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All-Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt 2020

Scarecrows are coming… so be on the lookout!

Test your hometown knowledge, get creative chance to win cash prizes and bragging rights!

The Ewing Green Team, Ewing Arts Commission and Art Has No Boundaries are pleased to announce that our 2nd All Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt is now is the planning stages. Following last year’s very successful debut which featured 34 scarecrows and almost 80 individuals and groups on the hunt, we are expanding options for participation this year, as well as cash prizes to sweeten the fun!

And even though we are dealing with the very serious Covid-19 pandemic and the important need for masks and social distancing; we welcome an opportunity for Ewing residents to experience some much needed fun while staying safe and healthy with an activity that lends itself to those requirements.

We once again invite Ewing local businesses, civic groups, organizations, and schools to create and display their very own Scarecrows. And, this year, since large gatherings look to be unworkable, we also invite Ewing residents to add their own scarecrows to the Hunt.  Place it in your front yard or ask us for help in siting it to participate in the fun.  Creativity and imaginations are welcome; there are no limits on how crazy you can be. We do not have any restrictions on design (they do need to be family-friendly) though as the Green Team, we are hoping for lots of recycling and ‘upcycling’ to be incorporated in these creations. In fact, one of the cash prizes will be based on the inspired use of recycled materials.

Last year local residents enjoyed figuring out our ‘Ewing-centric’ clues in order to locate or ‘hunt’ these ‘scary invaders’ down.  This year we are adding some new challenges!  Yes, you all get to vote for your favorite (both categories) – a favorite residential and favorite business/organization will each get $ cash prizes. Different this year, in addition to asking Ewing residents to participate as hosts; the Green Team members are going to vote for the Scarecrow with the most creative use of recycled materials.

So, join us in celebrating the Halloween season.  You may participate in either or both activities, building/hunting scarecows.   Register by September 10th to build your own scarecrow to display from Thursday, Oct 1st to Thursday, October 29th.  Hunt ballots will be available by Oct 1st and must be submitted by the end of the day on the 29th.   The drawing will take place and winners will be announced on Saturday, Oct 31st via Zoom.  This event is open to Ewing residents and workers only.  To get further details on how you can create your very own Scarecrow, join the ‘Hunt’, and have a safe and great time in your own neighborhood; see the Scarecrow page on our website.

For a frolicing fun time during these tough times – get creative, join the fun, and maybe even win ca$h

Plastic-free July – Final Weeks

Hi Folks,

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, we have been participating in a Plastic-free July Celebration along with our fellow Mercer County Sustainability Coalition (MCSC) members.   As we wind down, and with our usual timeliness, we would just like to speak a little bit about the movement.

Plastic Free July is a movement that spans over 177 countries and 250 million participants.  For more information we encourage you to go to https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/.

Thru the movement we encourage you to explore ways to cut down on plastic waste from bags, balloons, packaging, dental floss, and more. The posts on our Facebook page, along with the images, we hope will inspire you to break free of plastic waste.  Along with our partners in the MCSC, we have been and will be posting a different tip or thought provoking concept that challenges you to do more for the environment.

July is a month filled with barbecues and picnics and outdoor dining. And as a result, July is filled with plastic waste. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the amount of plastic waste being littered and disposed of all over the State (gloves, masks, etc). Plastic Free July is the antidote! Now is a great time to adopt new habits that can reduce your plastic footprint and help you to live more harmoniously with the environment.

On both our Website and our Facebook page, our volunteers share ways of combatting the tidal wave of plastic trash in our lives. They will suggest inventive ways to reduce our plastic footprint: everything from little tricks for remembering to bring your own reusable shopping bag and your own water bottle, to how to do a waste audit of your house to figure out your real plastic footprint (tip: include the recycling bucket). Posts and information will also explore how refusing and reducing plastic waste beats recycling as a strategy.

