Farewell post

Well this is my first blog ever I’ve ever done and it has been an educational journey. I started this blog because I have a course called Online Journalism and for the semester we had to maintain a blog and post for almost once a week. I had some trouble with this blog in the beginning but hey, your not always going to get it on your first try. I enjoyed going to different places that in someway had something to do with my beat and asking people questions about things I probably wouldn’t find on the website of the place they worked. I want this post to be about my favorite blog posts and if this is blog is going to continue.

Even though I had to do this blog for a college course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find it to be fun. I’m not going to lie, it was sometimes stressful with having to make sure posts were in on time and other priorities such as other classes and work. I enjoyed how this gave me a chance to talk about something I’m interested in and a chance to be creative about how to inform readers on a specific topic.

I always tried to add somewhat clever and humorous way to explain what is being talked about. Good examples would be, The fight against climate change will literally have us keeping our heads above water and Drain the swamp?!. I like these blogs because they were what I thought were fun ways to educate on rising sea levels in NJ. The one that talks about how keeping our heads above water will be more than a figure of speech and it will be more literal if we don’t take action. This was about the in Sandy Hook and Cape May there was an increase in sea level and how 20 communities in this state could be underwater by the end of the century. In the one about draining the swamp is about how what is just a political term and those who chant it are only talking about political corruption. If only this could refer to the rising sea levels around the world, including NJ.

These other two blogs I enjoyed because it was a connection to my childhood in some sort of way. The first time I had to go out and interview someone I choose to go to the Rancocas Nature Center. Rancocas nature centerThis was the first place I could think of since I remember visiting this place when I was very young in elementary school for a girl scouts field trip. So, it was nice to go back and interview Robert Rothschild because when he was telling me about how he enjoys helping kids get engaged with learning about nature it reminded be of when I had the exact same experience.

The other blog I like is the Is the New Jersey plastic bag ban enough?, I enjoyed this one because this post is about how instead of using plastic bags to hold in our purchased items, we use canvas bags. I remember one time when I was in middle school my teacher assigned the class to create a utopian society. My society was called Recycleania and in this project I talk about how my society is a democratic government with environmentally based laws. There is a part in this assignment where I talk about the stores selling environmentally friendly cups and plates and how the bag customers put their items in must be canvas bags. Learning that this was already done in California and Hawaii and the discussion of the same or similar happening in this state I couldn’t help but feel quite shocked that my young self was ahead of the times looking back.

The last post I enjoyed was coincidentally the one about the visit at the Watershed Institute. watershed instituteIn this particular blog I talk about how this place was the best fit for a final assignment, it captured everything I talked about in this entire blog and similar to how I talked about my content into this one place. It was also true to its nature and how its creation is environmentally based.Winston Churchill quote.JPG

 

Now, even though this is titled my farewell post I honestly am not sure if this is the end. I will be busy doing other things to where I may not so much time for blogging. Also, there is more to talk about other than what is going on in New Jersey. Maybe I’ll branch out and expand into other locations and I know there is so much things to talk about in regards of the environment. This is at least goodbye for now and a thank you to all of those who have liked, commented, followed, and even shared my posts its all very much appreciated.

 

 

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Watershed Institute

 I visited the The Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science & Education and this center is a LEED- Platinum facility. It incorporates an array of “green” strategies to conserve and manage water and energy. Their goal is to work and maintain healthy water in Central New Jersey through conservation, advocacy, science, and education. They provide environmental education to thousands of children and adults and it features a variety of exhibits and live animal displays and hosts hundreds of environmental programs and events each year. 

Watershed building
Keeping central New Jersey’s water clean, safe and healthy since 1949.

 

When I walked inside I was greeted by the Education Manager, Tammy Love. She was very kind to tell me about what and where the exhibits are and what they are about. I also got to meet Joel Coyne, a volunteer at the front desk and he walked me through The Garden Club of Princeton gallery. 

