Going green
Festival returns on June 16 with more activities, animals, and sustainable actions
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter Staff Writer
Jun 10, 2012 | 1961 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HISSING COCKROACHES – Touch of Nature in 2011 entertained and educated kids about different animals such as snakes, frogs, tarantulas, and hissing cockroaches at the Secaucus Summer Green Festival.
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The Secaucus Summer Green Festival returns for the second year on June 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mill Creek Point Park. The event will feature food, live music, animals, kid-friendly attractions, and information about how to live a sustainable life.

“This year’s [festival] is going to have more activities and more vendors and information,” said Amanda Nesheiwat, Environmental Committee chair for the town of Secaucus. The event takes place at Mill Creek Point, which has undergone upgrades since the Green Festival last year that include a new playground and more trees and plants. The 3-acre park was preserved and built by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission with a riverfront walkway, picnic tables, and a launch for canoes, kayaks and small watercraft.

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“Part of our mandate is to go green.” – Michael Gonnelli

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“We will have an environmental magician with a presentation on pollution reduction and conservation.” She added that the Tenafly Nature Center returns to conduct a presentation on endangered species in the state. Kids can pet animals such as alpacas, chicks, and rabbits, and see live owls and bats in demonstrations offered by NJ Batman. Kids can also board a ‘Fun Arts Bus’ to make crafts out of recycled materials.

The Hackensack Riverkeeper will run kayaking on the Hackensack River from the boat launch in the park. Groups such as the Hudson County Improvement Authority and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will have information tables.

“A young environmental group called Mahwah Mevo, [which stands for] Mahwah Environmental Volunteer Organization will all be there this year,” said Nesheiwat. She noted that the local Boy Scouts and students from the middle and high schools will serve as volunteers for the event.

Green mandate

In recent years the mayor and Town Council have made strides to promote environmentally-friendly practices, from issuing a local ban on the use of Styrofoam products to exploring solar energy and switching to a more efficient energy provider among others. The steps move the town closer to getting certification from Sustainable Jersey, a statewide program that recognizes municipalities that go green. The Green Festival contributes 10 out of 150 action points needed to qualify for Bronze level certification.

“It is part of what we are trying to do here. Part of our mandate is to go green,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli. He said that the Green Festival will provide useful information about sustainable activities such as backyard composting and gardening with plants that don’t require a lot of water while also educating residents about the Clean Water Act, for example.

Future initiatives

Nesheiwat spoke about environmental issues to science classes at the High School last week. She covered topics such as hydraulic fracturing, high consumption rates, plastics, and the water crisis. She told the students that it is important for them to take actions locally, such as asking for paper instead of Styrofoam at places like Dunkin’ Donuts.

“It makes a difference,” she said.

One of her goals is to eliminate Styrofoam usage from the high school cafeteria.

Other Environmental Committee projects include installing a new community garden at the old Keystone Plant site on raised beds, which come in next week.

The municipality will also conduct an open space and natural resource inventory with state grant funding for close to $10,000.

“There is a whole inventory of properties,” said Gonnelli. He said the municipality owns 127.5 acres of wetlands and that the town will be counting all of that land, in addition to parks and open space. He also said the mayor and Town Council intend to create an open space fund.

After the festival, Nesheiwat said they will also seek to reduce energy usage at the town hall and determine whether they can expand reducing energy consumption at other municipal buildings.

For more information about the Green Festival, contact Town Hall: (201) 330-2000 or visit: www.secaucusnj.org.

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at afernandez@hudsonreporter.com.

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