Environmental Insights

What are the critical environmental issues of our time?  How can we do our share to leave our planet, our country, our state and our town with  the richness of health and opportunity that we had and  a better place for your children and grandchildren?  What should you do?  What absolutely MUST you do?  The EGT’s Environmental Insights Series attempts to help you answer those questions.   Join us in our conversation and effort to build a greener Ewing through this series of thought provoking public presentations.

We offered our first Environmental Insights Series program in February of 2014.   Since then we have discussed local food, hazardous waste, rain barrel and rain garden creation, plastic bag waste, open space, and much more thru this series of lectures, film or discussion groups.  Environmental Insights programs are offered sporadically throughout the year.  Please check our website calendar and join us as we engage in a public conversation about critical environmental issues and to spark new ideas concerning sustainability.  All presentations are free and open to the public.

[If your organization missed our first offering, the presentations by Ewing Green Team member Joseph Mirabella are available by special arrangement. Please email us to inquire.]

Upcoming in 2019…

Gardening for Stormwater and Wildlife: how to build a rain garden
Click on image for full sized flyer

Title:  Gardening for Stormwater and Wildlife: How to Build a Rain Garden

Have you considered adding a rain garden to your landscape to enhance its beauty, improve drainage and create wildlife habitat?

Rain gardens can help us manage stormwater runoff from rooftops, driveways, lawns, roads, and other hard surfaces. They look like regular perennial gardens, but they are much more. During a storm, a rain garden fills with water, and the water slowly filters into the ground rather than running into storm sewers. By capturing stormwater, rain gardens help to reduce the impact of human activities and pollution in the environment such as road sediment/salt, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria from pet waste, eroded soil, grass clippings, litter, etc. This helps protect the health of our waterways.  Rain gardens also add beauty to neighborhood and provide wildlife habitat.

In this 1.5 hour evening workshop, homeowners can learn how to plan and plant their own raingarden, enhancing their property and their neighborhood!  Now is a good time to plan a raingarden for planting this spring.

Presenter: Kory Kreiseder, Stormwater Specialist with The Watershed Institute.   Kory has been with The Watershed Institute since April 2017 as the Stormwater Specialist with the Policy and Advocacy team as well as the Science and Stewardship team. Previously she spent three years as an urban conservation specialist for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, where she advised governments, businesses and residents on stormwater management issues. Currently, she is working with Hopewell Borough through on the restoration of the Beden Brook funded by a grant received from NJ Department of Environmental Protection. This project will install over 25 different green infrastructure practices including rain gardens, cisterns, porous paving, etc.

Date: Tuesday, May14
Time: 7 pm
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing
Cost: Free and open to the public


Past Offerings

Title: Wild About Ewing! Gardening for Wildlife in the Suburban Landscape
In our world of threatened ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, every garden matters. Ewing’s Green Team and Environmental Commission want your garden to be more than just your own private sanctuary, but also a refuge for birds, bees, butterflies, frogs, toads and many other of nature’s creatures. One where they can find a home that offers food, water, cover and a place to raise their young. An environment that is free of unhealthy chemicals. If you are doing this already, you are gardening for wildlife.

The Ewing Community Wildlife Habitat Project promotes gardening for wildlife in our community using the Community Wildlife Habitat Certification Program established by the National Wildlife Federation. We invite you to join us and learn how your garden can make a difference to the natural world.

Presenters: Glenn Steinberg and Joanne Mullowney
Glenn Steinberg has been a Ewing resident for 20 years and teaches English at The College of New Jersey. He became interested in gardening for wildlife because of his grandmothers, who both gardened without pesticides and believed that gardens should burst at the seams with life of all shapes and sizes.
Joanne Mullowney is a retired librarian and Chair of the Ewing Green Team who has lived in Ewing for over 40 years. A life-long gardener who espouses organic gardening principles, she is in the process of “rewildling” her property and has delighted in the myriad creatures that now inhabit her garden and her deepening sense of connection to the natural world.
Date: Monday, February 25, 2019
Time: 7pm
Location: Ewing Library, 61 Scotch Road, Ewing

Title: Gardens with Buzz
What can you do to attract birds to your garden? What are the best plants to entice bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects to make their homes with you? What maintenance techniques are most hospitable for these garden visitors and residents? ‘Gardens with Buzz’ will provide answers to these questions.

