STAR Progress

STAR PROGRESS

The STAR Neighborhood program currently has four certified neighborhoods. Eight other neighborhoods are registered in the program with the goal of achieving certification in the future.

Congratulations to each of the following registered or certified STAR neighborhoods! Please follow the links or scroll down to check out their efforts to date.

Special congrats also go to three neighborhoods that were awarded STAR Mini-Grants for $500 to fund their sustainability projects. Princeton Community Village used the funds to provide recycling bins to each of its residents,  Witherspoon Jackson Neighborhood used the funds for 10 stormwater planters for the neighborhood, and Caldwell Park is using the funds to build a meadow on adjacent municipal land.

Who’s next? Review the potential STAR action items and learn more about the STAR Neighborhood program.

'A' Neighborhood

Gold Certified in 2022, 2021, and 2020

Rejoined September 2022; Current credits: 55 points

The A Neighborhood is our first Gold neighborhood! This active neighborhood has earned points towards achieving STAR Neighborhood status by completing the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: This neighborhood maintains an email list.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Eliane and Tineke have been named as leaders of this active neighborhood. So far, they’ve established goals of tackling water issues, building an anti-idling campaign, and developing a tool library.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: On 6/26/19, a summer potluck was planned for the community. Approximately 30 neighbors enjoyed conversation, delicious foods, and learned more about the STAR Neighborhood program.

  • Demonstrate a Low-Waste Celebration: Hosts of the 6/26/19 potluck graciously provided washable plates and cups for this low-waste gathering.

  • Adopt Neighborhood Storm Drains: Five neighbors — Eliane, Marci, Alan, John and Lucy — began clearing drains in 2019 in order to keep their water drainage system working well. 2020 update — the drain clearing efforts continue!

  • Host a Leave-the-Leaves Workshop: On 10/19/19, neighbors invited Steve Hiltner of Friends of Herrontown Woods to demonstrate building a leaf corral.

  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: In January 2020, neighbors began a monthly collection of used electronics, bottle caps, and dental supplies for contribution to a local school’s waste drives.

  • Attend a Green Infrastructure Seminar: In February 2020, five neighbors attended “Rain Gardens for Homeowners” hosted by the Watershed Institute.

  • Join the Neighborhood Buddy Initiative: In March 2020, neighbors distributed flyers for the NBI, backed up by an email to their group.

  • Promote Home Energy Audits: In July 2020, one neighbor distributed information to neighbors about Home Energy Audits, including why you’d do it, how to learn more, and noting their audit experience.

  • Perform a Stormwater Analysis:  In the winter of 2020, neighbors recruited the Watershed Institute and the Municipal Arborist to analyze the neighborhood’s stormwater and describe potential mitigation strategies and plans for tree planting.

  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: Neighbors organize a monthly collection of bottle caps, dairy cups, prescription bottles, and take-out boxes for contribution to a local plastics #5 collection.
  • Materials Collection Event Drives: In January 2021, neighbors gathered supplies to consolidate so only one person needed to drive to the Sustainable Princeton upcycling event.
  • Host a Sustainability Block Party: In March 2022, the A-Neighborhood organized a sustainably-minded lantern walk in the evening. Families made lanterns and then toured the neighborhood, checking out an electric vehicle, a native garden, a rain barrel system, leaf corral, and compost setup. Over 35 neighbors attended this fun event.
  • Organize a Low-Mow Campaign: In the summer of 2022, the A Neighborhood began to take on a low-mow campaign convincing some neighbors to join the movement many were already undertaking.

Well done Walnut-Dempsey-Cuyler! We look forward to seeing what’s next!

Armour Road & Neighbors

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 40 points

The Armour Rd & Neighbors group has jumped into the game too. Welcome!

Mimi and Eva have teamed up to help their neighborhood achieve the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained for the neighborhood.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: This group wants to encourage rain gardens where helpful, mulching leaves with a mower in fall, plus composting leaves, and actions suggested by Quiet Princeton regarding leaf blowers.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: On July 17 2021, the Armour Rd neighborhood hosted a Green Armour Summer Block Party. They worked with the police to temporarily close the street so they could gather, make art on the streets, and bikes could safely roll.
  • Host an Electric Vehicle Showcase: At this event, Mimi and Eve encouraged neighbors, friends, and even a dealer to park their EVs for demonstration. Six electric vehicles were on display.
  • Provide a ‘Leave your Leaves’ education: At the block party, Quiet Princeton was invited to share their knowledge about alternatives to gas-powered leafblowers, which include raking, electric equipment, mulching leaves with a mower, or creating a compost pile.
  • Host a Sustainable Landscaping Tour: As part of this block party, Mimi invited her neighbors to tour her yard, describing her rain garden, collection of electric landscaping equipment as well as a vegetable garden and native plants.
  • Host a Climate Change Talk:  As part of this block party, Mimi invited her neighbors to an educational and inspiring seminar by C-Change Conversations.

