ANJEC 2022 Environmental Achievement Awards 

Environmental Commission Awards

  • Westville – Open Space Inventory

The Westville Environmental Commission recognized the need to document flora and fauna located within the
natural areas in their town. In response, they conducted a Botanical Assessment of public lands and a Wetlands
Assessment. The results of both assessments were integrated in Westville’s Environmental Resource Inventory.

  • Berkeley Heights – Adopt a Drain Program

After the interruption of litter clean-ups due to the COVID pandemic, the Berkely Heights Environmental Commission
(EC) recognized the amount of litter that was piling up around town. They decided to take action through launching an Adopt a Drain Program to allow residents to offer meaningful engagement in keeping their community clean. The EC used a webpage and GIS mapping to offer an engaging and interactive program that was widely promoted within the community.

  • Newark – Environmental Resource Inventory

After successful passage of the Environmental Justice Cumulative Impacts Ordinance in the City of Newark, the Environmental Commission was tasked with producing an Environmental Resource Inventory. Through professionalexpertise provided by the Newark Office of Sustainability and funding through the Victoria Foundation, the Newark Environmental Resources Inventory was completed and launched in April 2022. It consists of a set of digital interactive maps covering the important environmental features relevant to Newark.

  • Summit – Tiny Forest

The Summit Environmental Commission (EC) transformed a meadow behind the Community Center into what willbecome a native forest. The EC followed a Japanese method to plant the Tiny Forest that contains over 500 native trees, shrubs, and bushes. Many professionals were consulted to prepare for the project and hundreds of volunteers helped to prepare and plant the area. Funding for the project was secured through several grants and donations. The area also includes a Medicine Garden that integrates indigenous wisdom and species into the garden that will be used for education and community engagement.

  • Florham Park –Spring Garden Lake Pollinator Garden

Through a partnership between an Eagle Scout Project and the Florham Park Environmental Commission, a previously vacant plot of land along Spring Garden Lake was transformed into a pollinator garden. The initiative included invasive species removal, construction of raised beds, installation of fencing, and planting of native species. Through the vision and work of many volunteers, the garden now attracts many pollinators and wildlife.

  • Allamuchy – Native Pollinator Wildlife Habitat

The Allamuchy Environmental Commission created a a rain garden that also serves as habitat for wildlife. The Commission partnered with NJ Audubon to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The garden now features an array of native plants that people and wildlife enjoy and plans are underway to create similar gardens around the town.

Nonprofit Achievement Awards

  • Moorestown STEM – Swedes Run Pollinator Garden

Save the Environment of Moorestown, (STEM) designed, installed, and maintains a native plant pollinator garden at
preserved open space in Moorestown. After receiving grant funds and approval from the municipality, work began with site preparation. The garden was then designed to allow for “adoption” of small sections by volunteers who agreed tomaintain it. Planting was made possible through many volunteers, support from the town, and donations from a local nursery. Installation of signage at the garden and the location of the site near a dog park, have made this garden a well utilized place for enjoyment and education by the community.

  • NJ Audubon Cape May – Ocean Fest

Through a partnership with NJ Audubon, the Cape May Environmental Commission, and many other groups, first annual Ocean Fest was launched in June 2022. The event was an educational event that included many partners offering activities and information to the community around climate awareness and impacts to the ocean. The Cape MayEnvironmental Commission looks forward to making this an annual event to continue to educate the community and celebrate the importance of protecting our oceans around World Oceans Day each year.

  •  Friends of Drew Forest – Establishing the Conservation Value of a Local Forest

When a 53-acre forest that is part of the Drew University campus was threatened by development, local residentsformed the Friends of Drew Forest, a newly established nonprofit organization dedicated to permanent protection of the forest. Through widespread advocacy and outreach efforts, six resolutions of support to save the forest were passed by  neighboring towns and numerous nonprofits. Although the future of the forest remains uncertain, significant progress has been made to establish a case of support for protection of the forest throughout the community with an exceptional educational awareness campaign.

