By Jay Cook |
RUMSON – Save the date: there will be a big celebration of the waterways encircling the Two River peninsula.
A partnership between Rally for the Navesink and the Rumson Environmental Commission spawned the idea for the first Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest to be held on the banks of the Navesink.
The day-long event planned to kick off the summer is “a celebration of the area that we live in and a means to generate area awareness for kids and their families,” said Alison McCarthy, the coastal watershed protection coordinator for Clean Ocean Action.
The morning festival is planned for 9 a.m. to noon June 2 at Victory Park, 1 Lafayette St.
Rally for the Rivers has been in the planning stages for months, said Jennifer Crow, a member of the Rumson Environmental Commission.
Crow, who also teaches seventh-grade science at Forrestdale School and is a Rumson resident, believes the event can reach and educate Rumson’s future conservationists.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in starting with the kids. The parents will go to anything the kids want to do and they’ll listen to what their kids say,” she said. “We all have a vested interest to some degree.”
The festival is designed to be a family-fun, interactive morning out along the Navesink River. An “environmental passport challenge” will help guide children as they bounce from station to station throughout the morning to check off where they’ve visited. Each table will have an interactive element that will, in some manner, provide a hands-on experience to educate the youth about what impact they can have on their own community.
“We have to just remember that we have a responsibility to nature and I don’t know how many people there are that actually understand that,” said Crow. “It’s really an awareness thing.”
A few of those educational platforms have already been decided. Crow’s students are developing unique recycling games for participants to play, in hopes of teaching what to recycle and how to do it properly.
The Rumson Environmental Commission will also be highlighting an experiment about the impact flushable wipes can have on the local infrastructure and residential piping. While many are marketed as safe for disposal down the toilet, Crow and other environmentalists believe wipes can have a negative impact on the work local citizens are doing to rehabilitate the cleanliness of the Navesink River.
“Education programs are going to help us improve water quality,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action. “We need to know about the icky stuff as well as all the good stuff.”
The different stakeholders involved hope the Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest can be the first of many festivals dedicated for residents along the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers. Ultimately, the goal is education.
“It will be starting here in Rumson,” said Zipf, “but hopefully next year it’ll be in another part of the watershed and circulate around so everyone can understand how far back and wide our watershed is.”
For more information about the first Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest, visit CleanOceanAction.org or the Rally For the Navesink Facebook page at @RallyfortheNavesink.
This article was first published in the Apr. 5-12, 2018 print edition of the Two River Times.
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