From left to right: Jack Theodore, Avery Albanese, Charlotte Stant, Michael Benedetto (President), Cassidy Cashion, Erin Kenney
From left to right: Ella Saric, Lilly LeRoy, Caroline Finn, Charlie Patton, Person Meek, Michael Chen, Reed Hall, Quinn Lumsden
The Junior Green Team has a unique perspective on how sustainable practices affect our community and how younger people in particular can be a part of a transition to sustainable practices. A perfect example is the multifaceted anti-idling project. The Team conducted detailed research on the effects of idling in our community, identified where idling is most likely to occur and worked with the Environmental Commission to create an Action Plan to address the issue. The team created a written report with a detailed map of where idling occurs most frequently, requested signs for those locations, proposed the reprinting of educational bookmarks to hand out at the more busy locations and collaborated with the Environmental Commission to propose a No Idling Resolution that would codify the state mandate in our municipal code. Please email email@example.com with any questions about the Rumson Junior Green Team.
SPOTLIGHT: Madeline Barber
Madeline Barber is a senior at Trinity Hall High School and one of the most creative members of the Rumson Junior Green Team. In addition to finding inspired and inventive ways the municipality can help Rumson become more sustainable, Madeline pours her passion for environmental issues into all aspects of her life. She founded the Trinity Hall Environmental Club, advocates within her school to improve recycling practices, works hard to support the efforts of the Rumson Junior Green Team, and is an active volunteer for Clean Ocean Action. She has completed the Conservation Biology and Sustainability: Sustaining the Planet course at Columbia University, where she learned best practices for incorporating sustainability at the municipal and local school level. She brings her knowledge back to her community by speaking to the students and creating posters clarifying recycling guidelines, developing educational games and activities for children in the community such as the incredibly popular Environmental Bingo Games and Earth Day Scavenger Hunt, and being a familiar face a local environmental events and festivals. Next year, she will be running at Bucknell University where she plans to major in Environmental Studies and will continue working with sustainability focused organizations.
KRISTEN ROLFES HALL:
In 2020, you joined the Rumson Junior Green Team and started helping with community engagement on sustainability issues. You created some really interesting games and activities (Earth Day Bingo & Earth Day Scavenger Hunt) for the younger kids in our community and you are an active volunteer for community events. Can you talk a little about why you think activities like this are important?
MADELINE BARBER: Eco-friendly activities, like the ones produced through the Rumson Junior Green Team, are so important to have the younger generation involved in. It is our responsibility to impart the knowledge of how to care for our earth to young kids, so that they can learn how to make a change in a positive direction. The first step to creating change is being knowledgeable on the topic. I think that by teaching the kids lessons in a fun way, like playing bingo or going on a scavenger hunt, they will want to continue caring for the environment. I hope that by giving them these activities, we can plant a seed of passion for the environment in their heads and they can share these lessons with their friends. I love seeing the younger kids have fun and learn how to be eco-conscious at the same time!
K R H: You founded and lead the Environmental Club at Trinity Hall, can you let us know what you have done at Trinity Hall to help raise awareness for environmental issues?
M B: Primarily, I love answering questions about the environment and how we can make changes for the better. I am always recommending plastic free products to my friends! Besides this, I have presented to Trinity Hall the importance of recycling and how we can properly recycle our waste. I have made posters that are hung above every trash can that tell you what you can and cannot recycle. In the Environmental Club, we are currently working on bottle bricks that will line the school garden. Bottle bricks are empty plastic water bottles filled with soft plastics that are packed tightly, in order to resemble a building brick. They will be holding in the dirt for the garden. I have also sent out Earth Day guides that have a range of tips and tricks for caring for our earth, which I am planning to do again this year! Most importantly, because we have been eating outside at Trinity Hall, the club has been cleaning up any trash left behind in the school yard.
K R H: If you could help change one behavior of people in the Two Rivers area that would lead to a healthier environment, what would it be and why?
I think that one of the most important changes we need to make in the Two Rivers area would be the reduction of excessive plastic consumption. Plastic bags are a part of many people’s everyday lives, even though they are detrimental to our environment. In a landfill, plastic takes many years to decompose and release toxins into the air and ground once they do finally decompose. When plastic burns in the incinerator, which is used to turn waste into ash, harmful gases, like CO2 and BCPs are emitted into the environment. These emissions then trap heat in our atmosphere, which causes global heating. Additionally, plastic bags clog water drainage systems and can be mistaken for food by a variety of animals. To avoid these issues, it is important to not only dispose of the plastic correctly (recycling the right types and using local collection bins), but also to get to the root of the problem by totally eliminating it from our households. Some easy swaps for plastic-free products are silicone bags or tupperware, reusable grocery bags, bar shampoo, toothpaste tablets, bamboo toothbrushes and hairbrushes, etc. The list could go on and on! I hope that more people can become conscious about the impact of plastic on our environment and research some easy swaps for plastic to prevent this problem.
K R H:
What are you hoping to study in college?
I am hoping to study either Environmental Studies or Environmental Science in college!