Montclair could soon become the first town in New Jersey to adopt an ordinance designed to help sustain bees, butterflies and other pollinators that live in and pass through the Garden State.

According to Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis, the measure calls for the municipality to use at least 70% native trees and other vegetation when doing new plantings on public property.

He said there has been a significant decline in the number of pollinators over the past few decades, so the idea here is “what is the best opportunity to try and restore as much of the native habitat that used to exist for pollinators in a town like Montclair.”

Why it's important

He pointed out plants that are not native to the region usually cannot be pollinated by local butterflies, birds and insects.

Yacobellis said the state is within a migratory corridor for many pollinators so “to the extent you can establish or re-establish native vegetation, you’re creating that many more stopping points on the journey for a lot of these pollinator species, butterflies, birds and bees.”

He said by increasing more native plantings they have more vegetation to feed on, and it also helps the overall ecosystem.

Bee Pesticide
In this July 16, 2014, file photo, a bee works on a honeycomb the Gene Brandi Apiary in Los Banos, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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He pointed out pollinators are helping local home gardens but it’s much more about “the food chain supply chain. These are pollinators that are heading out to pollinate crops around the country that do feed Americans and the rest of the world, so it’s critical that every place does its part.”

He stressed to help pollinators fulfill their mission, “all we really need to do is to look at how can we be restoring what was native to this area.”

Let's do our part

Yacobellis hopes other municipalities will adopt similar ordinances, and help in this kind of effort in a very simple way.

“If you’re looking at two different green shrubs and one is native and one is not, and the cost is relatively close, why not go to the one that we know attracts and supports pollinator species,” he said.

He acknowledged taking this step in Montclair is not going to produce any dramatic change but “we do want to start making conscious decisions going forward about the shrubs and the trees and the flowers and things that we’re purchasing.”

He said town officials decided it would be best to require at least 70% native vegetation and not 100% because supply chain disruption issues are limiting deliveries of trees, bushes and other plantings to local nurseries.

The ordinance is expected to be adopted next month.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

School aid for all New Jersey districts for 2022-23

The state Department of Education announced district-level school aid figures for the 2022-23 school year on Thursday, March 10, 2022. They're listed below, alphabetically by county. For additional details from the NJDOE, including specific categories of aid, click here.