Grantee Blog 2020

The Art of Collaboration


The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network has awarded grants for community partners to create healthy living spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge for the Borough of Ringwood, causing a slight delay in the start of the grant project.  However, despite the closure of the intermediate school we are partnering with, we have been able to “connect the dots” between other collaborators participating in our project.  The Borough’s DPW, Health and Recreation Departments, plus a local boy scout, have been in communication to move forward with the plans.

The start of the project is planned for July 1st.  It will commence with our DPW employees building the path.  As part of the development of our fitness walking path, it will not only serve as a means for the students and community members to become more physically active, but also, to provide an outdoor classroom for the students in the 4th and 5th grade.  In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to provide students with a place where they can be educated outdoors seems very timely.   We have gained support from the Ringwood Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Nicholas Bernice, and Principal of the E.G. Hewitt Intermediate School, Nancy Dondero. They will implement policy changes to support the fitness path and outdoor classroom.

We have partnered with a 16 year old Boy Scout, Julian Torres, who is pursuing his Eagle Scout Award. In his free time, Julian likes to program mobile apps, two of which are on the Google Play Store. He also enjoys playing the guitar.  Currently, this ambitious young man is in a computer programming course. Next year, he will be joining the school band and the Math Honor Society.  His goal is to get a degree in Computer Science and become a programmer.

Julian will be making signage for this path and creating a space for the outdoor classroom.  Once the path has been completed, the signage will be placed to indicate mile markers along the way.  When finished, the outdoor classroom will be utilized by a variety of teachers and students to have lessons while walking the path.

This is an opportunity to bring people together, not only to help this project come to fruition, but also to promote a more physically active lifestyle.  Thank you to Chilton Medical Center and the Atlantic Health System for funding our grant!




About the Grantee

Borough of Ringwood

Ringwood sits in the Ramapo Mountains, and is loaded with lakes, parks, and forest trails. Geographically, it is about 40 miles northwest of New York City, and a few miles due west of Suffern, New York. Ringwood is located in the area sometimes known as the "Highlands". Population size, as of 2018 was 12,228 residents.