Category Archives: Rain Gardens Camapign

September 2016 Meeting Minutes

September 21, 2016, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM        Borough Hall Recorded by: Steve Maakestad

Members in Attendance:  

Stephen Maakestad, Susan Johnsson, Karen Polesir, Ben Bergman, Mary-Margaret Monser (Quorum)

Absent Members: 

Karen Polesir (Two Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:

Susan Curry, Chris Raines, David Morgan, Dottie Beachem

Next Meeting Date:  October 19th, 2016 at 6:40PM –
Borough Hall

Action Items by Person:

  • Steve Maakestad – Meeting minutes, lawn chemical campaign write up.
  • Susan Johnsson – Finalize 2017 budget.
    Mary-Margaret Monser – Lead rain garden (DIY/Contracted) program, attend FWBA meeting, set up table at Borough Park volunteer day.
  • Ben Bergman – Lawn chemical campaign article, Farmer’s market coordination.
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site.
  • Susan Curry – Follow-up with John Ferro on Restoration Plan for Edgewoods Preserve and Borough Park; revise TMDL lay person summary – include what property owners can do; collaborate with Karen on supervision of Red Tail in Borough Park

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:
    1. The monopole was discussed at the last meeting.  They are still trying to find a location but it may not be needed.
    2. It was noted that a Shade Tree Commission cannot be formed without the passing of a Borough ordinance.  Instead, a Shade Tree Citizens group may function to play an advisory role to the Parks and Recreation Committee.  It was recommended that one of the Public Works supervisors gain expertise in trees by taking the Tree Tenders training and going to the day-long Oct. 13 course at Haverford College for municipal tree managers.
  2. Announcement and Opportunities:
    1. Mary-Margaret will attend the next FWBA meeting and give elevator speech.
    2. Mary Margaret is planning to lead the rain garden program that would streamline the process for the EAC.  It would follow the Philadelphia Raincheck model providing property owners with list of installers.
  3. Treevitalize Tree program will take place from November 17th to 19th.  David Morgan is leading the program.  It was noted that volunteers will be needed for tree planting and watering afterwards.  The Borough will pick up the trees on the 17th and the planting will take place on the 18th and 19th.
  4. Ambler Borough Park Volunteer Day – Mary Margaret will set up a table for the EAC at the volunteer day on September 24th.  The group will meet at Tennis Avenue.  It was noted that Stiltgrass is an issue and the EAC should consider planting garlic mustard in its place.
  5. Social Media – The EAC will continue to use Facebook, Eventbrite, MailChimp and the gmail account.
  6. 2017 EAC Budget
    1. The group discussed the remaining budget for 2016 and the proposed budget for 2017.
    2. The 2017 budget will resemble the 2016 budget with some additions.  The EAC will add a $200 budget for social media.  The EAC will propose to increase the rain garden budget from $1,200.00 to $2,500.00 to support new installations with more of the costs. In addition, the budget will include an item for trees and borough arks of $1550.  The total budget is expected to be $5,110.  It was noted that a designated Borough Arborist would be helpful in assisting the Shade Tree Citizens and EAC efforts.
  7. Ambler’s TMDL strategy
    1. Susan Curry and Mary Margaret will meet and finalize the TMDL summary and send to Mary Aversa for review before posting to the website/social media.
  1. Ambler Borough Park Maintenance
    1. Susan Curry will circulate the maintenance plan for detailed discussion at the next meeting.
  2. Google Docs – Anyone that has questions can reach out to Ben Bergman for help.  Susan noted that she uses the following email address for Google Docs:  suscurry3126@gmail.com
  3. Lawn Chemicals – Steve and Ben will meet and draft an article for the fall mini-campaign.
  4. PennDOT – It was noted that PennDOT and the Borough use Roundup regularly.  The EAC will propose alternative herbicides to Elizabeth Russell that they could use.
  5. The Delaware River Watershed Conference is on March 11, 2017.  They are seeking presenters.

The meeting was adjourned around 9:00pm.

