Webfinder: Job Resources for Veterans

Links updated 8/13/18

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Leaving the Military – Transitioning resources and advice on Employment & Education, Separation & Retirement, and Guard & Reserves options (Military OneSource).

Career OneStop: Veteran and Military Transition Center – ‘A  one-stop website for employment, training, and financial help after military service.’ There is also a related site, My Next Move for Veterans (U.S. Department of Labor).

New Jersey Jobs: Veterans Services (NJ Career Connections) – ‘Veterans receive first priority referral to all jobs and training opportunities for which they are qualified. In the One-Stop Career Center, there is a Veterans Representative who specializes in helping veterans find the jobs and opportunities for which they qualify. In addition to priority referrals to jobs, vets can enroll in free job search workshops, find help developing a resume, learn about career training programs and get help understanding the network of veterans’ benefits available through the Veterans Administration, state and local governments.’ (New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development).

Career Boot Camp for Transitioning Military Personnel – ‘Some basic training on how to present your resume and military skills in a way that will connect with civilian employers’ (Monster.com; site includes advertisements).

College: Know How 2 Go – For veterans and servicemembers interested in pursuing a college degree, this site provides information on what steps you need to take to choose and apply to colleges, how to find financial aid, and more. (American Council on Education)

Feds Hire Vets – Resources and information to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families find careers in the Federal government (U.S. Office of Personnel Management).

Go Government – Explains how you can use “Veteran’s Preference” status to gives you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs with the federal government. (Partnership for Public Service; non-profit organization)

Hire Heroes USA – Free services to veterans or their spouses, including resume & networking tools, post-military planning, post-military financial & benefits assessment, job search training, and Job Board. (Non-profit organization)

Hiring Our Heroes – Free tools and resources to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation)

Online Job Search Guide for Veterans – Lots of helpful advice and resources for those re-entering the civilian job market after 3 or 30 years of service in the military. (Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt.org)

Troops to Teachers – Help for separating or retiring military personnel who want to pursue a rewarding second career in public education. (N.J. Department of Education)

Veterans’ Employment and Training Service – This service from the U.S. Department of Labor aims at helping America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Vet Jobs – Searchable job listings, employment advice and other employment resources for transitioning military, National Guard, Reserve Component Members and veterans, and their family members (sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). See also:

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Webfinder: Disasters

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Are you ready? If not, check out these resources!

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Disaster Supplies Kit [Link opens a PDF] – A handy printable checklist of essential items you should have in your home in case of any emergency, plus key websites to help you stay informed about current or potential emergencies (State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). The Family Communication Plan [Link opens a PDF] is a printable form you can fill out so your family will know how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Fill in this information and keep a copy in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. For additional forms & checklists, see Make a Plan [NEW!] (FEMA).

Disasters: Prepare Your Home & Family – General advice on how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies, including tips for taking care of children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets. Disaster Preparedness Library focuses on specific types of emergencies, including chemical spills, fires, floods, flu, heat waves, poisoning, power outages, terrorism, winter storms, and more. After a Disaster offers guidance on what to do after floods, hurricanes, winter storms blackouts, and other disasters, including checking your home’s structure, utilities & major systems, and recovering emotionally & financially  (American Red Cross). See also Emergency Preparedness & Response (U.S. Centers for Disease Control), and Disasters and Emergencies [UPDATED LINK!] (USA.gov). Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster [NEW!] offers special advice to families with children (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Emotional Recovery from Disaster – Briefly outlines common reactions and responses to disaster, and offers advice on coping. (2013, American Psychological Association). See also Helping Children Cope With a Disaster and Parents Helping Youth Cope with Disaster [UPDATED LINK!] [Link opens a PDF] (2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support, by phone or text, to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. There is also a special service for hard of hearing & deaf people, and an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Financial Preparedness: Lessons from Sandy – Recommends steps to take before disaster hits to be sure your financial accounts, medical & prescription drug information, original copies of important documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.) and other necessities are secured and accessible to you in the event of an emergency (2012, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) [UPDATED LINK!] helps individuals and families collect and organize critical financial, medical, and household contact information. This gives you a centralized record of essential household information whenever you need it so you will be able to rebuild your life more quickly after a disaster (2018, FEMA). Disasters and Financial Planning [Link opens a PDF] includes information on filing insurance claims, applying for private or government assistance, tax relief, and related topics (2015, National Endowment for Financial Education, American Red Cross and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; non-profit organizations).  See also Weather Emergencies: Getting your Financial House in Order (2015, Federal Trade Commission).

