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Girl Scout making Haddonfield greener

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Haddonfield Sun

A local Girl Scout aiming for her Gold Award has pledged to help Haddonfield receive its Sustainable Jersey Municipal Certification by this September. Haddonfield Memorial High School junior Brigid Connell, 17, will be working closely with the borough in the next few months to made Haddonfield a greener place to live and work.

The high school student helped usher in a resolution last week to register Haddonfield for participation in the Sustainable Jersey Municipal Certification Program. If Haddonfield can accrue enough “points” with the program, it will receive its sustainability certification, Connell said, and along with it the prestige of being one of only a handful of municipalities in the state to receive the designation.

Along with the prestige, municipalities that receive certification are eligible to apply for certain grants and funding opportunities that are unavailable to other towns in the state.

Connell initially wanted to help construct a green roof for one of the buildings in the borough for her Gold Award — basically the equivalent of an Eagle Scout ranking for the Girl Scouts — but quickly found that it would be very costly and can’t be built on an existing structure.

She spoke briefly with Kim Custer, a member of Preservation Haddonfield, about her desire to build a green roof, and Custer let her know that a green roof is one of programs for the Sustainable Jersey Certification. Connell started to research the program and decided that she could work with the borough to help it receive certification.

To receive certification, the borough needs to implement several programs and ideas that are listed on the Sustainable Jersey Web site. Each program is given a “point” value, and the borough will receive certification when it reaches 150 points, Connell said.

“It’s an individualized project, and I wanted to find something that I was interested in. I took AP Environmental Science and I wanted to do something involving science and the environment,” Connell said. “I originally wanted to build a green roof — it’s awesome for the environment and has countless benefits, but in the end I realized that you can only build a green roof on a building that hasn’t been built yet. Also, it would take a very long time and there are many labor and material costs involved.”

Haddonfield already has some points accrued through several programs it runs, Connell said. Hosting a farmer’s market, having an environmental commission and a shade tree commission are three things the borough does that will gain points toward certification, she said.

Working closely with Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough, Connell said she hopes to initiate several new programs within Haddonfield as well, including an energy audit of municipal hall and a green business recognition program.

Connell said she hopes to Haddonfield is able to achieve its certification by this September and at the latest by November.

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