Green

Westfield Could Lead the Way as Laws Make Growing Environmentally Friendly Gardens Easier

29d5faaa4745405d79bd_DSC_1179.JPG
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, Patricia Brentano and Kelly Mooij, vice president of government relations at New Jersey Auduban Society. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
aad63acf84f9721eb5aa_DSC_1184.JPG
Mayor Andy Skibitsky expresses his support. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
eac0a8fc9f76c5714d67_DSC_1187.JPG
Native wildflowers, considered weeds by some, buzz with bees in the backyard of Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Patricia Brentano's home in Westfield. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
29d5faaa4745405d79bd_DSC_1179.JPG

WESTFIELD, NJ — Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick held a press conference Friday at his home in Westfield to talk about legislation that encourages homeowners to provide native habitats for birds and other wildlife. The bi-partisan bill, which passed the New Jersey General Assembly in June with unanimous support (76-0), establishes a native species habitat certification program and would make it easier for homeowners to grow native grasses and other native plants.

“It’s not government getting in your face. It’s government getting out of your face,” said Bramnick.

Bramnick said that the bill was inspired by his wife, Patricia Brentano, who convinced him to help her transform their yard into habitat that supports local wildlife, including birds and pollinating insects. To demonstrate her point, Brentano later showed off native wildflowers in her backyard, audibly buzzing with bees. 

Sign Up for E-News

“I’m very concerned that my granddaughter will live in a sterile world with no food,” Brentano said.

In front of their home, Bramnick told the crowd, “It’s not, as you can see, a traditional front lawn,” pointing out the native grasses that grow there. Bramnick said he has never received complaints about what’s growing in their yard.

Brentano, an artist, runs the Facebook page Rescaping the Suburbs with the New Jersey Audubon Society about adding native plants to suburban properties. She has been growing plants that support wildlife for more than five years, she said, and she hopes that Westfield will lead the way in doing so in New Jersey. Plans are underway to use grant money to add native plantings to Mindwaskin Park, she noted.

Mayor Andy Skibitsky expressed his support.

“You can see how passionate Patricia is, and that’s why we put her on our Green Team,” said Skibitsky. “We do want to make Westfield a community to showcase this idea.”

In addition looking beautiful, Brentano said, native plantings need little maintenance and help reduce the amount of water and pesticides used. For more information about native plantings, she recommended visiting www.njaudubon.org.

The legislation was sponsored by Bramnick, Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli and Deputy Republican Leader Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz. Before it can become law, it must next pass in the New Jersey Senate and be signed by Governor Chris Christie.

“I think it’s all part of a big package of non-regulatory things that people can do,” said Kelly Mooij, vice president of government relations at New Jersey Auduban Society. “It’s all about people taking an active role in their backyards.”

Brentano said she hopes that more consumer demand for native plants will lead to more availability, too.

“Small steps, big changes,” Brentano said. “It’s a mindset change.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

February 22, 2018

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...

CSA's 5th Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Set for Sunday

Is everyone ready to come together as a community and break bread to support the CSA? It's time for The Community Service Association of New Providence's 5th Annual Pasta & Meatball Dinner! This fun, family-friendly event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the DeCorso Community Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence. Pasta, meatballs, and dessert will be served from 3-7 ...

Caregiver Conference Sunday, Feb. 25, Focuses on Caregiver's Needs

 

Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, (JFSCNJ) a non-sectarian health and social service agency, will be hosting a Caregiver Conference called, “Caring for a Loved One While Being Mindful of Your Own Needs,” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave. Elizabeth.  

 The Conference, ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_b59229b3972266545812_magnet_fundraising_auction_2018_flyer_0219

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Municipal Court Room/Council Chambers, BERKELEY HEIGHTS

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, ...

Other

Carousel_image_ebabe6d4e0eb6af7bda2_https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-40285364-230483587926-1-original

Sat, February 24, 3:00 PM

White Tiger Dojo, Berkeley Heights

White Tiger Dojo Hosts Trauma Response Seminar: ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...