ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF MEETING OF MAY 23, 2005
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Heil moved to approve the minutes of May 23, 2005. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 3-0.
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, May 23, 2005, in the Martindell House, Newtown Township Municipal Complex. In attendance and voting were: D.L. McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman (late); Michael Kaner, Secretary; Nancy Crescenzo, and William N. Heil, members. Also in attendance was Jay Sensibaugh, Planning Commission Liaison.
Call to Order
Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:35.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Heil moved to approve the minutes of April 25, 2005. Mrs. Crescenzo seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Dr. McEachron abstaining.
Ms. Sciarratta arrived at 7:40 PM.
Dr. McEachron reported that he has had a response from the Wrightstown Environmental Advisory Council, and that Ms. Sciarratta has agreed to attend their meetings to observe. He has not heard from Upper Makefield or Lower Makefield. He has not yet written to the Pennsylvania State representatives.
Goals and Objectives
Dr. McEachron said that he had been investigating ways to collect and analyze data in a sustainable way. He has done some additional research on the “GLOBE” program, which he had mentioned at the first EAC meeting. He said that the program seems to offer an easy way to gather information by working with school children to fulfill the State Education Standards in science.
Dr. McEachron said that he has some concerns about possibly bouncing from project to project without any clear direction if there is not reliable data available. He said that at this time EAC does not have a budget or manpower to begin gathering data.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that if the EAC were to make a proposal for a project to the Board of Supervisors then money could be budgeted to fund the project. She said that at different times the Board of Supervisors has discussed such environmental projects as reforestation and meadowing of open space and unused areas in the Township parks. She said that there are many programs offering free or very inexpensive trees for reforestation. She suggested reviewing the Township maps to locate open space. She also suggested that the Council consider looking at the Clark Nature Center, a Township owned park, which is very environmentally sensitive.
Ms. Sciaratta suggested focusing on a stream or creek for a first project, perhaps approaching schools for help in gathering data.
Mrs. Crescenzo suggested speaking to representatives of the science and biology departments at Bucks County Community College. The science students there are required to gather water, soil and plant samples for their biology classes. She thought that the students could be asked to gather samples in Newtown Township and share data with the EAC. This could help identify problem areas. She also suggested asking Boy Scouts to help with EAC projects for their Eagle service projects.
Dr. McEachron said that he would contact the biology department at the Community College to discuss this idea. He said that the collection of data could then filter down through high school, middle school and elementary school age children.
Mr. Sensibaugh and the recording secretary noted that Bill Wert, the Township Park and Recreation Director and the Park and Recreation Board are involved in an ongoing series of grant applications for trees and for park development for passive recreation. It was suggested that Mr. Wert be contacted for information about current Park and Public Works projects already underway.
The Council agreed that Mrs. Crescenzo would contact the Park and Recreation Board and act as liaison. (Mrs. Crescenzo left the meeting at this point.)
Dr. McEachron agreed to speak to Mr. Wert and invite him to the next meeting.
Mr. Heil and Ms. Sciarratta each presented lists of possible projects that they had prepared. Highlighted on these lists were projects focusing on Newtown Creek. Mr. Heil said that partnering with Newtown Borough on a creek project would be a good idea, and that this might qualify for a DCNR Community Partnership grant or DEP’s Growing Greener program.
The Council agreed that Newtown Creek might be a good starting point for a first project. Mr. Heil noted that this creek has not been studied. Dr. Kaner said that the public comment at the last meeting had been about the water quality of the creek. Ms. Sciarratta suggested that she would contact River Keepers to learn about what data should be collected about the stream bank, water shed and water quality. The Council briefly discussed partnering with River Keepers, the Heritage Conservancy or ALLARM, the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring.
Mr. Sensibaugh noted that Mr. Heil’s list of possible projects also included a number of projects to educate the public on environmental issues. He suggested that some of these ideas be considered. He suggested that the EAC also consider creating an environmental appreciation program to recognize local businesses that show environmental sensitivity. He told the Council that the Planning Commission had recently reviewed a plan for a “green building”, which uses recycled and recyclable materials and is energy efficient. He provided an article on green building for the members to review.
The Council discussed using the Township Web site as a way to keep the public involved in environmental issues. They agreed to ask the Township Manager to help provide a way for residents to contact Council members with ideas, suggestions and complaints on environmental matters through e-mail.
Dr. Kaner agreed to investigate programs for awarding businesses for environmental sensitivity.
Mr. Heil said he would contact Newtown Borough about a possible Newtown Creek project. He would begin to delineate the watershed of the creek.
Ms. Sciarratta would contact River Keepers about Newtown Creek.
Referring to the earlier discussion of gathering data by using school and scout groups, Ms. Sciarratta said that she would provide copies of state educational standards in science/ecology at the next meeting.
Mr. Heil moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Ms. Sciarratta seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary