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Certified Rutgers Environmental Stewards 2018

The following projects were completed in fulfillment of the internship requirement of the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program. Projects are organized by class location.

Atlantic County
Green Car Wash and Green Environmental Experimentation Center, Douglas Becker, 2014 class

Northern Pine Snake Tracking, Helen Duda, Raven Potosky, 2015 and 2016 classes

Invasive Species Eradication at Oldman's Creek Preserve, William Lemmerman, 2017 class

Affecting Local Policy: An Ordinance for Single-Use Plastic Bags, Melanie Lynch, 2015 class

Cox Hall Creek Wildlife Management Area educational booklet, Ellen Seward, 2017 class

Burlington County
Recycling plastic film products in Mount Laurel, Arlene Anderson, 2017 class

Educating Smithville Woods Park visitors on Pollinator Habitat, Robert Andrews, 2017 Class

Sea How High – A Game About Sea Level Rise, Judith Burr & Linda Gaffney, 2017 Class

Revitalizing Rain Gardens in Camden, Karen Cohen and Shruti Bhankharia, 2017 class

Introduction to Project Drawdown, Martin Levin, 2017 class

Watchdogging the Newtown Lake Dredge Project, Lorraine Prince, 2017 class

Middlesex County
Bluebird Nest Box Trail 2.0 - Thompson Park, Sue Meaney and Pat Mundy, 2014 and 2017 class

John Adams Elementary School Garden in North Brunswick, Anna Molinski, 2016 class

Passaic County
Borough of Oakland Sustainable Jersey Re-certification, Nancy Krause, 2017 class

Monarch Waystation/Pollinator Garden at Brookdale Park, Jean Greeley, 2017 class

Somerset County
Water Quality Sampling in Royce Brook, Ken Carr and Michael Connolley  2017 and 2018 class

Rocky Hill Educational Pollinator Garden & Rain Barrel Project, Stewart Hallman, 2018

Establishing a Green Team in Bound Brook, Shoshana Mitchell, 2017 class

Native Pollinator Meadow at Harrington Fields, Daniel Ross, 2017 class

Planting Guide for Capitol City Farm, Margie Tom and Cathy House, 2018 class

Creation of a New Nature Trail at Duke Farms, Samantha Wolfe, 2017 class

Union County
Cranford Tree Planting and Education, Terry Van Liew, 2017 class

Stemming the Tide of Emerald Ash Borer in Union County, Janine Salvador, Deborah Bort, and Carol Hodapp-Puchalski, 2018 class

Warren County
Northern Pine Snake Tracking, Katrin Sethna, 2012 class
                                                                                   

 

Projects Listed By Name:


Arlene Anderson, Recycling Plastic Film Products, Burlington County 2017 Class
Arlene initiated an education and outreach program in her community of Mount Laurel about plastic film and the benefits of recycling.  Arlene received permission to place collection bins in the community center and the town’s recycling center as well as her local Acme. In two months Arlene collected 500 lbs. of plastic qualifying her for an upcycled park bench from Trex Corporation.  Arlene spent well over 160 hours on the project and recruited 4 volunteers. To document her educational efforts, Arlene conducted a survey of 51 individuals. Results indicated that after her efforts, 69% of the respondents would recycle 5 or more types of plastic film, compared to 39% of the pre-education respondents.

Robert Andrews, Educating Smithville Woods Park Visitors on Pollinator Habitat, Burlington County 2017 Class
Bob worked on a pollinator project in Smithville Woods in Easthampton with Burlington County in addition to stormwater reduction projects in Camden County along with 2 other Stewards.  Visitors that come to the butterfly garden now have a better idea of the ties between butterflies and their host plants.  In Camden County, the team worked with volunteers to reduce stormwater runoff to the city’s Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSOs).  The team focused on maintaining rain gardens in Camden. In addition, Bob installed 2 stormwater planters that annually reduce 3,817 gallons of stormwater runoff from a library roof. Collectively, the team worked with 60 volunteers for a total of 276 hours.

Douglas Beckert Green Car Wash and Green Environmental Experimentation Center, Atlantic County 2014 Class
Douglas designed a Sustainable Green Car Wash for Ocean City with the goal of preventing pollution from group car wash events in locations that drain into the lagoons, bay and ocean.  Douglas hopes this car wash will allow for groups and schools to see the benefits of research in environmental protection. He aims to provide a "blueprint" for the GCW/EEC that would address the problem and promote a vision to facilitate discussion.  Doug has spent 230 hours on the project and has developed a 3-D model, brochures, a webpage, and YouTube videos available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVl6YVxT-4A and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_VdtuXSRAA

Judith Burr & Linda Gaffney, Sea How High – A Game About Sea Level Rise, Burlington County 2017 Class
The goal of Judith and Linda’s internship project was to increase public knowledge about the causes, effects, and solutions surrounding accelerating sea level rise.  Partnering with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve they designed and fabricated “Sea How High”, an interactive game where players select challenge cards by rolling a die, with correct answers moving a slider downward across the poster image of a flooded house, to ‘save’ it. Interaction with the website NJFloodmapper, video demos of glacial melt, thermal expansion and greenhouse gases; and a flooded model landscape augment the physical game kit. The game has been trialed with 42 players and 7 staff members trained; with an online version soon to be made available.

