Barnegat Teens Initiate Adopt-a-Street Litter Patrol

By ERIC ENGLUND | Jul 10, 2019

Barnegat Township — Disappointed there was no community-backed effort to clean up areas of town on Earth Day, two incoming Barnegat High School freshmen, Nora Hansen and Jenna Marcy, literally took matters into their hands. The result is an “Adopt a Street Program,” which they presented to the township committee meeting of July 2. The initiative focuses on community involvement from youth, adults and local businesses. Prospective volunteers complete applications indicating the streets they want to adopt.

In the presentation, Hansen and Marcy said they were seeking volunteers for a one-year commitment to clean up trash three times a year in their designated streets. So far, 10 have signed up, including one in attendance at the meeting.

“As a retired teacher and principal, I want to compliment these young people,” said John Murrin. “It’s absolutely fabulous. I have great faith in young people, and I’m going to adopt the walkway and bike path at Heritage Point.”

The teens said they had already coordinated cleanups along Gunning River Road, Barnegat Boulevard and the bay beach, showing before and after photos. Helping them put the plan in place was Dunfee School Counselor Michele Cucinotta, whom they knew from their days as Dunfee students.

“Our goal is to create an eco-friendly town,” said Hansen. “We know it can be done.”

“How does it help save the planet?” said Marcy. “We’re one town and cleaning up one street at a time; that’s less garbage that’s going into the ocean. And it also gets the entire community involved.”

The teens said volunteers are required to wear bright-colored clothing to ensure visibility, and work can be done only in daylight hours. Anyone finding suspicious-looking items needs to report them to the police department.

Mayor Alfonso Cirulli applauded the students for their initiatives and offered the township’s support.

“We’re definitely behind you,” he said. “It’s a great idea. We just have to make sure all loose ends are tied up, especially with insurance. But I don’t see any problem with that, so this should all work out fine.”

— Eric Englund

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