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State of New Jersey

NJDEP Stewardship Recognition Program for regulated sites

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New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology New Jersey State League of Municipalities

2020 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards! The awards ceremony and luncheon were held virtually on Monday, December 14, online. Descriptions and photos for each of our winners are below. Special thanks to our sponsors, the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, and our partner, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

The Richard J. Sullivan Award honors a New Jersey resident who demonstrates exceptional leadership and outstanding accomplishment in safeguarding public health, protecting and enhancing New Jersey’s diverse natural resources and creating vibrant, sustainable communities that provide economic opportunity for all.

In its third year, the Sullivan Award recognized five individuals who helped champion the nation’s most protective environmental justice legislation. Not only has their work improved the future of their communities and blazed new trails for environmental justice advocates everywhere, it also demonstrates the power of collaboration between advocates and lawmakers.

Recipients:

  • Ana Baptista, Assistant Professor and Associate Director for the Tishman Environmental and Design Center, The New School
  • Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action of New Jersey
  • Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, organizing and advocacy, Ironbound Community Corporation in Newark
  • Melissa Miles, Executive Director of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Nicky Sheats, Director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State College

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates a commitment to and experience in one or more of the following areas and activities:

  • Reducing air pollution emissions and/or reducing outdoor exposure to toxic air contaminants;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions or equivalents through energy efficiency projects, clean energy vehicles, technologies and infrastructure, or green power purchases to reduce climate change; and
  • Reducing air deposition loading to land and water.

Winner: Lawrence Township, Mercer County

Lawrence Township earned this sustainability award for its work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations and serving as a role model for its community. In 2019, construction began on solar carports for the township’s municipal building and police facility, as well as roof-mounted panels at public works. The project was completed in 2020, and the township expects the solar power generated will provide 85 percent of the electricity needs for these buildings. Lawrence Township also installed electric vehicle charging stations for both public and fleet use and replaced two municipal cars with electric vehicles.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates a positive influence in one or more of the following areas and activities:

  • Improving surface or ground water quality through stormwater and wastewater management strategies and technologies;
  • Reducing children’s exposure to lead in homes/schools or addressing emerging drinking water contaminants;
  • Ensuring sufficient quantities of water through reuse and conservation techniques, infrastructure; and
  • Promoting or developing land use policies, watershed management approaches and green infrastructure projects to improve the protection of water sources or to reduce the impacts of flooding and sea level rise.

Winner: New Jersey American Water, Camden, Camden County

New Jersey American Water earned this award for its leadership in designing and testing new ways to effectively treat PFAS. New Jersey American Water delivers safe, clean, reliable and affordable drinking water to 2.8 million people across the state.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates a commitment to and experience in programs or techniques that have resulted in the restoration, protection and resiliency of the state’s ecological resources. These resources include wetlands, estuaries and coastal areas, as well as habitats (land and water-based) for non-game and/or threatened and endangered species.

Winner: Whippany River Watershed Action Committee and Garden Magic LLC, Mountain Lakes, Morris County

Whippany River Watershed Action Committee (WRWAC) and Garden Magic LLC have won this award for the creation of the Birchwood Woodland Restoration Rain Garden. WRWAC and Garden Magic LLC have served the Mountain Lakes area by creating a rain garden that combines woodland restoration practices with advanced rain garden concepts in a single project.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates a commitment to and experience in one or more of the following activities:
  • Any activity that addresses pollution or waste reduction, recycling, land use, local purchasing, sustainability and resiliency, resource conservation, green infrastructure, habitat restoration and product stewardship;
  • Innovative practices or technologies that have resulted in the private or public sector clean up and redevelopment of contaminated/brownfields sites; and
  • Creation of community-based initiatives that foster involvement, action and effective solutions to the adverse effects of industrial pollution and climate change on overburdened and low-income communities.

Winner: Atlantic Health System, Morristown, Morris County

Atlantic Health System (AHS) earned this award for reducing the carbon footprints of its medical centers, implementing aggressive changes in high-waste areas such as ORs and finding new ways to reduce waste and reuse common medical materials. According to AHS, Overlook Medical Center’s tri-generation power plant has had the most significant impact on reducing the AHS carbon footprint by producing 4 megawatts of electricity on site. AHS continues to encourage its team and community members to be better stewards of the environment.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates a commitment to, and experience in, one or more of the following activities:

  • Any activity that addresses pollution or waste reduction, recycling, land use, local purchasing, sustainability and resiliency, resource conservation, green infrastructure, habitat restoration and product stewardship;
  • Innovative practices or technologies that have resulted in the private or public sector clean up and redevelopment of contaminated/brownfields sites; and
  • Creation of community-based initiatives that foster involvement, action and effective solutions to the adverse effects of industrial pollution in overburdened and low-income communities.

Winner: Dr. Changlu Wang, Urban Entomology Laboratory at Rutgers, New Brunswick, Middlesex County

Dr. Changlu Wang has earned this award for the development of new and improved techniques and materials in urban pest management. His goal is to reduce pest problems and environmental risks in the urban environment, improve the quality of life and protect the health of the public. Dr. Wang and his research team serve New Jersey by conducting field research to test pest management protocols designed to reduce potential health hazards. Their efforts resulted in wider implementation of safer and more sustainable pest control methods in urban communities.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates implementation of a program or project that has measurable positive impacts in environmental protection and education. One award will be given to an adult educator(s).

Winner: The Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Middlesex County

The Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, has earned this award for years of educating and training thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, who now practice in the areas of water quality, wastewater treatment, remediation, soil quality, solid waste management, energy sustainability, air pollution control, meteorology and climate science. DES faculty, staff and students have contributed knowledge of the environment to the benefit of the people of New Jersey and beyond. The department plans to embrace its core missions in scholarship, teaching and service by continuing to provide guidance in the face of rapid climate change.

This award is presented to a nominee who demonstrates implementation of a program or project that has measurable positive impacts in environmental protection and education. One award will be given to students/youth in grades K-12 (student involvement must be emphasized).

Winner: Sri Nihal Tammana, Recycle My Battery, Edison, Middlesex County

Sri Nihal Tammana’s work in sustainability earned him this award because he not only spread awareness about the importance of recycling used batteries, but turned words into action. The 11-year-old founded the nonprofit organization Recycle My Battery in 2019, which has helped set up certified battery bins free of cost and educates communities across the U.S. on the importance of recycling batteries. To date, he and his team of more than 45 children have recycled more than 38,000 batteries.

Note: The winner descriptions are compiled from information provided by the award applicants and/or third-party nominators.

  

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Last Updated: December 23, 2020