Thanks for joining us Armour Rd & friends. Send us your actions as you take them on!

Bouvant/White Oak Neighborhood

Silver Certified in 2022 and 2021

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 133 points

We are thrilled that the Bouvant/White Oak Neighborhood has jumped on this train!

They have hit the ground running with two starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained for the neighborhood.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Cathy, Rakesh, and John are leaders of this effort. Their goals are to: (1) Encourage the growth and maintenance of environmentally/ nature-friendly yards, (2) Protect our water sources/watersheds, and (3) Reduce our energy usage and improve the quality of the air we breathe. In 2022, they are focusing on renewable energy opportunities, strengthening the resiliency of the neighborhood, educating on the new landscaping equipment ordinance.

  • Neighborhood Tree Education: In the spring of 2021, neighbors invited Taylor Sapudar, the municipal arborist, to discuss healthy tree management.
  • Adopt Neighborhood Storm Drains: Neighbors began an “adopt a stormwater drain” initiative. As of May 2021, all of the neighborhood drains have been “adopted” by 10+ households. 
  • Plastics Recycling Update: In the fall of 2021, neighborhood leaders distributed information and alternatives to the #5 plastics collection to their neighbors.
  • Material Collection Drives: In the spring of 2022, Cathy collated items from the neighborhood and brought them to our Winter Upcycling Collection.
  • Plastic Bag Ban Update: In the spring of 2022, neighborhood leaders distributed information regarding the May deadline for NJ’s plastic bag ban with their neighbors.
  • Sustainable Landscaping Update: In the spring of 2022, neighborhood leaders distributed information regarding the new ordinance regarding gas-powered landscaping equipment.
  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: In spring 2022, neighbors continued a monthly collection of bottle caps, dairy cups, prescription bottles, and take-out boxes for contribution to a local plastics #5 collection.
  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: In the fall of 2022, neighbors collectively joined the Terracycle Home program to schedule pickups of hard to recycle plastics. (Action: +50 points!)
  • Clearing Invasives: In September 2022, neighbors worked together to clear invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose that was enveloping junipers and trees along Bouvant Rd. by the small stream that runs through the neighborhood. (Action: +50 points!)

Way to go Bouvant/White Oak Neighborhood. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Caldwell Park Neighborhood

Gold Certified in 2022; Silver Certified in 2021; Bronze Certified in 2020

Rejoined September 2022; Current credits: 67 points

The active Caldwell Park neighborhood is thrilled to be certified in the STAR Neighborhood program.

So far, they’ve completed the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is actively maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Jaime, Archana, and Jenny have been named as leaders of the Caldwell Park neighborhood. Goals established thus far include developing a local green infrastructure example, establishing the Neighborhood Buddy Program, and organizing a hard-to-recycle collection.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: On 5/19/19, a neighborhood meeting was convened to learn more about the STAR Neighborhood program.

  • Demonstrate a Low-Waste Celebration: Hosts of the 9/15/19 neighborhood picnic provided washable plates, cups, and silverware, and collected food waste for one family’s chickens.

  • Neighborhood Tree Planting: At the neighbor’s request, the Watershed Institute provided a planting plan for Caldwell Park to alleviate downstream flooding. The neighborhood then voted to accept the recommendation to plant trees around the border of Caldwell Park and submitted this request to the municipality. In October 2019, four trees were planted, with the plan to plant more in the spring.

  • Join the Neighborhood Buddy Initiative: In March 2020, neighbors distributed flyers for the NBI, a priority action.

  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: In July 2020, neighbors began a monthly collection of bottle caps, dairy cups, prescription bottles, and take-out boxes for contribution to a local plastics #5 collection.
  • Materials Collection Event Drives: In September 2020, neighbors gathered supplies to consolidate so only one person needed to drive to the MCIA hazardous waste collection.
  • Establish Low-Maintenance, Low-Mow Areas: In the summer of 2021, neighbors rolled out a large plastic tarp to prepare a 25×75′ area of Caldwell park for a meadow. In the fall of 2021, neighbors pulled up the tarp and smoothed out a 5-6″ layer of compost. Seedlings and seeds of three different native plants were planted. All supplies were purchased using a STAR Neighborhood mini-grant.
  • Host a Deer Management Seminar: On November 1, 2021 neighbors invited Jim Ferry, Animal Control Officer, to describe the need for deer management and provide an overview of strategies applicable to the neighborhood.
  • Materials Collection Event Drives: In March 2022, neighbors gathered supplies to consolidate so only one person needed to drive to the MCIA hazardous waste collection.
  • Maintain Low-Maintenance, Low-Mow Areas: In the spring of 2022, neighbors pulled up an invasion of the non-native pennycress and reseeded the area with more purple coneflowers.
  • Host a Neighborhood Yard Sale: In the fall of 2022, 15 households got together to host a neighborhood yard sale. They jointly advertised the event (newspaper & social media) but each managed their own sales in their driveway. (Action: +50 points!)

