(Gloucester Township, NJ) – Even amidst the ongoing public health crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, students, community leaders, and officials around the world are focusing their attention on the importance of maintaining a sustainable planet this Earth Day, April 22.
Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to limit and restrict the events and gatherings that were typical of Earth Days past. Still, officials from the Camden County Board of County Commissioners and the Camden County Office of Sustainability are reminding residents of their impact on our local ecosystem and environment.
“I have heard from countless residents over the course of the pandemic that this crisis, the stay-at-home orders, and the restrictions on certain kinds of events, has renewed their love of outdoor activities,” said Commissioner Jonathan Young, liaison to the Office of Sustainability. “That renewal has also sparked a new wave of questions about how people can help to protect their local green spaces or what changes they can make to ensure that our parks, forests, and waterways remain enjoyable throughout their lifetime and beyond.”
Camden County is the only county in the state to have its own Office and Director of Sustainability. The Office assists the county’s municipalities achieve their goals of becoming more sustainable and to complete various “going green” initiatives.
The Office of Sustainability also supports sustainability in the county through a variety of its own programs, such as:
Tool Lending Library – Opened in 2015 as the first tool lending library in New Jersey, the library allows Camden County residents to take out tools on loan which can be used for home projects, gardening, and more. Additional information can be found here.
Hydroponic Greenhouse Programs – Launched in 2016, the hydroponic greenhouse program enables the office to grow fruits and vegetables year-round which are then used to supply lunches for seniors in Camden County in addition to generating revenue by partnering with local restaurants.
The Office also manages several greenhouses on its campus in Gloucester Township, where staff and volunteers grow approximately 15,000 plants (both annuals and perennials) for use in county parks and in green infrastructure projects to help alleviate flooding in Camden City, and in the coming months will also open a new Sustainability Center on campus.
“Every Earth Day I encourage our residents to enjoy the outdoors however they can and to seek out small ways that they can help protect our planet in their day-to-day lives. Take a walk, plant a garden, or help teach others about the importance of sustainable initiatives,” Young said. “Last year, the Board of Commissioners moved to end the use of all single-use plastic bags and utensils in county buildings, replacing them with reusable, compostable, or biodegradable materials. Ending your home’s reliance on single-use plastics is an extraordinary way to contribute to the overall health of our waterways and ecosystem.”
For more information about the Camden County Office of Sustainability, visit https://sustainable.camdencounty.com/. The Office will be holding a plant sale at its campus in Gloucester Township, located at 508 Lakeland Road, beginning Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional information available at CamdenCounty.com.