TTF works closely with our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) partners. This month we’re starting this column to promote the activities of the EACs in Abington and Jenkintown. Watch for next month when we feature Cheltenham and Springfield.
The Cheltenham Township EAC has been advising the Board of Commissioners on environmental matters since 2007. Recent contributions include drafting policies and guidelines on herbicide applications that were adopted by the Board to help safeguard efforts by both Township personnel and contractors endeavoring to eradicate invasive plants in Township parkland and replace them with native species. Many EAC members provide hands-on assistance at these ongoing plantings, often located in riparian buffers. The EAC also helped draft a new ordinance that regulates the use of lands adjacent to waterways throughout the Township. In fact, Cheltenham Township won the 2013 Municipal Leader Award from the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership, Inc., for the Township’s commitment to watershed issues.
In 2013, the EAC took on a major new assignment under Sustainable Cheltenham, the new multi-year, Township-wide initiative designed to guide the community to become more environmentally friendly and resilient. A first of its kind in Montgomery County, the plan established ten goals and objectives that are applicable to all organizations, institutions and individuals in the community. The EAC will take the lead on overseeing the Township’s sustainability efforts and monitoring all progress.
The EAC hosted a reception to launch Sustainable Cheltenham in April 2013. The event recognized the volunteers and officials who developed the plan and fostered greater awareness about it. The EAC is currently developing a Sustainability Awards Program to recognize individuals, institutions, businesses and community groups according to the Sustainability Goals. Members are also working on a Green Purchasing Policy for use by all Township departments.
Finally, the EAC continues to sponsor public events on environmental topics. The EAC annually orchestrates and promotes about a dozen Earth Day activities across the Township and partners with the School District for an Earth Day Festival that features student projects and vendor booths every year. Other recent endeavors include a community-based effort to promote a walkable/bikeable Cheltenham by examining potentially problematic intersections, an Energy Saving Expo co-sponsored with Abington and Jenkintown EACs, and an Open House showcasing a platinum-level LEED residential property in the Township.