How is Cherry Hill protecting the environment?
June 22, 2023
Each thought. Each plan. Each action. Each individual effort towards sustainability is what creates a community that improves it for generations to come. With this in mind, what have members in Cherry Hill done to promote environmental consciousness?
Sustainability efforts in Cherry Hill
As the necessity for sustainability rises with the severity of the climate crisis, Cherry Hill has worked towards implementing change to help the environment. To expand upon such efforts, a municipal sustainability plan created in May 2016 called “Roadmap to Our Future” was implemented and due to numerous actions towards sustainability, Cherry Hill has become a Sustainable Jersey Silver Certified community in 2010.
One of the most beneficial natural resources in the environment are trees which assists with the betterment of everyday life. In order to assure that the effectiveness of this natural resource isn’t taken away, the community aims to sustain trees within the community and manage tree removal. Without such management, there are many negative effects which include a rise in dust, worsened air quality, and decrease in thriving ecosystems.
There are also many alternatives to using unsustainable sources of power that increase the greenhouse gasses such as carbon monoxide. This contributes to the rise in temperatures with global warming and the negative impacts of climate change. Considering these aspects, Cherry Hill has looked towards renewable sources of energy, specifically the implementation of solar panels. The utilization of solar panels is also effective in not only promoting sustainability but also with positive financial changes. The areas that have solar panels implemented include the Town Hall with 128 units of panels and the Department of Public Works with 444 units of panels.
In an effort to unite the individuals in the community under the common goal of conservation, a gardening program called Plant-A-Patch at Barclay Farmstead was implemented. In this program, members of the community are welcome to purchase 24 feet by 24 feet plots that are 30 dollars each every season from April to October. With more than 100 gardeners that participate every year, they are able to harvest each of the plots and continue to help the garden flourish.
To continue to maintain the sustainability efforts in the community, “Roadmap to Our Future” highlights various goals and plans to create a more sustainable community. This includes areas regarding homes, health and wellness, neighborhoods, vitality and ecology, and more.
For more details, in-depth descriptions can be found at https://www.chnj.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4475/CHT_Sustainability-Roadmap_Adopted-5-23-2016?bidId=.
With these actions, the Cherry Hill Township was officially certified on October 26, 2021 by Sustainable Jersey as a Sustainable Jersey Silver Certified community. Many actions such as establishing the Green Team organized by Councilwoman Sangeeta Doshi and Councilwoman Jennifer Apell, smoke-free and tobacco-free public places, buying alternative fuel vehicles, creating community gardens, and more are worth various amounts of points which the Township was at 415 points at the time of certification.
The Cherry Hill community has worked hand in hand with many like-minded people to work towards making the community more sustainable everyday. Each thought. Each plan. Each action. Each individual effort does not stop here and must continue environmental practices in Cherry Hill and beyond.
Learn more about Cherry Hill’s Sustainability efforts: https://www.chnj.gov/106/Sustainability
Ways to give back to the environment
There are many ways you can give back to the environment in Cherry Hill at your own convenience.
There are pollinator gardens, initiated by the Cherry Hill Environmental Board (CHEB), emphasizing how it is fundamental to maintain the ecosystems in the community. They are significant because they provide necessary resources for the pollinators such as pollen and nectar. Thus, these gardens address the decrease in pollinators throughout the country. Located on Cherry Hill’s Open Space lands, they focus on reviving populations such as the Monarch butterfly. In order to assure that these gardens continue to serve their purpose, volunteers are welcome to help keep these gardens alive or are open for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the flourishing gardens.
Another initiative you can do is in your own home as Cherry Hill is working towards being a Certified Habitat Community by the National Wildlife Federation. In order to do so, at least 300 properties are needed to be certified as a Wildlife Habitat. Some aspects that are important to include are native trees, rain gardens, toad houses, native plants, and more.
Also, New Jersey Clean Communities aims to promote a decrease in litter across communities in New Jersey and under the Clean Communities Act, they can provide funding for volunteer groups to take the initiative to clean up the community. Those who do so can apply to get up to $500 in grant funds but no more than 15 grants will be given out every calendar year.
You can also enjoy the serenity of being in nature by joining the Cherry Hill Trail Crew run by the Cherry Hill Township Environmental Board (CHEB). In this volunteer program, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the trails and also help sustain the quality of the trails for visitors. This can be through preserving the organisms that live there such as removing invasive species and clearing pathways. Resources and materials are provided every event day which are planned every second Saturday of the month. With 13 trails in Cherry Hill, it is fundamental that each one is maintained as it is a mutual necessity for both the environment and the people.
It is fundamental that each person in the community does their part in advancing the community to greater sustainability whether it may be through the opportunities from the Cherry Hill Township or being more environmentally-conscious in our daily lives.
Sustainability at East
While there is much effort put forth towards members of the Cherry Hill community, there are also hard-working students in Cherry Hill East that work towards goals in making the school and the community more green.
The Conservation Club works towards practicing methods of conservation for the environment and for the future of our lives. Yulissa Trinidad (‘24), president of the club, has organized two bake sales this year and plans on giving the money raised to charities, fundraisers, and organizations that hold litter clean-up events.
With goals and initiatives in mind, Trinidad learned about being more environmentally-conscious and the positive impact the club has made on her and others’ lives.
“My friends and I started taking caution again. Everytime we go [to] lunch we’re [asking ourselves] “Where does this go?” [and] “Where does that go?” when we see trash. Also, when we hang out we tend to pick up trash wherever we go,” said Trinidad.
Trinidad also sees a bright future for its upcoming year with various conservation and sustainability projects planned including collaborations with a youth environment organization outside of East called LEAP for Climate. It is planned to hold Terracycle events and cleanups in the area.
Regarding Terracycling, Trinidad recognizes the importance of this initiative.
“There is a lot of trash in here and also a lot of kids tend to use makeup or wipes…something they can recycle here so they don’t have to recycle at home or anything. This will be good for East,” said Trinidad.
As the year progresses, she has many plans to implement change into her own life as well as achieving goals for the future of the club as well.
“In the summer for myself, I plan on picking up trash wherever I go now and for the club I plan on making a lot of trail cleanups and bake sales,” said Trinidad.
The Environment Club has held various types of events that range from educating students on topics such as the negative impacts of fast fashion and plastic pollution to creating a pollinator garden this year.
Alicia Albuquerque (‘23), president of Environment Club, explains the necessity of acting upon the climate crisis today and the impact each person has in the community.
“A lot of people think that the action that they are taking at home and in their own personal lives doesn’t really matter on a global scale and it’s really this climate nihilism that is really so harmful to the climate crisis…the worst thing that you can do is think that we’re helpless and give up on it but in reality we need action now more than ever. That starts the action that you take in your own home and in your own life and so that’s the message that we’re trying to spread,” said Albuquerque.
With the events that were already held this year, their actions do not stop here as there are goals already set as the upcoming school year approaches. This includes plans to organize more cleanups and work towards implementing composting practices in East while also working with members of the community.
“Definitely in the future we will be looking for more activities where we’re actually going into our community and taking the Environmental Club [to] expand our reach outside of just the classroom and taking us out into parks or maybe down to the beaches and cleaning up there,” said Albuquerque.
Both clubs have made a positive impact not only on the East community for their inspiring motives but also for their actions that are keeping the planet green each and every day.