Environmental Chair 2023-2024: Kathy Gronostajski
The Environmental Committee updates members each month on important topics such as plastic pollution, climate change, local and national environmental issues and other issues related to our environment. The committee goes to great lengths to raise members awareness of threats to the environment as well as stewardship opportunities. Volunteers are solicited year round for local clean-up projects that keep our island safe and beautiful. Volunteers provide environmental information at community events and participate in a variety of projects including outreach on state mandates including banning straws except on request and distributing painted clam shells with a nautical theme and an environmental
Composting Workshop August 17, 2023
Photos by Olga Perlman
Gardening on LBI has its own set of challenges. On August 17, 2023 The Environmental Committee participated in “Composting to Save Our Shores”, a program on how composting helps gardeners and the environment. The workshop was presented by Sandra Blain Snow and Tanara Hall of the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management at the Surf City Library.
Garden Club members Kathy Steppacker and Mary Wilding helped host, and Carol Ann DiMeglio, Hospitality Committee, provided refreshments. In addition, member Olga Perlman took photographs.
Visitors to the free program were given a Geo Bin Composter after discussing the advantages of composting including:
1. Reduces waste in landfills
2. Strengthens and improves soil for healthy plants
3.Reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
4. Recycles nutrients back into the soil.
Hooked On Fishing August 12, 2023
Photo by Jeannette Michelson
By Gillian Rozicer, Publicity Chair
The Environmental Committee offered a nature project for kids at the 24th “Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs” event held on August 12th. 2023. Helen Comba, Judy Lipton, and Linda Kragie joined chair Mary Wilding in greeting visitors with our environmental message and Jeannette Michelson was our photographer.
Rosie, the Recycling Hero made another appearance sporting a wide variety of plastic, foil, metal and aluminum to illustrate what is currently recyclable in Ocean County. Our committee provided information on the spotted lantern fly, now seen on our island. In addition, children were invited to make a degradable newspaper pot with cosmos flower seeds. Kathy Gronostajski provided a bouquet of cosmos from her garden to show what we hope the children will grow in their own gardens.
Hooked on Fishing, held in Harvey Cedars, always draws large crowds of kids and their families to try their hands at surf fishing. Trophies are given for the largest catches, in addition to many prizes donated by local organizations. This year visitors included police officers and the canine corps, a mounted County policeman, and an EMS helicopter landing. The event is sponsored by the LBI Fishing Club and the Borough of Harvey Cedars along with other organizations.
Photos by Jeannette Michelson ( Click on photos to enlarge.)
Bass River August 2023
By Gillian Rozicer, Publicity Chair
Another outreach event was the Bass River State Forest presentation at the invitation of Lisa Riley, Seasonal Naturalist for Bass River State Forest. Rosie, the Recycling Hero, made an appearance so campers, park day visitors and folks from the community had an opportunity to learn more about what we each can do to recycle as much as possible, what we can do to reduce the amount of trash going to our landfills, and to consider refusing plastic products, such as skipping the straw. The Garden Club’s environmental committee, Helen Comba, Linda Kragie and Mary Wilding presented the program.
Rosie the Recycling Hero August 2023
Photos by Jeannette Michelson (Click on photos to enlarge.)
The somewhat whimsical Rosie reflects The Garden Club’s very serious efforts to educate the public to help protect and maintain the environment on LBI and the mainland. Rosie appeared at Barnegat Bay Day on July 5th at LBIF and spread the word on new recycling rules. At the invitation of park naturalist Lisa Riley, on August 5th she made an appearance at Bass River State Forest Campground emphasizing the continued need to recycle and “skip the straw.”
On Saturday, August 12 The Garden Club joins in the free youth fishing tournament “Hooked on Fishing” at Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars. After returning from fishing about 11:00, young visitors will be making degradable newspaper pots and adding flower seeds as well as extending their artistic talents with coloring projects. Rosie, the recycler, will be on hand to remind everyone they can make a difference in protecting the environment. 9-2 pm .Rain or shine.
Rosie will sit out on Thursday, August 17 as The Garden Club collaborates with the Ocean County Solid Waste Management in teaching a simple way of composting. Held at the Surf City Library, the workshop provides materials and instructions to start composting at home. This is a proven method to save the health of our waterways while creating beautiful, natural gardens.
BARNEGAT BAY DAY! JULY 2023
Photos by Marge Girardo (Click on photo gallery to enlarge)
Learning the new rules for recycling, making biodegradable pots for flowers and creating flower collages from repurposed magazines were just a few of the environmental activities presented by the Garden Club at Barnegat Bay Day at the Long Beach Island Foundation on July 5th, 2023. Children greeted “Rosie” the recycler then showed a lot of interest in the new 1, 2 and 5 markings on plastics. They discussed all the “stuff” they had at home to recycle.
Garden Club members were on hand to share information on the Skip the Straw initiative that asks restaurant customers to request their refreshments without straws which is now the law. The club’s Environmental exhibit was decorated with new club flags created by club member artist Carol Freas. On hand to greet guests of all ages were Mary Wilding, Environmental Chair, Kathy Gronostajski, Kathy Steppacher, Judy Lipman, Linda Kragie, Marge Girardo, Lisa Tyson, Judy Bouton and a very helpful volunteer. Lois Mullen wowed everyone with another ingenious sculpture of beach trash, called “The Goose”.
The children and family members were delighted to learn more about “Rosie” the recycler and the newest sculpture “The Goose.” Guests left with a wealth of environmental information and proud of their productive day!
SKIP THE STRAW! JUNE 2023
Graphic design by Tracey Cameron. Article written by Gillian Rozicer, Publicity Chair
Dear Friends of Long Beach Island,
Can you help us reach out to ask residents to refuse plastic straws?
The Garden Club of Long Beach Island would like your help. The Environmental Committee is asking you to include our request to Skip the Straw in your next newsletter and your social media communications. Although Bill S864 (the NJ Ban on single use plastic/paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam food service products, and single-use straws) became effective on 11/04/2020, some restaurants and food service establishments are continuing to routinely provide plastic straws to their customers.
The bill does require straws be available on request as they may be medically necessary for people with a disability or medical condition. There are environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic straws such as paper, metal, or straws manufactured from plant material if needed, or if one prefers to use a straw. The most straightforward approach is to simply Skip the Straw.
When we were advocating the passage of the Single Use Plastic Ban bill in 2020, we asked for your support in legislation eliminating straws and now we are asking you to reach out to your residents to support the legislation and to Skip the Straw.
The need to reduce plastic pollution is critical and the reasons to address plastic straw pollution remain including the following:
- Straws are small in weight and size, and their impact on the marine environment can escape notice, but they are not tiny by count.
- A figure of 8.3 billion straws was given as polluting the world’s beaches.
- We use 500 million daily – enough to circle the world two-and-a-half times and fill Yankee Stadium nine times a day.
- An estimated 222,432,000 straws annually could be eliminated on Long Beach Island according to our 2020 calculations, when we asked for your support of legislation eliminating straws.
- It takes up to 200 years for a straw to decompose and like other plastics, straws break down into micro plastics which are ingested by all sea life and ultimately enter our food chain.
Let’s all Skip the Straw!
Thank you for your consideration of our request!
Garden Club of Long Beach Island, Environmental Committee
EARTH DAY APRIL 2023
On Sunday, April 22, 2023, Alliance for a Living Ocean in conjunction with Stafford Township Green Team members celebrated Earth Day 2023. The Garden Club of LBI’s Environmental Committee also supported the event.
The groups coordinated the first community Stafford Community-Wide Clean Up and Second Life Toy Drive event. Members Helen Comba, Lois Ernst, Gillian Rozicer, Cathy Sutton. Lisa Tyson and Mary Wilding, Environmental Chair, cleaned the area around the Ocean Acres Elementary School. Member Helen Comba, and Matthew Holland, a member of Stafford Township’s Environmental Commission, registered participants, handed out supplies and answered questions. Families joined in along with approximately 22 volunteers at Ocean Acres Elementary School and cleaned up an estimated count of 60 lbs of garbage. There were 75 volunteers total at all 7 Stafford Township locations who collected an estimated 471 lbs of garbage which diverted from our waterways!
In addition to the Clean Up, volunteer Barbara Reynolds, conducted the first Second Life Toy Drive to keep plastic out of our landfills. Gently used, clean plastic toys were collected and were available at the event. Both stewardship activities were successful in addressing plastic pollution!
