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,

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What’s Next Productions, LLC

 

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.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside- Think Warm-Think Earth Festival

It hasn’t been this cold in the Philadelphia region for about four years – and I don’t like it. Thinking about baseball might be where I normally wander off to – but this time, I’m thinking about April 27, 2013. The Cherry Hill Art Blooms Earth Festival Art Blooms Earth Day - Color - TEXT - Copytakes place at historic Croft Farm ( 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – rain or shine). This is the fourth year Sustainable Cherry Hill is collaborating with Cherry Hill Township to put on this free event. We are also collaborating with the Cherry Hill School District to encourage as many of the district’s 17 schools – and any other schools throughout the South Jersey area – to participate. We’re welcoming creative art, science, math or any school project related to the earth and sustainability to be on display at the festival. The event is taking place rain or shine. We have an extremely creative media specialist – Ramona Bregatta – helping coordinate activities from within the schools. We’re talking about a fashion show with students wearing gently used clothing purchased on a budget at Goodwill or a store such as Plato’s EF2012_20120428_23 - CopyCloset (Maple Shade). Or perhaps a fashion show with clothing made from found items  – ‘Trashin’ Fashin’ was the title tossed around at our planning meeting.

We are welcoming ‘green crafters’ – artists who are making items that are from materials sourced locally – or at least in the USA; we welcome businesses that focus on sustainable or resource-saving practices. We’ll have a recycling area – still under discussion; our Gardening Task Force is working on its second EF2012_20120428_03 - Copyplant exchange that will be bigger this year; the township will bring in compost so people can pick up plants along with a few shovels of compost for the  garden. Springdale Farms is a return participant; Chimp Ade (benefits the Jane Goodall Foundation) and J-Dogs are scheduled to provide delicious – and healthy – food selections. It looks as though we will have a great moon bounce for the kids – always popular along with other activities that are family friendly which will go along with Mayor Chuck Cahn’s focus on the township’s wellness program.

EF2012_20120428_59 - CopyWe’ll have two entertainment stages with student groups performing throughout the day. Also, the local DG Band (easy listening) is scheduled to sing original tunes. All this happens as the township’s week-long Art Blooms event gets underway in the Croft Farm Art Center. Local and regional artists will have beautiful workEF2012_20120428_19 - Copys on display in competition and art-for-purchase.

To really warm everyone up and promote healthy and safe biking, the second Family Fun Bike Ride pedals off from Challenge Grove just across from Croft Farm at about 9 a.m. that morning. Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Way to Go Task Force is working with the township and police department on finalizing the route. It will be an easy ride to encourage all ages to participate.

If you are in the South Jersey-Philadelphia area and want to keep up with the plans for the Art Blooms Earth Festival, April 27th, go to www.sustainablecherryhill.org and click on ‘Earth Festival.’ You can also send in the information form below and I will send you information if you are interested in being a vendor, green crafter, food vendor, student entertainment group or you have a display appropriate for the family-friendly earth festival.

EF2012_20120428_99 - CopyAnd…since Sustainable Cherry Hill is a 501C3 non-profit organization and any funds we raise goes back into education and outreach, we are welcoming sponsors for our event. I can also send you the information about that when you fill out the contact form.

As I write this, I can feel the warm, power of the sun that (hopefully) will be shining on that Saturday. We have a lot of planning to do – and it’s so exciting to be part of this engaging – and free event that brings several thousand people out to historic Croft Farm.

There is No Such Thing as Away – Finale

Sustainability goes on. There will be mid-course corrections in the process of getting communities, governments and individuals to understand that all our systems are connected. Sustainability is not just about the environment. As I’ve learned in the NJ Learns program, most people do not enter the sustainability topic from the environment. The topic is complex and can be messy; change happens slowly – almost excruciatingly slowly. Many baby steps lead to real change and understanding that steps taken now will preserve and conserve our society, resources, economy and all of the systems within for generations to come.

After about six months of off and on work to complete my practicum, I have ‘graduated’ from

NJ Learns certificate & reclaimed wood frame by Matt Ryan -One Man Gathers Studio.

NJ Learns certificate & reclaimed wood frame by Matt Ryan -One Man Gathers Studio.

the NJ Learns program. Today our cohort heard the final projects from the educators and community participants in our cohort. The enthusiasm, creativity and persistence among all of the participants is admirable. There is a second grade teacher who has the freedom in her classroom and school to teach sustainability across the curriculum. Students are planting gardens; inner city children are learning that their world has much more than the black top that surrounds their school; Boy Scouts are learning how they can cut energy by simply changing out light bulbs; a science teacher who embraced Green Apple Day and got his school on board is also now reclaiming wood and making frames, trays and other objects as a side business. Sustainability never ends. My project is continuing – working with Sustainable Cherry Hill, the Cherry Hill Schools and PTAs and people in the region who are learning that everything we do now affects our children’s future and their children’s future and so on. One big take-away for me is that “There is no such thing as away.” Think of that when you toss something ‘away’ in the trash. Over time, thinking changes – we all change – and for the better.

