Members in Attendance:
Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Mary Margaret Monser
Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Ben Bergman, Greener Pastures, Farm to City
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mary Jo Daley will be holding a town meeting at Ambler Borough on March 24th.
- 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.
- Grace Samans has a program on growing plants.
- A project presenting the benefits of trees is planned.
- Planting sunflower, squash and tomato seeds could be planned.
- The Wissahickon Watershed could bring their Enviroscape.
- Walking tours from the Farmer’s Market to the Watershed could be organized.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- The BoRit Cag meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6th. Stephen Maakestad is a member of the CAG.
- 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.
- 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.
- Park Cleanup: Rachel Rosenfeld is willing to set up a Park Cleanup day this summer. Raija will work with Rachel to coordinate this event.
- Dumping in the park has become a problem. Signs will be posted stating that dumping is prohibited.
- 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.
- 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.
- WVWA Workshop: Thursday, Apr 21, 7 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop at Wiss Valley Watershed.
- 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.
- Temple Ambler’s Earth Fest is scheduled for Friday, April 22nd.
- 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