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Exclusive Tour Of Camden County's New Sustainability Campus Designed For Public To Enjoy

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- As we get ready to celebrate Earth Day on Friday, there is a newly revealed, sustainable 10-acre space right in our area specifically designed for the public to enjoy. Eyewitness News reporter Alecia Reid gives us an exclusive tour of Camden County's new sustainability campus.

Nearly 10 years in the making, it's a former hospital turned sustainability center.

"This was here doing nothing and we wanted to kind of bring it back to life," Camden County Commissioner Jonathan L. Young Sr. said.

This original greenhouse blossomed into what you see today.

One hundred thirty certified volunteer gardeners maintain the operation. They're here to educate not only students but the community at large about sustainability.

"They're dedicated and they come here and they love what they're doing. They grow some beautiful flowers for us," Young said.

Then there are these plants growing under UV lights.

"Hydroponics are plants that grow strictly in water," Young said.

All the nutrients needed come directly from the water. In this room, you can find lettuce and other specialty items like blueberry tomatoes to feed animals at the Philadelphia Zoo.

It's a living, breathing complex, including a vineyard to collaborate with local colleges and harvest grapes for local wineries.

"So that will kind of help students understand viticulture a little better," Young said.

The multi-purpose building will be the hub of their educational system, sustainable down to the bird-proof windows.

"With dots on the windows so the birds won't run into the windows, they fly away from it," Young said.

And over at the tool library -- call it a neighbor you didn't you know had -- basically any type of tool can be borrowed.

You take it home to build whatever you need, from power tools that can be borrowed to single-use items like screws you can keep.

"We have the whole gamut of everything you would need for doing projects around your house," Camden County Office of Sustainability Program Director Valerie Brown said.

As the county continues shrinking its carbon footprint, city vehicles are being switched out.

"These are hybrid cars but we have another nine that's coming," Young said.

There's a lot more planned for the 10 acres of land, including an amphitheater and walking path.

After the site's April 30 ribbon cutting, county officials from across the state are expected to tour next month in hopes the idea will spread like wildfire.

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