Sustainability for Camden means generating economic development, improving the lives and health of residents, and cultivating a healthier way of life. The Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) Initiative is accomplishing this through stormwater management, policy development, and green infrastructure training programs.
The Camden SMART Initiative imagines a future where neighborhood flooding and sewer overflows are eliminated by the year 2020 — where green jobs support the local economy and environmental policy, and increased property values protect land, improve recreational amenities, and open spaces to make neighborhoods beautiful.
Here in Camden, the push for environmental sustainability has already begun. In just a few years, the Camden SMART Initiative is producing results with impressive momentum and equipping city residents to continue these initiatives well into the future.
Since 2011, the initiative has activated more than 45 partners, invested over $25 million in the City of Camden, created 50 infrastructure projects, planted more than 1,500 trees, and captured more than 62 million gallons of stormwater annually.
These efforts have earned Camden its most recent accomplishment as a Spotlight Award winner as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, a partnership with the Aetna Foundation, American Public Health Association, and the National Association of Counties. The challenge helps communities become healthier places to live, work, learn, and play, and recognizes the cities and counties that achieve a measurable impact in their communities.
Community involvement and benefits
More than 4,000 Camden City residents are already engaged in these programs. Here’s how you can too:
Participate in the Rain Barrel Program hosted by the SMART Initiative. These free, hour-long workshops educate residents on the problems concerning combined-sewer overflow and how to manage these issues at their own homes. Those who participate receive a free rain barrel and free installation on their property. Rain barrels save money on water bills, reduce flooding, and recycle excess water. Residents simply sign up to receive a rain barrel and certified contractors install it.
To participate in the Rain Barrel Program, complete this form to get started.
Attend the 2018 Camden Environmental Summit. This is the only event in the region in which community groups, nonprofit organizations, environmental leaders, and government officials unite under a common agenda and educate one another on the importance of environmental health.
Share your thoughts on local environmental issues with other community members and professionals at the 2018 Camden Environmental Summit. Register here.
As more initiatives are implemented, residents of Camden City can look forward to more playgrounds, parks, and gardens to visit even after a flooding event. Additionally, tree planting, networking, and educational events will be held regularly. Even Camden youth and young adults can get involved through these programs:
Apply for the Green Ambassador Summer Youth Internship Program. This five-week, hands-on, paid summer internship provides opportunities to design pop-up parks, attend testing labs at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, participate in frequent water testing, learn about the city’s combined sewer system, and visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Join PowerCorps Camden, a program for young leaders from Camden City to help tackle pressing environmental challenges within their community, such as improving stormwater management, cleaning vacant lots, improving community space and parks, and revitalizing public land.
Click here to learn how to become a PowerCorps member.
Join the Camden SMART Initiative
The Initiative needs support from the Camden community to achieve its vision of a better, more sustainable future. Join the fight for a healthier world, one step at a time.