Next Meeting Date:  October 19th, 2016 at 6:40PM (3rd Wednesday)

March 16, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance:

Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Mary Margaret Monser
(No Quorum)

Absent Members:

Matt Cooley
Karen Polesir
(Two Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:

Chris Raines
Raija Suomela
Jill Sanchez
Christian Sanchez
Brooke Marshall
Ben Bergman, Greener Pastures, Farm to City
Brian Forrest
Rachel Rosenfeld
Whitney Lingle, Ambler Senior Center
Hannah Miller, Solar City

Next Meeting Date: April 20th at 7:00PM – 131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium

Action Items by Person:

  • Steve Maakestad – Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Add articles to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally. Attend BoRit Cag meeting.
  • Susan Johnsson – EAC Treasurer. Attend council meetings and report on decisions. Add articles and to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Organize Texas Hold’Em Tournament, Attend planning commission meetings. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Occasionally, add information and articles to the EAC Facebook page.
  • Chris Raines – Add monthly minutes to EAC web site and occasionally add items to the EAC Facebook page.
    Design flyer and tickets for upcoming events and tree information desktop tri-panel display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Help with Texas Hold’Em event. Schedule a showing of the Healthy Wissahickon Film.
  • Susan Curry –Edgewood Preserve project. Attend Planning Commission Meeting. Design Tree Information Desktop Display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series.

 

  • Matt Cooley – Assist with Edgewood Preserve project. Add articles to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.

 

  • Raija Suomela – Map of storm drains, Communicate with park maintenance contractor. Add info to EAC website and Facebook page. Choose some dates for Volunteer Clean up  Borough Park

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:
    • Red Tail was approved with a budget of up to $5000. Work will start in Ambler Borough Park after April 1st.
    • An accessibility grant has been approved to receive; will be used to improve sidewalks. This grant must target low income people.
    • The Hometown News has been completed and is being sent to the printer. It will be delivered to Ambler residents shortly.
    • The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on March 22nd.
  2. TMDL was discussed: According to EPA, Pennsylvania has committed to reduce its urban/suburban storm water load for nitrogen by 4%, phosphorus by 45% and sediment by 50% by 2025.  In Ambler, the phosphorus level is so high, that a 95% reduction from the current level is required.  Ambler borough is looking for alternatives.
  3. Penn State Extension Service: As of this EAC meeting, it was reported that the Penn State Extension Service could be forced to close several offices and furlough over 1000 employees throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Since that time, a new budget has been passed that provides funding to avoid the critical shutdown.
  4. Mary Jo Daley will be holding a town meeting at Ambler Borough on March 24th.
  5. Ben Bergman of Greener Pastures: discussed the Ambler Farmer’s Market. He suggests the EAC have a table on several Saturdays and stressed the importance of providing environmental educational lessons for children. Sustainability and environmental stewardship were discussed. The Farmer’s Market is held for 25 weeks from May to October each year.Several opportunities for lessons were discussed.
    1. Grace Samans has a program on growing plants.
    2. A project presenting the benefits of trees is planned.
  • Planting sunflower, squash and tomato seeds could be planned.
  1. The Wissahickon Watershed could bring their Enviroscape.
  2. Walking tours from the Farmer’s Market to the Watershed could be organized.
  3. A rain garden tour could start at the Farmer’s Market.

The Farmer’s Market has tents available for the EAC to use on Saturday mornings.

Marketing was discussed. Ben has over 4000 Facebook friends on his page. He has offered to meet with several EAC members to discuss methods of improving Facebook presence.

  1. Hannah Miller of Solar City recently held a meeting at Saxby’s to discuss a solar leasing program that is now available. This program has been available in other states for quite some time, but has come to Pennsylvania only recently. Hannah said that Solar City leases solar panels to homeowners, then installs and monitors them. Solar City owns the panels and the customer pays for the electricity through PECO in this grid-tied net-metered system. Solar City has 25,000 customers.  Hannah answered many of questions about solar energy.  Forty-six percent of Ambler residents are renters. Non-homeowner opportunities for solar were discussed including solar community gardens. The problem of residents cutting down trees to increase light to panels was mentioned. The EAC will consider organizing a mini campaign on solar energy spring 2017.
  2. A Free Workshop – Planting Bare Root Trees will be held in borough hall on April 2nd in preparation for the tree planting project that is planned for later in the month. A Penn State Watershed Steward will give the presentation.
  3. The Edgewoods Preserve fundraiser, Texas Hold’em is scheduled for Saturday, April 2nd. Mary-Margaret and Susan Curry have spearheaded this project with the help of Sal Pasceri and Tony Isabella and several EAC members and friends. An EventBrite page has been created for registration, payments and donations.
  4. Pennypack Sustainability Series: Volunteers are needed to set up and man the EAC table. The next film will be shown on Tuesday, April 12. It is called, “Cowspiracy.”