Presenter: Mary Anne Borge
Mary Anne Borge is a naturalist, writer, photographer, and educator. She is the Associate Editor for Butterfly Gardener magazine, a publication of the North American Butterfly Association; an instructor and naturalist at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania; a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, and the team leader for Lambertville Goes Wild. Her photographs have been featured in numerous publications. She shares her love of nature through her writing and photography at the-natural-web.org
Date: Monday, March 25, 2019
Time: 7pm
Location: Ewing Library, 61 Scotch Road, Ewing
Title: Principles of Ecology (What Every Environmentalist Need To Know)
Everyone thinks that they have a feel for what ecology is but few actually exactly know.  This presentation (2nd in a series about environmentalism) will give a basic, easy to digest explanation of the biology of ecology, what it is and what it is not. We will explore the fundamentals of ecosystems and the relationships of the organism that live in those ecosystems and the importance to mankind.

Presenter: Joseph-Mark Mirabella, Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program (retired). He is a former Environmental Science Teacher and has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges and Universities for the last 35 years.   He is currently Chair of the Ewing Environmental Commission
Date: September 27, 2017

Topic: Be Water Smart : Learn Strategies for Water Efficient Living
Presenters: Ed DiFiglia, Municipal Policy Specialist and Brittany Musolino, the River-Friendly Coordinator from the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
Date: June 28, 2017
Water is our most fragile and precious resource. Essential to all forms of life and to our economies, our water supplies face a myriad of threats from pollution to climate change. Keeping our water clean, safe and healthy in the face of these challenges is the heart of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association’s mission. Join the Ewing Green Team and  learn about water conservation  and protection issues and how to become a better steward of nature on your property using their River Friendly Program.

Topic: Environmental Justice
Presenter: Professor Michael Nordquist, Director of the Center for Engaged Learning and Research at TCNJ and EGT Co-Chair
Date: March 22, 2017

Title: An Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Information Session 
Presenters: Bill Brash (NJ State Certified Tree Expert) and former Director of the Mercer County Soil Conservation District and Bob Wells (NJ State Certified Tree Expert) owner of Wells Tree & Landscape and expert arborist at the Morris Arboretum in the University of Pennsylvania.
Date: February 22, 2017
The Emerald Ash Borer is a non-native invasive pest that attacks our native ash trees. Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, the beetle has killed hundreds of millions of trees in North America. In May 2014, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture confirmed New Jersey’s first detection of the emerald ash borer in Bridgewater in Somerset County, NJ and it has since been seen in Ewing.

The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green, non-native invasive pest. Trees can be infested for years before the tree begins to show symptoms of infestation. Symptoms include canopy dieback, woodpecker activity, missing bark, D-shaped exit holes, shoots sprouting from the trunk, and S-shaped larval galleries under the bark.

If a tree is already infested or in poor health, it may be best to remove the tree before it becomes infested and poses a hazard to people and surrounding structures. But for those residents with high-value ash in good health, trees can be treated before they become infested.

Come to the Ewing Green Team’s February meeting to learn from the experts about the EAB threat, how it will affect your property, options for managing your ash trees, and potential solutions.

Dennis Nettleton

Title: The Sustainable State of Ewing Township Schools
Presenter: Dennis Nettleton, Business Administrator, Ewing School District
Date: January 25, 2017
Look for an update on the many improvements and plans for improvement ongoing in the Ewing School District. The schools in Ewing Township also registered in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program in the fall of 2015. Their approach to certification is a three year one, and each year the district schools will address a different aspect of the “people, planet and prosperity” tenet of Sustainable Jersey mantra. In the first year they will start with people and then move on the other two aspects in subsequent years. Their approach to participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program is methodical and prototypical. Come and learn the current status of their approach to certification.

vernal-pool_aug2015jswTitle: Our Open Space Dilemma: 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 is the 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. John S. Watson, Jr. 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.
Presenter: John S. Watson, Jr. is Vice President of the D&R Greenway Land Trust, a Princeton, NJ nonprofit land conservancy working to preserve and restore New Jersey’s landscape.
Date: October 26, 2016

healthycommunitiesTitle: Building Healthier Communities with Let’s Move and Million Hearts
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.  Kedesch Altidor-Dorcély spoke 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.  Million Hearts® is a national initiative with an ambitious goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Presenter: Kedesch Altidor-Dorcély is a Public Health Advisor for the US Department of Health and Human Services.  She leads the Let’s Move! and Million Hearts initiatives
Date: September 28, 2016

learnmorespendlessTitle: learn more spend less: Home Energy Upgrades for Homeowners
The EGT has teamed up with Ewing Park–Brae Burn Civic Association to offer a session on affordable energy efficiency auditing and upgrades as well as reasonable cost basic home repairs for all interested homeowners.  Here is a chance to hear from and ask questions of caring experts, receive literature and learn if you qualify and how to apply for one or more of these programs.
Presenters: A Habitat for Humanity representative will speak on their Brush with Kindness and Critical Home Repair programs for seniors and lower income families as well as energy star housing to be built in Ewing  | A representative from the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) will speak  on their home energy audit and upgrade services | A rep from CMC Energy Services  is expected to speak on their home weatherization program | The EGT will outline an upcoming promotion of the Home Performance with Energy Star program open to any homeowner.
Date: March 21, 2016

Environmentalist-PosterTitle: What It Means to Be an Environmentalist (or Everything You Wanted to Know About Sustainability But Were Afraid to Ask)
So what does it mean to be an environmentalist? The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines an environmentalist as a person who works to protect the natural world from pollution and other threats.  If you recycle religiously, are you an environmentalist?  If you compost regularly, are you an environmentalist?  What if you have installed solar panels on your home but put your grass clippings out at the curb, are you an environmentalist? Do you consider yourself to be an environmentalist?  Come tell us what you think it means and what is important to you. We want to know.
Presenter: Joseph Mark Mirabella is currently the Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program. He is a former Environmental Science Teacher and has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges and Universities for the last 35 years. Currently, he is a Commissioner on the Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency and is a member of Ewing’s Environmental Commission & Sustainable Green Team.
Date: February 24, 2016
Notes: Available for repeat

emerald_ash_borerTitle: Kiss Your Ash Goodbye…
Learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) threats to the health of our all our native ash trees.  This pest, first found in Michigan in 2002, reached New Jersey last year.  Without natural predators to destroy this pest, our entire ash population is at risk. A Rutger’s Rapid Ash Survey of Ewing’s Ash trees on  public property last identified close to 900 Ash trees in parks, along roadsides and elsewhere and  concluded that the EAB was a real threat to Ewing’s tree canopy as Ash trees on public and private property were all going to be affected, and  soon.  To learn more about  the EAB threat, and possible remedies, the EGT and Ewing Environmental Commission have invited a number of people with specific  knowledge of the threat, and  how  it  might be addressed, to give informational presentations.
Presenters: Bill Brash, NJ Certified Forester (former Executive Director of the Mercer County Soil Conservation District) helped Plainsboro address the issue last summer.. | Dan Dobromilsky, Licensed Landscape Architect of West Windsor Township, who was key to their addressing the issue last summer. | Scott Tapp, Bartlett Tree Experts, which has developed and applied plans to remediate against the threat in this area. | Hasan Malik, Tree Authority LLC, a nursery owner who has been instrumental in the selection of trees to replace stricken Ashes.
Date:  February 16, 2016

flamingglobeTitle: Understanding the Science of Climate Change
earn 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.
Presenter: Professor Daniel Steinberg of Princeton University.  A former Operations Astronomer for the Hubble Space Telescope, he 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.
Date: November 18, 2015

barberryTitle: Invasive Species in the Landscape: Together, We Can Nip Them in the Bud
What 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.
Presenter: The New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team 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.
Date: June 24, 2015

