2005 Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Jonathan H. ForsellAn agricultural agent for Essex County, Jonathan H. Forsell is described as a man who was a dedicated, hard working, genuine friend who loved nature.
Jonathan was a native of northern New Jersey. Born in Orange, he grew up in Verona and lived in the Caldwells.
Jonathan began his career with Rutgers University’s Cooperative Extension of Essex County in 1974, where he became a tenured member and a Resource Management Agent. Forsell directed his efforts toward county government and the county parks’ personnel. Jonathan flushed with pride when sharing his extensive knowledge of ornamental horticulture, plant culture, pest management, plant care and organic gardening. He was a nationally recognized expert in composting, which he generously imparted with the county, municipalities, garden clubs, various organizations and individuals. His colleagues around the state named Jonathan “the Dean” for his wealth of knowledge in his field. Everyone who met him was immediately inspired by his encyclopedic mind of horticulture and entomology. There was not a bug that he did not know or which evaded his prescribed treatment.
Jonathan provided expert advice to numerous golf course superintendents. He assisted with the restoration of municipal gardens, and shared his love and work with the Environmental Center in Roseland, which is the home of the Master Gardeners of Essex County.
He was an active member on numerous boards throughout the state. Among them: the Essex County Board of Agriculture, the Hudson-Essex-Passaic Soil Conservation District and County Environmental Commission, plus Presby Iris Gardens and Van Vleck House and Gardens.
Jonathan’s commitment to his work was duly celebrated by the Essex County Board of Agriculture, Arborist Association of New Jersey, the Association of Landscape Architects, and he received the Rutgers “Spirit of Extension” award.
He and wife Martha had two children. Jonathan contributed dearly to New Jersey agriculture because of an eager mind to learn it all about his expertise and a willingness to share it unconditionally.