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.
Be Prepared To Be InspiredÂ at an evening withÂ Stephen Ritz
Thursday, May 26, 2016
6:30 pm – 8:00 pmÂ
Doors open at 6:00 pm Â – Limited cash bar & healthy snacks available!
Marian House – Cherry Hill, NJ
Seating will fill up fast. Make sure youÂ Register HEREÂ today!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Doors open at 6:45)
Cherry Hill Public Library 1100 Kings Highway N. Cherry Hill, NJ
Confused by all the green, natural, and healthy marketing buzz out there?
Feel like you haven’t got a clue how to decipher it all?
Label Detectives III will give helpful tips for finding what you really want in (or out of) the products you buy.
Encouraging “Mindful Meditation” as a mechanism for change
Welcome to our May Agent for Change feature.Â The purpose of this blog series is to bring a little inspiration into our lives. Each month we 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 feature Lori Volpe, who encourages the practice of meditation to not just alleviate stress or frustration, but to initiate change in the way we connect to each other and the planet.
SCH: What is a typical day as an âAgent for Change” like for you?
Lori: My days usually include meditation, yoga, preparing for classes, reading, writing curriculum and teaching. Also, the inevitable responding to emails, texts and phone calls.
SCH: How did you get involved with meditation and yoga?
Lori: Iâve had a lifelong interest in meditation and yoga. But during my time as an environmental activist, I turned to it more regularly to help alleviate stress and frustration.Â The more I practiced, the more I came to view meditation and yoga as powerful mechanisms for inner and outer change.
Meditation helps one work with the mind and oneâs habitual patterns of reactivity.Â When we become familiar with our own mind and become aware of our own struggles, we begin to feel compassion for others â weâre all in the same boat.Â We start to recognize the interconnectedness of all beings.Â As our mind changes and as we cultivate compassion, we naturally become sensitive to other living beings and the planet.
SCH: What are some of the biggest challenges or barriers that you’ve faced? How have you dealt with them?
Lori: Anxiety in general and the special discomfort of speaking in front of groups is the biggest challenge Iâve faced. Learning to tolerate unpleasant emotions â a component of mindfulness training â is what empowered me to move beyond what I thought were my limits.
Mindfulness changes the brain. My work allows me to see firsthand the big changes in the lives of people who participate in an 8-week Mindfulness Stress Management Course â less reactivity, more compassion, more sensitivity and awareness.Â There is a considerable amount of research to support my personal observations.
SCH: Dream Big! If you had no constraints, what would you like to see happen in five years?
Lori: Mindfulness continues to spread as more and more people are discovering its benefits.Â I believe that if more schools (from elementary on up), workplaces, organizations, medical facilities, etc. make this practice available, we will begin to see a cultural shift in perspective from âIâ to âweâ. Â As hearts soften, we will see a greater interest in alleviating suffering in this world, including the suffering that comes from failing to properly care for the environment that sustains us all.
SCH: It’s important an Agent for Change stay inspired too. Tell us about an experience you’ve had recently that really energized or moved you.
Lori: I am always moved when I hear people talk about what has changed for them at the end of an 8-week mindfulness program.Â Â But I was also energized by the recent SCH Climate Program.Â Â It is easy to get discouraged in this political climate, so to see that many people come to learn about climate change, and to hear the speakers â obviously passionate about the work theyâre doing â was inspiring.
SCH: How have you connected with SCH in your Agent for Change role? What ideas do you have about how we might work together in the future?
Lori: I was asked to lead the closing meditation for theÂ SCH Climate Program.Â From my years as an environmental activist, I know that the work can involve frustration and disappointment.Â I believe that learning how to be compassionate towards oneself as well as to others is important to preventing burn-out.Â I would be happy to participate in future events to help support SCH in the positive work that is being done on behalf of us all.
May 4, 2016
6pm â 8pm
The Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market
1422 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
The pleasure of your company is requested at ourÂ monthly free networking social.Â Spend a few hours mingling with like-minded “green” souls. Buy your own drink andÂ enjoy delicious, local/regional foods.
Last fall, Sustainable Jersey for Schools honored the fifty-nine schools that are the first-ever to achieve certification. Among this ambitious group receiving recognitionÂ were all nineteen Cherry Hill Public Schools. Building on the foundation of central administrationâs commitment to sustainability, each schoolÂ has embraced sustainability in its own unique way. This month, weâll tell you about the efforts of Joseph D. Sharp Elementary School.Â Led by Principal Ric Miscioscia, Sharp is one of Cherry Hill School Districtâs 12 elementary schools, serving over 300 students in grades K-5.
Sharp, a leader in school sustainability, established one of the districtâs first student-focused green teams over a decade ago.Â Founded by teachers Kathy Gilmour and Lisa Feinstein, the Sharp Green Team has an impressive 40-60 students from 3-5 grade participating every year. âIt was our desire to educate our students about sustainability and have them bring their passion home to their families and our community,â explains Gilmour.
