Earth Festival: It Takes a Village

Earth Festival: It Takes a Village

‘Reduce Plastic – Fantastic!’ at the April 28th Earth Festival

Can you imagine how much single-use plastic is used in your home? The 9th Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival April 28th – in part – is designed to impress upon the 5000 visitors from across South Jersey to consider reducing plastic consumption.

Society has become focused on convenience. It can be a heavy lift to suggest that people not buy cases of plastic water and drink bottles. Many people are convinced tap water is ‘not good’ for you. There are filter systems and options to consider without buying cases of water bottles. And we can consider that for the most part, those drink bottles are not recyclable – forever; eventually, they end up in the waste stream. Have you heard about the plastic island of waste continuing to grow in the ocean?

Details surrounding the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival involve education and outreach. It’s hoped that sponsors, vendors, non-profit groups, government and school displays consider the problems of single-use plastic. Ultimately, it’s hoped everyone participating at the festival will think more about how they can be part of the solution.

Bringing a reusable bottle for NJ American water refills; and a coffee mug for Treehouse Cafe $2 local coffee helps reduce waste at the festival.

Beyond the focus on reducing plastic waste, South Jersey’s largest eco-event marking Earth Day takes place at historic Croft Farm in Cherry Hill. It’s an all-weather event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Health and wellness is part of sustainability. The Earth Festival includes LourdesCare’s free yoga session on the Croft Farm lawn at 8:30 a.m. (bring your mat) and 10:30 a.m. chair yoga on stage (bring your chair). Lourdes, Ravitz Family Markets and other displays also include nutrition and other wellness information.

The Family Fun Bike Ride has folks checking in starting at 8 a.m.; getting bike safety checks from Erlton Bike Shop; and donning helmets for the two or nine-mile ride from Croft Farm and back in time for the 9:45 opening Earth Festival ceremony. Registration for the bike ride and waiver is here.

Here are just a few of the #SCHEarthFest events April 28th: Click HERE for event-day map/schedule)

  • Croft Farm parking can get tight: Bike valet parking is free!
  • Free bare-root tree seedlings are available while supply lasts.
  • Recycling Depot Dropoff:
    • gently worn shoes,
    • wire hangers
    • rechargeable batteries
    • plastic bags and bottle caps – which are not recyclable
    • gently-used books
  • Kiddie craft with your plastic bottle caps
  • Moon-bounce and more for kids
  • Thought-provoking school displays
  • Two-stages of entertainment
  • NEW – Sustainable Sips: two Flying Fish brews for purchase by visitors with ID
  • lunch-time visit from the Phillie Phanatic + East Cougar and West Lion
  • healthy food choices for purchase
  • perennial plant-swap and gardening advice
  • arts and crafts; bottle-cap creature craft for kiddies
  • rain barrel and other demonstrations to reduce your carbon footprint.

Generous sponsors include:

Presenting sponsors-  Lourdes Health System, Ravitz Family Markets, Hutchinson Plumbing, Heating, Cooling (Hutchinson provides volunteer t-shirts)

Leadership sponsors: M Rosenblatt Roofing, Holman Enterprises

Evergreen sponsor: Sustainable Camden County

Leaf Sponsors: Wegman’s, NJ American Water, Renewal by Andersen, Kitchen Magic

In-Kind sponsors: My Gym, The Farmhouse

The 9th Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival is produced in partnership with the non-profit Sustainable Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill Township, and Cherry Hill School District.

Producer – Brenda Jorett,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What’s Next Productions, LLC

 

Five Reasons to Consider  a PR Consultant .. or Can You Afford NOT to?

Five Reasons to Consider a PR Consultant .. or Can You Afford NOT to?

Watch the local TV news any night of the week. You may an uncomfortable corporate executive fumbling through a 10-second sound bite that makes you cringe. “That could be ME,” you think.

SCHwildflowers_20110609_27 - Copy

Be prepared for interviews – a PR consultant offers his or her expertise

A Philadelphia investigative reporter did a segment on a company that was being cited by the state for equipment problems. During a sound bite, the reporter questioned the CEO and president why he didn’t know about the problems. The man wondered out loud to the reporter while the camera was rolling why the reporter referred to him as the CEO and president. The reporter replied that he had done his homework. The CEO looked ridiculous for seemingly trying to ‘hide’ the fact that he is indeed the CEO and president and is ultimately responsible for what happens at the company.

This scene is a reason a company – especially a small or medium-sized business – needs a public relations consultant. Large companies have resources to retain in-house PR or communications directors; smaller companies often don’t have that luxury.

