January 2016
"A good river is nature's life work in song."

-- Mark Helprin
Congress Passes "Microbead Free Waters Act"
Credit: Flickr: Oregon State University

Believe it or not, in December of 2015 the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill.

This bill, having already been passed in the House, then made its way to the Presidents desk and was signed and enacted on December 28, 2015.

"The Microbead Free Waters Act", sponsored by New Jersey congressman Frank Pallone, inspired bipartisan support at a critical time for our nations fresh and saltwater resources.

What are microbeads?

You've probably noticed them before. They are tiny plastic particles used in soaps -- like the little blue sparkles in certain brands of toothpastes, or the tiny plastic balls used in face washes as exfoliants.

Although they may leave your skin silky-smooth and your teeth fresh and clean, once these microbeads are rinsed down the drain they permanently enter our rivers and oceans. Wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to remove microbeads, and they never break down on their own. Once in the water system, microbeads attract other pollutants, getting dangerous substances to cling to them. Fish then snack on the microbeads, filling their bellies with plastic and pollutants.

The " Microbead Free Waters Act" bans all production of products containing microbeads by 7/1/2017, and bans the sale of products with microbeads by 7/1/2018.

While some loopholes may still be present allowing companies to make semi-natural substitutes, the bill is certainly a step in the right direction.

Want to finish reading this story or any of the other stories in GSWA's eNewsletter?  Click here to visit our blog!
 Did you know?
Black Bear Cub. Credit: National News and Pictures

Have you ever talked to a black bear?
By GSWA Volunteer, Jim Northrop
I am a GSWA volunteer.  Last summer we had an early evening meeting.  It was hot and sticky - dusk had come as the meeting adjourned.  As I walked out of the GSWA building toward my car, I noticed a large black object up the hill near the woods.  O.M.G. ---- it was a large black bear sniffing her way toward our garbage cans.  I remembered that the night before, we had been guests here at a GSWA volunteer appreciation party.  Pizza was the main culinary attraction, and discarded pizza boxes (holding a few bits of uneaten pizza crust) would have smelled good even to me!

I froze, and the bear cautiously came closer.  I know that black bears are fast runners, even though they are the largest, wild, land mammal in New Jersey ---- in fact, I am told they can overtake a running deer when they want to.  I did not want to give the bear any cause for attacking me.  I stood frozen and still.

A few steps later the bear stopped, looked at me and said, "I smell pizza.  Can we share?"

By this time I was the only volunteer around ---- the others had gone home.  I wished that someone else was there to assure me that the heat had not made me crazy.  Could this really be a talking bear?!!

Start Using Amazon Smile!

When you link your already existing Amazon account to Great Swamp Watershed Association, Amazon starts donating .5% of your purchases to us. Although that may not sound like much, if all of our Amazon using members switched over to Smile, it would really add up!

Here's how you do it:

1. Visit smile.amazon.com
2. Sign in to your already existing amazon account (or create a new one)
3. In the "Pick Your Own Charitable Organization" section, type Great Swamp Watershed Association and click the search button. Then click the select button next to our name.
4. You're all done! Now shop away :)

A helpful tip - Amazon only donates when you shop through the smile website. Change your regular amazon bookmark to smile.amazon.com (your shopping experience will be the same). That way, you'll always be donating while you shop!

GSWA & the Care2Share Program
Care2Share Ad Graphic

Do you already bank with investors? Sign up for their Care2Share program!

Investors Bank supports GSWA by providing regular donations through its Care2Share program. It's totally free, and with a little help from you and your family, friends, and neighbors, we can grow those donations into something special: special in a way that helps all of our environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy programs!
How does it work?
The Care2Share program allows you to link your personal deposit account at Investors to GSWA. On a regular basis, Investors looks at the number of accounts linked to us, calculates the average balance in those accounts, and makes a donation to us equal to a percentage of that average balance. It doesn't cost you a cent, and your favorite charity get an important financial boost!

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Upcoming Events
Wine & Cheese Tasting, 1/27

5.30PM-7:30PM. Escape the cold and sip on eight excellent local wines from New Jersey. Whether you're new to GSWA or you have some friends you want to introduce to us, this is a great, low-key way to learn more about the organization's 34-year legacy of environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy in the Great Swamp region.

While there is no entrance fee, an anonymous donor has pledged to contribute $25 to GSWA for each new person introduced to the organization at the tasting. The same donor has also pledged to match, dollar-for-dollar, any and all contributions made to GSWA during the event.

Please click the Register Now! button for location information.
Winter Wildlife Hike, 1/30

10AM-11.30AM. Join GSWA's Dan Ross to explore the Conservation Management Area (CMA). He'll teach you how to spot signs of wildlife during winter months, including tracks and scat. He'll also guide you in identifying different trees and shrubs without their summer foliage.

Please click the Register Now! button for location information.
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Great Swamp Watershed Association
Protecting our waters and our land for more than 30 years
Street Address: 568 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown, NJ  07960 - Map It!
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 300, New Vernon, NJ  07976

GSWA Thanks our Generous 2015 Gala Sponsors