UNION COUNTY, NJ — Union, Cranford, Berkeley Heights and New Providence were chosen to receive Sustainable Jersey grants funded by the Public Service Enterprise Group Foundation at a meeting held in Cranford on April 12. They will go toward the implementation of several projects targeted at environmental concerns such as water conservation and park revitalization.
“Environmental, social and economic issues are the cornerstone to the PSEG Foundation’s support and we are committed to leading the communities in which we serve towards a more sustainable future,” said Ellen Lambert, president of the PSEG Foundation, in a recent press release.
“These projects will have a lasting impact to neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.”
Cranford’s project is titled i-Tree Inventory, and it includes the inventory of approximately 7,000 trees along the municipal roads. The inventory will allow the town to make informed decisions regarding the management of the trees. They were the recipient of a $10,000 grant.
Berkeley Heights also received a $10,000 grant for a project called Impervious Cover Reduction and Stormwater Management. This innovative project will address stormwater runoff through the use of rebates to encourage homeowners to construct rain gardens on their properties. The project is being implemented in partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Water Resource Program.
The overpopulation of deer is a growing concern among New Jersey residents, and the issue is currently being addressed by municipalities throughout the state. With the $2,000 grant received by New Providence, they will fund a project called Community Garden, where a deer-free community garden will be built where residents can learn about healthy gardening techniques and have the opportunity to cultivate fresh, all-natural produce.
“We’ve had a lot of support to build the community garden,” said Barbara Friedman of New Providence. “With the help of the grant, the cost is defrayed and now we can buy a shed and complete the project quickly. We are very grateful for the support.”
Union received a $2,000 grant to fund a project called Green Team Re-Activation. They plan to encourage a greater amount of activity to do sustainable action items. The green team will be revitalized with the funds.
“The township of Union is excited to reinvigorate our Green initiatives with the small grant from Sustainable New Jersey. We are proud of how far we have come, but recognize how far we still need to go to ensure a solid, and environmentally conscious future for all of our residents,” said Union Mayor Manuel Figueiredo in a press release.
Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs. Currently, 77 percent, or 434 of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities are participating in the municipal certification program and 163 school districts and 428 schools are participating in the new Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program.
“These grants support green teams and municipalities working to bring innovative sustainability projects forward that will shape the future of their residents for years to come,” said Donna Drewes, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Randall Solomon, in a recent press release. She extended her congratulations to all of the towns that received grants.
“The grants we’re awarding today will also help build capacity as municipalities move sustainability programs forward,” Drewes said.