  1. A PR consultant who is familiar with your business and who has media experience will guide you through protecting your brand and keeping messaging and responses focused.
  2. A good PR consultant will listen to you and your company’s needs and be able to translate those needs into messages that the customer/consumer/client can relate to.
  3. When you are revamping your web site, ramping-up social media and collateral materials, the PR consultant is a fresh set of eyes to write, edit, interpret and offer expertise on how your content and communications will be perceived outside your company.
  4. Since media can be your friend, the PR consultant can reach out to his or her contacts with an appropriate pitch geared to the media audience and then prepare you to take on that media interview with confidence.
  5. To prepare for times when negative news is focused on your company, the PR consultant will act as your company spokesperson or prepare you or your delegates to speak in a straight-forward manner aimed at tackling the crisis and looking forward to repairing the company image.

Can your company afford to be caught unprepared? The PR consultant is a human insurance policy watching over your image and brand which is what makes you successful.

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

ImageThe heart of any business or personal success is the team you have working on each and every detail.

Look at the Louisville Cardinals team and how those young men banded together to bring home the Midwest Regional trophy while teammate Kevin Ware was carried off the court after suffering a horrendous broken leg. While teammates convulsed in shock and tears streamed down the faces of thousands who watched Ware’s leg snap, the team pulled it together and rallied to put the lid on the regional championship.

I am working with a team of volunteers from Sustainable Cherry Hill and staff members from Cherry Hill Township to put on for the South Jersey region, the 4th Art Blooms Earth Festival. Everyone has a part to play. Volunteers worked with the township police department on safety and route planning for the family-fun bike ride that opens the festival at 9 a.m. Today, I met with John Martorano of Magnum Computer Recycling to find the easiest site location so visitors to the festival April EF2012_20120428_0327th can bring e-waste for safe recycling and disposal. I worked with the Cherry Hill Food Outreach Council which will have a donation station at the festival for non-perishable foods. One of our volunteers has coordinated the entertainment schedule to include several chorus and dance groups and musicians to perform throughout the event. It’s an amazing experience to work with people and maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude so everyone achieves most of what they hope for.

Attitude is everything when it comes to a project involving many people. To have even one team member who seems to work against the grain, can ruin the experience, if not the event, for everyone. The Louisville Cardinals could have folded after they saw what happened to Kevin Ware. The injured Ware yelled to the team to win the game as he was carried out of the stadium. Some hiccups can threaten any event and lead you down the path of ‘CAN’T-do.’ With the team I am fortunate to be associated with – township and Sustainable Cherry Hill – plus our amazing sponsors and supporters – the Cherry Hill Earth Festival and the family-fun bike ride Saturday, April 27th – will be another step toward helping the community and region focus efforts on sustainability in home, work and play.

Toot Your Own Horn – Brag Without Bragging

A former boss of mine once told me “Brenda, you just don’t toot your own horn enough.” This is a boss I respected immensely – and still do today – for his knowledge of broadcast journalism and his ability  to get to the point, hone and craft talent and be a positive, professional force.

It’s a Noisy World

He was right; I did not toot my horn. I believed my work stood on its own merit and people would see the quality of that work. In today’s fast-paced world, you have to rise above all the noise that is out there. Today’s business world is all about tooting your horn and rising above the din of the junk that should NOT be recognized. The adage – ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease’ applies today.

How many times have you seen a product, author, business owner, etc. quoted in the media and you wonder HOW did that person or product get so much coverage? Public relations is about tooting your horn in a positive way whenever possible. You can’t sound preachy or as if yours is the only opinion or thought that matter; you need to be credible, knowledgeable and confident in making the pitch.

I’m the best!

Convincing others that you are the expert is also about listening. When you are networking or at some sort of business-related function, how much time do you spend listening to other people’s business conundrums? You should be listening more than 50% of the time. You have to listen  carefully to hear any problems or issues; take notes when possible (or write things down as soon as possible) and connect by letting the person know you get it. That can be the hook; letting the person know you get it without going on about how you solved a problem in the best  – or worse – avoided getting into a similar problem. Responding by saying, “I can hear that your issues are at a critical stage; I have practical solutions and ideas that can help you,” lets the person know you heard what he/she said and you can help. Simply letting someone know YOU are the BEST in your field isn’t about the person and their business problem; a comment like that is all about YOU.

By listening, observing and understanding the depth of my own expertise, I’ve learned how to let people know I can help them. It’s about saying HOW I can help them; how I can take a load off their busy shoulders and how I can be a benefit to their organization for the long haul.

 

Positive Means More Than Negative

Positive Means More Than Negative

Being interviewed for many people means being in a pressure cooker. The stress can often overwhelm even the coolest of people. Whether you are talking with a human resources manager or a reporter, it’s important to balance poise with being yourself and showing yourself in a positive light.

postivesmileWhen a reporter is interviewing a news-maker, the reporter is going for the sound bite. He or she wants information, yes, but he or she wants that information explained  in a captivating way. Face it, you don’t want to read in the newspaper, online or see on TV or hear on the radio that “My company is the best at everything.” The reporter wants to know what’s really going on behind those closed doors. The news-maker may be asked, “What’s it been like to work in a company that’s had so much turmoil in the past few months?” The response should be thoughtful – yet provide good information and a good sound bite for the reporter and the public. Something like this could work: “This has been a challenging time for the company. There have been moments when we didn’t think the company would make it – but we have gotten through what we hope is the worst of these challenges and we’re moving forward.” There might be more details in a real scenario – but it’s important to stay away from negativity. The second you say something negative, that is what will be pounced on. That negative comment could end up being the lead of the story.

