BARNEGAT BAY RAIN BARREL CHALLENGE ONLINE VOTE GOES VIRAL
DEADLINE TO VOTE ON BARRELS MADE BY OCEAN COUNTY SCHOOLS IS APRIL 10
(13/P31) TRENTON – The Barnegat Bay Rain Barrel Challenge, an online poll in which voters can choose their favorite of 10 rain barrels designed by Ocean County students as part of next month’s Barnegat Bay Blitz festivities, has garnered more than 253,000 votes from 41 states in just over one week.
Voting for these colorful student-designed barrels began online at noon on March 25. The deadline to vote has been extended to Wednesday, April 10 at noon.
“The efforts of the kids who have created these beautiful barrels and the response for the online vote has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Michele Siekerka, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Water Resource Management. “We have had votes for these barrels from all over the country and it’s wonderful to see such involvement, all for good of the Barnegat Bay Blitz.”
Rain barrels are generally 55-gallon barrels that are placed under a gutter’s downspout to collect rainwater that can carry pollution. In addition to reducing the amount of runoff that is carried into waterways, the collected water can effectively be reused to irrigate gardens and clean garden tools. The use of rain barrels is just one method of reducing pollutants that can be carried into Barnegat Bay.
The fourth Barnegat Bay Blitz, a volunteer cleanup of the 660-square-mile watershed led by DEP in partnership with New Jersey Clean Communities Council, will be held on May 10. Participating schools at the last Blitz event held on October 18, 2012 were eligible to participate in the first Rain Barrel Challenge and had until the end of February to submit their colorful creations to the DEP for the contest.
A total of 20 classes from Lanoka Harbor Elementary School, Joseph T. Donahue School in Barnegat, Ethel Jacobsen School in Surf City, Mill Pond Elementary in Lacey, Berkeley Township Elementary School, Toms River Intermediate School South, Toms River High School South, Pinelands Regional Junior High in Little Egg Harbor, Ocean Gate Elementary School and the Cattus Island Junior Naturalist program in Toms River submitted barrels.
Votes for the 10 finalists can be cast at http://nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/rbc.htm, where you can get a good look at the finalists. The winner will receive a free “Barnegat Bay Festival’’ at their school, which will include hands-on demonstrations, science activities and indoor-outdoor programs that explore water quality, water flow and water pollution. The school will also be honored at the New Jersey Clean Communities awards ceremony in May.
Public education is a key component of Governor Chris Christie’s 10-point Comprehensive Barnegat Bay Plan for restoring the ecological health of Barnegat Bay from decades of decline. The Barnegat Bay Blitz, a popular watershed-wide trash and debris cleanup effort that raises awareness of the ecological stresses of the bay, is one of the hallmarks of the plan.
Schools that are interested in participating in the next Barnegat Bay Rain Barrel Challenge can contact the DEP’s Barnegat Bay Blitz team at: Barnegatbayblitz@dep.state.nj.us
To learn more about the 2013 Barnegat Bay Blitz, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/bbblitz.htm
For more information on Gov. Christie’s 10-point Action Plan for Barnegat Bay, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/