REAC-Green Team Joint Meeting Minutes 20181204

REAC-Green Team Joint Meeting Minutes 20181204


REAC: Bob Upton, George Wolfson, Lisa Summers, Christine Amundsen, Pam Perron,  Michael Sedon (Village Council Liaison), Mary Mogerley (Parks & Recreation Rep), Robert Kearney (Village Staff Rep).

Green Team: Justin Manger, Bob Upton, George Wolfson, Cathy Brienza, Michael Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Other: Serena Iacoviello, Leslie Lello

1. Introductions/Membership update:

We welcomed Rob Kearney as the new REAC Village Staff Representative.

Serena has resubmitted her GT application. We understand that Anthea Zito and Jamie Miller have also submitted GT applications.

Mike advised that the Village is advertising for volunteers for Village committees.

2. The minutes from the October meeting were adopted by consensus.

3. Plastic Bags:

Both ANJEC and Sustainable Jersey suggest the State legislation banning single use plastic bags and other plastics may happen slowly or not at all. Lisa & Ellie have now made presentations to the Chamber of Commerce and Guild (both of whom surveyed their members) and to the CBD and Stable Hands group. Mike has requested an invitation to speak to the AM Rotary group but received no reply. It was agreed we will approach the Village Council to propose an ordinance and Mike will try to get us on a work session agenda. No decision on purchasing reusable bags. A number of NJ towns have already passed bans and ANJEC offers a model ordinance on their web site.

4. League of Women Voters Bottled Water Resolution.

The League of Women Voters, Water Committee, has drafted a resolution and fact sheet for Village Council to discontinue the purchase of single-use PET water bottles using municipal funds and, on their behalf, Pam Perron has asked REAC to join LWV in recommending that the Council adopt the measure. These documents were circulated to members ahead of the meeting and, the committees agreed, after discussion and a couple of edits, to support LWV in this action.

5. Sustainable Jersey:

a. Plans for Silver recertification.

Justin proposed using the same spreadsheet model as used for the last Silver certification application for our Spring 2020 recertification. We will list the actions needed to reach the required points score and ask GT members to champion individual actions. It was noted that some past actions will no longer be available or achievable in which case new ones will need to be added. We will plan to launch this effort at our January meeting.

b. Addressing Climate Change.

Ahead of our meeting Pam had provided excerpts from the executive summary of The Fourth National Climate Assessment published recently by the Government which were circulated to committee members. Her suggestion was to consider how our committees might address this issue through SJ Actions or otherwise. Members were asked to review SJ Actions particularly in the Energy and Sustainability & Climate Planning categories before our next meeting. It was noted that the latter category includes two Actions dealing with visioning/vision statements which perhaps could be addressed in the Village’s current visioning effort (see Master Plan below).

c. Gold Star Standard in Waste

i. Waste Reduction & Recycling Level Reporting: Johanna at the Recycling Dept has responded that the data required is all available except the “Number of people employed in municipality”. SJ thought they could provide that number but are now having difficulty. We will ask Johanna to provide the numbers that are available to establish what baseline data we can.

ii. Food Waste Pilot: Community Compost Co (CCC), the firm proposing a pilot collection program needs a number of communities to participate to launch a program in Bergen Co. They have received some interest from members of the SJ Bergen Hub and are talking directly to Ridgewood Recycling. Ridgewood Recycling is interested but needs funding for the pilot and, we believe, another community to sign on. CCC acknowledge that, from a sustainability perspective, backyard composting or in town centralized composting are better solutions but not always viable.

iii. Composting Info Session: We are proposing to conduct this session as part of the partnership program on Regenerative Environmentalism, see below.

d. Green Business Program

George & Pam are creating a new questionnaire based on the previous SJ model and incorporating SJ’s updates and food waste and polystyrene reduction, initially focusing on restaurants & food stores.

e. SJ Bergen Hub

i. “Styrofoam” Program: Justin & Bob are working with the SJ Hub Styrofoam Sub-Committee who will administer the program using the Hub Grant which was awarded. For Ridgewood we are looking at conducting an education event, hosting a collection drive and incorporating Styrofoam reduction into our Green Business program.

ii. Next Hub meeting tentatively set for Ramsey in 3rd or 4th week of January. Topic of Clean Energy to be confirmed. Justin & Bob have been attending and invite others to participate.

iii. It was noted Fair Lawn will hold a Green Fair April 10th 6 – 8 PM and invited the Hub to participate. This could serve as an opportunity to promote the Styrofoam program.

