Manalapan environmental commission reports progress in 2017

MANALAPAN – A thriving natural environment remains a priority for municipal officials and residents and to that end, the Manalapan Environmental Commission made progress on several projects during 2017 and hopes to keep the momentum going in 2018.

Jenine Tankoos, who chairs the commission, delivered her annual report about the commission’s achievements during the Jan. 24 meeting of the Township Committee.

Among the accomplishments for 2017 that were listed by Tankoos were the following:

• Fifteen applications for development in Manalapan were reviewed at
commission meetings. Comments and recommendations were provided to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the applicants.

• Progress was made toward meeting the commission’s goals for the Eco Patio at
the Manalapan Recreation Center. The Eco Patio contains the commission’s demonstration gardens. Enhancements to the area are being planned. When completed, the Eco Patio will be a place where visitors can enjoy nature, play, picnic and learn about ways to help the environment. Pantano Nursery and Techo-Bloc donated the materials and labor for a large patio with an adjoining walkway at the garden site.

• Through a partnership with the Manalapan High School Environmental Club, murals were painted on several structures surrounding the gardens at the recreation center.

• The commission applied for and received a grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions in the amount of $1,495 for the purchase of a wooden kiosk where educational posters and photos can be displayed and protected from the elements. The kiosk was installed at the Eco Patio with the assistance of employees from the Department of Public Works.

• A native tree (a sugar maple), was donated by Emelar Farms and planted at the Eco Patio. Township arborist Shari Spero coordinated the donation and the planting of the tree.

• The commission has begun planning an event to take place during the spring at the Eco Patio to celebrate its creation.

• The commission helped to provide support to the Shade Tree Committee in the planning of how to educate residents about an Emerald Ash Borer invasion and its impact on ash trees in the community.

• The commission signed up to participate in Manalapan’s new Adopt a Spot
program, volunteering to adopt a retention basin on Church Lane and the
neighboring storm drains to keep them free of litter.

• Commission members met with Monmouth County Master Gardeners to learn about community gardens that are in operation in surrounding towns. These are gardens where individual plots are rented by residents. Community gardens are increasingly popular for growing food.

Tankoos said the members of the Environmental Commission are looking forward to a productive year in 2018 and appreciate the support they received in 2017 from the Township Committee, the administrative staff, the Department of Public Works and its liaison from the governing body, Committeeman David Kane.

“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.

“If anyone would like to be added to our list of volunteers, please email us at mec@mtnj.org and we can include you when we send emails about events and other opportunities to be involved. Also, please contact us if you have an interest in getting involved with a community garden,” Tankoos said.