Schools Certification Program Launches on October 28
The big day is only a month away! We are extremely excited to launch Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a certification program for New Jersey public schools. An official announcement will be made at the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) Workshop 2014 in Atlantic City on October 28, 2014. To introduce the program, there will be several group sessions at NJSBA Workshop 2014 on Sustainable Jersey for Schools. These sessions will introduce participants to the certification process by role, for example there will separate sessions for board leadership, business administrators, facilities and grounds management and superintendents and supervisors. If members of your community are planning to attend the NJSBA Workshop, have them go to one of our information sessions. Make sure your district and school are part of the first group to achieve certification. Look for our launch announcement and the new website next month.
Sustainable Jersey Hubs Tackle the Three R's:
Resiliency, Renewable Energy Aggregation & Recycling
Fall is upon us, but Sustainable Jersey's regional hubs aren't slowing down! Our first wave, including Atlantic-Cape May, Essex, Mercer, Somerset, and Camden-Burlington-Gloucester County, have begun providing practical training based on the needs identified by their local green team and municipal leaders. Next month, the Atlantic-Cape May Hub is bringing in resiliency planning experts to share tools and financial resources available for towns to prepare for future climate events. The Essex County Hub will be hosting energy experts to talk about renewable energy aggregation and the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition will be focusing on organic waste recycling. Since one of the goals of our hubs is to inspire collaborations between towns, we're off to a good start! Pleasantville was able to connect with surrounding towns to expand their farmers market into a multi-town effort for next year and Warren and Watchung have partnered on an education program concerning the importance of bees for pollination. For more info contact: [email protected].
Good for the Environment and Saves School District Millions
The new Sustainable Jersey for Schools program will include an action for schools to consider called 'Energy Tracking and Management.' Similar to the same action in the municipal program, this project helps schools inventory their buildings, establish an energy usage baseline and track energy consumption over time. This action also guides schools as they make use of incentives in New Jersey's Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), such as their free energy benchmarking service. Being informed about a school's energy consumption allows decision makers to identify and prioritize upgrade opportunities, make investment plans, and measure impacts. The data can show how changing building performance can affect energy use, and provides a great opportunity for teaching and student engagement. Forward thinking schools in New Jersey have already moved in this direction. The Galloway Township Public School District is made up of a preschool, a middle school and four elementary schools. Reducing energy costs was a concern for the district so it completed a baseline assessment of its energy practices and set forth with a plan to conserve energy. Since 2007, when the school district started tracking and implementing energy management programs, it has had energy savings of over $4.5 million. The energy reduction impact is equivalent to 1,836 passenger cars not driving for one year. These savings are significant, especially for a school district, and free up money for other uses.
A second energy action in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program will guide and recognize towns that build on-site solar generation systems. This action awards certification points at three levels based on how much the solar system offsets the electricity the school buys from the utility. The Montgomery Township Public School district has two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The district has installed solar in four out of five of the schools and last month generated 40% of their electric use from this clean, renewable resource, thereby displacing use of energy from less sustainable sources.
Board Spotlight: John Bulina
John Bulina is the President of the New Jersey School Boards Association and an important member of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. John joined the Sustainable Jersey Board to help guide the development of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. He has been an integral part of this process as he has an impressive background in education. John has been a member of the Tabernacle Board of Education for 26 years and a member of the Burlington County School Boards Association for five years. He was the commissioner of the Burlington County Educational Media Technology Center for eleven years. John received his B.S. in Education from State University of New York, Oswego. He also received his Masters of Arts, Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. Bulina is a Senior Adjunct Professor at Burlington County College. Read his professional bio here.
John says he is thankful for all of the opportunities that he has had, even his job as a taxi driver in New York City in his youth. He and his wife have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. John grew up in Manhattan and learned to ski in the Bronx. He currently remains active as a Professional Ski Instructor of America (PSIA). John attended three Olympic games as a spectator and had the opportunity to ski the Olympic downhill course in Lake Placid. He played soccer in college and was a soccer coach for 34 years with Tabernacle's Athletic Association, South Jersey Girls Select, New Jersey Olympic Development Program and Burlington County College. He was also able to coach his three daughters' soccer teams through college. John is a member of the St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Roebling, NJ and the Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church in Philadelphia, PA.
Helping to Build Stronger, More Resilient Communities
NJ Resiliency Network, facilitated by Sustainable Jersey, has provided direct assistance to 24 Sandy-impacted municipalities across nine coastal counties. The work includes consulting with local officials on programs and opportunities related to emergency preparedness, disaster recovery and community resilience in addition to facilitating events for local and regional flood risk reduction initiatives. The staff collaborates with a diverse group of public, private, non-profit and academic partners to develop tools and resources to improve local resilience to future storms and extreme events. A regularly updated Database of Resources & Assistance provides a listing of grants and technical assistance opportunities that support municipal recovery and resiliency. For more info contact: [email protected].
Who does that? Sustainable Jersey Behind the Scenes
With the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program set to launch in late October, Heather McCall is working non-stop with the team to finalize the certification actions and get ready to welcome the first school registrations. As the director of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, Heather will manage this newly created schools certification program.
Heather's experience includes over ten years of work empowering community based nonprofits. Prior to joining Sustainable Jersey, Heather worked as the Assistant State Coordinator for the NJ Department of Community Affairs' Main Street New Jersey and Improvement Districts Program, where she worked closely with volunteer driven downtown revitalization programs providing technical assistance and training throughout the state.
Heather grew up in New Jersey and is a graduate of Rancocas Valley Regional High School. She received a B.A. from the University of Alaska, a M.C.P. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and holds a Charrette Facilitation & Management Certification from the National Charrette Institute.
Heather has always had a strong connection to the arts and was selected to join the New Jersey Governor's School of the Arts in 1992. She currently sings chamber music with VOICES Chorale in Hopewell, NJ and encouraes her colleagues to let off steam with occassional, impromtu 'dance breaks.' Heather and her husband have a daughter, two cats and two dogs to fill up their home in Mount Holly, New Jersey. See all of the staf bios at: Sustainable Jersey staff bios.