The-Garden-Club-of-Princeton-Gallery-e1544844769216.jpg
The Garden Club of Princeton and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association have been in a relationship for a long time. This gallery is named in honor of the partnership.

 

I was shown and taught about macroinvertebrates and how certain species are indicative of high and low water quality. He then told me about the forest and natural vegetation filtering out contaminants and how it helps water and rain water. 

downstream
Forest and natural vegetation helps filter out contaminants. It also helps water recharge into the ground.

 

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Stonefly, Mayfly Nymph, and Northern Caddisflies are indicative of high water quality. Worms and leeches are indicative of low water quality.
downstream2.jpg
Vegetation, trees, and shrubs help buffer the impact of rainwater coming down and absorbing run-off.

 

After that, he led me to the climate exhibit of the gallery that has a flat screen that one can manually touch and slide through 4 different sections of different environmental topics that all consist of 8 different clips on every subject.                                                                            

water & climate
Water & Climate- Climate change and human activity is altering our water cycle. Sometimes we have too much water, sometimes we have too little, and often times it’s too dirty. How do we impact the water cycle? What can we do to help?
Your Impact
Your Impact- Consider your water use, your waste, your diet, and your natural environment. How can we all make positive impacts by changing habits and changing minds? The best time to plant a tree was years ago, the second best time is now.

 

renewable energy
Renewable Energy- Renewable energy can improve our health, our environment, and our economy. What are some examples of renewable energy sources? How can we replace coal, oil, and natural gas in our homes and communities? When can we start?

 

climate change
Climate Change- Historic global weather data indicate a dangerous warning trend caused by human consumption of fossil fuels. How does climate change affect us? How quickly is it changing? How are you contributing? What can we do about it?

 

I went down the west gallery and came across portraits on both sides of the hallway. This exhibit was called “Walks in Two Preserves.” These photographs are of two Preserves, one near Boston, the Middlesex Fells Preserve and the other in the Sourland Mountain Preserve, in New Jersey. 

hallway preserve
This exhibit shows photographs of two Preserves. Both are forested, have steep slopes and wetlands, and they have hiking trails. They also have rocky, but the rocks are different, and the trees and plant life, while they share some same species.

 

 

Sourland mountain preserve
Sourlands- the water is mostly streams and tributaries.

 

middlesex fells preserve
Middlesex Fells- has a significant water cover by ponds and reservoirs.

 

 

The East gallery had the “Student Photography Exhibit”, this was their first student show at the center. The point of this gallery is to exhibit works of art that inspire appreciation, awareness and stewardship of water and the environment. I was so lucky to be able to attend this while the exhibit was still on display. It was the second to last day until they were going to take it down. 

Student gallery
This exhibit is the “Reflection and the Environment”, students were asked to submit a photograph that expresses their inspired interpretation of this theme.

 

This place epitomized everything I ever talked about in this blog and how I talked about it. The empathetic nature is intertwined with the educational value of this place. In my previous post, I always tried to have some creative way to explain my content in order to educate viewers on the topic.  This place did the same with what they held in their galleries.  It had exhibits on climate change, the importance on protecting air and water, why we should use renewable energy, and why environmental protection isn’t just for now but for the future generations. 

From how they speak about their volunteers to how they care about the environment, they educated with encouragement. A volunteer at front desk and StreamWatch program, Cynthia Sage- “I enjoy the people, I like being able to work with them. We go out to the same stream site and identify macro-invertebrates and identify them in the lab.”

Helen Keller quote2

 

cause&effect

 

This place was built with talent, philanthropy, enthusiasm, and persistence. As much as it is about taking care of the earth it is also very down to earth. This place is very true to its nature on account of how its creation is environmentally based. 

water fountain
The water at this fountain comes from a well that pulls groundwater from more than a hundred feet below the surface of the Watershed Reserve.

 

wetlands systems
The restroom’s have a number of strategies that decrease negative environmental impact. The wastewater is treated by an all-natural system that uses wetland plants and microorganisms. The water from our faucets is heated by the sun. We only use cleaning products that were certified as safer for the environment.