Ken Carr and Michael Connolley, Water Quality Sampling in Royce Brook, Somerset County 2017 and 2018 Classes
Ken and Mike worked with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County to conduct water quality sampling on the Royce Brook in the Raritan River Basin. This baseline data will help determine the effectiveness of mitigation projects in the watershed.  A Quality Assurance Project Plan was developed and approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  Mike and Ken were trained on proper sampling and handling procedures. They visited 9 sites in the watershed a total of 10 times sampling for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Total Phosphorus (TP). Their data will be used to develop a final report to NJDEP summarizing the results which is a necessary step to qualify for future funding for watershed restoration projects.

Karen Cohen and Shruti Bhankharia, Revitalizing Rain Gardens in Camden, Burlington County 2017 Class
The main goal of Karen and Shruti’s project was to rehabilitate existing rain gardens built for the Camden SMART initiative. These rain gardens were no longer capturing and infiltrating stormwater as designed.  Camden is a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) city, therefore reducing the amount of stormwater to the storm sewer pipes is a critical environmental and health concern.  By rehabilitating the rain gardens, Shruti and Karen helped increase the amount of stormwater captured and infiltrated by an estimated 198,090 gallons of stormwater/year.

Jean Greeley, Monarch Waystation/Pollinator Garden at Brookdale Park, Passaic County Class 2017
Jean’s project was to create a Monarch Waystation/Pollinator Garden at Brookdale Park in Essex County.  Working with Brookdale Park Conservancy, and 16 volunteers from BMW Financial Group who donated more than 122 hours, Jean and the volunteers were able to remove invasive species from a 236 m2 site. They planted native species including milkweed in the 148 m2 enhancement area. As part of the Monarch Larva Monitoring citizen science project from the University of Minnesota, Jean conducted monitoring in 2014 and 2015 and found 0 eggs, instars, or pupa at the site.  Monitoring by Jean in 2018 found; 188 live eggs, 16 1st instars, 66 2nd instars, 28 3rd instars, 48 4th instars, 81 5th instars, and 9 pupa.  A total of 27 live monarch butterflies were seen during site visits.

Stewart Hallman, Rocky Hill Educational Pollinator Garden & Rain Barrel Project, Somerset County Class 2018
Stewart converted 250 square feet of the lawn at the Rocky Hill Municipal Building into a pollinator garden using variety of native plants with overlapping bloom periods throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.   Stewart received $300 for the garden from the Rocky Hill Council as well as a rain barrel which captures roof runoff from the municipal building and is used for irrigation. Stewart will use this garden to educate the public about best practices for promoting pollinator habitat in the community.

Nancy Krause, Borough of Oakland Sustainable Jersey Re-certification, Passaic County Class 2017
Nancy took the lead in helping her town of Oakland become recertified Bronze in the Sustainable Jersey program,  As Nancy said, “We looked at processes as if they were for the long term, not just to get points right away, but to make them permanent practices to make Oakland a better, healthier place to live, year after year.” Accomplishments included promoting a prescription drug drop-off location, a $2000 grant from Sustainable Jersey for new bike racks around town, renewing the town’s Open Space plan, and a successful Green Team Film Festival which matched a film with an invited speaker.                                            

William Lemmerman, Invasive Species Eradication at Oldman's Creek Preserve, Atlantic County Class 2017
William worked with the South Jersey Land and Water Trust to tackle invasive species removal on parts of the 40 acre Oldman’s Creek Preserve in Gloucester and Camden Counties. William focused on a 2-acre area and trained 8 volunteers to identify the target species for removal. Working independently, and also during volunteer days planned for this project, William, scouts and other intrepid volunteers under his direction, removed bittersweet from trails and areas with high public visibility. While William has met and exceeded the time requirement for an internship, he remains a valued and active volunteer for the Preserve and continues to schedule and lead volunteers for this important ecological restoration project.

Martin Levin, Introduction to Project Drawdown, Burlington County Class 2017
Marty brought the Drawdown Program to New Jersey by organizing 3 workshops at the Mount Laurel library with more than 70 people attending the introductory sessions and 25 attending the Drawdown Workshop. Drawdown was developed by Paul Hawken, and is dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed.  It provides 100 technological, social and ecological solutions to global warming. Twenty-two people participated in the Drawdown Eco-challenge held from April 4-25, 2018. The team, the Delaware River Valley Pachamama Alliance Team, finished in first place in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania and in the top 5% of all teams worldwide. Several RES members were on this team.

