January 4th – Monmouth Battlefield Park Cleanup

Come and join Burners Without Borders – Sandy Relief efforts as we clean up Monmouth Battlefield Park on Friday, January 4th.

We’re excited to support the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Parks and Forestry Division with BWB volunteers. Join us on January 4th, to remove organic debris and help create new habitat at the Monmouth Battlefield Park. This project will restore the “sugarbush”; the stand of maple trees that the Education Center uses to make maple syrup! This project will require some heavy lifting and can use volunteers that are certified to use chainsaws! This event will require heavy duty work boots, long pants, warm clothes and work gloves. Be prepared for cold weather & please bring water and a snack. Is your heart bigger than your back is strong? Consider the gift of lunch for this hard working team. We’d love to have some laughs & a hot lunch together! Click Here to volunteer with BWB on January 4th!


Mapping Union Beach

BWB - Mapping Union Beach with BatchGeo

BWB – Mapping Union Beach with BatchGeo


As of today, Burners Without Borders has aided 38 homeowners in Union Beach by demolishing remnants of their homes, and removing debris from their lots. These homes, as well as over 50 projects scheduled, would cost homeowners on average $10,000 each to remove.

Keeping track of the sheer number of details necessary for demolition these homes requires the daily efforts of several Burners Without Borders crew members here in Union Beach. We coordinate with homeowners for several weeks prior to scheduling the demolition of a home site, confirming shut-off of utilities, insurance assessments and permits. A mistake in this complex process could be an additional setback for this community, as well as catastrophic for our crew.

We track these projects not only by spreadsheet, but an interactive map produced through BatchGeo.com — We use this map daily in both the office and the field to locate our next project sites, and share this information with the Borough of Union Beach, FEMA representatives, and the BWB community worldwide. Take a look at the map, get to know the Borough of Union Beach, click on the home sites to see our damage assessment survey photos.

Time Lapse Video of the "Princess Cottage" Demolition

Time Lapse Video of the “Princess Cottage” Demolition

Video of the Demolition of the "Princess Cottage"

We attached a HD Video camera to the arm of the excavator while demolishing the remnants of the iconic “Princess Cottage” in Union Beach.

Video of the Demolition of the “Princess Cottage”

We attached a HD Video camera to the arm of the excavator while demolishing the remnants of the iconic “Princess Cottage” in Union Beach.

Volunteers Rock!

Volunteers are impressive. It doesn’t matter if they’re burners or not, they’re human. Young, old, local, foreign, it didn’t matter, we all cleaned the beach together. Brenda Zimmerman spent a significant part of the last week working in conjunction with Clean Ocean Action and Americorps to organize BWB Sandy’s first beach cleanup.

Over one hundred volunteers from all walks of life picked up storm debris on the beach and in the adjacent shrub and marsh land. We removed shredded plastic bags and home insulation from trees. We picked up pages of comic books and some kid’s homework. We carried tires and armchairs. We removed the detritus of American culture from where it was strewn. Frankie, a local volunteer, carried large objects and full contractor bags to the dumpster down the street, using his own loader.

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Like Burners Without Borders, lots of the most useful disaster relief efforts happen organically. Jeanette Van Houton, a local resident, started a facebook page for photos found in the storm debris. She collects, scans, and posts photos found in the storm debris, reuniting them with the people who lost them in the storm. Two of Jeanette’s friends came to our beach clean up to collect the hundreds of photos that were mixed in with debris and plant matter.

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Elementary school kids donned their work gloves with smiles, and filled contractor bags with MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). Adults worked together to carry large objects to the street. A group of exchange students chatted in Norwegian while picking up trash. Everyone worked hard, but time flies when you’re having fun. Next thing we all knew, it was time to head back up to the distribution center for a hot lunch, donated by local restaurants and served by other volunteers.

Throughout the day, people asked us, “are you doing this again next weekend?”