Flooding – How to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from floods, including dealing with emergency disinfection of drinking water, mold, private wells & septic systems, and related subjects (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Family Preparedness: Floods and Flash Floods (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management) and Floods: What You Should Know (U.S. Centers for Disease Control). FloodSmart explains the National Flood Insurance Program and your flood insurance coverage options (FEMA). The short video Flooded Cars [UPDATED LINK!] offers tips on how to identify a flood-damaged vehicle when you shop for a car (Insurance Information Institute, Inc.).

Food Safety in an Emergency – Answers to frequently asked questions about food safety after a flood or other disaster, including a helpful  “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” chart (USDA). See also FoodSafety.gov.

Preparedness for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs – People with disabilities often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. The Red Cross offers a free booklet you can download and print, (American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA). See also Ready.gov for Individuals with Disabilities (FEMA). Register Ready is a free and confidential program which allows residents with special needs to register with emergency response agencies, so emergency responders can better serve them in an emergency (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management).

Preparedness for Seniors – Tips for over-50 adults and their families / caregivers (The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc). See also Disaster Planning For Seniors, By Seniors [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross), Ready.gov for Seniors (FEMA). and Safety Tips for Seniors and related links. Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers [NEW!] offers advice for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, whose impairments in memory and reasoning severely limit their ability to act appropriately in crises (National Institute on Aging).

Planning for Pets – Pets can’t prepare, so you need to do it for them! This guide explains what you can do ahead of time to ensure your pets’ safety in times of emergency (Humane Society of the United States). See also Preparing your Pets for Emergencies [Link opens a PDF] (FEMA et al.), Saving the Whole Family® [Link opens a PDF] (American Veterinary Medical Association) and Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross).

Power Outages – Tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including food & water safety, and dealing with extreme heat and cold. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

Protect Your Home in a FLASH – DIY Videos showing steps you can take to strengthen your home and safeguard your family from natural and manmade disasters; videos are hosted on YouTube. See Flash FAQ for additional resources.

Safe & Well List If you have been affected by a disaster, this site provides a way for you to register yourself as ‘safe and well.’ If you are concerned about loved ones in a disaster area, you can search the list of those who have registered themselves as ‘safe and well.’ For help contacting family members during or after an international crisis (war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency), see Find Family Internationally After Crisis (American Red Cross), Restoring Family Links (International Committee of the Red Cross), and Google Person Finder.

Save Your Treasures – Basic guidelines for saving family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes that have been damaged by water (Heritage Preservation and FEMA). See also Wet Book Rescue [NEW!] video (Syracuse University Libraries; hosted on YouTube).

Winter Weather – Advice on protecting your health and safety in winter, including what to do if you get stranded on the road (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). See also Winter Weather Safety (National Weather Service). Winter Driving offers vehicle maintenance & driving tips and outlines laws that help keep you safe on the road in winter (State of New Jersey). See also Car Talk: Winter Driving (NPR; site includes advertisements) and AAA Winter Driving Tips. To test your knowledge about driving safely in a variety of extreme weather conditions, see the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather Driving Quiz!

Workplace Disasters – Resources to help you prepare your business or organization for disasters, or recover from one.

If you are struck by a natural disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov is the official U.S. government website that provides information and services to access and apply for disaster assistance. For additional information, see Benefit.gov’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Benefits.

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Do you want to make a donation to a disaster relief program? Check out our Charitable Giving Webfinder for resources that can help you make your donations count!

Links updated 5/31/18.

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Staycation Guide 2018

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Thinking about keeping your vacation local this summer, or maybe just planning to do some exploring right here where we live? Maybe you’re new to the area, or just haven’t had a chance to get to know what’s in your own backyard? We have information that can help you find fun & family-friendly things to do in South Plainfield and the surrounding area!

