At the College, many student groups and individuals work to instill sustainable environmental habits and practices. When it comes to improving the local Ewing community, concerned students and faculty have allies for helping to improve Ewing’s overall environmental practices.
The Ewing Green Team, founded in 2009, strives to “promote environmental best practices to help Ewing go green, save money and take steps to sustain our community’s quality of life over the long term,” according to its mission statement. Recently, the team’s projects have focused on expanding Ewing’s community garden project, improving energy efficiency and promoting health and awareness, according to its website.
The Ewing community garden on the Whitehead Road extension offers residents of Ewing an opportunity to manage a garden plot for $5 a year, according to Peter Boughton, the chairperson of the Ewing Green Team.
“We hope the garden inspires more local food production and healthier eating choices,” Boughton said.
The food in the garden belongs to the resident who cultivated it, but according to Boughton, plans are in the works to facilitate the sharing of extra produce.
The community gardens also offer an opportunity for collaboration between the College and townspeople. According to Boughton, there are clean-up days when volunteers from the town and the College come together to maintain the garden.
The next clean-up day will be Saturday, Sept. 21, and it will have both members of the College and the town working to mulch the gardens, according to Boughton.
“The College doesn’t work directly with the Green Team, but Bonners and other student organizations do,” said Michael Nordquist, political science professor and liaison between the Bonner center and the Green Team. “We also work with several other local municipalities.”
In addition to inspiring local produce and healthful food choices, the Ewing Green Team has also focused on improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.
In the past year and a half, the Green Team’s energy efficiency committee audited the municipal building and Hollowbrook Center. One notable improvement was the installation of an energy-reflecting white roof on Town Hall, which will help save on climate control costs, according to the 2012 Green Team Report.
“The Hollowbrook Community Center still needs upgrades, but the township does things step-wise and gradually. This year the heating and cooling systems are going to be upgraded,” Boughton said.
Another one of Boughton’s initiatives is an anti-idling campaign to encourage people to turn off their cars when waiting in front of businesses and schools. To help facilitate this, Boughton and other Green Team members encouraged businesses in town to post anti-idling signs.
According to Boughton, the town will supply these signs for free and will even help store owners set them up.
“Local police don’t like to bother with things like (stopping people from idling), so we are trying to encourage people to do the right thing voluntarily,” Boughton said.
The last initiative of the Green Team is to help with trail development through Ewing. Some improvements have been made to the old trolley track that runs behind Rider, according to Boughton.
In order to show people the importance of trails and open spaces, Ewing and nearby towns are looking to connect as many trails as possible, Boughton said.