The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature‐length environmental documentary following filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

  1. A shredding event will be held in the Fort Washington Industrial Park on April 30th 11am to 2pm on at DeVry University. It is organized and sponsored by Secure Planning Group. The EAC is welcome to have a table at the event for a fee of $10 that will be used to help a physically handicapped child in the area. http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ecgpf7zucaf4f2ce&llr=rvxxu4vabAmbler Savings and Loan’s Shred Day is scheduled for May 7th 9am to 1pm. http://www.amblersavingsbank.com/More shredding events can be found at http://www.montcopa.org/documentcenter/view/8560
  2. On April 30th, the Wissahickon Watershed Stream Cleanup will be held. Each year, Susan Johnsson leads an EAC group to clean up Rose Valley Creek.
  3. The BoRit Cag meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6th. Stephen Maakestad is a member of the CAG.
  4. Whitney Lingle, Ambler Meals on Wheels Coordinator, spoke briefly about the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. The “What a Waste Program” is an anti-hunger initiative for community-based nutrition programs that reduces food waste, increases program efficiency and helps the environment while providing new sources of healthful foods to those in need. Whitney is in the process of setting up a composing program at the Senior Center.  She would also like to start a community garden at the senior center. The senior center has applied for a grant, and received a preliminary letter stating the center is a finalist.Ben Bergman mentioned that the Farmer’s Market accepts senior vouchers.
  5. Park Maintenance: Red Tail will begin removal of invasive plants in April. Plants that could be considered for removal include Knot Weed, Clematus, Privet, Honey Suckle. The lower section of the park will be the main focus.
  6. Park Cleanup: Rachel Rosenfeld is willing to set up a Park Cleanup day this summer. Raija will work with Rachel to coordinate this event.
  7. Dumping in the park has become a problem. Signs will be posted stating that dumping is prohibited.
  8. Facebook: Raija and Mary Margaret have been diligently posting information and articles on the EAC Facebook page. Rachel mentioned that the WVWA is attempting to reach a younger audience and is utilizing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  9. Transparency: Brooke Marshall discussed the need for transparency in borough government in regard to the TMDL. The five-year permit process, street sweeping, surface erosion and storm water runoff were briefly discussed.
  10. WVWA Workshop: Thursday, Apr 21, 7 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop at Wiss Valley Watershed.
  11. Suggestions to Reduce Runnoff: Pet waste, car washing, leaf waste, and fertilizer contribute to runoff and pollute streams. Sustainable parking lots, stream bank plantings, restoration projects, reestablishment of barriers between streams and developed areas are helpful.  Light pollution was discussed.. The headwaters of Rose Valley Creek are located on Temple Ambler’s property.
  12. Temple Ambler’s Earth Fest is scheduled for Friday, April 22nd.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Tour of Upper Gwynedd Preserve.
  • Mary Aversa’s suggestion:  Focus on minimizing lawn chemicals for Fall Mini-Campaign
  • Plant swap event with a Farmer’s Market, Spring 2017 (Mary Margaret)
  • Edgewoods Preserve Tree Fest: on Edgewood Drive

The meeting was adjourned around 9:15pm.

February 17, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance:

Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Susan Johnsson
(No Quorum)

Absent Members:

Mary-Margaret Monser
Matt Cooley
(Three Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:

Susan Curry
Chris Raines
Raija Suomela
Karen Polesir
Brooke Marshall
Brian Quinn
Sharon McCormick

Next Meeting Date:  March 16th at 7:00PM – 131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium

Action Items by Person:

  • Steve Maakestad – Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Add articles and to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally. Attend BoRit Cag meeting.
  • Susan Johnsson – EAC Treasurer. Attend council meetings and report on decisions. Add articles and to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Organize Texas Hold’Em Tournament, Attend planning commission meeting. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Occasionally, add information and articles to the EAC Facebook page.
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site
    Post updates to Facebook page. Design flyer and tickets for upcoming events and tree information desktop tri-panel display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Help with Texas Hold’Em event. Schedule a showing of the Healthy Wissahickon Film.
  • Susan Curry –Edgewood Preserve project. Attend Planning Commission Meeting. Tree Information Desktop Tri-Panel Display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series.
  • Matt Cooley – Assist with Edgewood Preserve project. Add articles to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.
  • Raija Suomela – Map of storm drains, Communicate with park maintenance contractor. Add info to EAC website and Facebook page. Choose some dates for Volunteer Clean up Borough Park