The South Plainfield Recreation Department offers summer sports camps, swimming lessons, and a Community Pool. Did you know that South Plainfield’s Spring Lake Park has tennis courts, basketball court, playground, bikeways/walkways, fishing, and free concerts? For other parks and nature preserves in the Central Jersey area, see Middlesex County Parks & Recreation, Union County Parks & Recreation, Somerset County Parks, and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. In Hillsborough (Somerset County), Duke Farms offers hiking & biking trails, nature & horticulture programs, family activities, and more. The Nature Conservancy in N.J. offers information on nature preserves in the Delaware Bayshores, Pine Barrens, and Skylands regions of New Jersey. To expand your range, see NJ State Parks & Forests. Many parks & recreation departments also offer history & culture events and facilities! Use Discover the Forest [NEW!] to search for forests or parks within a specified distance of your zip code.

Close to home, East Jersey Olde Towne Village in Piscataway is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed 18th- and 19th-century structures, tools and artifacts that help illustrate the farm and merchant communities once found in central New Jersey. For information about this and other historic sites in Middlesex County, visit the Middlesex County Office of Arts & History [UPDATED LINK!] (formerly Cultural and Heritage Office). For many additional historic sites, see NJ State Historic Sites & Museums and New Jersey History: Places To Go!.

There some excellent museums within a moderate distance of South Plainfield. The Newark Museum and New Jersey State Museum (Trenton) both feature natural history & science as well as fine art, and each include a planetarium & an auditorium. You can see more fine art at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick and Princeton University Art Museum.

Plays-in-the-Park presents outdoor community theater productions at Roosevelt Park in Edison. Some other theaters in the area offering live theater productions include the Papermill Playhouse (Millburn) and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison).

The Mason Gross School of the Arts Summer Series [UPDATED LINK!] in New Brunswick features a mix of music and dance; most performances are free. For many additional arts & culture events and facilities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, including museums and festivals, see Arts & Culture at Rutgers.

The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Union County Arts Center in Rahway, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark offer a variety of professional entertainments for adults and children.

Sports Teams in NJ and Visit NJ [UPDATED LINK!] have information & links on NJ major & minor sports teams & venues, including the Somerset Patriots baseball team in Bridgewater.

Of course, for most of us, summer in NJ wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to the beach! See VistNJ.org: Beaches in NJ and New Jersey Monthly’s Annual Shore Guide to find the perfect spot and get information about beach fees, facilities, and parking. See NJbeaches.org for beach closings & advisories, and other health & safety information.

More Staycation Resources: Things to Do in New Jersey and Visit NJ [UPDATED LINK!] have info on theme parks, zoos & aquariums, breweries & wineries, arboretums & gardens, arcades & miniature golf, plus trip ideas and more! MyCentralJersey.com’s Local Events calendar includes searchable listings for central N.J. arts & entertainment, food & dining, sports & recreation, and more. Discover Jersey Arts is the hub for what’s going on in NJ’s arts scene, with a event calendar, directory of cultural organizations, and more! FunNewJersey.com and Weird NJ offer lots of additional information on where it’s at in Jersey!

And for some general suggestions for a great Staycation with the kids, see Highlights Magazine’s 5 Big-Thrill, Low-Cost, Close-to-Home Staycation Ideas [NEW!].

P.S. If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to check 511NJ.org before you head out, for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and road closures!

DISCLAIMER

Links updated 5/18.

Webfinder: Genealogy Resources

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African-American Research – Information about Pre-Civil War, Military Records, and Post-Civil War Records at the National Archives, plus links to other helpful resources for African-Americans trying to trace their family history (National Archives and Records Administration). See the Afro-American Genealogical Research Guide for a list of useful print resources (Library of Congress). See also Slave Trade Voyages and its sister site, African Origins (Emory University et al.)

American Indian Ancestry [Link opens a PDF document] – Printable guide to acquiring the genealogical documentation needed to establish descent from an Indian tribe for membership and enrollment purposes (2013, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs). See also Native American Records, which includes information about records at the National Archives, and links to many other useful resources (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).