#PlasticFreeJuly will save you money as well, because you are charged for all the little plastic things you use and throw away. You are charged twice: once when you buy it (the cost is hidden in the price of your purchase) and once when you throw it away (in your municipal disposal fees).

Waste reduction is the wave of the future as landfill space shrinks. So the households and municipalities that figure out how to cut down on waste going to landfills will be better prepared. And the Ewing Green Team is making this preparation fun.

The EGT and the MCSC believe that it takes residents from all over Mercer County working together to make a difference in our world. Join us for #PlasticFreeJuly !

Invasive Pest Alert – the Spotted Lanternfly

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), is a plant hopper that is native to China, India and Vietnam and has become a major pest in eastern PA and in 8 counties in western NJ.   It has been spotted in Ewing landscapes.  They like over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, as well as agricultural crops like grapes and hops.

The pest strongly prefers another invasive, the “Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, also from Asia.”   It is an excellent hitchhiker, so if you travel to and from areas where it has been currently found, you should search your vehicle, your clothing and your car load thoroughly, to help prevent its spread.

The Spotted Lanternfly is rather beautifully colored in its life stages.   The adult is approximately 1 inch long and a half inch wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in gray. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots and develop red patches as they grow.  Before it’s a beautiful fly, it’s a nymph.  In the early stages it’s black later it turns red in July-September and eventually it looks like the fly and can be seen July – December.

How to help stop the spread of this invasive species

Remove them: If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol, bleach, or hand sanitizer to kill them.

Collect a specimen: Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s lab for verification.

Take a picture: A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov.

Report a siting: If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.

NJ Dept of Agriculture Handouts

2020 International Dark-Sky Week Urges Homebound Families to “Look Up Together”

Celebrate the wonder of our night skies every night and turn out the lights! 

During International Dark Sky Week, April 19-26, the International Dark-Sky Association  (IDSA) invites you and your family to engage with dynamic authors, educators, artists, and scientists from around the world who are excited to share their passion for astronomy, our cultural connection to the stars, life in the dark, and how we can work together to protect the night.

“Right now, families around the globe find themselves spending many hours at home together,” notes Ruskin Hartley, IDA’s Executive Director. “It’s a perfect time to reconnect with the night sky — and International Dark-Sky Week provides a portal for that experience.”  For example, have you ever wondered how to find a constellation in the night sky? Or how cultures around the world, and across time, saw their place in the stars? Or what critters are exploring the night while you sleep?

IDSW’s presenters and activities will explore these questions and many more. Presentations will be broadcast live every day during International Dark Sky Week. Learn more, and check out the schedule at idsw.darksky.org, or follow along on YouTube or Facebook. Let’s #lookuptogether this #IDSW2020.

We encourage you to use your homebound time to learn more by taking advantage of a series of live presentations and videos from dark sky experts from around the world during  International Dark Skies Week!

Why Light Pollution Matters

The nighttime environment is a crucial natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars, radically changing the nighttime environment.

Before the advent of electric light in the 20th century, our ancestors experienced a night sky brimming with stars that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature.

The common heritage of a natural night sky is rapidly becoming unknown to the newest generations. In fact, millions of children across the globe will never see the Milky Way from their own homes.

We are only just beginning to understand the negative repercussions of losing this natural resource. A growing body of research suggests that the loss of the natural nighttime environment is causing serious harm to human health and the environment.

Light Pollution Threatens Wildlife

For billions of years, life has relied on Earth’s day-night rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviors. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night. Research shows that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many species.

Sea turtles live in the ocean but hatch on the beach at night. Hatchlings find the sea by detecting the bright horizon over the ocean. Artificial lights can draw them away from the sea, stranding them on land. In Florida alone, millions of hatchlings die this way every year. Many insects are drawn to light, but artificial lights can create a fatal attraction. Declining insect populations negatively impact all species that rely on insects for food or pollination. Nocturnal mammals sleep in the day and are active at night. Light pollution disrupts their nighttime environment.