THE CLEAN OCEAN ACTION BEACH SWEEP 2023
The Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep, coordinated by the Alliance For a Living Ocean (ALO), was held on Sunday, April 2, 2023. (The event was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 2023 but was postponed due to the weather forecast.) Club members Lois Ernst, Leslie Karvan, Mary Wilding and volunteers found a minimum amount of debris on the beaches and the bayside they visited in Ship Bottom and Surf City on Long Beach Island, NJ. Both areas were quite clean! Hopefully the decrease in litter is due to the visitors and owners who are making a greater effort to dispose of their trash. Barbara Reynolds and Mary Wilding replaced a damaged bucket on 7th Street in Ship Bottom with an ALO bucket used to collect cigarette butts. The container’s label reminded beachgoers, “The beach is not an ashtray.”
Four-fifths of all cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that is very slow to degrade in the environment. A typical cigarette butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose depending on the conditions. By taking a bucket or a reusable bag while going for a walk is a great way to pick up litter!
GARDEN CLUB & GREEN THUMB CLUB JOIN FORCES! MARCH 2023
On March 16 at the Stafford Intermediate School in Manahawkin, The Garden Club of LBI posed thought -provoking questions to the school’s Green Thumb Garden Club. The students were asked if they would refuse a plastic straw in keeping with the New Jersey law. They then gathered in groups to the left if they would and to the right if they wouldn’t and in the center if they weren’t sure. It was encouraging to find the students very well-informed.
Garden Club member Helen Comba, dressed as “Rosie the Recycler”, led a discussion on the importance of recycling plastics with tips on what is now acceptable in Ocean County. The club displayed their repurposed containers being used to grow plants for their school garden. The students then enjoyed the educational “Spinning Wheel” with Kathy Gronostajski, member of The Garden Club’s environmental committee. Categories such as “Food for Thought” and “It’s Trash Time” lead spinners to multiple choice questions like “How many tons of food do Americans waste everyday?” and “Who is the top producer of plastic waste in the world?” Correct answers to the Spinning Wheel questions received environmental prizes but equally important they sparked conversations and further questions among the students.
The Garden Club of LBI is dedicated to environmental issues that face the island and surrounding communities. Complete information can be found under “Environmental” on the club’s website at thegardencluboflbi.com. Also on Facebook and Instagram.
The Bag Ban Update 2023
The Plastic Bag Legislation started over a year ago, “Beginning on November 4, 2021, food service businesses shall only provide a single-use plastic straw to a customer upon request by the customer. Food service businesses are required to keep an adequate supply of single-use plastic straws.” Later that month, the Garden Club of LBI’s Environmental Committee members visited LBI and mainland restaurants and talked about the new law and provided a sign owners could display about the importance of cutting back on straws.
However, some places are still routinely serving straws, leaving them on the table or including them in take-out orders. We just received more information from the founder of “The Last Straw” which confirms it is important for us to address the need to follow the law regarding straw distribution and eliminate plastic straws as much as possible.
Five hundred million plastic straws are used each day in just the US – enough to circle the earth 2 ½ times or fill Yankee Stadium 9 times a day. Plastic Straws are in the top 10 items found annually in International Coastal Clean-Ups, like our Beach Sweep. They are very much a part of the ocean’s microplastic problem. Marine mammals, corals and birds are all affected by it. The 2020 review shows more than 900 species, including seabirds and fish, are affected by plastic consumption and entanglement. This is three times the 1997 estimate of 297 species! Most documented large marine animals impacted by plastic are sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals – dolphins, seals and whales.
Businesses can change the level of pollution by saving money and waste by simply serving straws on request. This would be a win-win for all!
Garden Club Presentation of “Drift” October 28, 2022
The Garden Club presentation of the film “Drift” on October 28, 2022 was well attended and enthusiastically received. The show was held at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences who, along with the Garden Club, co-sponsored it with the Save Barnegat Bay organization. The movie told the story of Barnegat Bay through the voices of people who live, work or visit the bay and who wish to preserve it for future generations. The film highlighted the effects of Super Storm Sandy on bay communities, the pristine environment of the Cedar Creek watershed in contrast to the degraded areas of the Tom’s River watershed, and the growing issue of jellyfish in the bay. After the 70 minute film, questions and answers were fielded by Save Barnegat Bay Executive Director Britta Fosberg and Gaven Shwahla.
Photos: Jeannette Michelson
Refreshments were provided by the Garden Club's Hospitality Committee volunteers (l tor) Ginny Darvas, Carol Ann DiMeglio and committe chair Marge Girardo.
Garden Club House Tour tickets for sale along with membership in the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences.
Introductions were made by Mary Wilding (l) of the Garden Club and Daniela Kerner, Executive Director of LBIF.
SPOTTED LANTERN FLY – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: