Tag Archives: Oktoberfest

2015 Year End Review

Who we are:

Currently, five appointed EAC Members bring diverse backgrounds including science and ecology, accounting, environmental policy and engineering. Appointed members are: Steve Maakestad (Chair), Susan Johnsson, Matt Cooley, Mary-Margaret Monser and Charlie Charlesworth. Additional associates that greatly enhance our efforts include: Susan Curry, Chris Raines, Rachel Rosenfield, and Raija Suomela. Two EAC members that were appointed in 2015 –Stephanie Figary and Alex Pratt — have moved on. Thus, we face 2016 with TWO vacant seats. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

Accomplishments in 2015:

The EAC enhances the environmental health of Ambler in several ways. Throughout the year, the EAC was involved in the following activities:

  • Ambler Earth Fest: In April, Chris Raines led the EAC in producing the first ever Ambler Earth Festival at the Calvary Methodist Church. An impressive group of vendors and presenters contributed to the Earth Fest along with music, food and entertainment for kids. The EAC sold and raffled off compost bins during the event. Successful efforts to elicit sponsorships enabled the event to net $200.
  • Wissahickon Stream Clean-up and Education: Annually in April, we coordinate a team of volunteers to pick-up trash along two tributaries that run through Ambler as part of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association’s Annual Stream Clean-Up Day. The EAC also teamed with WVWA earlier in the year to organize a public video presentation at Borough Hall highlighting the Wissahickon Creek and WVWA’s goals to preserve it.
  • Water Conservation Campaign: The EAC conducted an educational campaign on water conservation through an informative display, information pamphlets and brief articles in the Hometown News and on the EAC webpage. The EAC attends and makes presentations at public events such as the Ambler Farmers Market and Oktoberfest.
  • Waterways and TMDLs: The EAC is greatly interested in our waterways. First, Several EAC members attended a TMDL presentation by EPA at Morris Arboretum to understand how it would affect Ambler Borough.  Second: we introduced and coordinated with the Planning Commission on several draft ordinances aimed at preserving natural resources (wetlands, woodlands, floodplains, riparian buffers, and steep slopes). Third: we organized multiple maintenance days to remove invasives species and debris along the creek in Borough Park; two weekend events were led by Master Watershed Steward volunteer Rachel Rosenfeld. Fourth, the EAC contracted professional services to continue the maintenance of the riparian buffer within Borough Park through an agreement with RedTail Inc.. Fifth: The EAC prepared and delivered an informational presentation on the importance of environmental resource protection ordinances. Twenty-nine attended this event at the Wissahickon Valley Library including environmentalists from Whitpain and Lower Gwynedd townships.
  • Rain Garden Tour: In June, the EAC produced a tour of seven of the Ambler rain gardens drawing a crowd of 40, necessitating a split into 2 groups. The main goal of the tour is to generate interest in installing more rain gardens in other yards around town.
  • Participation in Borough Processes: EAC members were present and actively participated at Borough Committee and Borough Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, and Zoning Board hearings. In addition, the Chair attended the Summit of BucksMont EACs in Doylestown– an occasion for sharing ideas among other local EACs.
  • BoRit Asbestos Community Advisory Group (CAG): The EAC has a voting seat on the CAG, which is an EPA supported citizen group who pay attention to the Asbestos issues and remediation in Ambler. A member attends the CAG meetings that are held six times a year. The EAC helped organize a public education presentation on mesothelioma, a topic of interest for communities with old Asbestos manufacturing facilities like Ambler.
  • Facebook Page/Website/Outreach: For better communication with the residents of Ambler, the EAC created a Facebook page that now has 125 followers. We revamped the EAC website (http://www.amblereac.org/). We contribute several educational articles to an Environmental Corner in each issue of the “Hometown News”. The EAC joined the Fort Washington Business Alliance in order to help promote our activities and engage additional volunteers and potential members.

The EAC plans for 2016.

Several programs are annual events: the Stream Clean-up day and park clean-up days. Variations or new ideas are listed below.

