Oct. 20, 2011 Meeting Minutes

Commission Member Attendees: Tom Riordan, Sarah Jelin, Dawn Williams, Howard Levison, Jim McGowan
Public Participants: Holly Scalera, Alyssa Aronson

1. Minutes of previous meeting approved.

2. Holly Scalera of Holly Grow Lightly Landscaping presented attributes of low-impact vs. high-impact methods:
a. High-impact “conventional”
i. Requires high maintenance
ii. Uses very polluting gas-powered equipment that raises dust and allergens throughout entire neighborhoods
iii. Phosphate fertilizers run-off and kill aquatic life
iv. Herbicides to kill “weeds” are highly toxic to all life (inc. humans)
v. Indiscriminate mowing practices
vi. Water needs are greater
vii. Salt used on paved areas damages pavements plus runs off and pollutes streams
viii. Leaves are considered garbage to be removed at town expense
b. Low-impact “green”
i. Low maintenance (eg. no aeration necessary)
ii. No polluting equipment (hand and electric only)
iii. Grounds are laid-out to maximize oxygen-production (increase plantings around lawns, tree health, etc.)
iv. Mowing performed strategically
v. No phosphates – natural fertilizers used
vi. No herbicides – plants identified, soil analyzed, and grounds maintained accordingly to minimize unwanted vegetation
vii. Lower water needs
viii. Leaves are composted onsite and used next season
ix. Brine used instead of salt on paved areas
x. Same price as “conventional” in short-term, lower when all factors are considered over the long-term
xi. Substantial health, environmental, and financial benefits
c. Holly added that people want to eliminate leaf blowers. Cutting down to electric blowers used properly would be acceptable.

3. JM suggested growing the market for such services via info on the website, and developing a flyer, insert, or article for the gaslight. TR suggested developing a list of organic landscapers. HL suggested including the new ordinance for landscapers. TR laid out the principal that “all organic matter stays on the property.”

4. Holly suggested an ad campaign: “South Orange is going Green.” People don’t know about the EC, and such a campaign could also heighten EC profile. Banner at train station?

5. River Day: JM handed out initial action list. SJ volunteered to do school outreach/advertising. DW volunteered to contact neighborhood associations. AA suggested a poster contest, and she offered to volunteer. JM will get back to her on a specific area. TR offered to coordinate participation by Project Porchlight.

6. SL attended Essex County Environmental Center meeting on anti-idling campaigns. Laura Harris could be asked to write a “cop grant” to enforce the S.O. anti-idling law. Jennifer Duckworth gave a presentation that HL said he can put on S.O. local tv at a PSA. Also, 10,000 bookmarks can be printed for $250. Verona had a poster contest.

7. HL announced that solar panels will be installed on the Middle School, Clinton School, and the DPW garage. Also, the town will at some point institute single stream recycling.

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