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Master Gardeners Invite You to Their House
"Birds in my Backyard" an exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May.
Birth Announcement: Red-tail Royalty Hatch First Chick at Cornell
EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Champions
2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees Announced
EPA Report: Automakers Surpassing Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards
New solar panels may add to savings for Ridgewood school district
D.C. Announces 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Trout in the Classroom Video Feature
Great Backyard Bird Count Sets New Record for Species Reported
Preservation news - Land crossed by Batona Trail donated
Students Line Up for Google Science Fair 2015
Master Gardeners Invite You to Their House             (Posted: 5-14-15)

Master Gardeners Open Butterfly House to the Public

The Butterfly House located at the EARTH Center inside Davidson's Mill Pond Park will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 6. It will be open for the public's enjoyment from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Sunday in June, July and August thereafter.

This "hoop house" is filled with plants that feed and shelter butterflies and larvae native to New Jersey. The enclosed conditions allow visitors to take a close look at these beautiful insects. Visitors also will learn about butterfly host plants and attracting butterflies to the home garden. Interested children will be given nets and invited to capture butterflies for the house. Visiting the butterfly house, maintained through the Master Gardener Program, is a FREE activity.

Master Gardeners are trained by Rutgers Cooperative Extension experts to provide sound advice on horticulture and environmental stewardship to residents of their home county. Also found at the Middlesex County EARTH Center are various demonstration gardens including a huge vegetable display garden, and a 13-bed, hard-scaped herb garden.

"The Master Gardeners have contributed their time and efforts to so many great programs for the County," said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. "The butterfly house is a favorite for obvious reasons -- it's a fun and educational outing for families of all kinds."

"The whole County looks forward to the Master Gardener programs, especially at this time of year," said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. "Projects like the butterfly house allow all of Middlesex County, especially its children, to explore our connection to nature and appreciate its beauty."

The butterfly house and other gardens are located inside the County's Davidson's Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick.

If you have questions about planting spring bulbs or if an unfamiliar bug has invaded your house, no matter what season, Middlesex County's Extension office will assist you with the FREE Master Gardener Helpline.

Residents of Middlesex County are encouraged to call 732-398-5220 with questions on plants, bugs and home conservation practices. The Master Gardeners' training and access to reference material prepares them to identify insects and disease in gardens, and advise others on alternatives to herbicides and pesticides.

Rutgers University trained Master Gardeners are available from 9 a.m. until 12 noon Mondays through Fridays during the growing season. You can also e-mail your questions and concerns to

Callers can also leave a message anytime, and staff will return the call as soon as possible.

"Birds in my Backyard" an exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May.             (Posted: 5-14-15)

Backyard Birds!

Could there be a better place to observe and photograph birds than at the feeder in your very own backyard? If you are a photographer, you know the venue and the lighting; you are safe, warm and comfortable, and out of the wind in your own space, and you probably even know your subjects. Bill Bader has applied this simple concept to his recent, "Bird Series" which will be on exhibit at the Nature Center of Cape May starting Friday, May 15, 2015, and running through the end of June.

According to Bader, "While watching birds sitting on the fence waiting their turn at the bird feeder one thing stood out, they had personality. Comical at times, serene at other times, they even exhibited an intimidating Clint Eastwood I-can-stare-you-down look. Although the artist in me realizes that it might be the light and angles creating these impressions, its still fun to imagine just what these creatures are thinking."

Bill Bader is a lifetime resident of South Jersey, a lover of photography since the 60's and owner of Cape Graphics since 1994. His personal interest in photography and computers has enabled him to exercise creativity in the creation of digital art pieces above and beyond the simple, but engaging wildlife images on display at the Nature Center's Art Gallery.

Questions about visiting the gallery should be directed to the Nature Center of Cape May, 609-898-8848. For more information about the exhibit or to purchase prints please visit the website: Purchases benefit the Nature Center of Cape May.

Birth Announcement: Red-tail Royalty Hatch First Chick at Cornell             (Posted: 5-4-15)

Click HERE.

EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Champions             (Posted: 4-30-15)

(New York, N.Y. - April 24, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored six individuals and organizations from across New Jersey with Environmental Champion Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Donovan Richards, Chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, to present the awards to this year's recipients at a ceremony at the EPA's offices in Manhattan. Included in the awardees was a group of High School Students from Little Egg Harbor, who won a national President's Environmental Youth Award.

"The EPA is thrilled to honor the work of these environmental trailblazers," said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "These New Jerseyans work tirelessly to protect human health and the environment, inspiring us all to strive for a more sustainable future."