6. Grants.

a. Opportunities:

i. A SJ grant program specifically for floodplain reforestation initiatives was referred to the Shade Tree Commission. Application deadline Dec 14th.

ii. The current SJ PSEG Municipal Grant cycle is now open with application deadline for $2K and $10K or $20K grants Feb 15th, 2019. (SJ webinar Dec 10th to review application process). There is a similar program for schools with deadline Mar 15th, 2019. (Recording of webinar available on SJ web site).

b. Projects: If we are to apply for grants we need to identify projects. Mary suggested Community Garden enhancements and she will gather more info. We previously applied unsuccessfully for funds to conduct a tree inventory. EV charging stations are another option. SJ would allow a multi-town application with one town administering the finances which could be used for the compost pilot. Ideas are needed for our next meeting or sooner.

c. Grant writing: Mike has requested a copy of our previous grant application so we may try to improve on. We are awaiting response.

7. Suggested Uses for REAC Funds.

a. Reusable shopping bags: On hold pending legislative action, see above.

b. Grant program for schools: See schools, below.

c. Support for Tree Nursery: Mike reported the new site for the tree nursery has been approved.  George will obtain detailed needs for supplies etc. in due course.

d. Composting Pilot program: It was suggested REAC offer financial support for the Composting Pilot (see above) if that will help launch it.

8. Regenerative Environmentalism (Permaculture) Meet-Up Group.

REAC has partnered with Leslie to support her efforts to launch this program. Parks & Rec have approved the use of the Stable. Initial event will be screening of movie “Inhabit” on Jan 30th. REAC agreed to pay for the $50 screening fee. Events are also planned for Feb 20 & Mar 20 with program to be determined.

9. Educational events 

a. The list of movies researched by Yingying was distributed with little feedback except Schoolhouse Rock – Earth and The Story of Stuff received some support. Since our plan is for a children & parents event Mike agreed to look at these options with his son and report two, one or zero thumbs up!

b. Pam was enthusiastic about the suggestion of REAC and LWV jointly promoting water bottle filling stations at the RBSA season opening April 27th. Bob &Pam will work on it.

10. Schools

a. Further to the plan to offer a $1,000 grant to middle schools for a sustainable activity (see October minutes) Jennie provided an example proposal document format which was distributed for study and discussion at our next meeting.

b. Christine is trying to identify champions in the schools to reactivate SJ for Schools in our schools.

11. By-Laws: Mike’s draft by-laws will be revised again for our next meeting.

12. Master Plan: All members are encouraged to access information on the Village web site and complete the questionnaire. Mike will talk to NV5 to set up a meeting with our committees as they have proposed.

13. North Bergen Liberty Power Plant: Pam, Serena & Cathy have submitted a draft resolution and cover letter for the Village Council opposing the planned construction of this plant. Bob will circulate them for discussion at our next meeting.

14. Ridgewood Earth Day Fair: Date is set for April 14th. REAC/GT members are asked to save the date to participate in our involvement.

15. Plaque for Andy Antista Tree: Ellie advises this should be installed any day now.

16. Low Impact Checklist: Topic deferred to next meeting.

17. Meeting schedule: The meeting was not adjourned until about 9.45 PM. Apologies were extended to those who were inconvenienced and thanks to all who stayed. Recognizing that in order to accomplish what we want to do our meetings do run longer it was suggested we consider an earlier start, 7.30 PM or even 6 PM. To be discussed at the next meeting.

17. Next Joint Meeting Date: Next meeting Tuesday Jan 15th, still at 7.45 PM.

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