The Haddonfield Environmental Commission’s first green weekend will begin Thursday, April 20, a three-day event promoting environmental awareness and sustainability to mark Earth Day.
“What we’re trying to do is hold a variety of events that spotlight different volunteer groups in town and what they’re doing to make our town better and to promote sustainable practices,” explained Bob Bergbauer, chairman of the environmental board.
“So we want to highlight those groups, involve a number of those groups and in doing so, encourage people to recognize what a beautiful town we have and that it could only stay beautiful if we do the right things to live sustainably and follow good, sound and solid environmental sustainability practices.”
Leading up to the weekend, the Partnership for Haddonfield is hosting an Earth Day poster contest for which kids can create and submit posters that answer the question, “How can we keep Haddonfield clean and green?
The contest is open to students at all grade levels. Deadline to enter is Saturday at 11:59 p.m. The winner’s artwork will be featured on the Big Belly Trash Cans downtown.
The green weekend will begin with a showing of Search for the Cooper: A River Hidden in Plain View at 7 p.m. in room C8 at Haddonfield Memorial High School. The award-winning documentary was sponsored by the Camden County Parks and Upstream Alliance and follows four local teens – including Haddonfield resident Andrew Coleman – as they travel 17 miles over six days to discover the source of the Cooper River.
“I would say that probably the closest thing we have to a theme is incredible beauty in your backyard,” said Bergbauer. “We have these natural resources, we have the Cooper River and Evan’s Pond and the waterways and the land around them that are not utilized and are not as useful to people as they could be.
“That’s one of the main things that we’re working on this year,” he added, “to realize that vision of increasing resident access to this natural beauty that’s in our backyard.”
The screening will be followed by a Q&A led by County Commissioner Frank Troy, who will also share plans on increasing local access to the Cooper River watershed and how residents may get involved.
On Friday, April 21, there will also be representatives from the Camden County Office of Sustainability Master Gardeners demonstrating best gardening practices. And members of the Haddonfield Garden Club will talk about things they’re doing around town. The new eatery, Earth Eats Co., which follows sustainable practices will also be at Kings Court from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Friday.
“The other thing we want to do when we promote this is that we want to make sure that what we’re doing is also green,” Bergbauer explained. “For instance, other than the newspaper, we’re not using paper (to promote), we’re trying to do things electronically to promote it.
He also suggested that those attending green weekend events walk rather than drive to events or ride a bicycle, the better to promote green and sustainable practices.
At 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Ruth Brooks from the Freedom Center for Wildlife will hold two 40-minute presentations with live owls, where she will talk about their owl rescue efforts.
There will also be a presentation called Bad Bugs, Good Bugs, Invasive and Beneficial Insects in New Jersey, led by Steven Rettke from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension at 7 p.m. at the Haddonfield library.
While the event is free and open to the public, registration is required; attendees can do so at https://www.haddonfieldlibrary.org/. The library will also give away seed kits for children and teens on Saturday, April 22, while supplies last.
For Earth Day on the 22nd, a number of events are planned and more details will be released closer to the date. At 10 a.m., Scott McElhone from the Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission will be at the Pavilion at Crow’s Woods at 10 a.m. for his presentation on how to plant trees, which trees are good to plant for the area and how to take care of and prune them.
McElhone will also do a live demonstration on the planting of two trees at that location. Members from the Chicken Advisory Board will also be around to talk about the backyard hens program.
Following the tree planting, there will be a guided trail walk behind Crow’s Woods.
Sunday, April 23 will be the rain date for the Crow’s Woods events.
To participate in the poster contest, visit https://downtownhaddonfield.com/events/earth-day-poster-contest/.