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:
    1. Susan Johnsson sent an email outlining the Borough Council meeting:
      • The mandatory FEMA Floodplain Ordinance was passed!
      • The Red Tail proposal was received.
      • The 46th Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association’s Annual Creek Clean Up is Saturday 4/30 11:00-1:00 – with the picnic at the Fort Washington State Park from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Flourtown pavilion on Mill Road. Elizabeth Russell offered to put a paragraph into the Home Town News.
      • The Council agreed to the Wireless Telecommunication Antenna agreement with Crown Castle. Bernadette Dougherty brought up possible health concerns
      • Ambler residents have the option to pay to take our yard waste disposal stuff to Barnside Farms Compost Facility
      • The check for the film series should be at Borough Hall and WVWA membership this weekend…
    2. Planning Commission: The Ambler Borough Planning Commission Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016 at 7:00pm in Borough Hall. Environmental ordinances continue to be the focus of consideration.
  2. Ambler Borough Park preservation: Sharon McCormick suggested learning details of the
    Bird Town program or exploring an Audubon preserve at Borough Park. Raija to choose some volunteer dates.
  3. Environmental Ordinances: Brian Quinn and Brook Marshall are opposed to the proposed ordinances and discussed their viewpoint in-depth. Sharon McCormick suggested a voluntary course with incentives for residents in the Rose Valley Creek area.Chris suggested a tour of the Upper Gwynedd Stream Restoration project to show how much can be accomplished through stream restoration. The tour was originally held in July 2015 and was called, Berm is the Word – Stormwater and Stream Restoration Tour – A section of Wissahickon Creek was restored in 2012. Location: Behind Prospect Avenue in Upper Gwynedd Township. Prospect Ave and Stefan Road. Rea Monaghan at WVWA has been contacted and is interested in setting up a private tour for the Ambler EAC.Sharon, Brian and Brook will prepare a written proposal about alternatives to the ordinances.
  4. Storm Drain Map: Raija has encouraged Glenn Kucher to update the map of storm drains throughout Ambler.
  5. Health of Wissahickon film showing: The EAC will attempt to find a venue to show the Health of the Wissahickon Film. Options are being explored.
  6. BoRit CAG: The next meeting is scheduled for April 6th, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM.
  7. Sustainability Movie Series: Slides have been created to for the Sustainability film series. Susan Curry, Steve Maakestad, Mary-Margaret Monser and Chris will help out at the EAC table prior to each event.
  8. EAC Membership: Currently there are 3 vacancies.Karen Polesir would like to become a member of the EAC and will send her letter and resume to the Council president and manager. (Bruce Jones
    and Judy Simpson will be contacted)
  9. Whitney Lingle from Ambler Meals on Wheels is writing a grant for a composting and gardening project.
  10. Fort Washington Business Alliance: The next FWBA event will be a business card exchange on March 17th at 6:30pm at the Hilton Garden Inn. The next luncheon meeting will be held on April 21, 2016 at 11:30am at the Holiday Inn Express.
  11. Ambler Borough Park Maintenance: Invasives removal 2015 report; complete the contract for 2016 Raija will discuss park maintenance at the next meetings.
  12. Tri-fold table top display about the value of trees: Susan Curry and Chris will design the
  13. TreeVitalize program: The maximum number of tree orders has been received. Susan Curry is in the process of setting up tree planting training.
  14. Shade Tree Committee: David Morgan is interested in creating a shade tree committee in Ambler and would appreciate support from the EAC. Needs more members.
  15. Reviving Ambler Tree Tenders; does EAC support forming a Shade Tree Committee
  16. Invasive Species lecture: Coffee House – Invasive Species (Kylie) Saturday, February 27,
    7:30pm – 9:30pm
  17. Dumping in the Park: Raija noticed someone illegally dumping yard waste in Ambler Borough Park.
    Karen texted the Borough Manager. Mary said that a photo would be needed for proof. Raija suggested a sign stating “No dumping” with the amount of the fine.
  18. Home Town News articles are being completed.

Next Meeting:

Mary Aversa’s suggestion: Focus on minimizing lawn chemicals for Fall Mini-Campaign

Plant swap event with a Farmer’s Market, Spring 2016 (Mary Margaret)

Edgewoods Preserve Tree Fest: April 16, 2016 on Edgewood Drive

The meeting was adjourned around 9:30pm.

Related Links:

http://www.wvwa.org/Events/104/month–201507/search–berm_20is_20the_20word/vobid–1234/