The Environmental Champion Award winners from New Jersey (in alphabetical order) are:

Angela Contillo Andersen, Long Beach, New Jersey
Angela Andersen is the Environmental Coordinator for the Township of Long Beach, New Jersey, and a Barnegat Bay Eco-Kayak tour guide. A tireless environmental steward, she has written and been awarded grants for rain barrels, a school garden, school compost programs, pollination gardens and hydration stations. Her service to the environment includes board memberships on the Association of NJ Recyclers and the Ocean County Solid Waste Advisory Council. She is also a columnist for Bay Magazine and the SandPaper.

Cooper's Ferry Partnership, Camden SMART Initiative, Camden, New Jersey
The Camden SMART Initiative alleviates the city of Camden's extreme urban water infrastructure challenges through the development of green and grey infrastructure projects. To date, the Camden SMART Initiative has constructed a total of 39 green infrastructure projects throughout Camden, which capture, treat, and infiltrate 4.3 million gallons of stormwater yearly that would otherwise contribute to the flooding of streets, neighborhoods, parks, and homes. SMART has also distributed more than 120 rain barrels to Camden residents, planted over 992 trees, engaged 3,890 community members, hosted 33 sustainability events and workshops, and collaborated with 35 project partners in the development of green infrastructure projects and programs.

Charles Pietarinen
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Trenton, New Jersey As Chief of the Bureau of Air Monitoring, Charlie Pietarinen has spent his career demonstrating the highest level of achievement as a public servant in the environmental field. He has extensive knowledge of ambient air monitoring instrumentation and practices and is New Jersey's principal liaison with the EPA and other parties on air monitoring issues. He also designed New Jersey's extensive monitoring network which reports various pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, particles and carbon monoxide, in the state's most populated cities and towns.

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Pennington, New Jersey The Association, Central New Jersey's first environmental group, has provided Conservation, Advocacy, Science and Education to the 25 municipalities in its watershed for the last 65 years. Among its recent accomplishments are: Conducting 302 educational programs, serving 7,874 participants from pre-school to adult; running the premier watershed volunteer monitoring program in the State, which is enhanced by a state-of-the-art science laboratory; and, successfully working to have a ballot initiative adopted for a stable source of long-term funding for open space.

Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE) Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University's SURGE is an environmental organization advocating for students to take action to protect the planet. SURGE worked with national environmental groups to host an event with former U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, who talked about the Clean Power Plan and the Alaska Wilderness Act. SURGE was also instrumental in the People's Climate March in New York City, organizing marchers on buses and trains from Princeton University, and leading a contingency of activists at that historic event. SURGE has continued to raise awareness and stay engaged in climate issues.


Pinelands Eco Scienteers, "It's a Pressing Matter", Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey
A group of high school students from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, discovered that in many parts of the world, the only fuel available for cooking meals is wood from nearby forests, resulting in widespread deforestation. Under the guidance of Stephen Kubricki, this group of teenagers worked for four years to develop and distribute low-cost briquette presses that utilize bio-waste products - like peanut shells, corn stalks and banana peels - specific to each country where deforestation is a problem. They field tested their press in Guatemala and, with fellow students, completed 100 mini-presses for shipment to rural villages.

For more details, visit:
Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at and Facebook at

2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees Announced             (Posted: 4-30-15)

U.S. Department of Education
Green Strides

2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees Announced, Along With First Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees
Award Honors Schools, Districts, and Postsecondary Institutions for Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs; Improving Health; and Offering Environmental Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined by Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss today to announce the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Fifty-eight schools, 14 districts, and nine postsecondary institutions were honored for their promising efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, nine colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award, in the first year of that award category.
"These honorees are compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments," Duncan said. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and deserve the spotlight for embodying strong examples of innovative learning and civic engagement. We also are thrilled to add institutions of higher education to the list of honorees this year for the first time in the award's history."
"With so many tough challenges facing our planet, it is more important than ever to inspire and prepare the next generation of environmental stewards," said Goldfuss. "By creating healthier learning environments, reducing their carbon footprints, and teaching students lasting lessons about innovation and sustainability, today's honorees are leading the way for schools and districts across the country."
The schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies, with honorees selected from 28 jurisdictions. The list of 81 total selectees includes 52 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 35 elementary, 19 middle and 17 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 28 of the nominating authorities. Forty-seven percent of the 2015 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body, 22 percent are rural, and one-third of the postsecondary institutions are community colleges. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 81 honorees can be found here.
More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.

William Davies Middle School, Mays Landing, NJ
East Brunswick Vocational and Technical High School, East Brunswick, NJ
Timber Creek Regional High School, Erial, NJ
Princeton Day School, Princeton, NJ

EPA Report: Automakers Surpassing Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards             (Posted: 4-30-15)

Manufacturers competing to deliver most fuel-efficient vehicles

For the second consecutive model year, the automotive industry outperformed the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards by a wide margin. Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile - or 1.4 miles per gallon - better than required by the 2013 standard.

