Hillsdale Environmental Commission

Natural Resource and Preservation Hillsdale, NJ

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“Every Bag Counts” – self-produced video by Teaneck Cadette Girl Scout Troop 19


The Paramus Post

Self-Produced Campaign Video to Screen at Teaneck International Film Festival

Teaneck Cadette Girl Scout Troop 19 is launching a campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags in Teaneck.  As part of the campaign, the troop is showing a self-produced video called Every Bag Counts to classmates, teachers, parents, and friends, and at the

Teaneck International Film Festival, November 7-9, 2014. 
The troop is also collecting signatures for a petition with the goal of persuading the Town Council to ban, or charge money for using, plastic bags in Teaneck.

For information and updates about the Troop 19 film and all TIFF 2014 programs, go towww.teaneckfilmfestival.org.

For information about Troop 19 & Every Bag Counts: Kelly Sheehan and Jean Myers:  Kelly@rainlake.com; 917-701-2899, jeanwmyers@hotmail.com, 201-658-2779.
For information about TEANECK FILM FESTIVAL:  Judy Distler, jam1026@aol.com
For information about Hackensack RiverKeeper:  Captain Hugh Carola, Program Director. –Hugh@HackensackRiverKeeper.org, 201-968-0808

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Kids For Earth™ scouting program in Hillsdale starting soon!


Kids for Earth, a local nonprofit dedicated to learning to live sustainably in modern society, offers a co-ed scouting program and K4E classes.

Children in elementary and middle school can participate in environmental learning activities.

To learn more about K4E, visit www.unitedforearth.org or call 202-630-2013.

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NYC Wildlife Conservation Film Festival


Mark your calendar for October 13th – 19th, 2014, when the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival comes to New York City!

Among the 75+ films series highlights this year:
– WHITE GOLD narrated by Hillary Rodham on 10/13

– GAME OF LIONS narrated by Academy Award Winner Jeremy Irons on 10/14

– BORN TO BE WILD in IMAX on 10/15

-ISLAND OF LEMURS: MADAGASCAR narrated by Morgan Freeman. In IMAX on 10/15

– MAPPING THE BLUE presented by the Living Oceans Foundation on 10/16


Dr. Nan Hauser, Director of the Cook Islands Whale & Wildlife Centre

Dr. Tara Stoinski of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

World-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas

Anti-poaching ranger Matt Bracken.

And 25 additional Q&A sessions with award-winning film directors, producers, leading scientists, and conservationists.

Go to http://wcff2014.tumblr.com/ to explore more films!


AMC Empire 25
NYIT Auditorium
The Helen Mills Theater


New York’s Wildlife Conservation Film Festival 2014 provides a platform to inspire, engage, and educate audiences through film. The festival promotes programs and projects that contribute to biodiversity conservation and celebration of the natural world.

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Emerson Woods Stream Restoration Project

Please see the attached information from Bergen SWAN.

The Emerson Woods project is a recent excellent example of sustainable watershed management. Some of the methods used on breaking fast running water overflows were using natural elements like planted graduating stream embankments along with strategically placed fallen tree trunks with exposed root systems.

A two year part time Stream Restoration Technician position is available, a possible internship opportunity or service learning project.

For more information contact http://www.emersonnj.org
or Lori Charley at Bergen SWAN at bergenswan@sprynet.com



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Leave Leaves Alone!


Will your lawn suffer if you don’t remove the fallen leaves from it?

In a nutshell: Yes. But forget about raking; make your mower do double duty as a leaf shredder and vacuum.

The whole story: Winter rains and snow turn fluffy layers of leaves into dense, soggy mats that can kill your grass by denying it oxygen and encouraging disease. Even during dry winters, a thick layer of leaves on your lawn blocks sunlight and reduces air circulation. If you shred your leaves into small pieces with your mower, you can leave them where they fall without suffocating your lawn.

A mulching mower—one fitted with a blade that chops leaves and grass clippings into small pieces—does the job best, but a side-discharge mower works, too. Get ready to shred by setting the mower height to 3 inches and removing the bag. It’s best to shred leaves when you can still see some grass peeking through them, which means that you may need to pull out the mower more than once this fall if you have big trees.

Begin mowing on the outside edge of your lawn, making sure that you shoot the leaves toward the middle of the yard. Mowing in this pattern also allows you to mow over the leaves more than once and keeps them from ending up on your sidewalks. If the leaves are still in fairly large pieces after your first pass, go back over the lawn at a right angle to your first cut. Finely shredded leaves filter down through the grass and easily decompose by next spring.

If a thick layer of shredded leaves buries your lawn, you must suck up the extra leaves by making one more pass over the lawn with the mower’s bag attached. You can also mow with the bag on if you want to collect leaves for your compost pile, or to use as mulch in your garden beds. It’s best to have no more than a 1-inch layer of leaf mulch on lawns and a 3-to-4-inch layer on garden beds. Mulched leaves return valuable micronutrients to your lawn and gardens (especially when mixed with grass clippings) and feed the microorganisms and worms that keep your soil—and your grass—healthy.



On a second note:

It’s that time of year again … time to be reminded about how nuts we all are about lawns. This came from Long Island landscaper Joseph Costanzo who has seen the light and is looking into mulching!


GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?”
ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a really stupid movie about…..
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.




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People’s CLIMATE MARCH on 9/21/14


Find updates on



This is an invitation to change everything.

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

To change everything, we need everyone on board.
Sunday, September 21 in New York City. Join us.


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Surplus backyard goods help families in need

Susan Thielemann shared the following article:

Screenshot 2014-08-02 20.51.27

Anyone who’s successfully grown backyard produce quickly learns you’re likely to end up with an ample harvest of fresh organic goods.

That’s why Gary Oppenheimer founded AmpleHarvest.org – to connect the dots between home gardeners and people in the community that need it.

“The heart of AmpleHarvest.org is a food waste solution to deal with the staggering amounts of fresh food, locally grown but not consumed across America,” Oppenheimer said.

Read full article:


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Young Mahwah environmental activist is NJ’s latest ‘Hero’

Image: Rachel Wieland, Bergen Community College

Eric Fuchs-Stengel is in the news again. Congratulations!

Read the article in the Record/NorthJersey.com:

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Ample Harvest – Green Team Hillsdale collects donated produce

Photos: Susan Thielemann

For the fourth consecutive year, Green Team Hillsdale is collecting locally grown produce from home gardens and local farms to donate to the

Hillsdale Helping Hand Food Pantry,
349 Hillsdale Ave.

A Green Team member will be at the pantry
every Sunday at 11:45 a.m. through October
to sort and organize fresh vegetables donated by Stokes Farm in Old Tappan.

Helping Hand Food Pantry has been a registered food pantry with the non-profit organization AmpleHarvest.org for four years.

Most notably, since the implementation of this campaign to Hillsdale, Stokes Farm of Old Tappan brings the Helping Hand Food Pantry fresh fruits and vegetables every Sunday from July to October, in an effort to provide those in need with fresh produce. Green Team members are there to accept this delivery on Sundays as well as to help in the distribution to clients of the pantry.

Green Team Hillsdale is looking for volunteers to donate time to this effort as well as other sustainable projects in Hillsdale. For further information on how to help, contact Grace Biener at gracelbiener@yahoo.com or call at 551-486-4191.