The Howell Green Team — which works to promote good stewardship of the environment — has earned the level of bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey.
Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit entity that encourages municipal officials and residents to think about the planet and the quality of life where people live, said Brian Tannenhaus, who serves on the Howell Planning Board and on the Green Team.
The Township Council recognized the Green Team during a recent meeting.
Nicholas Huszar, an environmental geologist who serves on the Green Team and on the Howell Environmental Commission, said, “Howell met the requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification. We were one of 48 towns that attained certification in 2015 and were recently honored at the Sustainable Jersey awards luncheon on Nov. 17 in Atlantic City.”
Tannenhaus added, “It is not all about making sure the plastic bottle we drink our water out of goes in the right container. It is about trying to make Howell a better place, to bring a better quality of life to Howell.” Sustainable Jersey uses a point system to award levels of certification, based on a municipality meeting certain criteria
Huszar said an updated natural resource inventory for Howell was completed and a successful prescription drug safety and disposal program was conducted.
“The town is already doing things that are green and sustainable. Our employees are already thinking about how (they) can save the town money and how can we make Howell a better place,” Tannenhaus said.
The Green Team gathered the information and filed the paperwork with Sustainable Jersey. Tannenhaus thanked municipal employees and the council for making certain everything that needed to be in place was in place.
Tannenhaus said residents are welcome to join the Green Team. He thanked current members Gerard Barron, Daniel Cardellichio, Charles Senders, Mary Ann Cernak and Nicholas Huszar for their efforts on behalf of the community.
“We just need some more people on our team to start gathering the information and start to get some programs put together. There are some points that require people to educate the town. So we need some volunteers who may want to go into the schools and teach (about the) environment,” Tannenhaus said.
Deputy Mayor Robert
Nicastro said, “Since Howell became Sustainable Jersey certified, we have been informed we are eligible to apply for grants of $20,000, $10,000 and $2,000. The Green Team and the administration will review the process and criteria and proceed from there.” Nicastro said the type of projects that would qualify for a grant include renewable energy and green building design, waste reduction, a sustainable master plan, water conservation, natural resources management, energy management and transportation issues.
Tannenhaus said the Green Team will now pursue silver certification from Sustainable Jersey.
Huszar said all of the efforts are aimed at saving money, improving energy efficiency, improving health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies and protecting natural resources.
Speaking about the residents who joined the Green Team when it was recently reconstituted by municipal officials, Nicastro said, “After working with this group of people, I can tell you they are committed and dedicated. We asked them to achieve this (Sustainable Jersey) bronze certification in a short time and obviously they were motivated and we got it done.”
Mayor Bill Gotto said, “Your group (the Green Team) is an example of some of the good things we just don’t spend enough time talking about. Every member was constantly giving value and making sure nothing was left behind. You had a goal and the mission was clear and the results are just stellar. It is an unbelievable job.”
Residents who are interested in volunteering for the Green Team may apply on the Howell website or email Huszar at firstname.lastname@example.org.