Way to go Caldwell Park. Keep it coming!

Constitution Hill Neighborhood

Bronze Certified in 2021

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 20 points

Congratulations to Constitution Hill! They have officially gone from being a Nebula Neighborhood (see below for earlier actions) to being a fully-fledged STAR Neighborhood.

Their journey has begun with the following starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is actively maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Penny and Chris are leaders of this effort. The neighborhood intends to build a reusable bag campaign, promote home energy audits, and develop a neighborhood tree inventory.

  • Distribute Reusable Bags: This neighborhood created custom reusable shopping bags and filled them with educational materials before distributing them to each household.
  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: In March 2021, a group of neighbors formed the Constitution Hill Trail Blazers and set about enhancing a trail in the neighborhood.
  • Plant Neighborhood Trees: In April 2021, neighbors planted three American Holly and three Spruce trees to replace dead or fallen trees.

Check out the actions taken in 2018 and earlier by Constitution Hill:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: Constitution Hill maintains a robust phone and email list.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: This well-established neighborhood hosts regular holiday and summer social gatherings.

  • Create Wildlife-Friendly Yards: A monarch butterfly habitat was developed on a previously mowed field.

  • Compile a Neighborhood Tree Inventory: A private contractor catalogs, trims, feeds, treats (esp. our ashes) all of our gorgeous trees as well as removes and replaces old ones each year.

  • Lead a Curbside Organic Sign Up Drive: In the past, the neighborhood led a campaign to encourage participation in Princeton’s Curbside Organics collection. (Note: This action is now retired pending further notification regarding the municipal compost program.)

Nice work Constitution Hill! We are excited to see what comes next.

Grover Gang Neighborhood

Bronze Certified in 2020

Rejoined September 2022; Current credits: 69 points

Congratulations to the Grover Gang for becoming the first neighborhood to certify in the STAR Neighborhood program! Since joining in March 2019, they’ve completed the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email list currently exists, but the neighborhood hopes to expand it and include phone numbers.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Adam, Gitanjali, and Mia have been named as leaders of the Grover Gang neighborhood. Goals established thus far include establishing the Neighborhood Buddy Program, hosting a neighborhood block party, and educating on home energy audits.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: On 7/20/19, an informal summer fling was held for the neighborhood .

  • Host a Home Energy Audit Seminar: On 5/9/19, Scott Fischer of Ciel Power was invited to share information about home energy audits with this neighborhood.

  • Host a Neighborhood Buddy Discussion: On 9/27/19, Councilman David Cohen was invited to share ideas and discussion behind the Neighborhood Buddy program.

  • Join the Neighborhood Buddy Initiative: In April 2020, neighbors distributed flyers for the NBI, a priority action.

Great job Grover Gang! You are on a roll!

Harrison Park Neighborhood

Bronze Certified in 2022

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 10 points

We are delighted that the Harrison Park Neighborhood has joined this effort!

Their journey has begun with the following starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Phil and Linda are leaders of this effort. The neighborhood intends to organize around Harrison Street Park to provide input for the park’s maintenance and development. More important, they seek to develop bonds with our neighbors to provide support and community.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: This neighborhood met in August in the summer of 2019 with a group of five neighbors. They discussed some ideas of looping people in to discuss the development of the park.

  • Hard-to-Recycle Collection: In the fall of 2020, neighbors began a monthly collection of bottle caps, dairy cups, prescription bottles, and take-out boxes for contribution to a local plastics #5 collection.

Good start Harrison Park Neighborhood! We a look forward to seeing your future accomplishments.

Laurel & Mt. Lucas Neighborhood

Silver Certified in 2021

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 50 points

The Laurel & Mt. Lucas Neighborhood is the 10th neighborhood to register for this program and we are thrilled to have them join.

They have proven they are ready to take action with the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained for the neighborhood.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Dana, Cate, and Louisa are leaders of this effort. Their specific goals are to (1) focus on stormwater management, (2) launch a Leave the Leaves campaign, and (3) educate about native plants.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering:  The street was closed and a neighborhood gathering was organized on June 6.
  • Organized a Neighborhood Native Plant Order: About 8 households pooled their orders together to make a bulk order of 300 native plants for their neighborhood.
  • Adopt Neighborhood Storm Drains: Neighbors began clearing drains in 2020 in order to keep their water drainage system working well. Their goal is to perform this cleanup once every season and determine if more is needed.