On this day, I heard of some recent news about how the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection approved a grant to the Watershed to improve water quality in Beden Brook by addressing polluted stormwater runoff in Hopewell Borough. More than just a place of education, the Watershed works with towns in Central Jersey to address the problems by installing rain gardens and other features.

Joey Coyne said, “The mission is all about protecting the water for drinking. In order to do that you must protect the land.” It’s true because if the environment isn’t healthy than neither can we.  

 

Your water, environment, and voice
Slogan- Keeping water clean, safe and healthy is the heart of our mission.

 

watershed member 1949.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupational Training Center of Burlington County

The Occupational Training Center of Burlington County  ,located in Westampton New Jersey and it is a recycling center. This private non-profit corporation that offers vocational rehabilitation and job replacement programs for adults with disabilities.

Did you know that New Jersey ranks 25.4 of all 50 states with the highest tons of waste per person?

We are not at all the best or the worst we a state that is in the center when it comes to this issue in particular but, there is always room for progress.

The Occupational Training center has one of the cleanest curbside recycling materials. Rachel Barton, the Clean Communities Coordinator explains the collection of the process and marketing of recyclable materials and dives into talking about a documentary called Plastic China released by a group of environmentalist in 2017. The documentary is about the working conditions, pollution, and the contamination through the country. This inspired them OTC to be very strict and re-educating about what is collected in their recycling programs. The Clean Communities office of Burlington County manages all of the county clean communities grant funded programs. In addition this is also for  educational programs for schools and cleaning events in the county.

 

 

 

Read more here about the Burlington County Clean Communities

Here is more information about getting more involved with the clean communities


 PDFs                                                                                                                            County Parks

                                                                                                                                      County Nature Programs

Risk Release Waiver

Safety Recommendations for volunteers

2018-Tide-Chart for Amico Island Parks

 

Geoscape solar

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Geoscape Solar

What are they?

This is Geoscape Solar, one of the leading solar companies in the country with the most qualified professionals in the industry working to build and sell solar energy systems. They are not your average solar company, they have a vision to contribute and be apart of a world without fossil fuels at an affordable price. They have an A+ from the Better Business Bureau and are dedicated to educating and inspiring people to be apart of an environmental impact by becoming energy independent with the use of solar panels. This is important because New Jersey is #3 out of the top 10 states leading in solar panels installations.


What is a solar panel?

A solar panel is an environmentally friendly device that is installed to collect sunlight as energy to power electricity and heat.

Read more here- solar panels

PV Solar owner’s manual

Solar Panels

 


Why it matters?

Solar companies benefit with lower utility cost by switching to solar energy panels. Commercial solar energy systems provide freedom from instability of global energy  markets.


Audio Interview

I had the honor to walk into this company and do an audio interview with Michael Bocus, the Chief Executive Officer of Geoscape Solar. He tells all about the importance of solar energy, the benefits, and why people should choose to work with this company if they want to go green with their electricity and heating in their homes or companies. They serve commercial, residential, and non-profit costumers.

Geoscape Solar was among the first solar companies in New Jersey to be a professional business.

In this interview Michael Bocus talks about how he came into the solar business.

“We install solar systems, we help people become energy independent, we help lower the usage of fossil fuels in our planet, we are helping to take some of the greenhouse in climate change effects of the table” – Michael Bocus.

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973-535-4361
info@geoscapesolar.com
520 Fellowship Road, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
30A Vreeland Road, Florham Park, NJ 07932

Is the New jersey plastic bag ban enough?

Not so long ago, New Jersey state Governor Phil Murphy, vetoed a bill that puts a 5 cent fee on every bag handed out at chain supermarkets and retailers. This is for paper and plastic bags. The purpose is to discourage the use of single-use plastic bags and start incentivizing people to use reusable bags. New Jersey lawmakers not so long after that started considering another bill that will ban plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam containers.

