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news releases

December 15, 2015

Contact: Bob Considine (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795



(15/118) TRENTON – A host of environmental groups, students, education leaders, businesses, government agencies, and community activists from across the state were honored today by the Christie Administration today for their commitment to protecting and enhancing New Jersey’s environment.

Leaders recognized at the 16th annual Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony at the New Jersey State Museum included a coastal conservation group working toward habitat restoration along Delaware Bay; a green program by an international hotel and resort company; and a community college whose energy reduction efforts will reduce costs by more than 40 percent.

Award winners also include a pair of watershed associations devoted to protection and management of their respective watershed basins in western New Jersey, and a South Jersey school district that utilizes vegetated stormwater detention and retention basins for aquatic studies.

The Wall Township Environmental Advisory Committee was also honored with the Environmentalist of the Year award for its current and long-time environmental successes which this year included the publication of a commemorative book on the committee’s 35-year history.

“This year’s honorees are to be commended for their leadership,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “Through their innovations and dedication to environmental protection, these recipients are setting strong examples and high standards for everyone in New Jersey to follow and are helping to building strong local partnerships. As stewards of New Jersey’s environment, we salute the significant contributions of this year’s winners.”

The Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards (GEEA) are the state's premier environmental awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects in the state. The program has recognized 140 winners since 2000.

The awards program is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

A panel of judges reviewed and scored nominations that featured unique or valuable environmental projects and activities. For more information about GEEA, visit:


Clean Air
Salem Community College, Carneys Point

In partnership with Schneider Electric, Salem Community College embarked on an Energy Savings Improvement Program. This program, which began construction earlier this year, is anticipated to reduce the school’s energy costs by more than 40 percent, or nearly $300,000 per year. This will be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency measures, including lighting upgrades, water conservation, building improvements, power management measures, and a solar power purchase agreement. This project will transition the college to almost 100 percent on-site, renewable energy. It is also providing necessary facility improvements, including upgraded HVAC systems and continuous power, funded entirely through energy savings. This project is the culmination of a three-year comprehensive plan to address the total environmental footprint of the college.

Water Resources
Raritan Headwaters Association, Bedminster

The Raritan Headwaters Association, comprised of staff and volunteers, takes on many tasks in its efforts to protect, preserve and improve water quality and natural resources of the Raritan River headwaters region. As part of its water protection program, the association monitors stream water quality and cleans streams; partners with municipalities to help residents conduct annual test of well-water quality; educates about watershed science; advocates for strong clean water policies and practices; and preserves lands critical to protecting water resources.

Healthy Ecosystems
American Littoral Society, Highlands

Backed by funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the American Littoral Society has led several core partners in restoration and research efforts of critical habitat in Delaware Bay, post-Superstorm Sandy. To date, the scope of its Delaware Bay project has involved the restoration of seven beaches along the bay shore; the creation of an experimental oyster reef; and the employment of multiple construction companies and businesses for the projects. Additionally, the American Littoral Society has created a military veteran paid intern program, provided educational outreach to more than 23,000 people and designed and implemented studies to better gauge project results and adaptively manage the project.

Innovative Technology
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Pennington

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association opened up a new Watershed Center that actively demonstrates ways to improve the management of energy and water. The new center provides a compelling platform from which the association can advance its mission to protect water and the natural environment. The new facility received LEED Platinum Certification with high scores awarded for water efficiency, optimized energy performance and on-site renewable energy generation. Special features include efficient lighting, cooling, heating and ventilation systems; solar panel array; green roof; low- flow fixtures and sensor faucets; recycled or sustainably produced building materials; onsite wetlands-based wastewater treatment; reduced use of pavement and lawns; and, the use of bio-swales and rain gardens. The center features new classrooms, a science laboratory, GIS computer training room, interactive exhibits, community meeting spaces and staff offices. Staff members host tours of the center to showcase its features.

Land Conservation
Bloomfield Township

Bloomfield Township’s “Third River Urban Park and Floodplain Wetlands Creation Project” combines public park use with urban habitat and storm resiliency as an alternative to more traditional brownfield capping, which is impervious and can cause flooding. Instead, the Third River project involved acquisition of multiple lots comprising an urbanized, flood-prone, industrial site and conversion of this area to an 18.5-acre public park containing significant acreage for wetlands creation, riverfront habitat, and stormwater storage. Key land conservation outcomes include the creation of urban open space, creation and enhancement of freshwater wetlands through removal of historic fill material, and urban habitat and floodresiliency.

