November 25, 2015
In our Schools….
This fall, the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Program has awarded certification to all four of Readington Township’s schools. This non-profit program, which began in 2014, provides training and financial incentives to schools to encourage and support their efforts to attain sustainability goals. The school community explored eco-friendly, energy smart, cost-effective ways to promote a healthy and safe environment for students.
Out of the 284 registered schools, Readington schools are among the first 59 schools to achieve sustainability certification through this program. Readington was one of only 5 districts that had all of their schools recognized. We were the only school district from Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, or Warren counties to have even just one school recognized! Whitehouse and Three Bridges schools were awarded silver status. Readington Middle School and Holland Brook School were awarded bronze status. Through this program, TBS was the top-scoring recipient of only three schools to be awarded the 2015 Sustainability Champion Award. The Readington School District was also recognized with a Sustainability Leadership Award for its leadership in coordinating sustainability throughout the district.
Holland Brook School is the first NJ school to be certified as a River-Friendly School through the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. Through this program, HBS and the students will be leaders in environmental resource conservation by learning about water conservation and quality issues and applying conservation practices.
Three Bridges and Readington Middle Schools were the 4th and 5th schools recognized by Eco-School USA this Spring and Summer. Eco-Schools USA is an international program hosted by the National Wildlife Federation in the U.S. and coordinated by the NJ Audubon Society. This program recognizes student-driven sustainability or conservation projects. Both schools were awarded for “greening physical structure and grounds, conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into curricula.”
In our Neighborhoods…
Certain environmental disturbance or health risks posed by the construction of the Transco pipeline through town were addressed by the Township. Members of the Environmental Commission, the Open Space Advisory Committee, and others worked with the environmental staff of Williams Company* to consider ways in which post-pipeline construction plantings could be designed to restore good soil texture and quality, plant native species adapted specifically to this region of New Jersey and establish healthy riparian buffers to ensure proper water flow in streams or over land and filtration by wetlands.
The Environmental Commission and Township officials are also anticipating working more closely with the utility companies to help define understandable Best Practices that should be expected in all cases of Utility Right-of-Way vegetation management. In July the Planning Board unanimously voted to correspond to the Township Committee to recommend that “herbicides/pesticides not be used under power lines on Township owned land, and advise the public that they have the choice to refuse the application.” **
New Jersey law requires that both private and commercial pesticide applicators maintain certification and licensing to safely apply pesticides***. The requirements differ for commercial compared to private applicators, but everyone from aerial pesticide applicators to home gardeners is expected to comply. Even commonly applied lawn pesticides can pose serious health or environmental risks****. For more information about meeting the pesticide applicator requirements, visit the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office website.
*Williams Company is contracted by Transco to oversee restoration of disturbed areas after construction of the pipeline is completed.
***The Bureau of Pesticide Compliance enforces the use, sale, distribution and manufacture of pesticides in NJ. Information about pesticide applicator compliance and enforcement in NJ can be accessed here.
****For information about pesticide risks to health and environment, visit the US Environmental Protection Agency website.