Moorestown closes in on fulfilling Sustainable Jersey certification

Moorestown closes in on fulfilling Sustainable Jersey certification

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Moorestown’s Green Team Advisory Committee, which is seeking certification for the town through Sustainable Jersey.

In a year and a half’s time, Green Team Advisory Committee Chair Catherine Ward explained that the committee has gone to great lengths to not only convert Moorestown to a sustainable town, but to also launch several green initiatives to better the community.

Promoting the idea of Sustainable Jersey, Moorestown Environmental Advisory Committee Head Chet Dawson and Economic Development Advisory Committee Chairperson Jake Der Hagopian joined the collaborative effort in the beginning of 2012.
With a resolution passing in early 2012, the Green Team was established. After officers were voted in, the committee immediately began working on certification.

“We’re close to the end,” Ward said in regard to fulfilling the requirements of a bronze certification.

Ward said that prior to beginning the certification process, the committee had first made its major submission to Sustainable Jersey in June, which identifies all the categories the town could meet.

To be awarded a bronze certification, a town must have a Green Team, receive 150 points, complete two out of the 17 priority actions and be certified in six out of the 16 categories.

After completing its major submission, the Green Team then received its submission back in July, complete with comments and suggestions on how to reach its goal.

The township adopted a resolution on Aug. 1 to revise the Conservation Element to the Master Plan to include an Environmental Resource Index. According to the township’s website, the ERI serves as a map of significant environmental features within the township.

The Green Team submitted for the final time on Sept. 15, and it now waits for word on certification. If Moorestown is certified, the town will officially be honored during a ceremony in Atlantic City, sometime in November.

With a bronze certification, Moorestown will have access to grants from not only Sustainable Jersey, but also corporations and business that refer to Sustainable Jersey as a baseline.

“Identifying sources of money is our job,” Ward said.

She added that in the coming week, the Green Team will be identifying potential grants for the township.

Last year, the township received a $100,000 grant from Rutgers to enhance municipal storm water management systems. In addition, the township also received an $18,000 grant for the Moorestown Recreation Center after changing the type of light bulb used in the center.

Apart from acquiring potential grants, Ward said that working toward bronze certification has also helped refocus the priorities of the town.

“It puts us on a path to be thinking about sustainability issues on a long-term scale,” Ward said.

In addition, she said the Green Team is always looking to get residents involved through events, such as a recent movie night — which brought in approximately 35 residents.

“One thing we’re really trying to do is establish a sense of community with this initiative,” Ward said.

Other events include the Green Team’s Upcycling contest, in which residents submitted their best upcycled pieces. Awarding the best submissions on Moorestown Day, the Green Team judged 14 entrants on projects ranging from a planter created from an old warehouse pallet to a pencil holder fashioned from an old soccer ball.

Ward also said the Green Team is looking to work with Moorestown High School’s Interact Club and host an education program about lead-based paint in homes in the coming year.

“Any one of those acts is something we can pursue grants for,” Ward said.

Ward also expressed gratitude to the township officials, including head of community development Tom Ford and township manager Scott Carew.

“They really set the tone for this,” Ward said.

Any resident who is interested in joining the Green Team Advisory Committee can do so by attending any one of the meetings or by contacting Ward at (609) 214–7126.