It was great to see 33 people at our March group meeting today to hear a fantastic movie and presentation by the New Jersey Highlands Coalition (http://njhighlandscoalition.org). Many thanks to Zachary Cole and Elliott Ruga for all of their work with the Coalition and for spending the two-hour meeting and an additional hour after the meeting answering our questions, and to Cinny MacGonagle for organizing the meeting. Special thanks also to Lower Valley Presbyterian Church for hosting us!
The Highlands Coalition advocates and enables other groups to advocate for protecting, enhancing, and restoring this part of NJ to protect drinking water for ~70% of the population of New Jersey. They also work to conserve farmland and ensure farming can continue to be part of our landscape, to preserve historic assets in the region, to educate school children and community organizations, and to provide programming to encourage people to enjoy the natural landscape. More people visit the Highlands each year than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon combined, with the outdoor recreation industry bringing $18.9 billion to the area and supporting 143,000 jobs.
Individual actions you can take include 1) reducing your personal environmental footprint and invite others to do the same, 2) subscribing to the Coalition’s Action Alerts or follow them on social media (https://www.facebook.com/NJHighlandsCoalition/,https://twitter.com/NJHighlanders,https://www.instagram.com/njhighlandscoalition/), 3) attending your municipal government’s meetings to advocate for environmentally responsible land planning, and 4) getting involved in local actions like the April 13 stream cleanups!
You can also join the Coalition as a group or individual member, become a Highlands Advocate, and attend (or even volunteer at) a Coalition event.
One quick political note: Congress just overwhelmingly passed and Trump signed the Public Lands Bill (S 47), which restores funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund that supports land preservation and protection in the Highlands. You can read more here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/02/12/senate-just-passed-decades-biggest-public-lands-package-heres-whats-it/.
Our April meetings will be many and varied: 1) climate scientist James Hansen will give a free talk at RVCC on Monday, April 8 at 6 pm (https://www.raritanval.edu/general-information/newsroom/lecture-climate-change-human-rights-scheduled); 2) several locations in the region will have stream cleanup activities on Saturday, April 13 (contact Cinny MacGonagle or Susan DeNegre or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info); 3) climate scientist Michael Mann will give a free talk at Lafayette College on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 pm (https://calendar.lafayette.edu/node/38659); and 4) Clinton Township Community Day at Bundt Park on April 27, 2-7 pm (many of our members will be at the CT Dems booth; come by and say hi!).