'We can do our part': Earth Day is all year long at Camden County Sustainability Campus

"We just want to make sure we can do our part," County Commissioner Jonathan Young Sr.
BLACKWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- From lettuces to vibrant blooms, the greenhouses are alive on the Camden County Sustainability Campus in Blackwood.

"We bring these plants from nothing to what you see here," said Judy Kelley, program coordinator of Camden County Certified Gardeners.

This campus is growing and carefully thought out, using sustainable materials and repurposed equipment, when possible.

County Commissioner Jonathan Young Sr. said the idea is to minimize the ecological footprint.

"We just want to make sure we can do our part and the part of sustainability to make sure we have a mark to say that we tried to make a difference," Young explained.

Here, the county grows flowers for their parks, which will soon go in the ground.

"It's so sustainable because we actually grow our own. Instead of going out and buying flowers from somewhere else, we pretty much grow our own flowers right here," Young said.

They also grow greens for animals at the Philadelphia Zoo.

"It's mostly your lettuces that's going there. The giraffes- they love them. They love the lettuce. The tortoise, they love the lettuce as well," Young explained.

Hydroponic crops like basil and tomatoes also go to neighborhood centers and shelters.

"When you think about water is such a valuable resource, this is using 10% of the water you would use in a traditional farming method," said Valerie Brown, program coordinator at the Camden County Office of Sustainability.

Education is a big piece of the mission.

"We can have schools come here. We can have different gardening groups come here," Brown said.

A new educational facility has been built, with features like bird-friendly windows with dots on the glass. The facility will provide space for exhibits and discussions about sustainability and agricultural topics.

"We can stay down in our little world and grow our little flowers and don't tell anybody about it, but that doesn't serve the purpose of making it better," Brown said.

Brown continued, "For me, it's kind of personal. I just want to make sure that who comes after me has a better life than what they have now."
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