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2014 Event Supporters




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2014 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards! The awards ceremony and luncheon were held on Monday afternoon, December 8, at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. Descriptions and photos for each of our winners are below. Special thanks to this year's event supporters, which include PSEG, New Jersey Natural Gas, Duke Farms,New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, and the Atlantic County Utilities Authority.

This award is presented to a nominee that 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 or green power purchases; and
  • Reducing air deposition loading to land and water.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Rick Su, Monmouth University Director of Service Response for Special Events, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: Monmouth University

In 2009, Monmouth University (in Monmouth County) signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledging to implement green initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment. The university calculates it has since reduced its carbon footprint by the equivalent of 37,000 metric tons. The college employs two solar electrical systems that generate more than 1 megawatt of electricity and coats campus building roofs with a material that reduces interior building temperatures and lessens cooling power needs. They also added electric powered golf carts to their campus fleet of vehicles and are piloting a hybrid gas/electric vehicle for campus police. Also, the university offers a minor degree in global sustainability and offers students opportunities for research and sustainability activities. In 2014, Monmouth University received a $5 million Challenge Grant to increase student research on environmental trends.

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

  • Improving surface or ground water quality;
  • Ensuring sufficient quantities of water through reuse and conservation techniques; and
  • Promotion or development of progressive land use policies and watershed management approaches to improve protection of surface and groundwater sources.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Gene Meyer, Project Manager, Kinder Morgan, Inc., John Jengo, Principal Hydrogeologist, MWH Global, Inc., and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: John Jengo and Gene Meyer

John Jengo, a licensed site remediation professional for MWH Global and Gene Meyer, former Eastern Regional Manager for El Paso Corporation (now under Kinder Morgan), worked together on a Natural Resources Damages (NRD) project to remove three outdated dams from the Raritan River in Somerset County, to make the river free flowing. Included was the 2011 removal of the Nevius Street Dam in Raritan Borough, a structure used for 100 years by Duke Farms for water supply to its lake system. The project restored migratory fish passage to spawning grounds in the Raritan River, restored pond ecosystems at Duke Farms, and lowered nutrient levels which is significant because the ponds are a stopover for migratory birds. Jengo and Meyer side-stepped potential litigation and resolved NRD damage claims resulting from activities at several former industrial sites on the river. This project is a model for effective public-private partnerships.

This award is presented to a nominee that demonstrates experience in programs or techniques that have resulted in the restoration, protection and enhancement of the State’s ecological resources. These resources include wetlands, estuaries and coastal areas, as well as non-game and/or threatened and endangered species.
NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin, Ewa Zak, Chair of the Montgomery Township Shade Tree Committee, and NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano.

Winner: Ewa Zak, Montgomery Township, Somerset County

Ms. Zak has been a volunteer leader in the “greening’’ of Montgomery Township for 28 years. She has advocated for tree plantings, tree preservation, hedgerows and green belts. She spearheaded formation of the township’s Shade Tree Committee in 1986 and ensured Committee involvement in planning board applications. She was instrumental in passage of “green’’ ordinances, such as the required planting of 14 trees per-acre in new subdivisions and creation of a Tree Bank financed by funds from developers. Other activities promoted by Ms. Zak include:

  • The development of a municipal planting plan for “areas of need’’ that has resulted in the planting of more than 1,700 trees on 40 residential streets;
  • The development of an Arbor Day curriculum for 3rd graders (now in its 28th year);
  • Supervising much of the landscaping at the township’s parks; and
  • Choosing tree stock, marking planting locations, supervising installations and visiting sites to prune and water trees.
Ms. Zak also is “on call” to residents for advice on tree care and often makes “house calls” to assess the health of trees.

This award is presented to a nominee that demonstrates the use or deployment of a new or alternative method, procedure, process, system or facility, which results in greater environmental protection than other technologies in current practice or comparable results at lower costs in terms of energy, natural resources or environmental impacts.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Ken Farrel, Chairman and Commissioner representing Sea Girt, Michael Ruppel, Executive Director, SMRSA, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: South Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority

The South Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority (SMRSA) operates 11 sewage pump stations in Monmouth County. Its station in Sea Girt suffered repeat damage and outages due to storm flooding. In 2010, a project team designed a mobile enclosure to make the station more resilient to future storms. The mobile facility consists of two rooms: one for an emergency generator and one for electrical equipment. During storms the mobile facility is moved to higher ground while an expendable portable generator and transfer switch power the station. Once the storm subsides, the mobile facility is moved back in place and hooked up to the pump station. The mobile system minimizes damage, reduces plant down time, and lessens the potential of sewer overflows. SMRSA estimated $1.5 million dollars in savings since 2010 because there was no substantial damage to the Sea Girt station during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The design was deemed a best management practice by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This award is presented to a nominee that demonstrates a commitment to, and experience in, the preservation of open space that protects land from future development.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Laura Szwak, Vice Chair, Morris County Flood Mitigation Committee, Jennifer McCulloch, Morris County Flood Mitigation Program Coordinator, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: Morris County Flood Mitigation Program/Morris County Freeholders

