Friday, April 20, 2012

Sustainable Jersey for Sustainable Communities

by GSWA's Director of Education & Outreach Hazel England

Sustainable Jersey is a program that rewards New Jersey towns engaging in actions and practices leading to a more sustainable community.  Municipalities taking part initially register their intent to try and attain Sustainable Community status, form a Green Team, and begin undertaking and documenting their actions.  A municipality may be awarded bronze or silver level Sustainable Community status at the annual NJ League of Municipalities Conference, provided that the specific sustainability actions they have taken have been verified and tallied using a special state-wide points system.  Apart from creating more livable communities, Sustainable Jersey certification provides positive public recognition and more funding opportunities for new sustainability projects.

Several towns around the Great Swamp watershed have followed up their intent to pursue certification by attaining either a bronze or a silver certification.  Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) has partnered with several of these municipalities by becoming a member of the Green Teams they have created, and by aiding with water conservation or education-related activities.  The table below shows where communities are regarding certification status.

Most recently, GSWA presented at water education programs that Chatham Township conducted for its residents.  GSWA was a panel member in a water conservation education event.  On March 10, 2012, Chatham Township also co-sponsored a GSWA rain garden workshop and educational program that showcased how rain gardens can effectively manage stormwater within a property by slowing its flow into streams and water treatment plants.

Some of the other actions we have taken in other towns and municipalities include co-sponsoring public sustainability discussions and movie events, appearing at green fairs with important watershed information, and presenting informative education programs on non-point-source pollution, waste reduction, and water conservation techniques.

Why not check out how your own town is trying to become a more sustainable community? Maybe GSWA can help you improve the places where you live, work, and play.  Give us a call at 973-538-3500!

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