Civil War Ancestors – Advice on researching ancestors who fought in the Civil War. The page’s link to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) was broken when checked in May 2017, but you can click here to access the CWSS database (National Park Service). See also Genealogy Notes: Civil War (2006, National Archives and Records Administration) and Civil War Research (FamilySearch.org).

Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center [FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO VIEW RECORDS.] – If any of your ancestors came to this country through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, you can find out exactly when they arrived, and on what ship. Enter the name of the passenger in the Passenger Search box, and click on ‘Results’ to get a list of matching records.

Family Tree Charts (Printable) – Choose one of three PDF charts to print and fill in with names and dates of your ancestors (ThoughtCo; part of the IAC family of websites. Formerly About.com. Site includes advertisements). See also family group sheets [Link opens a PDF document] & ancestor charts [Link opens a PDF document] (National Genealogical Society), and Library of Michigan Pedigree Chart [Link opens a PDF document].

Genealogy How-To Guide – An excellent step-by-step guide to researching your family history, from Genealogy.com (site includes advertisements). Genealogy Research Tutorials offers ‘simple tutorials that may answer some questions you have about getting started, gathering information from others, or turning professional.’ The tutorials are free, but include some references to publications for sale, and resources available only to members (National Genealogical Society).

Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center – ‘A national clearinghouse for persons seeking the fates of loved ones missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath. We assist U.S. residents searching for proof of internment, forced/slave labor, or evacuation from former Soviet territories on themselves or family members.’ To begin your search, contact your local Red Cross chapter (American Red Cross). See also International Tracing Service (ITS), which ‘serves victims of Nazi persecutions and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. The ITS preserves these historic records and makes them available for research.’

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Explains what genealogy resources are available through the U.S. National Archives and how to obtain them. Covers census, immigration, military, and other records, plus FAQs, tips for doing genealogical research, preserving your family records, and more. See NARA’s Ethnic Heritage Resources for online resources specific to various ethnic groups, including African-American, Asian, British, Eastern European and Russian, Hispanic, Jewish, and Native American. Prologue Magazine offers Genealogy Notes on a range of topics such as African American History, American Indians, Immigration & Naturalization, Prison Records, and various wars.

New Jersey Division of Archives and Records [UPDATED LINK!] – Searchable databases of marriage, death, & property records from the 17th – 19th centuries, military records, and other New Jersey historical records. See also New Jersey Genealogy (Rutgers University Libraries). NJ Digital Highway [UPDATED LINK!] lists New Jersey historical & genealogical societies, libraries, museums, etc., arranged by town or county (State of New Jersey). Includes links to websites, where available. See also Genealogy: Rootsweb N.J. Resources and Rootsweb websites: NJ [NOTE: Rootsweb was down when checked 4/18] . For resources in other states, see links to official State Archives in all 50 states, and USGenWeb (run by volunteers).

Preserving Family Records – Information on how to preserve family documents, photos, memorabilia, and home movies (National Archives and Records Administration). For information on how to preserve items that have been damaged in a flood or other disaster, see Caring for Your Treasures (Heritage Preservation; non-profit organization). See also CCI Caring for Objects and ICON Caring for your Collection.

Proquest Tips for Tracing Your Family Tree – Advice from a genealogy expert on researching your family history. (2014, from the publisher of Ancestry® Library Edition and HeritageQuest® Online)

Veterans’ Gravesite Locator – ‘Search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and various other Department of Interior and military cemeteries.’ (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Vital Records: Replace Your Vital Documents – USA.gov page offering information on ways to obtain copies of birth, marriage & death certificates, military service records and more.

Links updated April 2018.

Webfinder: Auto Repair

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AAA Car Care Tips – A collection of free printable car care brochures, with links to related resources. (American Automobile Association)

Battery Maintenance – Explains how to perform routine maintenance on your car battery, with clear illustrations. See also Troubleshooting a Car That Won’t Start (from the publishers of the For Dummies how-to books; site includes advertisements). Got a dead battery? Car Talk provides a printable illustrated guide to Jump-Starting Your Car (site includes advertisements).