Melanie Lynch, Affecting Local Policy: An Ordinance for Single-Use Plastic Bags, Atlantic County Class 2015
Melanie was a lead player in the push to have the Brigantine City Council (Atlantic County) adopt a local ordinance imposing a user-fee on single use plastic bags. Beginning in 2015 she researched, drafted and proposed an ordinance which did not pass.  Melanie and a core group worked on additional activities including public education and outreach via printed flyers, posters and postcards, press and social media, TV broadcast, tabling at various events, surveying local residents and businesses, hosting films, attendance at Council meetings and sharing empirical evidence from various litter cleanups. In addition, she and the group then decided to start smaller and worked with the Brigantine and Galloway Farmer’s Markets which eventually implemented a B.Y.O.B.(ags) policy.  In Sept. 2018 Brigantine City Council unanimously introduced an ordinance banning single use plastic bags.

Sue Meaney and Pat Mundy, Bluebird Nest Box Trail 2.0 - Thompson Park, Middlesex County Class 2014 and 2017
The goal of Sue and Pat’s project was to create healthy productive bluebird nesting sites in Middlesex County’s Thompson Park located in Monroe Township. This included restoring an unused bluebird box trail by establishing proper housing and protection from predators. Sue recruited Pat and one additional Steward to work with her. Sue coordinated with NJ Bluebird Society and completed a self-study course & certification with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to receive training on proper monitoring and bluebird box setup. They monitored the bluebird boxes weekly from April to August 2018 and recorded their observations using NestWatch. The practices were used for training and educating trail monitors and bird enthusiasts.  The bluebird trail has been returned to productive use for bluebirds and more than 15 bluebird babies were fledged. Plans are in the works to expand their efforts to other county parks.

Shoshana Mitchell, Establishing a Green Team in Bound Brook, Somerset County Class 2017
Shoshana’s goal was to establish a Sustainable Jersey Team in Bound Brook leading to Bronze Certification.  Shoshana helped oversee the creation of the Green Team committee and created a 10-year plan for the Green Team.  The Town  was successful in receiving Bronze certification due to the following efforts; adopting a flood risk assessment, commitment to support arts and culture, creating a Farmer’s Market, instituted safe routes to schools, creation of a tree protection ordinance, a community forest plan and tree cover goal, tree maintenance and tree planting program among many other actions.

Anna Molinski, John Adams Elementary School Garden, Middlesex County Class 2016
Anna’s goal was to create a pollinator-friendly garden at John Adams Elementary School in North Brunswick. Twenty-four volunteers spent 96 hours helping to create the garden.  They learned about pollinators and how to provide for them.  The kindergarten class raised butterflies and plans to release them into the garden.  The garden provides a learning-lab for more than 700 students, staff and parents.  Plants are pollinator friendly, NJ native, low maintenance, and carefully selected for bloom time, flowering before or after summer vacation. Sections are planted in grade specific colors. For example,
kindergarten corresponds to strawberry plants and red columbine; 1st grade- orange marigolds; 2nd grade- yellow goldenrod and yarrow; 3rd grade- green kale; 4th grade blue spirea; and 5th grade an indigo elderberry bush.

Raven Potosky, Helen Duda, and Katrin Sethna, Northern Pine Snake Tracking, Atlantic County Classes 2015, 2016 and Warren County Class 2012
Under the direction of Emile DeVito with the NJ Conservation Foundation, Helen, Raven and Katrin tracked Northern Pine snakes within the NJ Pine Barrens. Northern Pine snakes are a threatened species, and an icon of the Pine Barrens.  The objectives of this internship were to obtain data on the extent of Pine Snake territory, especially with respect to road crossing; track female snakes back to their winter dens to verify dens, which provides a greater ability to keep dens safe from off-road vehicles; obtain data on the number of snakes that den together; and enable better understanding of the movements of Pine snakes.

Lorraine Prince, Watchdogging the Newton Lake Dredge Project, Burlington County Class 2017
The overall goal of Lorraine’s project was to bring together community leaders and environmental advocates to monitor and provide feedback for the Newton Lake Dredging Project. Newton Lake is a popular spot within the Newton Creek watershed in highly suburbanized Camden County near Philadelphia. Lorraine worked with the Delaware RiverKeeper Network to bring together 23 members from municipal government, watershed and conservation associations to form the Newton Creek Watershed Dredge Task Force.  The Task Force has had many successes including; convincing NJDEP to add requirements to the dredge permit to preserve fish habitat, eliciting agreement from the county stakeholders to include the task force in future permit applications prior to submission, increasing municipal involvement, and garnering PSE&G’s willingness to remediate streambank erosion on a tributary to Newtown Lake.  

