Sustainable Cherry Hill (SCH) is an all volunteer 501c3 non-profit community outreach and educational organization that fosters the global sustainability movement at a local level.Â Creating resources that facilitate this shift in lifestyle, while connecting people in the community for and around our mission, lays a foundation for making the necessary change to a sustainable way of life- one less geared to environmentally damaging and socially inequitable consumption patterns, and one that works in harmony with the planet, its resources and their limits.
“Bringing people together to build a sustainable South Jersey.”
SCH strives to continuously tap Cherry Hill and the surrounding region’s greatest resource- its people- in order to shift to a sustainable way of life. We do this through hosting educational events, networking opportunities, supporting community based task forces and acting as a general clearing house of information on sustainability news and events. We provide a structure for people at all levels to work together to pursue their passions and use their unique skills and networks in the service of a more sustainable community.
SCH is essentially a community group in that our approach to sustainability recognizes that everyone making small changes results in big differences collectively. As such, it is critical that we establish and nurture relationships with all area stakeholders, including government, schools, businesses, faith groups, other community groups and individuals from all over South Jersey. But grassroots cannot do it alone. Â Large scale change requires leadership by governments and corporations. Â An educated and empowered populace can put pressure on these entities from the ground up.
Get On Your Walking Shoes
Grab Your Camera
Explore Lake Worth Park
Sunday, June 7, 2015 atÂ 1:00 pm
Lake Worth Park, Lindenwold, NJ
These days, we could all use a little inspiration. Welcome to SCHâ€™sÂ Agent for ChangeÂ series. Every month we will feature an interview with everyday people creating big changes in their little corner of the world. The goal of these stories is to spark a passion, help you set a goal, or move past some frustration as you work to be anÂ Agent for ChangeÂ in your own system.
This month, we are featuringÂ Dr. Maureen Reusche, Superintendent of Cherry Hill Public Schools. She has been a champion for green schools and initiating sustainability practices in all of our 19 schools and throughout the district. Â We honored Dr. Reusche at the Cherry Hill Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 26Â with our first Sustainable Cherry Hill Agent for Change award.Â This award is the first of its kind, created by Sustainable Cherry Hill, to honor those few individuals who have the boldness and patience to take on the systemic change required to move us towards a sustainable future. Over the past several years of working together, we have so admired Dr. Reusche’sÂ ability toÂ firmly set priorities and expectations, while simultaneously respecting the diverse voices and needs of the stakeholders within the district. While there is still tremendous work to be done, the hardest part — the beginning — Â is now in the rear-view mirror. We now have a foundation on whichÂ to growÂ this work in the years to come.
Dr. ReuscheÂ often speaks of the intersection between education, creativity and sustainability. So, rather than give her a plaque or certificate to hang on her wall, we presented her withÂ a piece of art. The piece was created from re-purposed or â€śfoundâ€ť items from vacant lots in Camden by local artist, Suzy Sherbine. We hope sheâ€™ll continue to be inspired by the piece in the same way she’s inspiredÂ us here in Cherry Hill.
Â We caught up with Dr. Reusche in her final weeks with the Cherry Hill School District before she moves on to the Haverford School District. She took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share some thoughts with us about what inspires her, how she envisionsÂ a sustainable future for our schools and her philosophy of changeâ€¦
SCH: You identified sustainability as a priority of your administration when you first became the Superintendent of Cherry Hill Public Schools four years ago. Â Administrators across the country are only now just beginning to understand the benefits of green schools. Â We’d say that makes you a trend setter! Â What first inspired you to make the connection between education and sustainability in Cherry Hill?
Dr. Reusche: For me, it all began with the students. Â Throughout my visits to schools I witnessed many students engaged in what was at that time predominantly recycling efforts. Â I saw posters, bins, flyers and heard many teachers talking about the work of student clubs. Â I was also aware of the reputation the town of Cherry Hill acquired as a leader in Sustainability work and believed that the schools as such an integral part of the community should follow the example set throughout the community.
SCH: Â One of the things that impressed us the most was how you involved so many different types of people in the process of making the Cherry Hill Schools more sustainable. Â From students and teachers to administrators and community members, you provided a forum for everyone’s voice to be heard. Â We know that is not always the easiest or quickest way to get things done. Â Tell us about the strategy behind this inclusive process.
Dr. Reusche: Any successful change in a system requires input from those who comprise that system. Â Schools are people-centric organizations and thrive when the approach to any undertaking is a collaborative one. Â The inclusion of students in the process will, in my experience, yield a more creative outcome and add to the strength of the implementation of any initiative. I have been extremely impressed with the passion and resiliency of the students who have been involved in our work. Â They care deeply about sustainability and see only that which is possible; no obstacle is insurmountable.
SCH: Â What have been some of the most significant barriers or challenges that you’ve faced in the greening of our schools?