Thanks for joining us Laurel & Mt. Lucas Neighborhood. We look forward to your additional actions!

Princeton Community Village

Bronze Certified in 2021

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 125 points

The Princeton Community Village is the first multi-family housing neighborhood to register in our program.

So far, they’ve completed the following starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is actively maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Jordan, Edith, and John are leaders of this effort. The neighborhood intends to take on recycling at PCV by implementing several outreach efforts, including flyers and posters with current recycling rules, an educational seminar with Waste Management, and the plan to distribute bags to each resident for carrying recycling to dumpsters. They will follow up by implementing a recycling competition for the community and finding ways to track the resident’s progress.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: In the Fall of 2021, neighbors were invited to a green team meeting to consider goals for the upcoming year.

  • Recycling Improvements: After identifying recycling contamination as a serious problem, PCV worked with Waste Management to bring in improved signage and new lids to their dumpsters.
  • Recycling 101: In October 2020, PCV hosted a webinar, inviting Sustainable Princeton and Waste Management to share recycling information with the community.
  • Recycling Poster Contest: During the Fall of 2020, PCV hosted a recycling poster contest for students in Grades K to 12.
  • Insulation Improvements: Neighbors were concerned about energy loss when air-conditioning slots were not filled, prompting management to send out notices of how to request a work order to insulate these areas.
  • Recycling 101: In May 2022, PCV hosted a webinar, inviting Sustainable Princeton and Waste Management to share recycling information with the community.
  • Community Yard Sale: On 9/17/22, PCV organized a community yard sale. (Action: +50 points!)

Congratulations PCV! We are eager to learn from your recycling efforts.

Stony Brook Neighborhood

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 130 points

We are thrilled that the Stony Brook Neighborhood has joined this effort!

Their journey has begun with the following starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Jill, Sandy and Kimberly are leaders of this effort. The neighborhood is currently working to provide support to its neighbors during the COVID crisis but will consider additional goals later in the year.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: This neighborhood meets regularly.

  • Join the Neighborhood Buddy Initiative: In March, neighbors distributed flyers for the NBI, a priority activity.
  • Neighborhood Tree Q & A: In October 2020, Stony Brook organized a Q & A with Princeton’s Municipal Arborist.
  • Utility Bill 101: In December 2021, a Stony Brook resident created a video for his neighbors explaining his utility bill, including the municipality’s contract with Constellation and his option for Community Solar.
  • Meadow Tour: In September 2022, Mercy and Tim gave a tour of their meadow, bringing out about 20 people and inspiring a few neighbors to start mini-meadows of their own. Mercy created a flier explaining what plants they have and their progress. (Seminar: 20 points + 20 attendees = 40 points)

Great start Stony Brook Neighborhood! We can’t wait to learn about your future actions.

Wheatsheaf Lane

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 90 points

The Wheatsheaf Lane neighborhood is the latest to join, but surely not the last!

Carolyn, Jane, and Terry have started off with the following actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained for the neighborhood.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: This group has set some impressive goals to encourage neighbors to install rain gardens, new native or water-loving trees, water-permeable driveways, or a riparian buffer along Harry’s Brook.

  • Perform a Stormwater Analysis: In 2021, neighbors recruited the Watershed Institute to provide an analysis of stormwater issues and potential mitigation strategies.

Well done Wheatsheaf Lane. We look forward to watching your goals come to life!

Witherspoon Jackson Neighborhood

Bronze Certified in 2021

Re-joined September 2022; Current credits: 80 points

It is our pleasure to welcome the Witherspoon Jackson Neighborhood to the STAR program!

Their journey has begun with the following starting actions:

  • Develop a Neighborhood Communications Network: An email and phone list is maintained.

  • Establish Leadership and Goals: Bernadine, Yina, and Leighton are leaders of this effort. The neighborhood is currently working to provide support to its neighbors during the COVID crisis but will consider additional goals later in the year.

  • Host a Neighborhood Gathering: This neighborhood meets regularly.

  • Join the Neighborhood Buddy Initiative: In March and April, neighbors distributed flyers for the NBI, a priority activity.
  • Perform a Stormwater Analysis: In the Fall of 2020, neighbors recruited the Watershed Institute to provide an analysis of stormwater issues and potential mitigation strategies.
  • Promote Stormwater Planters to Neighborhoods: In August, neighbors worked with SP to secure funding and promoted free stormwater planters to the neighborhood, a priority activity.
  • Install Stormwater Planters in the Neighborhood. In the Fall of 2021, neighbors installed ten stormwater planters, filling them with rocks, soil, and native plants. They also ensured stormwater diverters were properly installed on gutters and connected to the boxes.

Way to go Witherspoon Jackson Neighborhood. Welcome to the pack!

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