Healthy and Sustainable Business
Wyndham Worldwide, Parsippany

Since 2006, Wyndham Worldwide has invested in exploring and adopting innovative sustainability practices through its Wyndham Green program. The program focuses on sustainability across the company, as well as at its corporate campus on Sylvan Way in Parsippany. Both campus buildings have earned either gold or silver LEED certifications for building interiors and/or operations and maintain an Energy Star score of 98. They demonstrate substantial reductions of energy and water use, as well as increased volume of recycled waste, and each features a complimentary vehicle charging station. The Town Square Café at 22 Sylvan Way was also re-certified as a four-star green restaurant by the Green Restaurant .Wyndham Worldwide also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to help save the rainforest by only serving sustainably grown coffee in all break rooms at the campus sites. The company also established the Giving Garden at 22 Sylvan Way, which grows organic produce and donates it to local food banks.

Healthy and Sustainable Communities
Long Beach Township

Long Beach Township is known statewide for its efforts in environmental protection, healthy and sustainable practices and coastal resiliency. It is an active partner in the Barnegat Bay Partnership and aligns its activities with Governor Christie’s action plan for Barnegat Bay. This year, it became the inaugural town to receive the Municipal Blue Star Certification from Clean Ocean Action. The township’s sustainability activities in post-Sandy resiliency efforts include replacement of more than 50 miles of water and sewer lines, four pump stations and 50 storm water basins; active leadership in “Getting to Resiliency” planning efforts; and vegetation of dunes and open space with native coastal flora throughout Long Beach Island. Additional sustainability activities include the installation of six hydration stations and connection of residents with migratory coastal wildlife through a “Pollinator Potluck and Honey Harvest” event.

Environmental Education (Adult-led)
Galloway Township Public Schools – Mr. B’s Backyard Classroom

The Galloway Township Public School District utilizes a study site known as Mr. B’s Backyard Classroom.  This vegetated aquatic site, comprised of stormwater retention and detention basins, is visited and studied by over 800 elementary and middle school students from Galloway Township Middle School as well as the Reeds Road and Roland Rogers elementary schools. Students participate in science lessons, tours and demonstrations about watersheds, soils, ponds, aquatic flora and fauna, land use and water pollution.. These visits are conducted by science teachers and guest speakers from the surrounding community and have applications such as data analysis, nature-inspired writing and nature appreciation through art. Some students develop a lesson, make presentation boards, and create activities to be presented at the annual Mr. B’s Backyard Classroom Nature Fest which is held in June for over 1,200 students, faculty, parents and community members. The outdoor classroom was dedicated in memory of Guy Buckelew, a sixth-grade teacher who instilled a sense of environmental awareness in students.

Environmental Education (Youth-led)
Connor Señor, Glenwood                                                                                                  

After Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy caused severe erosion to a section of the Appalachian Trail known as “Stairway to Heaven,” Connor Señor, 16, embarked on an Eagle Scout project to repair damage along the trail within Wawayanda State Park that begins in Vernon Township. The repair efforts of Señor and friends from high school and Boy Scout Troop 283 included clearing downed vegetation and reconstructing trail features that had eroded or were damage. The project required hundreds of hours of work since no motorized equipment can be used in trail work. Some 24 tons of fill and 12 tons of stone that were placed over 900 feet of trail. Materials were donated by Baldwin Sand & Gravel and Wawayanda State Park.

Environmentalist of the Year
Wall Township Environmental Advisory Committee

The Wall Township Environmental Advisory Committee produced a unique pictorial book entitled, Life in Wall Township: Past and Present, which serves as the committee’s 35th Year Commemorative Heritage book. It includes more than 350 photographs and illustrations about local plants and animals; water bodies and waterways; gardens; farms; historic, natural, aesthetic, recreational, business and tourism sites; fire and police facilities; schools; churches and cemeteries; and, historic maps and documents. Previous efforts of the volunteer committee, created by township ordinance, include signage; environmental summits and fairs; environmental poetry, essay and poster contests for students; nesting platforms;  rain gardens and flower gardens; a self-guided nature trail; open space acquisition; waterway cleanups; and anti-idling and water-pollution public information and signage campaigns.




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Last Updated: December 15, 2015