  • Rain Garden Program: We will promote a “Do-It-Yourself” rain garden model that will provide homeowners with technical and financial support, while the homeowners will be responsible to provide the labor and half the cost of the rain garden materials. We will coordinate another rain garden tour to educate residents on stormwater issues and garner interest.
  • Edgewoods Preserve: We will assist in the fundraising to purchase a wooded hillside property along the Rose Valley Creek in order to preserve valuable resources and environmentally sensitive natural areas along the creek. In January, the EAC is planning a TREEmendous party at Borough Hall to raise funds for the preserve.
  • Spring Mini-Campaign will focus on Trees and Open Space: we plan to coordinate a community-wide tree planting in yards all over town during April in concert with the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, and the Pennsylvania Forestry Council, with a goal of helping children and families understand the value and importance of trees, and increasing the shade tree canopy of Ambler.
  • Borough Park Maintenance: The EAC will continue to support on-going maintenance in Borough Park with EAC funds as necessary to ensure that the riparian buffers and park are maintained as best as possible and that invasive species are adequately removed.

We truly appreciate the support that Borough Council provides through budget allocation and council member participation in our events, and 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 for programs from Council. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions. You can reach us at amblereac@gmail.com.

2007-09-11 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council   –   Notes of Tuesday, September 11, 2007   

Attendance:   Members:       Susan Curry, Interim Chair

David Morgan

Charles Stewart [Absent]

Kimberly Koczan-Flory [Notice of Resignation]

Peg Williams [Notice of Resignation]

Rich Palumbo [Absent – Conflict]


Associates:    Judy Baigis (Planning Commission)  [Attended 1.5 hours]

Ron Ayres (Shade Tree Committee)  [Attended last hour]

Susan Johnsson (Supporter)

Next Meeting:            Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 7:00 – 9:00, at Borough Hall

(usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM)

  1. Minutes Review:  June 12, 2007 minutes reviewed, made two minor changes to item 4.

July 31, 2007 minutes also reviewed

2Secretary Rotation:  Susan Johnsson took minutes.

3.  Trees:  A) Ambler has no formal Shade Tree Commission even though one is listed on the Borough website. There has never been an enabling ordinance.  The formation of an Ambler Shade Tree Advisory Committee was discussed.

  B)  Assistant Borough Manager, Mary Aversa has asked EAC for a list of borough trees needing attention

C)  A number of hollowed out trees were discussed—we determined to contact Julianne Schieffer. (see #7)

D)  Gerald Hoy, the new DCNR Service Forester for Montgomery County, will come to Ambler September 26 to conduct a Pruning Training for interested EAC and Ambler Tree Tenders.

E)  Old Ash tree in Knight Park:  Was removed along with another tree. Mulch pile available for spread around trees in Knight’s Park.

4.  EAC Membership:  We will try for new recruits at the Oktoberfest.

  1. 5.     2008 Budget:  EAC Budget request of $1,100.00 for 2008 was reviewed.
  1. Butler Ave Revitalization Plan: The site plan for the “Street Clock” planting at corner of Short Street and Butler Avenue was discussed. Group present was unclear about the orientation of the planting.
  1. Tree Care Guidelines:  Susan said Julianne would visit before October 5 to examine Borough trees that we are uncertain about, scout example trees to use in the pruning training, recognize the scope of the problems, and advise us on getting replacements.)
  1. 8.     DCNR Tree Pruning Training for Highway staff on October 5, 8:30 to 11:30
  1. Tree Tenders: Ambler Tree Tenders will be honored at Montgomery Green Futures dinner at the William Penn Inn October 30.
  1.  Council Meeting: Susan reported on Council Meeting. Beauty shop will put in new windows and remove 2 trees and prune trees on Cavalier Drive.
  1. Oktoberfest: September 30 12-5 PM. We will have a table with a banner and hand outs

EAC will investigate using the free trial ClearStream bag stands for recycling during the Oktoberfest. Jimmy Wack’s staff usually picks up after events.

  1.  LED Traffic Lights:  Mary, Jim and Jimmy all have copies of LED traffic light report. Susan will contact Mike Narcowich to see what the county is recommending.

