Environmental Commission celebrates Earth Day with cleanup

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNE LIGHTBURN Volunteers Pete Ritchings [top from left], MJ Gradel, Mark O’Connell, Dee Zoller, Cathy Sogorka [seated from left], Patti Villani and Anne Lightburn along with Kim Dietz, Cary Mulkeen and Laura Nowicki, all not pictured, volunteered their time to beautify Point Beach.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The Point Beach Environmental Commission celebrated Earth Day last week as members continued their initiative to clean up and restore neglected points throughout the borough.

On Saturday, April 24, 10 members and local volunteers restored the parking lot strip on Arnold Avenue between the post office and the firehouse. The group planted blueberry shrubs, baptisia coreopsis, lavender and St. John’s wort.

According to members, the highly-trafficked and visible area had been an “overgrown, ivy-choked eyesore” for years.

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The group’s restoration initiative began in 2020 as members worked to restore various spots throughout Point Pleasant Beach. 

For this week’s Arnold Avenue restoration, the commission worked with the Parking Authority and Ocean Fire Company No. 1 in planning the effort. The group also worked with Mark O’Connell, of Garden Party Farms, who designed a creative planting plan using native plants.

“The commission felt it was important to showcase native plants that benefit the environment and wildlife while adding beauty and serenity,” said project lead Cathy Sogorka. “Working with Chip Eibel, Ocean Fire Company No. 1, has been great and their agreement to water the new plantings is essential for this beautiful transformation to be a success.”

The group has cleared the area, mulched and planted purple blooming woodland phlox and a redbud tree. The borough also chipped in, last year placing a bench in the area. 

Coming up, the commission plans to add a cigarette receptacle, as their cleanup efforts produced a large amount of tossed cigarette butt litter in the area.

For more information or to learn how to get involved with the borough’s Environmental Commission or Green Team, visit pointpleasantbeach.org, call or text Chairwoman Anne Lightburn at 908-244-6732.

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