about the work that the D&R Greenway does and lead a discussion about identifying and preserving the best of what is left in Ewing for recreation / conservation purposes and how the Greenway Land Trust might support this preservation work.

As the most developed state in the nation, New Jersey faces difficult land preservation challenges. Ewing Township is almost completely built out, having lost most of its agricultural heritage after WWII, and embodies some of the difficult choices that many suburban NJ communities face regarding open space. It is predominantly covered by residential, commercial, and institutional development.  The nonresidential properties serve to decrease the population density as a whole, but they are unavailable to the public as preserved and accessible open space.  The open space that is available consists of about 361 acres of wooded stream corridors, parks, and golf courses interspaced among those developments.  Approximately half of our open space is regional and half local.  We also have a tree canopy of 27.4%, below the state goal of 40%.

During our community visioning process conducted in 2014, citizens identified the preservation and conservation of our open spaces as an important component of community sustainability. Through its annual bike rides the EGT has been actively promoting our parks and open spaces to increase interest in expanding and protecting them.

We Americans have come to prize our national parks and to regard their preservation as a sacred trust. Preserving the natural areas in our town not only adds to the beauty of our community, but also serves as a legacy to future generation.  Please join us.

Date: Wednesday, Oct 26th
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, in the Community Room

About Mr. Watson

jaywatson“Jay” is the Vice President of D&R Greenway Land Trust, a Princeton, NJ nonprofit land conservancy working to preserve and restore New Jersey’s landscape. Prior to coming to the D&R Greenway Land Trust, Jay spent nearly 30 years in various roles in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).   He has extensive experience protecting our natural resources from working in the Green Acres Program, working on waterfront reclamation and redevelopment, working on the Delaware River Basin Commission, chairing the Invasive Species Council, serving on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation and much more.

Building Healthier Communities with Let’s Move and Million Hearts: New Environmental Insights Series Offering

As the summer heat begins to fade autumn is  a great time to resolve to live that healthier life we have long promised ourselves we would.   Join us at our monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 28th when Kedesch Altidor-Dorcély, Public Health Advisor for the US Department of Health and Human Services speaks about how we can build a healthier community using two of the nation’s stellar health programs, Let’s Move and Million Hearts. 

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.  Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years; giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices; providing healthier foods in our schools; ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food; and, helping children become more physically active.  Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents and caregivers, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies.  Everyone’s involvement is key to ensuring a healthy future for our children.

Million Hearts® is a national initiative with an ambitious goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  Heart disease and stroke are the first and fifth leading causes of death in the United States. Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack, many of them fatal.  On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.  Launched by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in September 2011, Million Hearts® aligns existing efforts, as well as creates new programs, to improve health across communities and help Americans live longer, more productive lives.  Million Hearts® aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes by: empowering Americans to make healthy choices and improving care for people who need treatment.

Kedesch E. Altidor-Dorcély is employed with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Region II in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health as a Public Health Advisor. She leads the Let’s Move! initiative addressing childhood obesity, Million Hearts initiative addressing heart attacks and strokes, chronic diseases efforts, and the Environmental Health program.  Before coming to HHS, she worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency as an Environmental Scientist working on Environmental Justice issues.  She attended the University of Florida and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she received her degree in Environmental Science.

This program is the latest entry in our Environmental Insights Series, environmental presentations designed to engage Ewing residents in a public conversation about critical environmental issues and to spark new ideas concerning sustainability.

Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center (ESCC), Community Room
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Next Up – Understanding the Science of Climate Change

Environmental Insights Series

Save the date for the next entry in our Environmental Insights Series and join us on Wednesday night, November 18 at 7 pm when Professor Dan Steinberg of Princeton University will speak about Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

Learn about the causes of climate change, the science behind it, and some of predicted effects of global warming/climate change. Dr. Steinberg will also cover the social implications of communicating climate change and suggest some resources for learning more.  Work done by researchers at Princeton University will be highlighted as well as their efforts in developing technologies that will help reduce carbon in the atmosphere.  The talk will also include a local focus on the effects of climate change in the state of New Jersey.

A former Operations Astronomer for the Hubble Space Telescope, Dan Steinberg holds a PhD in Geophysics from Binghamton University and has conducted research at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He was recently named a 2015 Fellow by the American Physical Society for his work at the Princeton University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, where he has held the position of Education Outreach Director since 2000. Steinberg is the creator and leader of dozens of educational initiatives that bring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to a broad public each year, including K-12 teachers and students, undergraduates and local families in the Princeton and Trenton regions.