Car Care  – Advice on keeping your vehicle in top condition, along with DIY tips, and more. (Car Care Council / Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association)

Car Repair & Maintenance For Dummies – A library of free, well-illustrated how-to articles & videos, from the publishers of the popular For Dummies how-to book series. (Site includes advertisements)

Car safety ratings – Results of crash tests on new cars, plus info on  Shopping for a safer car and related topics (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). See also SaferCar.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Aging Drivers links offer helpful advice for older drivers and their families or caregivers.

Car Talk  – Website for America’s funniest auto mechanics from the popular public radio talk show – ‘the Marx Brothers meet Mr. Goodwrench.’ Model previews, discussions, columns, surveys, and lots of humor. You can subscribe to the ‘Best of Car Talk’ podcast or listen to the show online, too (free). (NPR; site includes advertisements)

Gas Mileage Tips  – Advice on how to your car in shape to save gas – and money (U.S. EPA / Department of Energy). See also Consumer Reports Fuel Economy Guide (some articles only available to subscribers), Saving Money on Gas (FTC), and Drive Green, Save Green (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Lemon Law (N.J.) – Stuck with a lemon? Find out what your rights are in NJ, and what remedies are available to you (N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs). BBB Auto Line Dispute Resolution Program offers a free online vehicle complaint form covering more than 2 dozen auto manufacturers, and includes links to lemon laws in all states (Better Business Bureau). The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System [NEW!] is designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being resold. You can use it to access important vehicle history information.

NIASE – The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website provides Car Care articles, Glove Box Tips, and a directory of certified repair shops.

Tires – Advice on maintaining your tires for maximum safety, plus information on tire ratings and labeling (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). See also How To Handle Tire Blow Outs (National Safety Commission).

Winter Driving Tips (Car Talk) – ‘Tips to get ready for the snow and sleet-covered roads and dipstick-freezing temperatures.’ (NPR; site includes advertisements). See also AAA Winter Car Care Checklist. See also Winter Driving (State of New Jersey) and Summer Driving [NEW!] (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Needlework

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Stitch Guide (Annie’s Crafts) – Online lessons in knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, beading, and more, plus A-Z stitch guides.

Craft Yarn Council Learning Center – Lessons in the basics of crochet and knitting.

Knitty.com – Free knitting patterns and instructions for sweaters, hats, scarves, accessories, and more. The TECHknitter blog offers lots of helpful knitting tips & tricks.

Lionbrand.com – Online classes, free patterns, video library, FAQ’s for crochet & knitting, and more!

Allcrafts.net – Links to free patterns for sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, holiday crafts and more.

AllPeopleQuilt.com – Inspiration, education, and motivation to passionate quilting enthusiasts of all skill levels. Includes free quilt patterns and how-to videos.

Quilters Cache – Great site for anyone who is interested in quilting and patterns; includes patterns, lessons, photo gallery. Scroll down to the drop-down menu to navigate.

The Quilting Company – Free articles, videos and more. Formerly Fons and Porter. The website also sells magazines, patterns, fabrics, and other quilting supplies.

Sewing.org (The Home Sewing Association) – Free sewing projects, patterns, learn-to-sew articles, SEW-lutions Guidelines, sewing & craft tips, bridal sewing, crafts for kids and more. The 4-H Sewing Library offers sewing projects (and related links) suitable for young people (grades 3 – 12) or other beginners.

Ravelry.com – ‘Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.’ [NOTE: Registration is required for access, but the Ravelry blog is open to all.]

Updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Green Living

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10 FREE Ways to Go Green provides practical green tips that can easily be introduced into your daily routine (Earth 911; site includes advertisements).

Ask Umbra provides answers to common questions such as: paper or plastic? cloth or disposable diapers? handwash dishes or use the dishwasher? buy organic food from far away, or non-organic food grown locally? and other common green dilemmas. (Grist Magazine)

EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you estimate your household’s greenhouse gas emissions, then suggests actions you can take to lower your emissions while reducing your energy and waste disposal costs. You’ll find links to related resources at Greener Living page. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

EWG’s Healthy Living Tips are aimed at helping you create a cleaner and greener home that is good for your family and the planet. Printable PDFs cover topics such as personal care products & household cleaners, pesticides, tap water, and more. (Environmental Working Group)

Green American Magazine shows you more ways to live better, save more, invest wisely, and make a difference (Green America).