In a job interview situation, the human resources person or the manager interviewing you also wants to see that you can handle challenging situations with style and grace. take the positive approach when they ask the probing questions. “Why did you leave your last position?” You sure don’t want to go down the negative route here. This surely can be a tough question if you left the position in less than desirable terms. This answer you can surely plan.

  • During my time at that company I really got to expand my knowledge in the industry. Now, it’s time for me to take on a new challenge.
  • I really feel as though I excelled in many aspects of my position. During the changeover in management, I adapted to the new leadership styles and really am confident I held my own during that challenging period.

Sure, these are positive ways to say negative things; it’s really important to show that YOU can be positive. Sometimes in an interview situation, people will try to get you to be negative. Don;t be trapped. Take a breath – and find that lemonade amid all the lemons others throw at you. It’s less toxic and a great exercise that you can practice all the time – in your personal and professional life.

It’s like brushing your teeth

It’s tough enough to keep a commitment to go to the gym a few days a week. To commit to keep a journal, online or otherwise, every day, is nearly impossible. While my career has changed in the past year, I get to do so many new and different things, that there are days I simply run out of hours. I could sit at my desk for hours and get a multitude of things done. The next thing I know, it’s 2:30 and I haven’t had lunch.

Tuesday, I heard a report that you shouldn’t sit at your desk more than 45 minutes or face the problems of being overweight along with other health issues. That apparently applies even if you regularly exercise. The rule of thumb, the report says, is get up every 45 minutes and get that blood going.Not much moss grew under my feet Tuesday. I was out of the house at 9 a.m.; driving to a client meeting and stopping on the way to pick up a gift for some friends; took some photos for the client; the meeting in Ocean County at 11 a.m. lasted until 12:15; I made a few stops on the way home; downed a quick salad for lunch; got ready for the first day of teaching business communications at Rutgers-Camden; left the house at 3:45 to stop to drop off the gift for the friends; got to class just before start time at 4:30; taught until 5:50 p.m.; answered some students’ questions; talked with the next teacher in the room; motored back to Cherry Hill to pick up my son from his bowling match; got home; stir-fried dinner I had prepped the day before; grabbed my Sustainable Cherry Hill notes and got to an executive committee meeting a couple of minutes after 7 p.m.; the meeting lasted until 9 p.m.; collapsed at home by 9:30 p.m.

It wasn’t a record, but I certainly wore a lot of hats yesterday, leaving me with hat-hair. Wonder why I didn’t get to write a blog post?

Today, I caught up. I’m getting some great media exposure for Sustainable Cherry Hill and efforts to link the suburbs with Camden and the Center for Transformation. Cross your fingers that you’ll be seeing the story on TV – soon. Don’t want to jinx it.

Are we ever organized?

Do people admire your sense of organization? Do they tell you they wish they could be organized like you? Bless them. From where I’m sitting, I need a wife; someone to support me and ask me if I have everything together and pick up the proverbial slack sometimes. I could use someone to back me up in keeping me organized. I just went through a lot of my Rutgers material in preparation for teaching the same course for the spring semester. I seemed as though I was organized, but now, I’m organizing my material even further. The good news is, I won’t have to create everything from scratch; From lesson plans to understanding the text book, now, the course is not new to me (thank god!).

I have a couple of piles (OK, maybe three piles) around my office. There’s the “pending” pile, the “to-be-filed” pile and the “I’m-not-sure-what-I-want-to-do-with-this” pile. Every once in a while, I go through these piles and do something with the material. Why is it that there is ALWAYS a pile?  Probably for the same reason I haven’t finished hanging art/photos up in my office. I’m waiting for the mood to strike me. At some level, I realize THIS is the way I work. If I have everything put away, it looks as though I have nothing to do, which is never the case.

I just found a note I made to myself to call someone who may need PR help. You see? Had I filed that note where it belongs, I would have forgotten completely about it. It just showed up in one of my three piles (the pending pile).

Today, finally, I published my basic web site. It’s up and running now and this begins my constant tweaking and revising process. It’s the same thing I’ve done with my resume for the past year. I update and tweak when I get spare moments. It’s also good to clear your head in between these intense writing situations. I have spent weeks agonizing over the web site. I decided, less is more. I needed a web presence and the site is there. I have a Facebook page for the business as well. (That reminds me, I need to put the Facebook icon on the web site — see, some tweaking already!)

In the end, we’re never as organized as other people think we are, but we’re probably better than most when it comes to getting through the day without a meltdown. Excuse me now, while I go hunt for the piece of paper I was looking for before I started writing this.