The EGT’s Environmental Insights Series is designed to engage area residents in a public conversation about critical environmental issues and to spark new ideas concerning sustainability. Please join us.

Date: Wednesday, November 18
Time: 7 p.m.: Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Rd., Ewing
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Environmental Insights Program on Invasive Species June 24th

The latest entry in the Environmental Insights Series is set for next Wednesday, June 24th at 7 pm  – Invasive Species in the Landscape: Together, We Can Nip Them in the Bud, a presentation and discussion led by Susan Brookman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team. (Click to see event flyer)

butterfly_bushWhat is an invasive species? Do I have them in my home landscape? And why is it so important that they be eradicated? These are questions that will be answered during this informative presentation.   Susan Brookman, Executive Director of the Strike Team says that invasive species cost an estimated $140 billion in annual loses in the US.  They cause great damage to the local ecosystem, crowding out natives and are considered the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide.  Despite the damage they cause, they are still readily available at nurseries in New Jersey.

According to Brookman, detecting invasive species early is the key to successful control.  “If we can catch an invasive species soon after it arrives, we have a chance to nip it in the bud and keep it from establishing a viable population in New Jersey.  It’s easy to see the damage done by widespread invasive species like Dutch elm disease, the European gypsy moth and Japanese knotweed.  It makes a lot of sense to spend a little effort figuring out which non-native species have the potential to wreak havoc, and then spend a little more effort to eradicate them.  The alternative – letting them spread and then dealing with their impacts – costs so much, both to our pocketbooks and to our state’s agricultural and natural heritage.

And, if you have a smartphone and spend time outdoors, the Strike Team would like your help.  Thanks to a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, it has developed a NewJersey Invasives app to enable people with smartphones learn about, identify and report invasive species.  With the app, a user who sees something they suspect may be an invasive species can scroll through photos to identify what they see, read information about it, then take a picture and submit a report – it’s that simple!  Members of the Strike Team’s Technical Advisory Committee (experts in the fields of botany, entomology, aquatic biology and the like) verify each sighting and add the information to the on-line database the Strike Team uses to track the spread of problem species.

About the Strike Team

striketeamThe New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team, http://njisst.org/, works to stop the spread of new invasive species – plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are not native to New Jersey whose presence is likely to damage the health of our environment, economy or our citizens.  It works with counterparts across the mid-Atlantic to catalog non-native species and assess their threat levels.  It creates an annual list of target species and then encourages conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts to be on the lookout for them.  When invasive species are detected, the Strike Team offers guidance to property owners to help them eradicate the problem species.

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Time: 7 pm
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center (Community Room), 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ
Details:  All are welcome

Is it Time to Go Nuclear?

by Joanne Mullowney

The Ewing Green Team and Environmental Commission announce the latest entry in their Environmental Insights Series, environmental presentations designed to engage Ewing residents in a public conversation about critical environmental issues and to spark new ideas concerning sustainability.   Join us on Monday, April 20th at 7 pm for our program, Is it Time to Go Nuclear: Nuclear Power’s Role In A World Of Climate Change And Energy Needs with a presentation and discussion led by Joe Mirabella, Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program and member of the Ewing Green Team and Environmental Commission.

The Issues

The world’s atmosphere and climate are quickly undergoing dramatic changes. 2014 was the hottest year on record with records being routinely broken. These changes are not just going to affect future generations but are here today. How we deal with them may be the most important environmental issue we face.  A major question for our time is where how does nuclear power fit in?  Is it a savior for climate change or a catastrophic disaster waiting to happen?

In Is it Time to Go Nuclear the role of nuclear power now and in the future will be explored and discussed.  It is not pro or anti-nuclear energy. It is a fun fact-based entertaining exploration of the complex issues surrounding nuclear power. The specific topics include historical background, how nuclear power works, radiation, nuclear disasters, proliferation & terrorism, nuclear waste and advanced technologies. The presentation will be followed by a community discussion where all opinions are respected and welcome.

About Joe Mirabella

Joe Mirabella is the Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program. He has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges and Universities for the last 35 years. He is a Commissioner on the Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency and is a member of Ewing’s Environmental Commission & Green Team. Joe earned his Bachelor and Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and is a Certified Public Manager from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management.

Date: Monday, April 20th
Time: 7 pm
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center [ESCC] – Community Room
Cost: This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.