Green Home Guide offers lots of practical advice on greening your home and yard. (U.S. Green Building Council)

Living Green [UPDATED LINK!] offers practical advice to help you prevent pollution, build healthier communities, and live a more sustainable life (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; some information & resource links are specific to Minnesota).

Metro: Tools for Living includes good advice on green cleaning, waste reduction, natural gardening, pest control, and more (Metro Regional Government, Portland, OR; some information & resource links are specific to the Portland region).

Living Green isn’t out of Renters’ Reach suggests low-cost ways for apartment dwellers to be eco-friendly. (2010, Los Angeles Times / Washington Post; site includes advertisements).

Sustainable Living Handbook [NEW!] introduces the concept of sustainable living, identifying three key barriers to living sustainably in the United States: the time crunch, consumerism, and a disconnect from the spiritual and natural world. Presents activities to help you identify personal values and incorporate sustainable behaviors into everyday decision-making. A downloadable handbook in PDF (University of Florida Extension).

And be sure to check out our other Green Living Webfinders!

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder : Green Lawn & Garden

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Bug Review offers descriptions of some common home & garden insect pests, with photographs, habits, potential damage, and non-chemical control recommendations (University of Illinois). Pest Management in Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, and Turf includes guidelines for monitoring pests, and non-pesticide alternatives for managing pests – including birds, mammals, reptiles, deer, gophers, raccoons, etc. (University of California; some information is specific to California).

Composting for Kids [Link opens a PDF] has good basic instruction in the whys and hows of composting, for kids or adult beginners (Texas Agricultural Extension Service). See also Composting for the Homeowner (University of Illinois Extension) and Grasscycling and Composting Yard Waste (California Integrated Waste Management Board). The Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management sells compost bins to Middlesex County residents at a reduced price.

Cornell Home Gardening [NEW!] offers basic guides to growing vegetables or flowers, and flower garden design (Cornell University).  Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Gardening How-Tos is a collection of helpful articles on Sustainable Gardening, Composting, and related topics.

Garden for Wildlife shows how you can landscape your yard to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife (National Wildlife Federation). The Coevolution Institute offers free eco-regional Pollinator Planting Guides [UPDATED LINK!] to help you make your yard more friendly to birds, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles and other pollinators (non-profit organization). The Butterfly Site has helpful tips and links specifically for attracting butterflies to your garden (site includes advertisements).

Greenscaping [Link opens a PDF] explains how you can save time & money and protect the environment by changing your landscape to a GreenScape (2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Less Lawn also provides information and inspiration to help you create a more beautiful, low-maintenance, organic, and wildlife-friendly landscape (by author Evelyn J. Hadden). Landscape For Life “shows you how to work with nature in your garden, no matter where you live, whether you garden on a city or suburban lot, a 20–acre farm, or the common area of your condominium” (United States Botanic Garden Conservatory). See also Lawn Pesticide Fact Sheets & Safer Lawn Care (Beyond Pesticides coalition), Rain Gardens (Rutgers), and NJ Fertilizer Law: Answers for Homeowners (Rutgers)

Invasive Plants offers photos, videos, and information to help you identify invasive species in your lawn or garden, with links to additional resources. Also offers similar information on invasive animal and insect pests (USDA).

Tree Planting [Link opens a PDF] – Explains the basics of choosing, planting, and maintaining trees on your property (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). The SelecTree database will search for specific tree species to match the type of site and desired tree characteristics you specify (Cal Poly State University). And don’t forget to Call Before You Dig!

Water Conservation for Lawn & Landscape – Extensive information on water-conserving landscape design, suitable plant materials, mulch, irrigation, and related topics. (eXtension.org, a partnership of 74 universities in the U.S.)

