April 21, 2021

Princeton Environmental Commission Thanks Volunteers Who Supported Stream Cleanup

To the Editor:

The Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC) would like to express sincere appreciation to the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and reached into the muck to support Princeton’s Stream Cleanup, which was held at Grover Park on Saturday, April 17. The stream cleanup was in partnership with The Watershed Institute and organized by Erin Stretz, assistant director of science and stewardship.

There were approximately 90 volunteers registered and an estimated 1,694 lbs. of trash and recyclables collected for proper disposal. The cleanup would not have been complete without the Public Works Department, which is directed by Dan Van Mater, who ensured the fruition of a neat and tidy cleanup after the volunteers’ efforts were exhausted.

We are always delighted to witness extensive community involvement when it comes to the care of our local environment, and for Mother Earth as a whole. Mayor Mark Freda even rolled up his sleeves, and may have carried out the most weight given his find of several cinder blocks gathered on the stream banks. Councilwoman Eve Niedergang was wearing two hats in support of the cleanup as she was checking-in volunteers as a Watershed Institute employee.

The Watershed Institute Executive Director Jim Waltman, Board members Scott Sillars (chair) and Mike Hornsby, as well as long time Watershed Institute volunteer Mary Joan Gaynor, WWF-Princeton High School group, Hopewell Valley’s Central High School group, TCNJ engineering  fraternity Theta Tau, and three girl scout troops were among those supporting Princeton’s stream cleanup at Grover Park this year.

Due to the amount of litter, this was the second time for the Grover Park location to be chosen for the annual stream cleanup event. The Princeton community will witness a cleaner environment if we ALL do our part. PEC hopes these efforts will gain more traction with New Jersey’s Plastic Pollution Reduction legislation in effect, and as local merchants make the transition away from plastics and other single-use materials, and customers adapt to more sustainable practices and behaviors.

Lastly but certainly not least, PEC would like to extend appreciation to the 21 individuals who were on the waitlist but due to pandemic safety protocols were unable to join us. Please keep your eyes out for future environmental volunteer opportunities as they will be plentiful this year. Although there is no need to wait for an organized event — simply extend environmental care in your daily actions.

Again sincere appreciation to ALL of you!

Tammy L. Sands
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

Pam Podger
Marketing Manager, The Watershed Institute