These were among the top findings released today in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) second annual Manufacturers' Performance Report. The report presents detailed information about how individual firms are complying with GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

"These findings are a terrific early success story for President Obama's historic effort to reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Automakers are racing to meet our goals. The American auto industry has never been stronger, we're creating jobs here in the U.S., selling cleaner cars here and overseas, and consumers are really benefitting from the innovations spurred by these standards."

The report found:

  • Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile better than required by the 2013 standard. This marks the second consecutive model year of industry outperforming the standards by a wide margin.
  • The majority of manufacturers (representing more than 99% of sales) met both the 2012 and 2013 standards. The remaining manufacturers have several more years to come into compliance.
  • Automakers are using the optional flexibilities built into the standards such as improved air conditioning systems and the use of fleet averaging. These flexibilities continue to increase consumer choice, spur technology innovation and decrease compliance costs all while providing manufacturers with options on how and when to make reductions.

According to EPA's most recent CO2 Emissions and Fuel Economy Trends Report, model year 2013 vehicles achieved an all-time record average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg) - a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Average carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks are also at a record low. Fuel economy has increased in eight of the last nine years. There are more than three times as many 30 mpg vehicles than just five years ago, and fuel economy for SUVs has been increasing faster than for any other vehicle type.

EPA's GHG emissions standards cover light-duty vehicles from model year 2012 to 2025. The standards are projected to save 12 billion barrels of oil, and cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetimes of vehicles sold in these years. The standards are also projected to save consumers who purchase a new MY 2025 vehicle more than $8,000 in fuel costs over that vehicle's lifetime.

More information on the Manufacturers' Performance Report:
More information on Light Duty Vehicle Standards:
More information on greenhouse gases and Fuel Economy Trends:

New solar panels may add to savings for Ridgewood school district             (Posted: 4-29-15)

Click HERE.

D.C. Announces 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools             (Posted: 4-29-15)

Click HERE.

Trout in the Classroom Video Feature             (Posted: 3-24-15)

Teacher Lori Lacaillade's Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program at the Van Holten School in Bridgewater was recently featured on NJTV's Classroom Close Up. TIC is a supplementary educational activity made possible through a partnership between the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited. Teachers using the program provide a unique experience for their students and effectively teach lessons in a variety of disciplines.

To view the segment visit; it will also air this Sunday on NJTV at 7:30am, 12:30pm and 7:30 pm and again at the same times on April 5 and April 11. For information on the TIC program visit on the Division's web site.

Great Backyard Bird Count Sets New Record for Species Reported             (Posted: 3-3-15)

Click HERE.

Preservation news - Land crossed by Batona Trail donated             (Posted: 3-2-15)

Batona Trail
ACRES:  1.75
TOWN: Woodland Township
COUNTY: Burlington
REGION: Pine Barrens
TYPE: Open space donation

HIKE THE BATONA TRAIL! Join us for the Franklin Parker Preserve "Top to Bottom" Hike on Saturday, April 18.

Land crossed by Batona Trail donated


Garfield DeMarco
J. Garfield DeMarco

J. Garfield DeMarco, whose family once farmed cranberries on the 9,400-acre Pine Barrens property now known as the Franklin Parker Preserve, has donated a small but important parcel to expand the preserve.

Earlier this month, Garfield gave 1.75 acres in Woodland Township to New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which co-owns the preserve with the State of New Jersey.

The gift is especially significant because part of the Batona Trail - a 53-mile hiking path through the heart of the Pine Barrens - crosses the parcel.

"We're very grateful to Garfield for his generosity in donating this land to New Jersey Conservation," said Michele S. Byers, executive director. "The Batona is an incredibly beautiful and scenic trail in the Pine Barrens, and it's wonderful that the land beneath this trail section is now preserved forever."

Garfield, a longtime supporter of New Jersey Conservation, said he was pleased to make the donation.

"I'm very proud of what my sister, Anna Lynn DeMarco Papinchak, and I accomplished to preserve and conserve such a vast area of New Jersey. The donation of the land through which the Batona Trail crosses is part of that family legacy," said Garfield.

"Our parents, Anthony R. DeMarco and Gladys Alloway DeMarco, would be most pleased to know that certain family members played such important roles in protecting the forest, streams and flora and fauna of the Pinelands, which they loved and for which they cared," he added.

New Jersey Conservation purchased the land for the Franklin Parker Preserve from the DeMarco family in 2003. In 2011 and 2012, staff and volunteers rerouted 7.2 miles of the Batona Trail to cross scenic sections of the preserve. 

With the rerouted Batona Trail, the Franklin Parker Preserve now has about 28 miles of hiking and mixed use trails.

Protecting the preserve's ecology is a priority for NJ Conservation! We have created a forest stewardship plan to ensure the continued health and well-being of the preserve and surrounding community. The plan is now before the Pinelands Commission and can be found on our website. All comments are welcome!

Students Line Up for Google Science Fair 2015             (Posted: 3-2-15)

Click HERE.

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