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Green Shopping

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EPA’s Sustainable Marketplace aims at helping you choose safer, more environmentally-friendly, and often less costly products & services. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

EWG’s Skin Deep is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products, launched in 2004 to help people find safer products, with fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. EWG also has similar guides for Household Cleaners, Food, and other products (Environmental Working Group)

Good Stuff is a ‘Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy’ with tips and facts you can use to start making more informed purchases that benefit your health and the environment. NOTE: Published in 2004, so some material may be outdated. (Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization)

Green America’s Responsible Shopper [UPDATED LINK!] helps you ‘go green’ when buying a wide range of products & services. Green America also offers the Green Pages, a searchable directory of Green Products & Services [NEW!]. (Non-profit membership organization)

Mind the Store [NEW!] rates 30 major U.S. retailers on what they’re doing about toxic chemicals in everyday products.

NJ Recycled Products Resources [UPDATED LINK!] provides information about buying products made with recycled content (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). See also Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled.

Sins of Greenwashing [UPDATED LINK!] teaches you how to spot false or misleading environmental claims on product labels and in advertisements (TerraChoice Group Inc., part of the Underwriters Laboratories). The Federal Trade Commission explains standards for Green Advertising Claims which are enforced by the FTC, and has additional useful information on Green Products.

ELECTRONICS: EPEAT® is a searchable database of greener electronics. “EPEAT®-registered products meet strict environmental criteria that address the full product lifecycle, from energy conservation and toxic materials to product longevity and end-of-life management. EPEAT-registered products offer a reduced environmental impact across their lifecycles.” (Green Electronics Council). See our E-Cycling links for information on recycling electronics.

FOOD: To find Places where you can buy or eat locally-grown food, use the Eat Well Guide website. To find farmers’ markets, see the National Farmers Market Directory. Click on the Eat Local map to find out what’s in season in your state at different times of the year (Natural Resources Defense Council). How to Read Meat and Dairy Labels defines common label terms such as Certified Organic; Free-Range, Pasture-Raised or Grass-Fed; Certified Humane; Hormone-Free, rBGH-Free, rBST-Free, or No Hormones Added; Dolphin-Safe; Natural; Grain-Fed; and similar terms (Humane Society of the United States). See also What is Organic? and Organic Labeling (USDA). To find information about sustainable fish & seafood, see Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquarium) or EDF Seafood Selector (Environmental Defense Fund). For in-depth information on food labels, see Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices [NEW!].

GIFTS: So Kind Alternative Gift Registry makes it easier to give and receive non-material, homemade, second-hand, and environmentally-friendly gifts. The More Fun Less Stuff Gift Catalog [NEW!] [NOTE: You must provide a name & email address to download the catalog] offers hundreds of fun, low-cost, and non-material gift ideas. (Center for a New American Dream)

LIGHTING: Shopping for Light Bulbs explains the different types of light bulbs now available, and how you can choose the most efficient bulbs that meet your lighting needs.

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder : Recycling

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Recycling in South Plainfield provides information for local residents on drop-off and curbside pickup, including yard waste, textiles, motor oil, paint, tires, electronics and more. See also Middlesex County Recycling. The South Plainfield Public Library accepts empty ink and toner cartridges from computer printers or copiers. Our Where to Donate Goods page offers information on local, regional, and national organizations that can make good use of your used goods!

Recycling NJ and Earth 911 and Recycle Nation have lots of useful information on WHAT can & cannot be recycled (including The Great Pizza Box Recycling Mystery!), and on WHERE to recycle what. See also 21 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle [UPDATED LINK!] (Green America). The Recycling Materials Index is an alphabetical list of product recycling information (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). Close the loop by buying products with recycled content! See NJ Recycled Products Resources [UPDATED LINK!] and Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled. For basic advice to help you figure out whether a product or package is recyclable, see The Language of Recycling.

Reduce, Reuse, Prevent offers tips on reducing all kinds of waste: ‘When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don’t have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later.’ Some info is specific to Minnesota (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). Source Reduction provides advice and links on reducing yard waste, junk mail, disposables, holiday waste, and more (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection).

E-Cycling Central & related links gives you additional info about where and how to recycle electronic products.

LampRecycle.org tells you where you can recycle Compact Flourescent Light bulbs (CFLs). See also Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), which includes info on how to handle broken bulbs safely  (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Proper Disposal of Medicines links explain where and how to get rid of old medications safely.

Links updated April 2018.

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