Find out more information here NJ.com

This wouldn’t be the first state to enact a plastic bag ban along with other environmental regulations. In 2016 California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. Hawaii and California are the only two states with statewide plastic bag use.

Sierraclub.org

 

Altogether, 349 cities, counties, and states also have, in someway, banned or taxed plastic bag use.

You may be wondering why the need for this taxation and or ban on plastic bags? According to Reuse This Bag plastic bag has a 12 minute lifespan from when it’s filled with groceries at the grocery store when discarded. Plastic bags weigh heavily on long-term environmental impact. The bags make it into the oceans contributing to the 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean a minute. Plastics such as, single-use items like bags, straws, and utensils are not

forbes.com

biodegradable, they just float in the water. This means they pollute the water as well as the land, which we need to survive. The use of plastic bags have become the greatest issues humans are facing in their contemporary life. As for land, wind can blow plastic bags causing them to be placed through fences and floats, and between trees. There’s no denying that this is harmful to human, wild, and marine life.

Would a plastic bag ban be the solution? Where is proof that this has ever worked?

New Jersey rejected the idea of a 5-cent fee on plastic bags and now will consider an all-out ban. (Big Stock photo)
Whyy.org

“Los Angeles County, which has more people than New Jersey, put in a ban … a 94 percent reduction in plastic bag uses. When Contra Costa County put in a ban, they saw an 89 percent decrease in plastic bags found in storm drains and a more than 60 percent decrease in bags found in streams.” said the New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel. Environmental groups are ambitious to put this legislation of a plastic bag ban and a fee on paper bags in place.

No matter how good of an idea something may sound there’s always a downside. That’s not to discourage any sort of advocacy and brush it off our shoulders. That means we should ask ourselves, is it worth the sacrifice? Do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa? What are the pros and cons for banning plastic causing consumers to use reusable bags?

Pros


It will better for Marine life- They will be less likely to consume plastic which could cause them to become ill and sometimes be fatal. The will often mistaken the plastic for plankton or jellyfish.

Only a small percentage of plastic bags actually are thrown into recycling bins despite the fact that they are recyclable. So, it would make sense to switch to reusable bags that will last longer so it doesn’t harm our environment.

It will save tax money- Picking up litter is expensive so not having to worry about cleaning up plastic bags will definitely make it so the money could be spent on something more important in our community.

It will improve infrastructure- it will lessen the chances of clogged drainage systems which means less floods.

They will leave us less dependent on limited the non-renewable resource- because it will minimize the need for petroleum.

Minimize the mosquito population- plastic bags collect rainwater creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (This is one of my favorite out of all these reasons).

Cons


Manufacturers may scale back- Ban may mean that the manufacturers may cause job layoffs.

Cost shoppers more money- Shoppers may be pushed to buy reusable bags, that does mean that the cost will be driven up to a dollar or more to purchase them. (Lets keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better so maybe it will be worth it).

Read more here Pros&cons of plastic bag ban

Its a no brainer this ban would do more good than harm but, that doesn’t mean the cons shouldn’t be taken into account. For those who get laid off, what does that mean for them? The loss of jobs is always something to worry about. Overall, its important to always do what is right and that is knowing the majority of citizens will benefit from them for health and money expense purposes. Not everyone works as a manufacturer of plastic bags, but we all use infrastructure, need clean water and land, and also could spend less in tax money picking up litter so the money could go to something more meaningful. Plus, who would be in opposition of not having to worry about mosquitoes? Ouch!

 

 

 

 

Jess Turner- Definearth

on the mountain
Pic by Jess Turner

This is a fellow blogger who also has a passion for the environment named Jess Turner, a 22 year old environmentalist from New York. She grew up in her grandmother’s 15 acres of woods. She says that her appreciation for the environment was shaped by her life experiences. From being president of her school’s environmental club to spending long days building a brick walkway through the garden. Her passion as a writer has led her to run a blog and a website both titled, definearth.  She even has an interview that is published in Women in Higher Education Magazine titled, Creating Diversity in STEM: An Interview with Dr. Letitia Thomas.

