Rain Garden Volunteers

2014 Year End Review

Who we are:

Currently, there are five appointed EAC Members who bring diverse backgrounds including science and ecology, accounting, environmental policy and engineering. Your appointed members are: Steve Maakestad (Chair), Susan Johnsson, Matt Cooley, and Stephanie Figary. Additional associates and friends that include Susan Curry, Mary-Margaret Monser and Chris Raines greatly enhance our efforts. We face 2015 with a few vacant seats and will start meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

What we did in 2014:

The EAC contributes to the environmental health of Ambler in several arenas. Throughout the year, the EAC was active with the following accomplishments:

  • 100 Rain Gardens of Ambler: In April, May and September, we managed the installation of seven rain gardens: five in the spring and two in September. The two fall rain gardens were accomplished as part of an Eagle Scout project.  Ambler now has 22 rain gardens in total.   The EAC wrote and acquired a $5,000 WREN grant to support the costs of these rain gardens. Significant coordination with homeowners, vendors, accounting and reporting for the grant was carried out by EAC members.  In addition, the EAC recruited volunteers who provided the bulk of the labor through the Wissahickon Interact Club and Key Club, Boy Scouts and VolunteerMatch.com. The Ambler Farmers Market helped promote the rain garden campaign.
  • Wissahickon Stream Clean-up: Also in April, we coordinated a team of 11 volunteers who tackled trash pick-up on two tributaries to the creek as part of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association Annual Stream Clean-Up Day.
  • Battery/Bulb Recycling Campaign: In May, we advertised and coordinated the drop-off and disposal of expired batteries and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. The total gathered material was estimated to be about 100 lbs. of recycled batteries and bulbs.
  • Tours: In June, the EAC organized a tour of the Ambler Wastewater Treatment Plant, and in July a Tour of the Covanta Trash-to-Steam Plant.
  • Composting Workshop: In October, the EAC organized a backyard composting workshop with approximately 20 attendees. The EAC had advertised the workshop with a sample compost bin on display at Oktoberfest and in the Borough lobby. Fourteen households purchased compost bins at a subsidized price following the workshop.
  • Participation in Borough Processes: EAC members attended Borough Committee meetings, Borough Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, and Zoning Board hearings. The EAC met with the Parks and Recreation Committee to address concerns with Borough Park.
  • BoRit Asbestos Community Advisory Group (CAG): An EAC member attends and contributes to the CAG meetings that are held six times a year regarding the Asbestos issues and remediation in Ambler.
  • Facebook Page/Website/Outreach: For better communication with the residents of Ambler, the EAC created a Facebook page that now has almost 100 followers. We are also revamping and updating the EAC website (http://www.amblereac.org/). In addition, we contribute several educational articles as outreach to residents in each issue of the “Hometown News”.

The EAC has big plans for 2015.

We will continue similar programs and initiatives as were done in 2014 and will initiate some new ideas as well, some of which are listed below.

  • Rain Garden Program: We will move into a facilitated and funded “Do-It-Yourself model” that will provide interested homeowners with technical and financial support while the homeowners will become responsible to provide the labor and half the costs. We will coordinate a second rain garden tour to educate residents and gain interest.
  • Earth Day: We will coordinate an “Earth Day” educational event on April 18th in coordination with members of the Calvary Church.   We’ll have booths and activities and hope that Ambler Main Street will adopt continuing this as an annual April event.
  • Spring Mini-Campaign will focus on Water Conservation to educate the community and support homeowners in the face of raised water rates.
  • A Borough Park Clean-up Day will be organized to help maintain the park and remove invasive species.

We appreciate the support that Borough Council provides through budget allocation and council member participation in our events. We also appreciate the cordial and transparent relationship we have with Mary Aversa. We look forward to supporting the Borough from an environmentally conscious and sustainable perspective. We are happy to help and are open to new ideas and programs. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions. You can reach us at amblereac@gmail.com.