BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Based on the township Environmental Commission's own recommendation, Ann Parksekian has been named the commission's chairperson and presiding officer for this year.

The appointment of Parsekian was approved last week by Mayor James Baldassare, Jr., with the advice of the Township Committee. Parsekian's current term on the commission expires at the end of 2020.

The Environmental Commission's next scheduled meeting is at 7 p.m. on March 9 in the first floor conference room of the municipal building, 1 Collyer Lane, in Basking Ridge.

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Environmental Commission coordinated TREX challenge

The Environmental Commission's most recent project was the collection by December of more than 500 pounds of thin plastic film at township dropoff locations, and through a special collection by Mount Prospect students. The collection achieved the TREX Challenge goal in less than three months, according to a Bernards Township announcement.

As a result, the Bernards Township Environmental Commission has received a high-performance park bench made of recycled plastic.

Environmental Commission member Debra DeWitt, who coordinated the project, reported earlier this year that amounts well in excess of the goal were collected. According to Department of Public Works Director Jorge Casacuberta, there is now enough plastic collected to meet the requirements for additional benches.

The Bernards DPW registered with TREX to collect a second bench for turning in another 500 pounds of thin film plastic. There were also expectations that the Basking Ridge Business Alliance will register to earn a third bench in the future.

Plans are to install the first bench at Pleasant Valley Park this spring and to reward Mt. Prospect School with the second bench for their efforts toward the challenge.

TREX, a company that specializes in composite decking, furniture and other eco-friendly products, aggregates the thin film plastics collected and repurposes them to create outdoor products.

[Update] The collection is over, Parsekian said.

The Environmental Commission congratulated residents for their enthusiastic participation in this recycling project, and extends its appreciation to the Basking Ridge Business Alliance, the Bernards Township Department of Public Works, and numerous Bernards Township employees for their support. 

The commission is also working on additional projects, according to the township website:

- Natural Resource Inventory

- Conservation Master Plan for the Upper Passaic River Riparian Conservation Project

- Charter Day participation

- Review and provide comment on development applications going before the Board of Adjustment or Planning Boards

- Participate in proposing and revising environmentally sensitive ordinances

- Special school projects / contests / grants