Sustainable Landscaping

Vanishing Habitat

Vanishing habitat requires sustainable landscaping practices.  We believe that habitat loss and degradation is one of the greatest threats to the natural world and that we protect our own future by protecting habitats.

It has been reported that more than half of the world’s wildlife has vanished since 1970 and that the “current massive degradation of habitat  and extinction of many of the Earth’s biota is unprecedented and is taking place on a catastrophically short timescale.”1   Without wildlife there is no healthy functioning of the ecosystem services upon which we depend.  We wonder: are we destroying our planet’ s ability to support our way of life?

Our suburban neighborhoods have exchanged healthy native habitats for vast stretches of manicured lawns which contribute little of ecological value.  This is simply not sustainable.  Small changes in your landscape management practices as outlined in the following series of pamphlets will enable you to contribute in the much needed efforts to support wildlife.  This will also add beauty and value to your homes and neighborhoods and allow you to spend more time enjoying nature in your own backyard.

Wildlife Canada states, “Without habitat, there is no wildlife.  It’s that simple.” And without wildlife, there is no healthy functioning of the ecosystem services essential to ensuring our own futures.

Pollinator Gardens

In the spring of 2018 the Ewing Green Team and Environmental Commission established a wildflower garden in the center courtyard of the Ewing Senior and Community Center.  On Saturday, September 28, 2019, with the financial assistance of a $1500 grant from the Association for New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) and an enthusiastic group of community volunteers, a second pollinator garden was planted out in front of the building.  This project is entitled Nurturing Nature: Planting Natives for a Community Pollinator Garden.  

Goals

  • to create a pollinator garden at the main entrance to the Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, following the tenets of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gardening for Wildlife program.  This  an area that offers little of value to wildlife. There are currently few, if any, native plants on site, but an excess of grass. The area has no flowering perennials, or berrying shrubs and trees. The aim is to enhance the resources available for wildlife on the site.
  • to create a habitat for pollinators using native plants to offer them food, water, cover, shelter, places to live out their life cycles and which is maintained following sustainable practices.
  • To create a demonstration pollinator garden in a highly visible public setting, that will educate and engage visitors as the Senior Center gets heavy foot traffic.
  • To encourage homeowners and businesses to create wildlife pollinator habitats and connections on their own properties.
  • To promote native plants that will support biodiversity, attract a variety of wildlife and require less water and care than most non-native plants.
  • To eliminate use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers; wildlife is sensitive, directly and indirectly, to chemical exposure through their food supply. This will also reduce toxic runoff into our local watersheds and the Delaware River.
  • To foster a new and increased appreciation for the beauty and value that pollinators add to our lives.


2019 Pollinator Garden Project

Sustainable Landscaping Series

An educational campaign by Ewing’s Green Team and Environmental Commission to educate Ewing residents about what they can do to live more sustainably and harmoniously with nature.  These are practices that work with nature with a goal of sustaining local wildlife while conserving resources such as energy and water and maximizing your landscape’s value to the local ecosystem.

  • Invasive Plants
    Why you need to avoid planting invasive plants in your garden. (flyer)
  • Sustainable Fall Landscaping Tips
    There are ecological benefit to being not quite so perfect in your yard cleanup in the fall.  Read more in our 2017 fall flyer.
  • Sustainable Spring Landscaping Tips
    Our recommendations for sustainable spring landscape care.    Read the details in our spring 2018 flyer.
  • Wild About Ewing
    Why you should garden for wildlife and certify your garden in the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program.  Read more in our 2018 fall Flyer and at ewingwildlifegardens.com.

Other Ongoing Ewing Campaigns

  • Grasscycling promotion
    An education campaign by the Ewing Department of Public Works staff to educate residents about the benefits gained from the natural recycling of grass – leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning valuable nutrients back into the soil.  (see DPW flyer)
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) campaign
    The EAB is a devastating parasitic insect that selectively attacks and kills ash trees (Fraxinus sp.) – one of the more popular landscape trees for its fall colors.  In April 2016, the Ewing Green Team received a $20K grant to address remediation strategies with potential partners, create a municipal management plan for the Township, and conduct educational outreach.  A portion of the grant funds were dedicated towards a small tree replanting effort.

  • Tree volcanoes Campaign
    Improper mulching kills trees!  Mulch should never be up into a cone around a tree trunk.  Called mulch volcanoes, they kill trees on waste money on excess mulch material.  For more information read Mulch Volcanoes Killing Trees in New Jersey, a  pamphlet by the NJ DEP Division of Parks and Forest Services – Community Forestry Program.  (warning – large file)
  • Wildflower Meadows In Ewing
    A proposal by the Mercer County Parks Commission to create wildflower meadows as pollinator habitats in Ewing. For details of the proposal see:

1  See The Current Biodiversity Extinction Event: Scenarios for Mitigation and Recovery.  Michael J. Novacek and Elsa E. Cleland .  PNAS 2001 May, 98 (10) 5466-5470.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.091093698