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Create a Healthy Yard This Fall and Leave Your Leaves!

We encourage you to take a break from the all consuming annual ritual of fall clean up and enjoy the ecological benefits of the Not So Perfect Yard when you Leave Your Leaves.

We love autumn. Not yet, but soon, the neighborhood trees will blanket the ground with their last gift of the growing season.  Their seasonal leaf drop can recharge your landscape and create habitat for wildlife if you let it.  We encourage you not to treat your leaf litter as trash, but rather as the gift that it truly is to the millions of tiny creatures that are a part of the life of our gardens.

The Benefits of Leaf Litter

Raking up and disposing of our leaves, chopping down dead flower stalks and grasses all contribute to a manicured appearance which we have been conditioned to think of as the norm.  However, in nature, trees don’t drop their bounty at the curb for pick up, but rather they blanket the earth while providing a host of ecological benefits.

Leaves provide an insulating winter cover in the garden for plants and those tiny creatures that sustain life in the garden.   We encourage you to mulch with fallen leaves.  Wherever possible, leave them to decompose where they fall in your garden beds.  Or settle the leaves under the branches of your shrubs. Give it a year or so and your leaf litter will have broken down while providing mulch and increasing the soil’s water retention abilities.

Keeping your leaves on site provides additional benefits that help to create a healthy yard. They help retain soil moisture, reducing the need for watering in dry spells and reducing runoff. They feed the soil, increasing the biological activity of fungus earthworms, microbes and beneficial soil organisms. They also lighten clay soils and give fluff to sandy soils. They return much-needed nutrients to lawn, landscape beds and/or wooded areas, allowing you to dispense with the application of chemical fertilizes.

While you might think that this leaves the yard looking a little less than perfect, you are nourishing the landscape and providing valuable resources and habitat for wildlife.

Additional Benefits

In order to comply with NJ DEP regulations regarding storm water management, in April, Ewing Township Council enacted Ordinance 21-08, which mandates that leaves and other yard debris (including grass) must be bagged in biodegradable paper bags for pickup by the Township. (As an alternative, containers may also be used.)

 Aside from the benefits of a healthier yard, there are numerous other benefits, including less hazardous roadways, because fewer leaf piles spill over onto neighborhood sidewalks and roads, and protection of the water quality of our streams, lakes, and rivers by keeping decomposing leaves out of storm sewers.

Recommended Options for Leaf Management

Option 1 – Leave your leaves. Blow them to the back of your beds where you can leave them to decompose over time providing habitat for the little critters that will become next year’s butterflies, moths… Or, leave them alone in a back corner of your yard or wooded areas to decompose naturally. Compost them in a pile or container.

Option 2 – Shred your leaves with a mulching mower and leave them in place on your lawn. Or, shred them with a mulching mower and use them as mulch in your borders and flowerbeds.

Want to Learn More?

Join the Ewing Green Team for a morning and afternoon Demo and Q&A session on Saturday, November 6th. Come mingle with your neighbors and get your questions answered about this easy, common sense practice. We will start each session indoors and move outside to the demo (weather permitting). (Masks are required for the indoor part of the sessions.)

Date: Saturday, Nov 6th
Time: Morning session 10 -11 am / Afternoon session 3 – 4 pm
Location: Nutrition Center at Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Dr., Ewing, NJ

The Scarecrows Are Coming This October

Mayor Bert Steinmann, and the members of the Ewing Green Team, Ewing Arts Commission and Art Has No Boundaries are spreading the word to warn all Ewing residents to be on the lookout for some scary invaders coming to our town this October.

Yes, it’s almost that time again… this October 2021 will be the 3rd All Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt. We believe it’s going to even be bigger and better than last year’s event which had 49 amazing Scarecrows scattered around town waiting to be found lurking, or creeping in bushes, hiding in corners, sneaking behind fences, or in front of one of Ewing’s very own local hotspots.

Again, this year we welcome Ewing businesses, civic groups, organizations, schools, and residents to join in the fun and host their very own cute or creepy, cuddly or scary scarecrow.  It’s up to you …there are no limitations on your wild imagination. We have been so impressed with the amazing creativity of our neighbors and friends. The only thing to remember is they just need to be family-friendly.

And just because you are hosting your own scarecrow doesn’t mean you can’t join in the hunt as well. To host a scarecrow, you must complete our registration form (deadline September 11th) so go to ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow and register to create and display your very own scarecrow!  You can complete your registration online or print and mail it in to the Ewing Township Municipal Building at 2 Jake Garzio Drive, Ewing Township, NJ 08628. Please make sure you get a confirmation email from the Green Team that confirms that you are registered!

And to make things more fun – you can win cash prizes!! We’re keeping many of the prizes from last year and adding some new surprises. You still get to vote for your 2 (two) favorite scarecrows – a favorite residential winner and a favorite business/organization will each get $ prizes. And the Green Team will still select the one scarecrow that best ‘upcycles’ and/or uses recycled materials. And we will still have a raffle winner from all the hunters’ entries. The more scarecrows you find, the more entries you get into the raffle. And the grand prize is $200!

New this year is Ewing’s very own scarecrow version of “Elf on the Shelf.’ Debuting this fall is our very own ‘Stan Bymee.’ Look around town for a scarecrow that looks like the one you see on our flyers. He is going to be at 4 different Ewing locations during the month. Each week in October, on Sunday, check the Ewing Green Team’s Facebook page for a new clue for “Where’s Stan?” Once you find him at his new location; take a selfie of someone in your ‘hunting party’ and email to ewinggreenteam@gmail.com. We’ll put all entries in ANOTHER RAFFLE and have 4 additional prizes for keeping up with ‘Stan.’

The All-Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt begins on Friday, October 1st and ends on Thursday, October 28th at 4:30 pm, giving you plenty of time to hunt them all down.  This year’s clues will be a combination of fun ‘Ewing-centric’ clues and riddles and will test how well you know your hometown. Contest rules and ballots with these fun and challenging clues can be found online at https://ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow-scavenger-hunt-rules/.

Paper ballots can also be picked up at the Ewing Community and Senior Center (ESCC) at 999 Lower Ferry Road or Hollowbrook Community Center at 320 Hollowbrook Drive. The winner will be announced on October 30th during the Ewing Recreation Department’s Annual Trunk-or-Treat festivities. For further details please go to ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow.

Ewing Township is Silver Certified by the Sustainable Jersey Program. This event helps us advance Ewing Township’s on-going goals of Community Building, the Arts, Recycling while offering an activity that encourages active, healthy residents!

The Scarecrows are Coming This October with the 3rd Annual All Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt

Mayor Bert Steinmann, and the members of the Ewing Green Team, Ewing Arts Commission and Art Has No Boundaries are spreading the word to warn all Ewing residents to be on the lookout for some scary invaders coming to our town this October.

Yes, it’s almost that time again… this October 2021 will be the 3rd All Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt. We believe it’s going to even be bigger and better than last year’s event which had 49 amazing Scarecrows scattered around town waiting to be found lurking, or creeping in bushes, hiding in corners, sneaking behind fences, or in front of one of Ewing’s very own local hotspots.

Again, this year we welcome Ewing businesses, civic groups, organizations, schools, and residents to join in the fun and host their very own cute or creepy, cuddly or scary scarecrow.  It’s up to you …there are no limitations on your wild imagination. We have been so impressed with the amazing creativity of our neighbors and friends. The only thing to remember is they just need to be family-friendly.

And just because you are hosting your own scarecrow doesn’t mean you can’t join in the hunt as well. To host a scarecrow, you must complete our registration form (deadline September 11th) so go to ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow and register to create and display your very own scarecrow!  You can complete your registration online or print and mail it in to the Ewing Township Municipal Building at 2 Jake Garzio Drive, Ewing Township, NJ 08628. Please make sure you get a confirmation email from the Green Team that confirms that you are registered!

And to make things more fun – you can win cash prizes!! We’re keeping many of the prizes from last year and adding some new surprises. You still get to vote for your 2 (two) favorite scarecrows – a favorite residential winner and a favorite business/organization will each get $ prizes. And the Green Team will still select the one scarecrow that best ‘upcycles’ and/or uses recycled materials. And we will still have a raffle winner from all the hunters’ entries. The more scarecrows you find, the more entries you get into the raffle. And the grand prize is $200!

New this year is Ewing’s very own scarecrow version of ‘Elf-on-the-Shelf.’ Debuting in Ewing this fall is Ewing’s very own ‘Stan Bymee.’ Look around town for a scarecrow that looks like the one you see on our flyers. He is going to be at 4 different Ewing locations. Each week in October, on Sunday, check the ewinggreenteam.org Facebook page for a new clue for ‘Where’s Stan? Once you find him at his new location; take a selfie of someone in your ‘hunting party’ and email to ewinggreenteam@gmail.com. We’ll put all entries into ANOTHER RAFFLE and have additional prizes for keeping up with ‘Stan.’  

The All-Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt begins on Friday, October 1st and ends on Thursday, October 28th at 4:30 pm, giving you plenty of time to hunt them all down.  This year’s clues will be a combination of fun ‘Ewing-centric’ clues and riddles and will test how well you know your hometown. Contest rules and ballots with these fun and challenging clues can be found online at https://ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow-scavenger-hunt-rules/.

