Green Fair Fun Way to Help Madison's Sustainability
First-ever event of its kind in borough will educate, help gain Sustainable Jersey points.
Madison and conservation have often gone hand-in-hand. Madison is No. 1 when it comes to securing Morris County Preservation Trust money, thanks to its Open Space Trust Fund and detailed applications.
The borough also made it a point to create the Environmental Commission, and begin pursuit of becoming a Sustainable Jersey municipality.
It's that pursuit that has helped bring Madison its first ever Green Fair, which will take place on Thursday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. outside of the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts.
The Green Fair will go toward educating residents on how to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as gaining points that can help secure certification as a Sustainable Jersey municipality in the future.
"Hosting a Green Fair is one of the items that will give points," Councilwoman Astri Baillie said. "(Main Street Executive Director) Jim Burnet has been really leading this with a Boy Scout."
That Boys Scout is Vijay Prabakaran, who is undertaking the fair as part of his Eagle Scout project. He has said that the fair is intended to help attendees learn how to become more environmentally friendly in a fun environment.
The Green Fair has also been heavily guided by Madison's Green Team, which was initiated by the Environmental Commission and contains around 40 people at this time according to Burnet. Burnet also gave much of the credit for the fair to Drew University Sustainability Coordinator Tina Notas and Whole Foods Marketing Team Leader Beth Gantz.
Baillie and Museum of Early Trades and Crafts Director Vivian James also pointed to Green Team Chair Betsy Uhlman as a driving force.
James said that events such as the Green Fair really demonstrate how Madison stands out as a community.
"It shows the borough's commitment to not just talking green, but being and encouraging green activities on a much larger scale," James said. "I was impressed. I used to work with an environmental organization in Newark. To have the city you are in participate in initiatives like this is not necessarily the most common thing. I think the borough is unique in that aspect."
James said about 40 tables will be set up outside of the museum by different vendors and non-profit groups. Included in that will be Whole Foods' "Green Pedal Powered Ice Cream Making Machine," which will use a bicycle to do just that. Drew University will also have a geothermal display, and the museum will have recycled material craft projects for kids, something they frequently provide for the borough's youth.
Another feature of the event will be the opportunity to tour Chris Kellog's passive solar energy house on Walnut Street, which is the only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified home in Madison, according to Baillie.
There will also be an award presentation for Central Avenue Elementary School 5th-grader Julia Grant, who designed the May Day T-shirts.
The Sustainable Jersey program works on a points system, and if the borough can accumulate 150 points from things such as having an environmental commission and a green team–both of which it now does–it would qualify for certification. Certification would make the borough eligible for grants.
Hosting a Green Fair itself is a 10-point item, but Baillie said more points can be gained based on the education the fair provides, among other factors.
"It's important to note, there is a whole crop of new volunteers that I haven't met before or seen before helping with the initiative," Baillie said. "It's good to see a new group of volunteers."
In case of inclimate weather, the Green Fair will be moved to Central Avenue Elementary School.