[End]                                                                                       [S.Johnsson+SC DR2.  10/10/07]

2008-11-17 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Notes of Monday, November 17, 2008 6:45 to 8:15 pm


Attendance:   Members:   Susan Curry, Chair, Susan Johnsson, David Morgan, Sigi Koko

Visitors:          Daniel Brouse, Andrew Salvadore

Next Meeting:            December 11, 2008 — Thursday

(usually 2nd Thursdays, 6:45-8:00 PM)

  1. Budget – Apparently our full request for 2009 is included in the budget.  Susan spent $330 from the 2008 budget on boxes to recycle Compact Fluorescent tubes and spiral bulbs.  The cost does not warrant continuing this program.
  • ACTION: EAC will allocate the remaining 2008 budget amount of $149 to purchase more ClearStream clear bags to support event recycling as well as food store recycling
  • ACTION:  Decks, Denney, and the Borough Highway department will each be offered a box for tubes and a box for spiral bulbs
  1. 2.    Rain Garden – Installed at Ricciardi Park.  Two workshops were well attended and there were many volunteers who helped with the final planting.  Rain Garden brochures were shared with all EAC.  The rain garden is not a perfect demonstration model in that it had to be dug deeper than usual to work with an existing underground stormwater pipe.
  • ACTION:  Design an interpretive sign and get it printed and installed
  • ACTION:  Susan will collect all invoices and expenses, including time sheets of matching donated labor by the Highway department and submit request for reimbursement by Dec. 5
  • EAC will need to organize watering care of the garden next spring until plants are well-established.
  1. HOME TOWN NEWS— Praise for another wonderful issue produced by David Morgan.  PA DEP has pointed to Ambler’s full page “Environmental News” with stormwater education as an example for other municipalities.
  • ACTION:  Next issue will start in February for mailing before April. Hopefully we can highlight a planting event.
  1. Compact fluorescent bulbs       (See # 1 above)
  1. Downtown tree policy – Butler trees assessment started twice but was incomplete due to inclement weather.  The tree in front of the Wine Bar came out due to new sewer pipes needed that would compromise the root structure. Various models for under-pavement root systems were cited by Andrew and Sigi. The importance of street trees for community ambience and economic benefits directs us to try to find a tree solution for that spot if at all possible. Included in the Policy Guidelines will be our recommended change to the development ordinance on landscaping to remove the listed invasive species and replace with native suggestions.  Please note that the mayor’s website for green communities cited in the minutes mentions Also the economic benefits of trees can be mentioned again.
  • ACTION: Think about a spring culminating event: maybe tree planting, and other education.
  • ACTION:  The EAC is interested in knowing the feasibility of planting a tree in front of the Wine Bar since low lying shrubs which offer no relief from the heat). Susan will ask the Graham/Ayres inspection team and determine if they have had conversations with the owner.
  1. Plastic bag free Ambler initiative —  Sigi passed to us a well-written proposal with a rationale and how to proceed with minimizing plastic bags being used by Ambler businesses and stores.
  • ACTION:  Review and give feedback to Sigi, for action decision in December.


  1. Green Committee —  Working simultaneously on having a “go to” website for businesses for information on green practices and sources of green supply vendors, and having the take-out food stores have recycling bins near the exit doors.
  1. Energy Audit —  Ambler Borough’s Report by PennTAP was promised:   Nov. 21
  1. Carbon Footprint of Borough – Susan gave Mary Aversa a copy of the “Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty” but has not followed up.  Daniel posted the Mayor’s 12 Step Carbon Diet program on the Green Ambler website:
  1. Borough investigating having own trash collection truck.  May be too expensive in this era without state grants; alternatives: investigate a partnership with Upper Dublin, or purchase a used truck to get into the business.
  1. TreeVitalize proposal:  submitted for $26,000 — Rose Valley Creek Riparian Planting with removal of invasives along both sides of a 200 foot stretch in lower Borough Park, then planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses through a community wide event in the fall to establish a riparian buffer that is 35 feet wide.
  1. Green roofs of Ambler– Advantages of green roofs:  a best stormwater management practice – absorbs 88% of the rain that falls on it; provided additional insulation so buildings are cooler in the summer/warmer in the winter; provides additional habitat for birds, butterflies and other aerial wildlife.
  • ACTION:  David will ask his son Tim to provide aerials of Ambler roofs so we can begin to identify green roof opportunities.

13.  Green building ordinance:  On hold for Sigi’s schedule