NEW JERSEY CELEBRATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION WITH EARTH
WEEK ACTIVITIES ACROSS THE STATE
(19/P028) TRENTON – In honor of Earth Day on Monday, April 22, a diverse array of family friendly Earth Week cleanups, fairs, beautification projects, hikes, tours, competitions and other activities are planned statewide later this month and in May, the Department of Environmental Protection announced.
“Earth Week is the perfect time to appreciate our environment and renew our focus on what we can do throughout the year to make it cleaner,” Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “From reducing the harmful impacts of climate change and sea-level rise to expanding electric vehicle infrastructure and protecting water quality, our commitment to a safe and healthy New Jersey has never been stronger.”
Many celebrations are scheduled Saturday, April 20, as part of the official kickoff weekend of Earth Week. The bulk of events will continue the following weekend while some communities will host ecology-themed events and green fairs well into May. Earth Day is Monday, April 22.
Earth Week activities scheduled Saturday include celebrations at Batsto Historic Village in Wharton State Forest, Cape May County Park and Zoo, Skylands Manor in Ringwood State Park and the New Weis Center in Ringwood. Cleanups will be conducted in Secaucus, Teaneck and Leonardo, and yoga, meditation and poetry will be explored at High Point State Park.
On Sunday, April 21, the Bergen County Audubon Society will offer an “Earth Day-Easter Sunday Nature Walk” in the Meadowlands, in Lyndhurst. On April 22, the “Earth Day Electrical Vehicle Ride and Drive” will be held in Glassboro for those curious about electric vehicles.
Earth Week activities will culminate with numerous weekend Earth Day celebrations on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, Tenafly Middle School in Tenafly, Riverfront Park in Point Pleasant, Cattus Island County Park in Toms River, the ACUA in Egg Harbor Township, Bayonet Farm in Holmdel, and a Party for the Planet at the Bergen County Zoological Park in Paramus, among many others.
Cleanups will be conducted April 27 at Ringwood State Park in Ringwood, Winfield Park in Union County, and on April 28 at Bloomfield in Essex County.
Also, on April 27 and 28, the DEP’s Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center will hold its annual open house. Activities include fishing, archery, exhibits, wildlife artists, carvers, taxidermists and an outdoor market place. The hatchery and center are near Oxford in Warren County.
For a calendar listing of Earth Week events reported to the DEP and ideas on how to get involved, visit www.earthdaynj.org. Check with your municipality or local news outlet for additional events.
Earth Day also marks the DEP’s birthday, April 22, 1970. At that time, New Jersey became the third state to organize its various environmental and conservation agencies under one umbrella. Since then, New Jersey has established and maintained one of the nation’s strongest records on environmental protection.
Among the Garden State’s lengthy list of accomplishments:
- New Jersey was the first state to require recycling, enacting the Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act in 1987.
- New Jersey enacted some of the nation’s first freshwater and coastal wetlands protections, with passage of the Wetlands Act in 1970.
- In 1961, voters established the first statewide land conservation program, known as the Green Acres Program, that has directly preserved some 657,000 acres of open space, parks and recreation facilities.
- Although the most densely populated state, New Jersey has preserved more than 1.5 million acres of open space and farmlands.
- Down to just one nesting pair of bald eagles in the early 1980s, the state now has more than 150 pairs, with other birds of prey making similarly remarkable recoveries from past use of the pesticide DDT and habitat loss.
- A 1976 law adopted by New Jersey that holds polluters responsible for contamination became the model for the nation’s Superfund contaminated-site cleanup program.
- Under a longstanding partnership with local governments that was established in 1974, New Jersey’s beaches have one of the best records in the nation for water quality.
- New Jersey has some of the most stringent air emissions standards in the nation for industries and power plants and has worked to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from the power sector.
In 2018, New Jersey became the first state to establish a drinking water standard known as a Maximum Contaminant Level for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), to protect public health.
Here are some tips to help the environment every day:
- Reduce litter by buying products that use less packaging, bringing your own canvas bags when grocery shopping, and picking up litter along your favorite walks or in parks you visit.
- Save energy by replacing incandescent light bulbs with efficient compact fluorescent or LED lighting, using energy-efficient appliances, turning off and unplugging electronics when not in use, turning off lights when leaving a room, turning down the thermostat two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer.
- Save water in the home by taking shorter showers using a water-saving shower head, fixing leaky plumbing fixtures, and running the dishwasher and clothes washer only when full.
- Save water outdoors by watering lawns only in the early morning or late at night, using mulch around trees and gardens to retain soil moisture, and planting drought-tolerant shrubs and flowers for landscaping.
- Reduce air pollution by carpooling, riding a bike, using public transportation or driving an electric or hybrid vehicle, and by keeping tires properly inflated and engine tuned to improve gas mileage.
- Reduce chemicals in the home by using natural cleaning products, such as substituting white vinegar for bleach when washing clothes, making glass cleaner using a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a quart of water, and making furniture polish by mixing a teaspoon of lemon juice with a pint of mineral or vegetable oil.
- Reduce or eliminate pesticides by using boric acid or other natural alternatives to control insects, and by using compost instead of chemical fertilizers for landscaping and gardens.
- Reduce waste at home by not using single-use plastics such as plastic bags and straws, and by maximizing the amount of waste that can be recycled by reviewing the list of items your community recycles.
- Reduce waste at work by reading documents online instead of printing them, using only 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, setting printers to print two-sided documents, and asking your office cafeteria to choose reusable utensils and trays.
For more tips, information on cost and environmental benefits of green practices, and other Earth Day information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, visit www.epa.gov/earthday.
Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.