Preserve open space in New Jersey

July 31, 2013

A recent news release from D&R Greenway Land Trust urges New Jersians to help preserve open space:

Urgent Action Needed for Open Space,
Farmland and Historic Preservation

The New Jersey legislature must act within the next week to give voters the opportunity to create a sustainable source of funding for critical land, water and historic preservation efforts!

The 2009 Bond Act provided funds for Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation.  Those funds are now fully allocated, and legislative action is needed now to continue New Jersey’s legacy of open space, farmland, and historic site preservation.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee held a public hearing on SCR160 on July 18th, clearing the way for a vote in the Senate and Assembly, but they must act before August 5th for the measure to be on the ballot this November.  SCR160 would dedicate $200 million annually in existing sales-tax revenues for the next thirty years to protect New Jersey’s natural areas, parks, water supplies, farmland and historic sites. 

Please contact your Senate and Assembly members today and urge them to bring SCR160/ACR205 to the floor for a vote as soon as possible!

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Riverkeeper Offers Eco Programs: Cruises, Paddles, Cleanups, Birdwalks

March 27, 2013

Guest Post by Captain Hugh Carola

Hackensack Riverkeeper is happy to announce the release of its 2013 Eco-Programs schedule. Once again the clean water advocacy group is poised to provide thousands of people with an up-close and personal experience of the river, its watershed and wildlife. Eco-Cruises, Guided Paddles, River Cleanups and Bird-Walks combine hands-on environmental education with public service and fun – and have since 1997. The 2013 Eco-Program season runs from Earth Day weekend (April 20-21) through the end of October.

“We were very fortunate in that Hurricane Sandy caused us very little damage,” said Captain Bill Sheehan. “We hauled and secured our pontoon boats before the storm hit; and our Paddling Center made it through alright. Captain Hugh and I are very anxious to get out on the water and see what changes – if any – there are on the river and in the Meadowlands.”

Hackensack Riverkeeper offers four unique and distinct Eco-Programs:

ECO-CRUISES This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Thirty-eight Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 4 through October 13 aboard the pontoon cruisers Edward Abbey and Robert H. Boyle. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a donation of $25 per person for adults / $10 for kids 4-12. Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered: Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands & creeks of the river’s estuary; Boating through Bergen, which runs upriver to the center of Hackensack and the museum ship USS Ling; and Excursion Around the Bay, a maritime history tour to Staten Island and back past the port facilities of Newark and Elizabeth.

Charter Eco-Cruises can be arranged for groups of up to 26 people for any available date/time May 1 through October 28. Hackensack Riverkeeper asks a donation of $300 per boat for Adult Charter Eco-Cruises and $250 for Youth Charters. Half-day Combo Programs are also available for schools. Those interested can call Program Director Captain Hugh Carola at 201-968-0808 for more info or to book a trip. Open Eco-Cruise dates/times are not available for charters.

PADDLING CENTER Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Paddling Center, located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ will be open weekends April 20 through October 28 weather permitting. The Center offers canoe & kayak rentals ($25 per paddler w/ a 2-paddler minimum) as well as Guided Paddles conducted by manager John Sailer and his team. Twenty-two tours are scheduled including five popular Full Moon paddles. Costs: $30 per paddler / $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private Group Paddle tours at reasonable rates can be arranged by calling Capt. Hugh at 201-968-0808 or e-mailing hugh@hackensackriverkeeper.org.

In addition to Paddling Center events, Hackensack Riverkeeper’s 5th Annual Reservoir Challenge takes place Saturday, June 1 at Oradell Reservoir; the 3rd Annual Lake Tappan Paddle Day is set for Saturday, August 10; and the 3rd Annual SPLASH event takes to the water at Overpeck Park in Teaneck on September 7. Call 201-968-0808 for details or go to: http://www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.

RIVER CLEANUPS These active conservation events, which give people the opportunity to give back to the environment, take on additional meaning this year in our post-Sandy world. River Cleanups are scheduled at eight different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April 13 through October 20. Hackensack Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris. For more information about River Cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Events and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Menchise at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at Sarah@HackensackRiverkeeper.org.

BIRD-WALKS For groups interested in birding and bird study, Captain Hugh Carola is available to lead Bird-Walks or hawk watches at local birding hotspots within the Hackensack River Watershed region. For more information, including itinerary options, call 201-968-0808. Costs: $150-$200 depending on location and duration of trip; for up to 12 people.

INDOOR PRESENTATIONS Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola are available to conduct multimedia presentations to groups of any size at any date and time. They have a wealth of materials including PowerPoint slideshows and video screenings that are appropriate for all age groups. Presenters will be sure to bring informational literature for all attendees. Costs: $150 if presented within the Bergen, Hudson, southern Rockland, eastern Passaic or greater Newark areas; $200 – $300 if presented further afield. Call 201-968-0808 for more information.

“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are looking forward to a great new season on and about the water,” said Program Director Captain Hugh Carola. “You can do, you can learn, you can work out, or you can just sit back and let the boat and your captain do all the work; but whatever you prefer, we know that you’ll go home with a new appreciation of your Hackensack River.”

All Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Program info including schedules is available at http://www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.

Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group engages in a four-point clean water strategy (Action, Advocacy, Education and Litigation) in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River. Eco-Programs focus on environmental action and education.

For schedules and details, call 201-968-0808

2013 RON VELLEKAMP ENVIRONMENTAL SCHOLARSHIP

January 9, 2013

Guest Post from Hugh Carola

Group seeks the best, brightest and greenest students in their watershed to apply

Hackensack, NJ – Hackensack Riverkeeper is now accepting applications for the 2013 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its thirteenth year, the program was created in 2001 to support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment.

There is one additional requirement in order to be considered for the award: all who apply must either live within the 210-square mile Hackensack River Watershed; or attend a school located within that area. All told, seniors at sixty-six high schools in Bergen, Hudson and Rockland Counties are eligible to apply.

Teachers and guidance counselors are invited to submit applications on behalf of deserving students; and each school may nominate one student. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captain Bill Sheehan will review each application. The panel will consider each applicant’s academic achievements, environmental extra-curricular activities and future plans. The $1000 Scholarship is unrestricted and can be used for any required purchases during the student’s first year at college.

“Last year we received eleven applications from all across our watershed,” explained Program Director Hugh Carola. “But the one submitted on behalf of Ms. Ariana Schanzer of Englewood by her faculty advisor at the Frisch School in Paramus was a real winner. She truly stood out from the rest and is now studying Bioengineering and Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Full scholarship application criteria are available online at http://www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or by calling 201-968-0808. A list of all watershed municipalities is available on the Links page of the Website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Jersey City, Paramus or Ramapo some additional sleuthing (or a phone call to scholarship administrator Carola) is necessary to determine a student’s eligibility.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Earth Day, April 22, 2013. The winner will be chosen no later than June 1.

The late Ronald Vellekamp was a science teacher in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During his life he also served as a Palisades Interstate Park ranger, Boy Scout leader, and trustee of Hackensack Riverkeeper. The scholarship that bears his name is fitting tribute to an educator whose life was lived in the service of others.

“One of the many things I learned from Ron during the all-too-short time he was with us was that you should never let a teachable moment pass by,” said Capt. Sheehan. “That’s something that I, Captain Hugh and the rest of our staff both understand and live by every single day.”

Pajama Bags for children displaced by Hurricane Sandy

November 29, 2012

News from Christine’s Hope for Kids:

Recently a group of volunteers met at the Christine’s Hope office and assembled over 150 pajama bags for kids living in shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Each bag had a new pair of PJ’s, a reading book, teddy bear, and coloring book and crayons. They were delivered to catholic charities who are distributing them to kids at the Jersey Shore.

Volunteer opportunities are ongoing at Christine’s Hope for Kids. To learn more, visit their website at http://www.christineshope.org.

The Journey of the Universe

September 10, 2012

You’re invited to take a journey, “departing” from the Johnson Education Center, Princeton, NJ. October 25. A reception begins at 6:30 and the lecture, presented by Mary Evelyn Tucker, is slated for 7:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

D&R Greenway describes this lecture as a tapestry that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights. From the Big Bang to the epic impact humans have on the planet today, this is the chance to ask one of the world’s foremost thinkers your most profound questions about the nature of the universe.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Professor of World Religions and Ecology at Yale University and is currently serving as a visiting professor at Princeton University. She is co-author of the book and film, Journey of the Universe, which has been shown on PBS.

This event is sponsored by D&R Greenway Land Trust and the Princeton Environmental Institute.

D&R (Delaware and Raritan) Greenway Land Trust is nonprofit land preservation organization protecting open space in New Jersey by preserving watershed lands and large-scale landscapes.

The Princeton Environmental Institute is an interdisciplinary center of environmental research, education, and outreach at Princeton University.

Although the event is free, registration is suggested to insure your spot. Call 609-924-4646.
On the web: drgreenway.org

The Conscience of Television:

February 12, 2012

Media trendsetter speaks on TED.com

Lauren Zalaznick, who overhauled Bravo, masterminded Project Runway, Top Chef and Real Housewives, began her TED talk with this comment:

“I actually believe that television directly reflects the moral, political, social and emotional need states of our nation — that television is how we actually disseminate our entire value system. So all these things are uniquely human, and they all add up to our idea of conscience.”

Zalaznick’s overview of TV programs begins in 1960 when shows that inspired viewers were popular. By 1969, she says, there are competing themes. Comfort, irreverence, and social commentary battled it out in society and on TV.

In the 1970s, irreverence and social commentary reigned. Zalaznick mentions shows such as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, and M*A*S*H. The popular shows of 1980s and 1990s focused on control and power, such as Dallas, and Fantasy Island. Another type of show focused on what Zalaznick calls “bubbles of humor”: Friends, Cheers, and Seinfeld.

Over the past 10 years, Zalaznick says, shows focus on judgment and interactivity where viewers can vote people off an island, keep people dancing, and choose the next American idol.

Zalaznick’s presentation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the powerful role of women on TV. She applauded June Cleever, Lucille Ball, Maude, Alexis Carrington, Murphy Brown, and Bree Van de Kamp.

