Free Download: Presentations from our September Meetup

If you weren’t able to make it to Sustainable South Jersey’s “Welcome Back” Meetup at the Collingswood Community Center on September 18th, let us tell you a bit about it! It was a terrific night with about 70 people attending from all around the South Jersey area. Delicious food from local and sustainably- minded Tortilla Press was available, along with our three excellent presenters who focused on a variety of environmental issues that affect us all in this region. Topics included: Harmful Algal Blooms and Cyanotoxins in New Jersey, Sustainable Building Practices in Action, and the Collingswood Community Habitat Project.

All this food, networking with friends and education was FREE! That’s what we do at SSJ – we are dedicated to fostering connections in our region and promoting knowledge and awareness about environmental sustainability that will lower our carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.

If you weren’t able to join us that night (or you were, but would like to review the information that was presented), we’ve posted PDFs of the presentations /remarks from our three experts. Click the title slide of the presentation below to view each one.

Harmful Algal Blooms and Cyanotoxins in New Jersey

by Fred Lubnow PhD, Director of Aquatics Programs, Princeton Hydro

Sustainable Building Practices in Action

by Katherine Ng, LEED AP, Vice President, Wu & Associates, Inc.

Collingswood Community Habitat Project

by Tim Ifill, Collingswood Green Team member, Co-Coordinator of the Collingswood Community Habitat Project

Enjoy and please follow Sustainable South Jersey on Facebook and Twitter to learn what’s happening in our community and to get the date for our next Meetup. We hope to see you there!

Just Announced! #FindOurGreta Contest Winners

Sustainable South Jersey wants to help encourage and acknowledge the youth of Southern New Jersey who have worked to take action against climate change. Drawing inspiration from Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who became famous this Spring for launching a student movement to compel adults to act on global warming, we launched the “Find Our Greta” contest, which ran from June to November. After seeking nominees for several months, nine top youth eco-champion stories were posted on facebook for contest voting.

We believe in empowering our youth to take action locally, as they are the ones who will be leading our future,” said Ed Cohen, President of Sustainable South Jersey. “It was so inspiring to read the stories of youth in South Jersey who, just like Greta Thunberg is doing in Sweden, are already taking action to make their own communities more resilient to climate change.

We received stories of how South Jersey youth eco-champions are cleaning up trash in their local neighborhoods; encouraging their school cafeteria to eliminate styrofoam or become 100% plant based; upcycling old t-shirts into reusable bags to eliminate plastic; sewing and selling headbands to raise money for the ocean conservation; and wearing the same dress for 100 days straight.

After one fruitful week, with over 3,700 total posts of youth stories shared, we are excited to announce the winner of the #FindOurGreta contest. Earning a $300 Amazon gift card, the first place prize went to a dedicated group of Medford middle school students from the “Citizen Science Education Program.” This group of students have worked with industry by testing bio-based blacktop sealers at their school, conducted research with NASA/NOAA weather and climate scientists, and traveled overseas to collaborate on environmental issues with a global student population. The second place (Kara Parker of Bordentown) and third place (Joseph Gasperi of Audubon) winners each won a $100 Amazon gift card. All finalists will receive a Sustainable South Jersey tee-shirt and free admission to SSJ’s 2020 events.

The Citizen Science Education Program (CSEP) is an environmental education movement ready for duplication in other schools across the globe,” said nominator Vicky Gorman. “The focus of the program is to improve scientific literacy in local communities.

The program’s motto is “Students Making a Difference… Improving Scientific Literacy Around the Globe.” Students host cleanups, plant gardens, or recycle cans. However, their real game-changer end goal is to increase the education and awareness of the people who vote and make decisions for their families, towns, states, and countries. CSEP brings science into the community and allows students to apply their scientific knowledge to the real world.

CSEP formally began in September 2013, with 44 founding members; both 7th and 8th grade. Since that time, over 150 students have become CSEPers. In the last six years, students have organized and conducted three Medford Science Summits and participated in two Burlington County Earth Fairs. The main focus of outreach education has been climate change with an emphasis on the Climate and Ocean Literacy brochures, as well as Water in our World.

Congratulations to all of our nominees and thank you for making the world, especially our home of South Jersey, a better place.

Thousands Attend Our Earth Festival

When we plan the annual Earth Festival, we thoughtfully work to create an event that includes something for everyone. Our 9th festival April 28th at historic Croft Farm focused on “Reduce Plastic – Fantastic!” We also included our popular plant swap, recycle depot dropoff, a rain barrel demonstration, plastic bottle-cap creature craft for children and so many other possibilities to welcome another sustainable feature to your home, school and business.

By all accounts, given the outstanding weather, this was the best-attended Earth Festival in our nine years of planning and hosting the event. Two stages of entertainment, the Phanatic, East Cougar and West Lion, our Plastic Bag ‘monster,’ and so much more created a happy, vibrant event all day.

We have been surveying our vendors, schools and groups as well as our generous sponsors to consider how we can make our 10th festival in 2019 even more engaging for South Jersey. You are always welcome to email us with your thoughts –

Enjoy this five-minute video recapping the Earth Festival.

Now, our list of ‘thank yous’ is so very important.

Presenting sponsors:

  • Lourdes Health System – LourdesCare of Cherry Hill – also our Gold Sustaining sponsors year-round
  • Ravitz Family Markets – our Silver Sustaining sponsors year-round
  • Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling

And we cannot present our Earth Festival without the tremendous support of:

Cherry Hill Township: Recreation Director Megan Brown, her team that includes Ericha Farrington and Matt Baer

Cherry Hill School District, Barb Wilson, communications manager and Superintendent Dr. Joe Meloche – all the student volunteers and display participants, moms, dads, teachers, Zone PTA, and performers from Rosa and Carusi Middle Schools.

Cherry Hill Police Department

Cherry Hill Fire Department

Public Works

Sustainable Cherry Hill supports education, scholarship and outreach to South Jersey communities and individuals year round.Thank you!