Volunteers keep working to improve town’s environment

By Mark Rosman
Staff Writer

MANALAPAN – Keeping the township’s environment clean and green will continue to be the top priority for the members of the Manalapan Environmental Commission as a new year of service to the community begins.

The members of the commission are volunteers who work to raise environmental awareness among people of all ages and who undertake projects aimed at achieving that goal.

During the Jan. 25 meeting of the Township Committee, Jenine Tankoos, who chairs the environmental commission, reported on the panel’s achievements during 2016. Among the highlights were the following:

• In June, the commission partnered with the Monmouth Heights Swim Club and Viridian Energy to plant a Monarch Butterfly waystation at the entrance to the club. Milkweed and other plants critical to the Monarch Butterfly were planted. About 20 volunteers came out to assist commission members on planting day. Department of Public Works employees assisted the commission with making an educational sign for the garden. At the request of neighborhood residents, there are plans to expand the Monarch Butterfly garden this year.

• A proposal was created to make significant improvements to the commission’s demonstration gardens at the Manalapan Recreation Ccenter and turn it into a larger educational display about conservation. The commission partnered with Pantano Nursery and Techo-Bloc, which will be donating a patio with adjoining walkways at the garden site. Work is expected this year. The commission has partnered with Manalapan High School Environmental Club students and the honors art society to paint murals at the garden. The work is expected this year.

• Twelve applications for development in Manalapan were reviewed by the commission, with comments and recommendations provided to the Planning Board and to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, as well as to the applicants.

• Steven Kristoph Nursery in Millstone Township donated native plants which were added to the demonstration rain garden.

• In March, Tankoos represented the commission and made a presentation at the 20th annual New Jersey Land Conservation Rally. Her presentation was about creating habitat and featured two projects in Manalapan: a demonstration rain garden and a Monarch Butterfly waystation, both at the recreation center.

“The commission looks forward to another productive year in 2017 and appreciates the tremendous support it received in 2016 from the Township Committee, the town’s administrative staff and the Department of Public Works,” Tankoos said.

“We would also like to thank our Township Committee liaison for 2016, Committeeman David Kane, who participated in all of our meetings and helped in the garden at the recreation center. We very much look forward to working with David again in 2017.

“As you can see, we rely heavily on the generosity of time and service of people and businesses in our community. We extend our appreciation to them as we could not accomplish what we have without them,” Tankoos said.

Volunteers are welcome to assist the environmental commission with its projects. The commission may be reached by email at mec@mtnj.org