Meeting held on February 24, 2014

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 24, 2014 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Steven Jenks, Vice Chairman Shannon Escalante and members Steven Bacher, Pam Fitzpatrick and Autumn Thomas. Also in attendance was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.

Approval of Minutes: Ms. Thomas moved to accept the minutes of January 27, 2014. Mrs. Fitzpatrick seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Ms. Escalante abstaining.

Old/New Business

Partnership with Park and Recreation Board and Department: Mr. Jenks reported that he has been working with Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko on promoting EAC sponsored events and discussing ideas for future partnerships. Mrs. Pawlenko has suggested inviting her two program directors to attend a future meeting to review environmentally friendly programming for both children and adults. Kathleen Kimble, the adult programming director, already has a number of connections with groups like the Food Shed Alliance. .

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition has not met recently, but has been discussing ways to improve its Web site.

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Commission recently reviewed a concept plan for 1 and 5 North Sycamore Street for a mixed use development which would include renovation of existing apartment houses and the addition of a retail shop and Meglio’s restaurant with patio. Access to Newtown Creek from this property was discussed and the owners seemed interested in providing a view of the creek or possible seating. The drop is very steep from the parking lot to the creek so some fencing would be required.

Mr. Jenks asked whether the Township ever considers using porous pavers in construction projects.

Mr. Fisher said that the Ordinance calculates porous pavers as impervious because of the issues with ongoing maintenance. Some applicants are encouraged to use porous pavers but there is no bonus for their use.

Project Updates

Earth Day: Mr. Jenks reported that Ms. Easterly has gotten a donation of wood and CR South wood shop has offered to cut birdhouse pieces for assembly as the EAC’s project for the Earth Day celebration at Core Creek Park on April 26, 2014. Mrs. Pawlenko suggested planning on 100 bird houses, some assembled and ready for decorating and some put together as kits for older children to assemble at the event.

Ms. Fitzpatrick said that she would gather some information to include with the bird houses on attracting and feeding birds.

The members considered possibly using milk cartons for basic bird feeders for very small children to decorate.

All agreed to meet at Ms. Thomas’s home on March 22, 2014 to assemble additional bird houses if necessary and to review ideas for decorating materials.

Clark Nature Center: Mr. Jenks said that he has not had time to review the Stewardship Plan but suggested that he might want to outline some ideas to work with the Park and Recreation Board to help maintain the property.

Environmental Forum: Mr. Jenks confirmed that the next forum on alternative energy will be held in the Township main meeting room on Saturday morning, April 12, 2014 at 9:30 AM. He would need the projector and screen. The event is being promoted by the Park and Rec Department with e-mail blasts.

Ms. Thomas said that she would share her various press contacts for further promotion of the event.

Ms. Escalante volunteered to provide refreshments for the event.

Bird Town: Ms. Thomas reported that the upcoming bird town training in Newtown has been canceled. The Audubon Society has decided to use a regional approach and will be sponsoring training events county wide instead. The next Bucks County event will be at Honey Hollow in Solebury on March 29, 2014.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante said that she would include information on tree trimming and pruning to save trees damaged in recent storms.

Mr. Bacher said that he could provide information on how to stop junk mail and phone books.

Member Comments

Ms. Thomas shared information of a regional EAC conference the week of May 3.

Ms. Thomas suggested that the EAC take a booth at Welcome Day. She said that last year she featured Bird Town and got a number of families to sign up for evaluations. She would try to get some plants to give out at the booth.

Mr. Bacher shared information on a sustainability conference at Delaware Valley College on April 2 and 3, 2014. He would e-mail the program to members.

The EAC members briefly discussed astronomy and youth interest in science. This might be a topic of interest for a Park and Rec program.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary