BARNEGAT, NJ – During the summer months, Nora Hansen and Jenna Marcy came to the Township Committee with a proposal. They suggested that community members adopt streets and diligently clean them up and rid them of unnecessary litter and debris. Their presentation was impressive and well-received by the Mayor and Township Committee.
Hansen and Marcy were still in middle school when they came up with the Adopt-A-Street concept. Dunfee School Counselor Michele Cucinotta helped them navigate the formal process to the institution by the municipality.
Now high school freshmen, the girls made sure to address what they saw as a problem and how they could fix it. In short, they saw it as a mix of saving the planet and community involvement. Those who want to learn more about their thoughts should watch their impromptu interviews.
Barnegat Mayor Al Cirulli and Barnegat Superintendent of Schools Brian Latwis congratulated Hansen and Marcy and their school liaison at a formal Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, October 17, 2019.
Even before the program became official, the Barnegat High School students started the hard work of cleaning up where they could. They began with the Barnegat Bay Beach and learned firsthand that some people don’t pay attention to the environment.
“We couldn’t believe how much garbage we found on the beach,” admitted Marcy. “We knew we needed to do something.”
Hansen and Marcy’s idea caught fire, and other young people and adults joined in. Last weekend, approximately twenty adults and students gathered together for the first formal Adopt-A-Street Clean-up Day.
Among those who participated were Girl Scout Troop 482 and the Ocean County 4H Ecology Club. Everyone worked hard to collect bags and bags of garbage within fifteen adopted streets.
“A lot of what we came across were cigarette butts and empty alcohol bottles,” shared Hansen.
Nora’s mother, Wendy Hansen, was also present during the cleanup and was surprised at some other things that people didn’t dispose of properly. “We really didn’t expect to find used spackle buckets and vacuum cleaners,” she said.
The Barnegat Adopt-A-Street Facebook page provides more information regarding how the program works and describes the application process. Minors must have permission to participate. The next clean-up date is scheduled for early next spring.