21 Days

Some say if you do something for 21 days straight, it becomes a habit. Think of that simple idea as you try to perhaps stick with a resolution during this new year. By day 22, you’ll have your new habit down pat. I’ve stayed on target since 2005 by keeping up with my fitness routine and I won’t turn back. Keep your 21-day pledge simple; don’t deprive yourself; do things in moderation and I bet you’ll be successful.

Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall

While I’ll stay away from resolutions , I just saw Dr. Jane Goodall being interviewed. She is serving as the Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade i n Pasadena, CA where the theme this year is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” the groundbreaking researcher is promoting conservation as ceremonial leader of this year’s parade. During the interview she said young people today have so many beautiful places to visit and explore around the world, but what places will there be to see 100 years from now because of damage we cause to the planet?

In a few weeks, I will complete my NJ Learns program which has given me a new perspective about sustainability. Whether it’s my work with Sustainable Cherry Hill or working with area schools to help brainstorm ideas to build enthusiasm about issues surrounding sustainability, I hope that every day I can do something – no matter how small – to improve the world for future generations. It can be something ‘green’ and it can be something to bring a smile to someone. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if peace and joy were more sustainable. No one has a perfect day every day, but we can do ONE thing a day to bring a smile or more happiness to another person whether it’s a loved one, a friend or a perfect stranger.

Try bringing a smile to someone every day for 21 days. Now that is a sustainable habit.

There’s No Such Thing as Away

What is sustainability? For months, that burning question has whirled in my mind. Now, as part of the NJ Learns program, not only can I begin to better answer that question, but start to affect the people in my sphere of influence.

“There is no such thing as away.”. You throw away a yogurt cartoon; the coffee grounds are thrown in the garbage; You throw away the wrapping from your sandwich at lunch. Where is AWAY? Away is where we can’t see the stuff anymore, but the impact on the world is far reaching. Thee fuel used by the garbage trucks to haul the trash impacts our carbon footprint;

Sustainable Cherry Hill – EPA Quality Award winner

April 23, 2010

In President Barack Obama’s statement marking the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day in the United States he said, “As we continue to tackle our environmental challenges, it’s clear change won’t come from Washington alone. It will come from Americans across the country, who takes steps in their own homes and their own communities to make that change happen. “

Sustainable Cherry Hill’s founder and executive director, Lori Braunstein and six executive committee members were invited to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 offices in New York Friday, April 23, to be among several dozen organizations and individual advocates for our environment to accept the EPA’s highest honor, the Quality Award. Sustainable Cherry Hill (SCH) was nominated by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez to receive this prestigious honor.

The ceremony atop the Weiss Federal Building in Lower Manhattan made each representative of SCH proud to represent the growing movement in Cherry Hill and surrounding communities aimed at raising community and region wide awareness to  make our environment cleaner and more sustainable for generations to come. 

EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck took a moment to quote naturalist John Muir, whose words were taken to heart as we marked Earth Day: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”

The guest speaker, Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation, at the age of 79, spoke of his decades-long journey to understand the earth and the need to nurture nature every day.  He encouraged the gathering of environmental advocates to continue the collaboration and cooperation to protect and save our resources.  He said he fears the way things have been going, nature is at severe risk. “We’re in the spring of global warming,” Chief Lyons said. “We’re not prepared for what is coming.”

Chief Lyons said politics must be set aside and we must pick up the responsibility to preserve and protect our land, water and air. “We now place in your hands, the protection of all life,” the chief stated. “That’s our mandate.”

Chief Lyons words were inspiring. Also inspiring the accomplishments honored by the EPA of the many groups and individuals – from the 10-year old Northport, New York girl who raises money from a lemonade stand to plant trees in her community to the posthumous award to a citizen who spent decades protecting and preserving the coastal wetlands of Cape May.

Sustainable Cherry Hill is on a journey. We are collaborating and working more every day to raise awareness of how each one of us can make a difference in how we leave this planet for our children and our children’s children. We will do this one energy seminar at a time; one township green plan meeting at a time; one recycling event at a time; it is our mandate to work together to reduce our impact on our global resources through engaging and enlightening our family, friends and the community at large.

The EPA Quality award received April 23 makes note of our progress to date. We hope many more people will join us in the efforts ahead.