Dr. Reusche: Deciding where to start, determining how to build upon the great work that was already underway in many of our school and systematically including all departments throughout the district in a meaningful manner. Â The active involvement of students as well as the strong support and leadership provided by Sustainable Cherry Hill enabled us to approach the challenges with a â€ścan-doâ€ť attitude!
SCH: If you could envision a future for the Cherry Hill Schools, what might we look like or be like in ten years in terms of sustainability?
Dr. Reusche: Â I envision a future where Cherry Hill students are the primary drivers behind the sustainability work underway throughout the District; because the behavioral changes have become a way of life. Â The students can share with others the creative ways they are learning about the concept of a sustainable world. Â Students will be serving as ambassadors to other districts interested in exploring sustainability.
Iâ€™m so thrilled our district will offer a Sustainable Design course to High School students in September, 2015. Â I hope to hear about the expansion of that course into a possible sequence of courses and then some creative offerings for students at the middle school level. Â In addition, I hope to hear the expansion of efforts at the middle school level to eliminate the Styrofoam trays has been undertaken at all 19 schools. Â The gardens and outdoor learning spaces which have been created at some of our schools create wonderful learning opportunities for students. I envision a time when this approach exists in all schools.
SCH: Â Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
Dr. Reusche: Any success we have experienced as a district has been due in large part to the partnerships formed throughout this process. Â I highly recommend any district initiating such work partner with community organizations and the township. Â We, in the school district, benefited greatly from the resources available and expertise of individuals in the Mayorâ€™s office and Sustainable Cherry Hill.
SCH: Â Thank you, Dr. Reusche. We are grateful for your leadership and we will miss you here in Cherry Hill. Â We hope you’ll come back and visit!
Check out our Facebook album of the 2015 Agent for Change Award here.
For the past several years, Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Garden Task Force has participated with a plant swap at the Camden County Annual Green Garden Fair.Â This year’s swap, held on May 16th at the Camden County Environmental Center, was the most successful swap ever. We were thrilled that visitors to our Earth Day Festival broughtÂ even more plants this year than last year. However, the amount arriving to the Green Garden FairÂ was absolutely amazing!
Every time it seemed like the number of plants was dwindling, moreÂ arrived. Visitors brought many, many more plants than they took home with them.Â Those who did not bring plants to swap enjoyed buying them at the cost ofÂ $1-3. Last year the task force decided to add a gift to those who brought plants for the swap–aÂ landscape plug of a pollinator-friendly plant. These are healthy, 5 inch plugs. Last year’s plant was a Phlox and this year, the gift was Echinacea. For the first time, last year, the task force also participated in the Camden County/Rutgers Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Fair. Thanks to the green thumb of NadineÂ Downie, she took the leftover plants home in April to nourish until the Camden County Green Garden Fair three weeks later. Nadine’s efforts helped the swap continue at the fair.
At the end of the day, the task force raised over $145 for SustainableÂ Cherry Hill, kept unwanted but healthy plants out of the yard waste, added aÂ couple of plants that were past their prime to the new composting system at theÂ Environmental Center and made many people very happy. Several vegetableÂ seedlings were also donated to a garden maintained by developmentally-challengedÂ adults.
We are bloomingÂ with pride that our plant swap has grown like the plants it provides to the community! It was the busiest table at the Garden Fair! The Garden Task ForceÂ is thrilled to see this project “growing”.
By Gwenne Baile, Member of Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Garden Task Force and Camden County Master Gardener.
Â Tapped:Â an unflinching examination of the
Tuesday June 23, 2015 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Burlington County Library
Â Tuesday June 30, 2015 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Cherry Hill Public Library
Saturday, May 2 was our Momâ€™s Upcycled Craft event and it was a great success.Over 25 attendees were shown how to create an upcycled key charm made from old house keys and new earrings and bracelets made from old and broken pieces of jewelry.Â Â Kids, both young and old, joined there motherâ€™s and grandmotherâ€™s to make gifts for their momâ€™s and themselves.
Crafters at the event also brought clothing and monetary donations for the Anna M Sample House Homeless Shelter for Women in Camden.Â Â We also made a donation of handmade earrings to give to all the shelter residents for Motherâ€™s Day.
This was our second community craft event and we have been so pleased with the enjoyment that the crafters have been getting out of attending these events.Â Â We hope to be having the next community craft day in September so check in with our task force web page often so you donâ€™t miss the next one!
In the meantime, check out our Artist Workshop with Lynne Perella on August 15thand 16th.Â Â Lynne is a nationally known mixed media artist and will be sharing her skills and knowledge with attendees while they create full size canvas designs.Â Registration is required by July 30th!
August 15th & 16th, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Camden County Environmental Center
Spend two art-filled days with mixed media artist Lynne Perrella and create an evocative Icon portrait using â€śthrow-awaysâ€ť like corrugated cardboard, string, paint, buttons, wire and more . . . and make a lasting visual statement about the joys of re-purposing.
Low-tech materials + No-fail collage techniques = Lavish, layered icon portraitÂ