Hamilton Schools and Municipal Government
Work Together to Reach a “Clean and Green” Future
Through Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan
(Hamilton) – Hamilton Township’s Climate Action Plan, a bold initiative to reduce the community’s carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over the next 10 years has a new partner…the Hamilton Township School District. At a joint press conference, Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo and Superintendent of Schools, Neil Bencivengo officially announced this collaborative effort, which will help ensure a “Clean and Green” future for Hamilton Township.
With the backdrop of Kisthardt Elementary School students planting flowers -- the result of a cooperative partnership between the school and Home Depot to beautify the school grounds and to improve the environment – Superintendent of Schools, Neil Bencivengo announced the School District’s initial plans as part of the Climate Action Plan.
The School District has developed a “Clean and Green" pledge for teachers and parents to sign, showing their commitment to begin taking action to reduce their environmental impact, to encourage students to join this effort, and to participate in activities that will help to improve our communities sustainability efforts. Additionally, the School District administration will ask PTAs across the district for their support and involvement in this effort.
Hamilton’s schools plan to integrate environmental issues into existing curriculum content areas. Staff members were recently made aware of the "Clean and Green" Initiative through a Power Point presentation created by high school students in the Environmental Science classes. In addition, the Curriculum Department will provide lessons and activities that promote environmental awareness. Some lessons will include writing projects that focus on solving environmental problems, research and service learning projects on environmental issues, and art projects that involve recycled materials.
“As educators, our goal is not only to help our students grow academically, but to help them develop into civic-minded and responsible members of society. Through this effort, our entire school community will grow in the knowledge of what we can do to improve our environmental footprint. As a result we will be able to contribute to a ‘cleaner and greener’ future for our community,” explained Superintendent Neil Benicvengo. “Today is just the beginning of what will be an ongoing, continuous effort. We want our students to learn, and in turn, to educate their families, friends and neighbors on how they can all play an important role in a cleaner and healthier environment.”
Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo stressed the importance of the School District being an active partner with the municipal government in its Climate Action Plan. “Our young people are the future of Hamilton Township and our society. I think that it is very important that we work to involve our children in this effort so they understand that their actions can, and will, make a difference,” expressed Mayor Benicvengo. “Together with our public schools, I am confident that we will be successful in reducing our carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2010. And more importantly, together, we will keep Hamilton Township “Clean and Green” for years to come.”
In January, Mayor Bencivengo announced the start of Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan, which along with plans for an educational component with the schools called for efforts to utilize solar and biomass energy opportunities (such as the installation of solar panels on Township buildings and the creation of a food waste program), increased bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, increased mass transit opportunities from the Hamilton Train Station to community destinations, as well as the continuation of policies that the Mayor implemented such as a Green Fleet Policy, Anti-Idling Policy, a Green Ordering Executive Order and a Township “Green Office.” Over the next 10 years, Hamilton Township’s Department of Public Works will collect and analyze data and compare it with historical data to track the community’s success in reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
Attached Photograph: In the attached photograph, Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo and Superintendent of Schools Neil Bencivengo stand with Kisthardt Elementary School students at the kick-off of the Hamilton Township School District’s collaborative effort with the Municipal Government in it’s Climate Action Plan. Together, the School District and the Municipal Government plan to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emission across the entire community by 20 percent over the next decade. Photograph courtesy of Hamilton Township.
NOTE – below is the past press release on the Municipal Government’s announcement of the Climate Action Plan for background information…
Hamilton Sets Sights on a “Clean and Green” Future, Beginning 2010 with its Climate Action Plan
(Hamilton) – Improving Hamilton’s environmental sustainability and reducing energy costs…two goals that Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo is seeking to achieve through Hamilton’s new Climate Action Plan.
As 2010 begins, Hamilton Township will take its Climate Action Plan and embark upon a decade long mission to reduce the entire community’s carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent through initiatives that aim at reducing energy consumption and utilizing alternative energy sources. Only a few towns in New Jersey have instituted Climate Action Plans, and Hamilton will become the largest town in the state to do so. At the February 2, 2010 Township Council meeting, a resolution will be considered to formally adopt Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan.
“It makes environmental sense and financial ‘cents’ to move forward with this important sustainability initiative,” says Mayor Bencivengo. “When we talk about our Township’s ‘Clean and Green’ motto, it is not just talk. It is a commitment of mine, and our entire administration, to improve our environment, reduce our energy costs and preserve a high quality of life for our future generations of Hamilton residents.”
Over the past 2 years, the Township has worked to formulate a number of action steps that have became part of Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan.
Action Steps for a Clean and Green Future
Some steps of the Climate Action Plan include the continuation and formalizing of practices Mayor Bencivengo has started during the past 2 years, such as a:
ü Green Fleet Policy, for the Township’s motor fleet, which requires the purchase of automobiles that offer us the highest fuel efficiencies while meeting operational needs. This includes the use of alternative clean burning fuels.
ü Anti-Idling Policy for all Township vehicles
ü A “Green Ordering Executive Order”, that requires the purchasing of environmentally-friendly cleaning products, recycled paper and other products
ü A “Green Office” for residents and local businesses to come for information on environmental sustainability, energy efficiency programs, green initiatives and grants.
New Action Steps
New steps in Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan hope to build upon the successes of the Township’s current practices. They include:
ü Renewable Hamilton, which is a plan to utilize solar and biomass energy opportunities throughout the Township. The initiative plans for the:
o Installation of solar panels on various Township buildings
o Creation of a food waste to energy program in cooperation with Rutgers University, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, local supermarkets, restaurants, and schools, which all generate large amounts of biomass. Rutgers University studies indicate that a town of 50,000 people can produce enough food waste to provide feedstock for a medium-sized electrical generating plant. At the same time, this food waste comes out of the waste stream, which can reduce waste hauling and landfill expenses by as much as 50 percent.
ü Increased Bicycle and Pedestrian opportunities, a goal of decreasing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by expanding and promoting alternatives to automobile travel. Hamilton will look to expand bicycle and walking paths, as well as consider linking existing bicycle lanes to help encourage these forms of recreation and travel. The Township will investigate available State and Federal grant opportunities to achieve this goal.
ü Increased Mass Transit Access to and from the Hamilton Train Station and local shopping centers, which will reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions while also assisting Hamilton’s local economy. In particular, Mayor Bencivengo will look towards mass transit opportunities from the Hamilton Train Station to encourage the growth of the Township’s plans for its Arts and Cultural District, which may include the use of trackless trolleys. Hamilton will investigate funding opportunities that may be available through New Jersey Transit.
ü A Community Educational Program with Hamilton’s Public Schools will also be an integral part of the Climate Action Plan. Through the partnership with the Public Schools, Hamilton hopes to promote ways to reduce harmful carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to local students, and in turn, have the students educate the community on ways residents can assist in reducing such emissions.
“With this Climate Action Plan, our entire community can work together to reduce harmful carbon and greenhouse gas emission and to ensure Hamilton remains ‘Clean and Green’ in 10 years, and beyond,” summarizes Mayor Bencivengo. “Environmental and financially, it is the right step to take to protect and preserve the future of ‘America’s Favorite Hometown.”