Paper ballots can also be picked up at the Ewing Community and Senior Center (ESCC) at 999 Lower Ferry Road or Hollowbrook Community Center at 320 Hollowbrook Drive. The winner will be announced on October 30th during the Ewing Recreation Department’s Annual Trunk-or-Treat festivities. For further details please go to ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow.

Volunteers Needed for Sept. 18th NJ Delaware River Cleanup

In an effort to help cleanup the Delaware River, a coalition of volunteer organizations and Clean Communities programs in Hunterdon and Mercer Counties, together with New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Parks, announced the 4th Annual Delaware River Cleanup for the morning of Saturday, September 18th from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM.  

The Delaware River gives so much to our community- drinking water, habitat for hundreds of different flora and fauna, and numerous recreational opportunities. Let’s give back to the Delaware by working together to clean its banks.

Donna Morgan, the Ewing Green Team Representative helping with the event.

The NJ State Park Service, Delaware Canal State Park (PA), Hunterdon County, Delaware River Greenway Partnership, many Clean Communities programs including Delaware Township, West Amwell Township, Lambertville, Kingwood, Stockton, Holland Township, Frenchtown Borough, Hamilton Township, as well as the Trenton Kiwanis, and Friends of the Marsh, are all co-sponsoring the event.

Last year the cleanup attracted over 100 volunteers. Collecting over 100 bags of trash and recycling along with 30 tires and large pieces of debris, this event was recognized as a 2021 National Scenic Byway Foundation Community Award Winner. “Sleepy communities saw thousands of more visitors than in years past, so the cleanup made a huge difference to maintain the Byways’ appearance,” according to the Foundation. The Delaware River Cleanup was one of only eight winners selected from across the country.

This year with expanded locations in Mercer County, there are more opportunities for additional volunteers. There are currently 14 volunteers signed up and it would be wonderful to fill the event.  There are no COVID restrictions, but the organizers reserve the right to impose requirements if health conditions change.

Registered volunteers should bring a signed waiver, insect repellent, and water to the event. Comfortable clothing, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and masks are mandatory. Participants will be provided with trash bags and gloves. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt and light refreshments as a thank you for their time.

Advance registration is required by visiting www.delawarerivergreenwaypartnership.org. The cleanup will focus on river areas from Holland Township in Hunterdon County all the way south to the freshwater tidal area of the Delaware River in Hamilton Township. The Scudder Falls area in Ewing Township will be the focus of the Ewing Green Team’s efforts.  When registering for the cleanup, volunteers can select from 15 locations for the area most convenient for them including two boat-based cleanups, one in Upper Bucks County, PA. To see all the location options, volunteers can adjust the map on the registration site.

If you see someone dumping or involved in illegal activities at any State Park, call the NJDEP at 1-877-927-6337 (1-877-WARN DEP). 

Come Ride With Us at the 6th Annual Community Fall Spin Bike Tour Set For October 2nd

Mayor Bert Steinmann, the Ewing Green Team and the Ewing Recreation Department are pleased to announce the 6th Annual Ewing Fall Spin bike tour, to be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021, from 8:15am to 11:00am. The event will start and end at the Ewing Senior Community Center. All proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Anchor House, Inc.  

Individuals or teams, ages 18 years and older are encouraged to register early as there is a maximum number of 50 riders allowed. “We would love participants to sign up as individuals or come as a team of friends, family members or co-workers,” says EGT Member and Bike Tour Chairperson, Garry Keel. The Fall Spin registration fee is $20 prior to September 25th and $25 thereafter. All persons registering by September 25th will receive a T-shirt. Day-of-event registration will begin at 7:45am.

Participants will enjoy a leisurely paced, 11-mile ride along the Canal and through Ewing Township neighborhoods. The tour will be escorted by Ewing Police, and rest stops and free bike inspections will be available. 

The Ewing Green Team (www.ewinggreenteam.org) was established in 2009 by municipal resolution under the auspices of the Ewing Environmental Commission, and is part of the statewide Sustainable Jersey effort (www.sustainablejersey.com). The Ewing Green Team envisions a township that incorporates sustainability into the actions and decision-making processes of community members and municipal offices to create and maintain sustainable ways of living; builds strong and diverse economic opportunities; and cultivates a community that welcomes people from all walks of life.

For more information on the Ewing Fall Spin, please visit https://ewinggreenteam.org/ewingfallspin, email ewinggreenteam@gmail.com or call Garry M. Keel at 609-902-8722.