BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The tally is in and 277 participants volunteered their time in the Slam Dunk the Junk clean up day in Berkeley Heights last Saturday. The event is a joint project between the Suburban Chamber of Commerce and the Township of Berkeley Heights, funded by NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

Members of local Girls Scout and Boy Scout troops, Gov. Livingston Interact Club, Rotarians and many individuals came out to help clean up Berkeley Heights while earning $10 per volunteer for their non-profit organization.   

This year, students of the Gov. Livingston Interact club were provided the option of using an app on their phones to record data. They could also use the paper data sheets that have been provided in the past, though most students found the app to be a fast and easy way to record their data. By the end of the day, the students had recorded well over 1,000 cigarette butts, not to mention cans, bottles, and all manner of debris.

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New this year, Mike and Diana Dove of Dove Environmental Education, presented a display "NJ Wildlife & Litter" and engaged participants in a "Critter & Litter Craft Workshop."

Mike Dove exhibited taxidermy wildlife on loan from the Morris Museum, including a raccoon, opossum, skunk, flying squirrels, and others ...including a sea turtle. Different types of litter were displayed with a chart listing the length of time it takes to degrade: styrofoam cup= 50 years, plastic bottle = 450 years, aluminum can = 200 years.

Diana Dove conducted "Critter & Litter Environmental Craft" for all ages decorating bird houses or wooden frames with a habitat theme. Some scouts donated their finished craft as Community Outreach, to be given to a local nursing facility. A message about not littering was discussed during the craft discussing the hazards of litter on wildlife. 

The message was to thank everyone for not littering and to reuse, reduce, and recycle.