Daniel Ross, Native Pollinator Meadow at Harrington Fields, Somerset County Class 2017
Dan’s project was to improve the ecological quality of a 5-acre parcel of land in Washington Township.  Five acres of land were cleared of 62 invasive Autumn Olive shrubs and 1 acre was planted with 10 lbs. of native pollinator seed and 40 mature native perennials. The project was made possible by a $1,500 ANJEC Open Space Stewardship grant which was written by Dan. Two up-cycled TREX benches were installed as a reward for collecting 1,000 lbs. of plastic film through a community challenge.  Volunteers (13) provided 146 hours of time and Dan volunteered 92 hours of time.  The Township DPW employees also provided volunteer time.  Signage was donated for a total volunteer investment of $5,900 in volunteer time and signage.

Janine Salvador, Deborah Bort, and Carol Hodapp-Puchalski, Stemming the Tide of Emerald Ash Borer in Union County, Union County Class 2018
Janine, Deborah, and Carol worked with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County to complete an Ash Tree Inventory of Union County Parks. The Ash tree inventory is the first step in helping the county develop a response plan in the face of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) invasion currently killing Ash trees. All 3 attended a 4 week training session in May, 2018 where they learned how to identify and measure Ash trees, documentation and mapping protocol, and how to input the data. They attended weekly field sessions through the summer and fall mapping trees in 7 of Union County’s most heavily used parks in high risk areas such as playgrounds, parking lots, ball fields, and trails. The team contributed to identifying over 560 Ash trees in these parks. Collectively they spent 157 hours on the project. The data they collected will help the county develop a cost estimate which is necessary for the freeholders to make accurate budget and management decisions for tree removal and treatment.

Ellen Seward, Cox Hall Creek Wildlife Management Area Educational Booklet, Atlantic County Class 2017
Ellen’s goal was to educate the public about the beauty, habitat and health of Cox Hall Creek Wildlife Management Area in Cape May County.  Ellen research the history, had the soil and water tested and identified native and non-native vegetation.  Ellen spent at least 200 hours researching, taking pictures, writing and editing the booklet to provide a great educational resource. Fifty educational booklets were given out with a stamped postcard with survey questions. Thus far, 40% of the postcards have been returned. Survey results indicated 100% positive responses to learning from what they read, 100% will share what they learned, and 75% will use the information they learned at home.

Margie Tom and Cathy House, Planting Guide for Capitol City Farm, Somerset County Class 2018
Margie and Cathy’s goals were to increase production, and increase awareness of environmental factors and organic practices on a 2-acre urban farm on Clinton Street in Trenton.  Their objective was to develop a Planting Guide which details best practices for growing fruits and vegetables which would maximize harvest that all volunteers could follow, regardless of their level of experience. The guide details information on planting, watering, fertilizing, harvesting, and other pertinent information for the organic growing of over 30 different crops which are currently in production at Capital City Farm. Cathy and Margie demonstrated these best organic practices to other volunteers while working at the farm.  They worked with the farm manager each week to assess current crop status, determine critical issues, and research immediate solutions.  Both Cathy and Margie spent over 200 hours on their project and moving forward the planting guide will be used as a reference for future volunteers.

Terry Van Liew, Cranford Tree Planting and Education, Middlesex County Class 2017
In 2017, Terry helped plant, mulch, protect and then maintain 70 trees around the Orange Avenue School in Cranford, NJ. Sixty trees had survived the first summer, resulting in what would have been a beautiful addition to the athletic fields. In addition, Hanson House Park in Cranford has an acre of about 28 trees including a 400 year old Black Gum. The trees had been previously mapped and identified. However, due to Hurricane Sandy the identification tags were destroyed and trees had fallen. Terry worked to re-tag the trees and updated the tree map by working with the Hanson House Nature Conservancy and Kean University. 

Samantha Wolfe, Creation of a New Nature Trail at Duke Farms, Somerset County Class 2017
Samantha’s goal was to create a one-mile trail that would loop from the Duke Farms Orientation parking lot through various habitats, demonstrating both the history and the modern green technology at Duke Farms. The trail was originally inaccessible due to overgrowth of invasive species such as Japanese barberry, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass and Tree of Heaven.  The trail begins at a historic well house purchased by J.B. Duke prior to 1925 and continues to a forested area before opening to a meadow with a second well house.  Visitors pass a historic railroad spur and follow the trail to the edge of a two-acre solar array before returning along the edge of a rain garden.  This work was accomplished by training 10 teens in the TALON (Teen Action and Leadership Opportunities for Nature) program and 15 corporate volunteers.