Sharpâs Green Team has taken on a variety of projects over the years, many with a focus on understanding and decreasing waste.Â The students were early adopters of the âTrashless Tuesdayâ concept, creating a catchy song and using banners to track classroom involvement.Â Always the innovators, the group recently established a recycling station for students to empty and recycle milk and juice cartons. Green Team members modeled and monitored the new process for their peers to ensure its success. Demonstrating that responsible use of our planetâs resources doesnât end at the cafeteria doors, Green Team ambassadors use conservation reminders to encourage energy reduction and recycling in their classrooms. Several years ago, Green Team membersÂ embarked on a five-month study of what happens to trash when it is buried.Â Calling the project âThe Big Dig,â the students wanted to study first-hand the length of time it takes various materials to decompose. Prior to the actual interment, the 39 students in grades one through five created a list of goods to collect.Â The materials included food scraps, paper, plastic, cardboard, rubber, leather, Styrofoam, wood, aluminum and metal.Â The children made predictions about which objects would decompose at a faster rate, concluding that paper and food products would rot faster than the others. Armed with trowels, shovels and trash, the Green Team buried their âtreasuresâ in narrow ditches on the side of the school and dug up their trash a months later to test their predictions and make observations. Expanding the group’s environmental awareness from a school to a regional level, a field trip to the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority helped the students learn about the water supply and their role in keeping it safe and clean.
Each year, the Green Team participates in the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival.Â Last year, Sharp displayed a recycled art project by third grade art students titled, Reimagine Water Bottles.Â Drawing inspiration from the famous glass sculptor Dale Chilhuly and the English proverb, âJust when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly,â the students created a sculpture that showed how an objectâs intended role does not need to be its sole purpose.Â The students worked together to build one large, free standing sculpture, which was an assemblage piece made of multiple water bottles and mixed media. The water bottles, collected over the course of a few months, demonstrated the volume produced from just this one commonly used disposable product.Â This project enabled the students and festival goers to build a new awareness of an objectâs potential value and opened up opportunities for immeasurable creativity. The display drew tremendous attention and created a fascinating dialogue between school volunteers and festival goers.
The success of Sharpâs Green Team has captured the attention of Principal Ric Miscioscia. âSustainability is something that I always personally viewed as important, but I have been inspired even more by the ideas and planning that our school Green Team has developed at Sharp,â he says.Â âTeaching our students the fundamental concepts of valuing our resources and how each one of us makes a daily impact on our environment is paramount to our future together.âÂ The newest leader of the team, teacher Olivia Spence agrees, âI have enjoyed working with the students and fellow leaders of our Sharp Green Team. It has impacted the community in so many positive ways and allowed students to foster their desires to help make a difference in the world.â
Sharp School’s sustainability efforts go beyond it’s winning Green Team.Â The school community also recognizes that healthy people contribute to a sustainable future, promoting a message of wellness year round with a number of structured activities.Â Last year, the school began the Bulldog Walk/Run Club.Â Designed by a committee that included the principal, PE teacher, school nurse, educational assistants and classroom teachers, the goal of the program is to promote increased physical activity and health among students in grades 1-5.Â Offered during recess, the program provides a way for students to become positively involved in a noncompetitive, social, physical activity.Â Staff, students and parents are enthusiastic about the program and the schoolâs mileage is visually displayed on a U.S. map in the main hallway and tracked in each classroom.Â In addition to the Bulldog Walk/Run Club, the school community participates in a number of other wellness activities, from walking to raise money for JDRF to after school sports leagues and a spring field day.
