SPRINGFIELD, NJ - For Kelly Saverino, a Jonathan Dayton graduate and Springfield resident, environmental information is something that she is passionate about.
"At the beginning of the summer, I participated in a research project at my school, University of Richmond, on air quality throughout the city," Saverino said in an email interview. "Being part of the process of tackling environmental issues in Richmond inspired me to do the same in my hometown of Springfield."
She continued, adding, "I came up with the idea to host an event for the community to increase awareness of the urgency of environmental issues. I believe one of the biggest threats to the planet today is environmental issues, such as global warming, climate change, and plastic pollution, as well as the lack of education and awareness surrounding them."
After Saverino put the project together, she said the amount of support she received for it was outstanding.
"I was amazed by the eagerness of people to get involved and help out when I told them about my idea," Saverino said. "In a short amount of time, I was able to transform what started as a simple idea into a complex event."
Some of the presenters at the event included Melissa Bonissa from Overlook Hospital, who spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives at the hospital, and a representative from Sea Turtle Recovery, who talked about the rescue efforts of her organization.
Around the room, volunteers stood at other tables discussing topics including plastic, coral, and pollinators. According to Saverino, a video of Beekeeper Bridget Burns was shown at the pollinator table and metal straws were sold at the plastic table.
Free reusable shopping bags were given out to adults who visited, in hopes of providing an alternative to plastic bags. Proceeds from the metal straw sales and bake sale went to Sea Turtle Recovery to help them continue their mission.
"I was very happy with the amount of people who attended and the positive comments I heard from the many people who enjoyed the event," Saverino said. "I hope to host more events like this in the future to continue to educate the community and advocate for the environment."
At the end of the event, a companion film to Saverino's presentation was played in the meeting room.
Residents interested in following along with Saverino's future plans can visit her website at https://kellysav2.wixsite.com/smallstepsbigchange.