  • Friends of Jackson Woods – Jackson Woods Park Revitalization

After a 13-acre city owned park fell into disrepair, a group of local residents formed the Friends of Jackson Woods with a vision of revitalizing the unique wooded park located in an urban coastal area. Their goals are to bring environmental education, the arts, and local history to the community through increased involvement and stewardship at the park. In the past year, significant improvements have been made at the park through successfully leveraging grant support and countless hours of time donated by the community.

  • Ridge Ranch Elementary School – Native Plant Garden

Established through a project led by the Cub Scouts with strong support from the school leadership, the Ridge Ranch Elementary School created a native plant garden. The garden serves as a habitat for native wildlife and tool for teachers to demonstrate lessons about natural resource conservation and resiliency. The garden is also used as an outdoor classroom that met an important need for outdoor learning space during the Covid pandemic. After successfully securing outside funding to further improve the garden, the school has integrated many partner organizations into the effort.

  • Kiwanis Club of Caldwell – West Essex –Planting Native Trees (Nonprofit Collaboration Award)

The Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex provided a grant that enabled the Caldwell Environmental Commission (EC) to host an educational community event about how and why to plant native trees. The project includes many partners that have worked together with the EC to educate the community about the critical role that native trees play in protecting pollinators and reducing climate emissions.

Reccurring Project Award 

  • Manalapan Environmental Commission –Native Plant Sales

Plant sales have been held by the Manalapan Environmental Commission (EC) since 2015. The increased developmentwithin the municipality continues to underscore the critical need for native plant habitat to be provided for wildlife. In response, the Manalapan EC continues to offer native plant sales on an annual basis with two sales in 2022. Events also include an educational component and leveraging the support of many partners and advocates that have embraced the effort.

Municipal Leadership Awards

  • Deputy Mayor Cathy Wilson –Environmental Commission Champion Award, Morris Township

Deputy Mayor Cathy Wilson serves as the township committee liaison to the Environmental Commission. Cathy provides constant support and encouragement for EC projects that have led to their many environmental accomplishments.

  • Village Trustee Bill Haskins –Natural Resources Hero: South Orange Village Trustee

Bill Haskins, is an advocate for environmental efforts in South Orange who is also known for being a hands-on executer who rolls up his sleeves and gets physical work done. Bill is a former chair of the Environmental Commission and has continued to champion environmental issues such as a leaf blower ban, Adopt a Drain Program, and many recycling improvements.

  • Borough Councilwoman Rachel Ehrlich –Climate Advocate Award: Madison

Borough Councilwoman Rachel Ehrlich has taken action to embed municipal climate action into borough planning practices. Among her many environmental accomplishments is launching a committee to set goals and measure progresstowards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Madison.

  • Councilman David Contract –Renewable Resources Star: Westfield

Councilman David Contract has served as an advocate for renewable energy in Westfield that led to the successfuladoption of a resolution to support local community solar projects. David led an educational effort about community solar to helped enroll many residents in the program that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Westfield.

  • Councilman Phillip George –Municipal Environmental Leadership Award: Highland Park

Councilman Phillip George is the liaison to the Environmental Commission, Shade Tree Advisory Committee, and Sustainable Highland Park. He wrote the Borough ordinance to ban single use plastic bags, champions for the conversion of gas-powered vehicles to EV, and advocates for solar in the Borough.

  • Mayor Zachary Mullock –Mayor’s Honorary Circle: Cape May

Mayor Zachary Mullock is a comprehensive champion for environmental protection in Cape May. Mayor Mullock hasapproved the expansion of the Environmental Commission, served on the Green Team and successfully advanced numerous environmental efforts.

  • Deputy Mayor Jonathan Heller –Clean Water Hero: Readington

Deputy Mayor Jonathan Heller has been instrumental in leading on key environmental issues in Readington Township. He has championed stormwater management, riparian restoration, open space preservation, and recognized the importance of balancing growth sustainably.

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