 

Jess Turner has worked as a research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University with Dr. Charles Driscoll. She studied the efficiencies of solar cookers and did research at University at Buffalo’s Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering Department. Lastly, she tested the samples from the NSF-funded Ice storm Experiment for Dissolved Organic Matter and Dissolved Organic Carbon. Also, she evaluated the samples with the help of Dr. Teng Zeng in the Environmental Organic Chemistry lab.

She started blogging about environmental issues over three years ago. She utilizes blogging as a way to apply things she learned in school to real life. Her blog has morphed into a place to inspire others to take action and educate the public about current environmental issues and interesting scientific ideas. The most challenging part about maintaining her blog is finding a way to write meaningful, engaging posts in a short amount of time.

“Blog posts need to spark thoughts and responses in people, be informative about science, but also be to-the-point and fun to read.”

Her hopes for future for this kind of media-“Through blogging I’ve managed to connect with people all over the world and learn about their perspectives on everything from local ecology to tourism to raising kids in an unorthodox family. There is certainly room for more writers and readers in the blogging community.”

“Reading the comments on my posts and interacting with other bloggers is my favorite part of blogging. My advice to new bloggers is to keep posts to once or twice a week- quality is more important than quantity and definitely comment on other blogs. People will support you if you support them!”

She was always exposed to the outdoors and it remains inspiring her today. Her motivations for being interested in the environment are mentioned in her memoir “All I See is Green” and her “Welcome” page on her website.

She currently conducts research on land-atmosphere interactions at wetlands in Northern Wisconsin as well as land and water management and conservation. “Environmental education seems to be my direction!”

She studied the environment when attending University and she really enjoyed a course she took on sustainability.

“We performed calculations on things like how many electric cars California can support, for example, but we also challenged ourselves to reduce our own footprint each week by taking a shorter shower, walking to class, etc.”

Her advice to those who want to learn about and help the environment-” Start by going to school. You could also teach yourself with books and the web, but the easiest way to get involved is probably going outside and just getting connected.”

Ever since birth, she played a role somehow in nature and she believes we should do what we can to make that a positive one.

She doesn’t have anything specific planned for the future in regards of getting involved with taking care of the environment, but is excited.

“I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me but I’m always looking for new opportunities!”

Continue reading “Jess Turner- Definearth”

Palmyra Cove Nature Park

One day this week I had the honor of visiting the Palmyra Nature Cove and it is a non-profit organization established in 1999. Its purpose is to teach those who visit about habitat preservation and environmental education. The learning experiences takes place in and outdoors for all 5 year olds to adults.

naturewall         greencenter1

greencenter2
Environmental STEM center

 

 

 

 

 

Since there was no education program or events taken place when I visited there wasn’t a lot of people there.

Inside of the Environmental STEM center held a lot of information about volunteer opportunities and where educational opportunities take place when learning about how to protect the earth.

STEM paperpalmyra cove desk

The Nature Walk– I was able to go outside and stroll on the nature park. The 350 acre Palmyra Cove Nature Park surrounds the shoreline of the Delaware river in the middle of the Pennsauken Creek and Delaware River.

naturewalksign
During nature hike programs students hike and learn about seasonal changes in flora and fauna.
cove trail
The most natural part of the park, located a mile south of the Environmental Discovery Center. This is where the hike begins.

 

naturetrail2
After a 2 hour nature walk, students then learn map orientation skills and expand on information on ecosystems.

naturetrail4

 

 

 

 

STEM Center-

Nature equipment drawers
Clean gloves, rubber gloves, and bags & flags. This is the equipment and gear used for when participants go clean beaches.

 

warming globe
In the Starlab Planetarium- students are educated on popular constellations and stars including the sun the 4 seasons, climate and the environment.

 

 

greenboard2

clean award plaque
Clean water award