Watch Zalaznick’s talk on TED at ted.com. Search on Conscience of Television.

Environmental Schollarship

January 6, 2012

The Hackensack Riverkeeper is inviting college-bound students to apply for an environmental scholarship. Although this award is limited to students from participating New Jersey schools, I think this information is worth sharing. Hopefully it will serve as a model for other school districts.

From Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper:

2012 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship

 Group seeks the best, brightest – and greenest – students in their watershed 

Hackensack Riverkeeper is now accepting applications for the 2012 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its twelfth year, the program was created in 2001 to support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment.

All told, seniors at sixty-six Bergen, Hudson and Rockland County high schools are eligible for the award. Why those sixty-six schools and not all the high schools in those counties? Because in order to be eligible to apply, students must reside and/or attend school within the 210 square-mile Hackensack River Watershed.

Teachers and guidance counselors are invited to submit applications on behalf of deserving students; and each school may nominate one student. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captain Bill Sheehan will review each application. Among other criteria, the panel will consider each applicant’s academic achievements, environmental extra-curricular activities and future plans. The $1000 Scholarship is unrestricted and can be used for any required purchases during the student’s first year at college. 

“Last year despite our liberal application criteria and the fact that all sixty-six guidance departments were notified of the scholarship in early January, only two students applied,” explained Program Director Hugh Carola. “Unfortunately neither student lived or matriculated within our watershed, and so the 2011 scholarship went un-granted. We do not want a reprise of that situation this year.”

Full scholarship application criteria (in all its ease and liberality) are available online at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or by calling 201-968-0808.  A list of all watershed municipalities is available on the “Links” page of the Website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Bayonne, Paramus or Ramapo some additional sleuthing (or a phone call to scholarship administrator Carola) is necessary to determine a student’s eligibility.

Applications must be postmarked no later than April 23, 2012 – one day after Earth Day. The winner will be chosen no later than June 1. 

The late Ronald Vellekamp was a science teacher in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During his life he also served as a Palisades Interstate Park ranger, Boy Scout leader, and was a Hackensack Riverkeeper trustee. The scholarship that bears his name is fitting tribute to a life lived in the service of others. 

“One of the many things I learned from Ron during the all-too-short time he was with us was the value of education and of never letting a teachable moment pass,” said Capt. Sheehan. “That’s something all of us should understand because time is the best investment you can make in the life of a young person.”

 

 

Just Found Out about free listings with Green Resources New Jersey

January 1, 2012

Just found out that Green Resources New Jersey is compiling a Green directory and offering free listings in its publication through the month of January.

A listing includes your name and logo, address and phone number; your mission statement or purpose, and a brief description of your offerings.

A few of their clients include: Martindale’s Natural Market, Springfield, PA; Green Hospitality, Failte, Ireland; Historical Society of Princeton, NJ; and Fernbrook Farms, Chesterfield, NJ.

To learn how to enter your company or organization, visit the Green Resources New Jersey website.

Getting more work done

December 31, 2010

Jason Fried doesn’t like business meetings. Why? Because, he says, “Meetings are places to go to talk about things you’re supposed to be doing later.”  The problem with this process is that it disrupts work flow. If you’re in the midst of a creative or logical endeavor, you must interrupt your course of action, however productive it may be, to attend the meeting.

What Fried does like is uninterrupted blocks of time.  Having an entire morning or afternoon dedicated to the project at hand gives you time to settle in and focus your energy on getting the job done. Too often, a person who spends his or her day in a business office ends up with, not a work day, but work minutes.

 That’s why work doesn’t happen at work, argued Fried in a presentation so titled, given to a TED audience this past October on the Ted.com website.

 In addition to formal meetings, there are other interruptions such as mandatory lunches, informal sessions, phone calls, etc. 

 Solutions for Managers
For a manager desiring more productivity, one obvious solution is to allow people to work from home, at least on a part-time basis.

 For work done at the office, Fried suggests:
– Cut back on the number of formal meetings. Fried claims that managers would probably be surprised to learn how many meetings are not necessary.
–  Make use of collaborative software, email, and messaging systems so people can share ideas and tasks without the need for everyone to assemble in one particular place for a set time period.
– Have a “no talk” day or a “no talk” morning at least once a month. The intent is for everyone to have a period of time to just work on his or her project without interruption. 

The best gift a manager can give a worker is a block of uninterrupted time, insists Fried. His final comment: “I think it’ll pay off in the end.”

To listen to Fried’s presentation, visit the TED website, Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work.

This blog is an excerpt from Getting More Work Done published on WebAndOfficeWorks.com

Back to Wisdom2

June 16, 2010

Videos and highlights from the Wisdom2.0 Conference are now available. The event, which took place April 30-May 2, challenges us to use technology in ways that support the well-being of ourselves and our communities.

See the dialogues and presentations from panelists from Google, Twitter, Upaya Zen Center, Facebook, and other organizations at www.wisdom2summit.com .

 An introduction to the conference was posted on this blog March 30, 2010.