Sustainability is not just a passing phase for the Sharp Elementary School community.Â From their groundbreaking student-engaged Green Team to an emphasis on health and wellness, this school means business!Â Visit the Green Team at this year’s Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival on 4/30/16 at Croft Farm to see what they’re up to next…
On May 11th,Â students from Cherry Hill High School Eastâs Research in Science (RIS) program and others will be taking the stage for the first ever TEDxYouth@CherryHillHSEast event.Â The RIS program is offered jointly by the Biological and Physical Science Departments at East. RIS students conduct independent research projects and present their findings at a series of increasingly competitive science fairs.Â The program prepares students for a successful life in the 21st century. Students develop critical thinking, investigative and problem solving skills while performing authentic and novel research intended to generate new knowledge and provide solutions to modern problems. âWe are in a period appropriately dubbed âThe age of Informationâ,â says Nick Wright, East biology teacher and RIS advisor.Â âModern media technologies allow us to access most information within seconds.Â Being âsmartâ is no longer associated with the amount of information that someone knows, but the way in which someone can use information to investigate and develop solutions to problems.â
Seeking a larger audience for student work
While the RIS students receive many awards, the audience for their work is typically limited to parents and science fair judges. This lack of exposure lead Wright to come up with a creative solution. âI needed a venue to support the communication of the studentâs ideas to the public,â he explains. âI thought the idea of a TED Talk would be a great hook to get the community in the doors so they could see all the great work that our science students do.âÂ TEDx was created in the spirit of TEDâs mission, âideas worth spreading.âÂ Usually a combination of live presenters and TED talk videos, TEDx supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community. TEDx events are planned and coordinated locally, under a free license granted by TED.Â The application process to TED was rigorous, according to Wright, âThe TED producers wanted to make sure I really understood what a TEDx event was and how it should be run. After a few months of talking with them, I was officially granted a license to host TEDxYouth@CherryHillHSEast.âÂ The RIS students are very excited for their TEDx event and have been working hard to prepare for May 11.Â Wright recently overheard one East senior say, âItâs taking a lot of time.Â Itâs a lot of work, but it doesnât seem like work.Â Itâs âfunâ work.â
Making the sustainability connection
RIS students are encouraged to consider sustainability science when choosing a research topic. Last year, an East student completed a project on biodegradable wax water bottles, winning an award at the Coriell Science Fair and going on to compete at the Delaware Valley Science Fair. According to Wright, the East faculty emphasizes the importance of using science to find solutions to our environmental challenges. âIt is a topic that has deep roots in chemistry, biology and physics,â he states.Â âYou will find that environmental and sustainability science are pervasive in our curriculum.âÂ In addition to student presentations, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences professor, Ben Horton will also be on hand at the event to speak on the science of sea level change.
Wright and his team know that education for sustainability does not end in the classroom. They hope to use the TEDx program as a model for other sustainable events at the school.Â In order to reduce waste, they will provide a paperless ticket platform and programs to guests and will not offer plastic or paper cups/bottles at the event. They are also researching sustainable food options. The East Environmental Class and Club and the new Sustainable Cherry Hill Youth Task Force are supporting Wrightâs vision with guidance and encouragement for greening the event.
Written by Lori Braunstein,Â the founder of Sustainable Cherry Hill (SCH) and Director for Change LeadershipÂ at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. She serves as SCHâsÂ liaison to the Cherry Hill Schools. Loriâs perspective and opinions are her own.Â You can reach her atÂ Lori.Braunstein@sustainablecherryhill.org
Where can you find a rain barrel demonstration; take in the ABCs of composting, enjoy healthy food choices, two stages of entertainment, and learn about many ways to incorporate sustainability in your lifestyle?
Itâs all at the 7th Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival which promises to be the most engaging Festival yet.
With more than 100+ displays including generous sponsors, 5000 expected visitors to Croft Farm from across South Jersey â will celebrate, learn and grow â and take home at least one sustainable idea to reduce effects of climate change. South Jersey communities will benefit from months of planning by SCH and partners â Cherry Hill Township and Cherry Hill School District. More than 90 volunteers will staff event day.
âLet us consider the way in which we spend our lives.â
Sustainable Cherry Hillâs (SCH) festival theme is from philosopher, naturalist and historian Henry David Thoreau in 1863. If each of us makes one small change such as â cutting down driving trips, taking a shorter shower, stop using plastic water bottles or plastic shopping bags âtogether we can reduce the impact on climate change. And, youâll likely save money by taking action with many tips youâll pick up at the Earth Festival. E-waste and recycling is available; with easy drop off. Check out details on the Festival Web page.
Reducing Our CO Footprint
A Festival first – Bike Valet Parking: Youâll save $3 a day and reduce 26 pounds of CO spewed into the air by opting to bicycle one day. On festival day, check your bike at the Courier Post-supported bike parking valet. Family Fun Bike Ride registration is online with details.
No printed flyers: Weâve reduced the eventâs carbon footprint by reducing the amount of paper used and saved Sustainable Cherry Hill valuable programming and scholarship dollars: no flyers have been officially printed or distributed by SCH.Â Instead, social media posts, e-blasts and more digital outreach has been used.
Festival guidelines: you wonât see, hear or smell generators at the Festival; NJ American Water provides refills for refillable water bottles â plastic drink bottles are discouraged; compostable or recyclable products are used where possible; weâve encouraged folks to not use throw-away items where possible and site WASTE STATIONS include bins for recyclable products and food waste. Organic Diversion will collect Festival food waste for composting.
Celebrate April 30th
Two stages of entertainment, Cherry Hill East and West mascots, The Phillie Phanatic during the noon hour and so much more will fill four hours of Festival time. Be sure to upload to your phone or scan the three-page pdf (Adobe Acrobat needed) so you can plan your day at historic Croft Farm.Â A brief welcome event is scheduled at 9:50 a.m. with township, school district and SCH officials.
Whether coming for the popular plant swap, rain barrel and compost demonstrations, healthy food available, to see your children perform or display and learn about and understand sustainability for your lifestyle, youâre invited to be part of South Jerseyâs largest eco-event, Saturday, April 30 at Croft Farm, 100 Bortons Mill Rd. This is an all-weather event from 10 a.m. â 2 p.m.