Hillsdale Environmental Commission

Natural Resource and Preservation Hillsdale, NJ

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Believe in the Bees

Faith Macchione is a student at Pascack Valley High School and also a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts. After hearing that her high school was implementing an on-site beekeeping program, she chose to focus her Gold Award project on improving community awareness of the importance of honey bees. Honey bees are critical pollinators, and their decline over the last several years is a significant environmental concern for our shared ecosystem.

We encourage you to visit Faith’s website – “Believe in the Bees” to learn more about the importance of honey bees to global sustainability. We are proud of the way that Faith and other Hillsdale student citizens are dedicated to improving our community and the world through sustainability projects and education.



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Plastic Free July

The concept of a Plastic Free July started in Australia almost 10 years ago. The idea is very simple… get people to pledge to spend just one month trying to rid the world of plastics. Once you try and see how good you feel and the good you are doing, you will never go back!

Check out their website, plasticfreejuly.org, for many ideas and where you can start reducing plastic waste at home, school, the office and more. Or you can try starting by eliminating what is considered to be the big four in your own life: plastic shopping/grocery bags, plastic straws, plastic water bottles and ‘disposable’ coffee cups.

  • Plastic bags – aside from grocery shopping where you should be using a reusable bag (and saving a few cents at some stores), did you ever go into a store, buy one small item and have the clerk start to put that small item into a plastic bag? Just say ‘No bag, thank you! Save the earth!’
  • Plastic straws – state before your order that you do not need a straw and have your own reusable straw with you. Suggest to the store that they only give straws on request. There are many such straws available and some are even collapsible so they can with you at all times! Kick the Plastic Straw Habit
  • Plastic water bottle – stainless steel, glass, aluminum reusable bottles can all replace those single use water bottles. Who likes the taste of plastic in their water anyway?
  • ‘Disposable’ coffee cups – It used to be easier to have the stores refill your mug before the days of Covid-19, but remember that even those paper cups (forget about Styrofoam) are not recyclable because of their plastic lining. Brew and bring your own in a reusable mug or maybe take a break from the caffeine and drink some lemon water from your reusable water bottle instead!

Think of it as a fun (yet educating) project for the family this summer. Think of it as just doing the right thing for the planet.

For mote information and to take the challenge, see the plasticfreejuly.org website : Take the Challenge

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A Very Different Earth Day – 2020

For those of us old enough, it is hard to believe that it has been 50 years since peace activist John McConnell from California first suggested a day to honor our earth and Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin proposed a national day of environmental education  – Earth Day – to be held on April 22nd.

Whether born from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962, or the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil spill or combination of those and other environmental activisms of the 1960’s, Earth Day has served to remind us all how precious our little planet is. The fight to save it is as urgent as ever. Despite myriad successes there are times it feels like we take two steps forward and one (or more) steps back.

This year the 50th Earth Day will also be different for obvious reasons.  But don’t let social distancing stop you from celebrating, sharing and doing your part!

  • Find a digital event at : https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/#map
  • Plant native flowers or a veggie garden; call Marsala Hardware or Bergen County Garden Center in Hillsdale for seeds and supplies
  • Read up on composting and start a compost bin
  • Build a water garden
  • Cut back on plastics
  • Search online for a native tree that is a perfect fit for your backyard and call a local contractor for ordering and installation

Celebrate Earth Day but remember our everyday actions are the true measure of our commitment. Let us know how you spent your Earth Day 2020.


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State plastic ban in limbo

On Monday, January 13th, 2020, the NJ Senate passed a bill eliminating the use of single use plastics but the measure, which would have been the strongest in the nation, has yet to be voted on by the NJ Assembly. The hold up may be due to a debate over whether paper bags should also be included in the ban. 

ANJEC credits the positive actions taken so far on public and municipal support. They urge all voters to contact their Assembly representatives and also to encourage their municipalities to take up the matter on a local level. 

For more information on single use plastic pollution see : ANJEC website

For story on the NJ State House actions, see : North Jersey News


Styrofoam trays eliminated in Hillsdale schools

For some time we have known that Styrofoam is an unnecessary, unsustainable material that is bad for the environment.  It is toxic and difficult to recycle, most often ending up in garbage or in the air we breathe or in our precious waterways.

Styrofoam food trays had been used for some time in the Hillsdale School system. It seemed odd to be teaching our children about the environment and what we can do to save the planet, yet serve them cafeteria meals on Styrofoam trays.

Thanks to the efforts of parents, PTA’s and FFA’s at our schools, our Superintendent Mr. Lombardy, and the Hillsdale Board of Education, the schools have switched to paper trays this year and have eliminated the Styrofoam trays in the cafeterias!

According to Mr. Lombardy, “This has a very minimal effect on our budget, yet lets our student body see a consistent message when it comes to the environment. It was just the right thing to do on so many levels.”

A lesson and a win for all!

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Bi-State Cleanup for Earth Day

Environmental Cleanup 4/27/19 9am-11am

Join the Hillsdale EC, Hillsdale Scout Troops and numerous other organizations and towns in the Hackensack River Watershed as we clean our communities and waterways.

Check in anytime from 9:00-11:00 on Saturday April 27th, 2019.

Please register (especially groups) with name and approximate number of participants by email to hec@hillsdalenj.org. Pizza lunch thank you provided at noon for volunteers (please bring your own reusable water bottle). High school participants receive community service hours.

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Sapling Distribution on April 15th!

Free Seedlings for Hillsdale residents and neighbors- week of April 15-20. “New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign Provides Free Tree Seedlings to Residents in New Jersey.”

Pick-up locations: Hillsdale, NJ at George White School, Meadowbrook School, St. John’s School, Ann Blanche Smith School and Hillsdale DPW (Tues-Sat or as long as supply lasts).

FREE TREE SEEDLINGS will be available during the school day on Monday April 15 outside the entrance of the above locations. Pick up for George White is on the basketball court. Any remaining seedlings for pick up will also be available at the Hillsdale DPW from April 16-April 20.

The seedlings will come with instructions on how to store, care for and where to plant them. Instructions also included on website listed below. Residents should plant the seedlings within two days after receiving them to prevent the roots from drying out.

The New Jersey Tree Recovery campaign is a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the New Jersey of State Forestry Service

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events being planned in Hillsdale:

Spring events currently being planned for the upcoming spring season are the Bi-State Clean-Up on April 27th and a sapling distribution (supplies limited) on April 15th. Stay tuned. Details to follow!

Upcoming seminar at FDU  *Free and Open to the Public* 

Handling our Trash: Getting to a Circular Carbon Economy – nfrpp.org

Americans live with waste every day — a growing problem. Recycling is one of the ways we can have a positive impact on our environment.  Recycling can also provide us with renewable sources of energy which help reduce greenhouse gases. A zero waste recycling strategy only works if we understand our shopping, consumption and disposal habits, with the goal to move toward zero trash sent to landfill and incineration.  This knowledge will not only make us better recyclers but also better voters as we help shape local, state and national environmental policy. This program will clear up confusion and address how to achieve renewable energy and a low carbon economy.