ewingraingardenTitle: How to Design and Implement a Rain Garden in Your Landscape
If you can only do one thing for the environment this season we suggest reducing some of our vast suburban monoculture by removing some of your lawn and planting a garden. If you plant a rain garden near a downspout to intercept roof runoff  and filled with native plants; even better.   It will help to slow the flood of storm water, reduce erosion, and absorb pollutants.  The birds, bees and butterflies will also repay your hard work by appearing regularly and pollinating your landscape.  And then enjoy the fun of watching wildlife up close!
Presenter: Lindsay Blanton was the 2013/2014 AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador at NJDEP, and presented using training materials created by Rutgers University.  She taught the basic steps to building and maintaining this simple, proven and inexpensive solution to the problem of storm water pollution.
Date: June 10, 2015

iStock_000055421440MediumTitle: Is It Time to Go Nuclear: Nuclear Power’s Role in a World of Climate Change and Energy Needs
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.
Presenter: Joseph Mark Mirabella is currently the Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program. He is a former Environmental Science Teacher and has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges and Universities for the last 35 years. Currently, he is a Commissioner on the Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency and is a member of Ewing’s Environmental Commission & Sustainable Green Team.
Date: April 20, 2015
Notes: Available for repeat

BagITTitle: Bag It – Is Your Life Too Plastic?
Join the Ewing Green Team for an award winning film and discussion about plastic pollution from single use plastic bags and our disposable lifestyles.  Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health.  The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year, for about twelve minutes each, which translates into almost 4.4 billion in NJ. This single-use mentality has led to the formation of multiple floating islands of plastic debris in the world’s oceans – the Pacific Gyre being more than twice the size of Texas.  Moderated by Noemi de la Puente, this screening is part of an ongoing effort to educate Mercer County residents about how they can be part of the solution before they vote on November 4th on a nonbinding referendum to support a 5¢ fee on single use plastic bags.
Presenter: A lifelong environmentalist, and lover of the outdoors, Noemi de la Puente became active in the campaign to eliminate single use disposable shopping bags in 2011. She has founded a coalition of organizations, under the umbrella of NJThinkOutsideTheBag to promote grassroots awareness and encourage legislative support of a societal movement away from a disposable lifestyle.
Date: October 27,2014

cowonfarmTitle: The Conversation About Our Industrial Food System Begins with Food, Inc.
Organic, Grow Local, GMO/GE, rBGH, antibiotic usage, factory farms, food labeling laws, processed foods, obesity epidemic, high fructose corn syrup… These are just a few of the issues about the American food supply that now bombard an awakening public. Its industrialization has filled our supermarkets with plenty, but at what cost? Are our bodies able to safely handle the thousands of chemical additives that are now routine in our diet? Is the American diet indeed responsible for the epidemic levels of food allergies, Autism, ADHD, Type  II Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many other conditions that are being suggested by some health and nutrition professionals? What do they all mean, how are they related, and finally, is our industrial food supply being properly regulated by the government agencies that are supposed to protect our health? Let’s start the discussion about our food in our town with a showing and discussion about documentary film Food, Inc
Presenter: Camille Miller, Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, is
an organic food advocate and has worked extensively in raising awareness around food and farming issues at the local, state and national levels. She also serves as Vice-President of the Board on the NOFA Interstate Council, a seven state organic farming coalition.
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

iStock_barrelTitle: Environmental Disasters and the Evolution of Environmental Enforcement
Before the 1970s and the first Earth Day there was little significant regulation to protect this nation’s environmental health. Then in the 1970’s and ‘80s there was an explosion of new environmental laws and regulations and with it came enforcement. Without significant government enforcement, these new rules were meaningless. Attendees will learn how environmental enforcement has changed over the last 40 years, and how it is rapidly evolving into the future. They will also learn how these changes may affect their business or community, and how they can adjust to the potential new world of environmental enforcement.
Presenter: Joseph Mark Mirabella is currently the Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program. He is a former Environmental Science Teacher and has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges and Universities for the last 35 years. Currently, he is a Commissioner on the Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency and is a member of Ewing’s Environmental Commission & Sustainable Green Team.
Date: Monday, February 24, 2014
Notes: Available for repeat