Artificial lights also endanger many bird species. They can disrupt the migratory schedules of birds causing them to leave too early or too late in the season, missing ideal conditions for nesting. Birds that navigate by moonlight and starlight can wander off course. Millions die every year by colliding into illuminated buildings.

Light Pollution Threatens Human Health

Humans are not immune to the negative effects of light in their nighttime spaces. Excessive exposure to artificial light at night, particularly blue light, has been linked to increased risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes and breast cancer.

Light Pollution Wastes Energy and Money

In the U.S. alone, there are about 162 million public and commercial outdoor light fixtures including

  • 45 million streetlights,
  • 52 million parking-lot lights,
  • 62 million lights on commercial buildings.

Residential outdoor lighting isn’t as bright, but there’s a lot more of it — about 1 billion light fixtures.

Lighting consumes lots of energy. In an average year in the U.S., outdoor lighting uses some 120 terawatt-hours of energy, mostly to illuminate streets and parking lots. That’s enough energy to meet New York City’s total electricity needs for 2 years! Excessive light at night causes light pollution and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

So, let’s stop wasting so much energy! With so much lighting, even modest efforts to control outdoor lighting saves money, reduces carbon emissions, and helps the environment. We do need some light at night, but much of it is wasted by lights that are overly bright or left on when not needed. Unshielded fixtures waste the most energy. Their light shines upward, instead of down on the ground where it’s needed. At least 30% of outdoor light is wasted. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset all that CO2, we’d have to plant 875 million trees annually.

But Don’t We Need Nighttime Lighting for Safety & Security?

There is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting deters crime. It may make us feel safer but it does not make us safer. The truth is bad outdoor lighting can decrease safety by making victims and property easier to see.

Glare from overly bright, unshielded lighting creates shadows in which criminals can hide. It also shines directly into our eyes, constricting our pupils. This diminishes the ability of our eyes to adapt to low-light conditions and leads to poorer nighttime vision, dangerous to motorists and pedestrians alike.

What Can Be Done?

The EGT is regularly asked: “What can I do to make a difference?” Well, here is one way that you can make a contribution and the good news is that light pollution is reversible and its solutions are immediate, simple and cost-effective. Here are a few simple things you can do to confront the problem and take back the night:

  • Check around your home. Use only fully shielded, dark sky friendly fixtures for all outdoor lighting, so lights shine down, not up, to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property lines.
  • Use only the right amount of light needed. Too much light is wasteful, harms wildlife and creates glare.
  • Install timers and dimmer switches and turn off lights when not in use. If you must have security lighting, use motion sensors.
  • Use only lighting with a color temperature of 3000K and below. This means that there is less blue (cool) light that is more harmful to many animal species.
  • Check out this resource page on outdoor lighting basics.
  • Talk to neighbors. Explain that poorly shielded fixtures waste energy, produce glare and reduce visibility. Work with your local governments to ensure outdoor lighting isn’t harming the wildlife in your area.
  • Become a Citizen Scientist with Globe at Night and document light pollution in your neighborhood and share the results. Doing so, contributes to a global database of light pollution measurements.


[Resources and background materials for this article come from The International Dark Sky Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona. For 25 years, it has advocated for the protection of the nighttime environment and dark night skies by educating policymakers and the public about night sky conservation and promoting environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. More information about IDA and its mission may be found at http://www.darksky.org.]

Cancellation of EGT Spring Events

Dear Friends of the Ewing Green Team,

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please note the cancellation of the following scheduled events for this spring:

  • April 18th, Spring Stream Clean Up in cooperation with The Watershed Institute
  • April 22nd, Earth Day Celebration – A Crash Course on Honey Bees
  • April 25th, Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Give Away
  • June 6th, first date of our scheduled Three Seasons of Color Through the Garden Gate Tour.  We will keep you updated as to whether or not the other tour dates will be rescheduled.

Please keep healthy and stay tuned for rescheduled dates.