In response to intense flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011, Morris County created the first county-wide program in New Jersey dedicated to acquiring flood-prone homes and land. The program offers county grants to buy properties in areas prone to flooding, to move residents out of harm’s way and reclaim lost floodplain acreage to capture and store floodwaters. These acquisitions help to buffer adjacent homes and businesses from flooding, lower municipal costs for emergency response, and allow participating homeowners to escape the expensive and destructive cycle of repetitive flooding. To date, Morris County has closed on 43 homes or properties with an additional 77 applications in 8 municipalities being processed. Numerous demolitions and post-preservation park plans have been completed. The program currently has $17.3 million earmarked for acquisitions and has garnered more than $29 million in federal and state grants.

This award is presented to a nominee that demonstrates a commitment to, and experience in, any of the following activities:
  • An activity that addresses pollution/waste reduction, recycling, land use, local purchasing, sustainability, resource conservation or 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.

NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Kaitlyn Hanson, GCU Student, Louise Wootton, Ph.D., GCU Chair of Biology and Director of Sustainability, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: Georgian Court University

In 2007, Georgian Court University (GCU) was one of the first higher education institutions in the nation to commit to carbon neutrality. The university, based in Lakewood, has since demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through curriculum, campus activities, facilities management, business practice, and community engagement. GCU built a LEED Gold status wellness center, installed 2,500 solar panels to provide 900 KWH of electricity; added electric carts to the campus vehicle fleet, replaced older and inefficient vehicles, installed 80 low-flow shower heads in residence halls, and installed ceramic window films over 200 large windows in the main building to increase insulation. GCU has been recognized for stewardship achievements due to endeavors listed above as well as:

  • Maintaining the Mercy and Wellness Gardens;
  • Placing 4th among 272 institutions for its 75 percent recycling rate in the 2014 “Recyclemania” contest;
  • Hosting a $250,000 experimental stormwater basin research project in partnership with Rutgers University and the NJDEP; and
  • Hosting seminars and demonstrations for campus and community members on environmental issues that are important to the local area.

This award is presented to a nominee that demonstrates a commitment to, and experience in, any of the following activities:
  • An activity that addresses pollution/waste reduction, recycling, land use, local purchasing, sustainability, resource conservation or 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.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Hugh Welsh. President and General Counsel, DSM North America, Diana Ceaser, Senior Manager, Safety, Health and Environment, DSM North America, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: DSM Nutritional Products, LLC
(1st of 2 Winners - a Tie)

DSM Nutritional Products (DSM) in Belvidere is a vitamin manufacturer under the umbrella of corporate parent company Royal DSM, which encourages sustainable business practices. To reduce air emissions, DSM installed a 10 megawatt natural gas co-generation plant to substantially cut NOx and CO2 emissions, shifted some internal combustion engines that ran on diesel to electric drive, and provided 25 acres for a solar installation. To reduce waste products, DSM has employed the following practices:

  • Recycling industrial materials such as drums, batteries, pallets and all wood;
  • Seeking reuse options for unneeded food grade materials, such as plans to divert 30 tons of sugars and starches annually from landfills to animal feed production;
  • Upgrading laboratory analytical equipment to new technology which uses less solvent thereby eliminating 100 gallons of hazardous waste per year; and
  • Operating their own wastewater treatment plant and using two compost facilities diverting 100 percent of sludge annually from landfills.

NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Kenneth Teich, General Manager, Earth Friendly Products, Nadereh Afsharmanesh, Ph.D., Vice President of Sustainability, Earth Friendly Products, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: Earth Friendly Products – Eastern Division
(2nd of 2 Winners - a Tie)

Earth Friendly Products manufactures some 150 environmentally friendly “green’’ household and commercial cleaning products that are free of caustics, chlorine bleach, phosphates, and other toxins. The company has sought to make its New Jersey operation a model environmental facility. Its products are tracked from raw material to final manufacture using local ingredients. Beginning in 2010, the Parsippany facility enhanced its recycling procedures, including the separation of material and reuse of cafeteria implements, such as cups, plates and utensils. These actions reduced waste by 90 percent, cut the monthly trash pick-up bill from $1,800 to $311, and generated $33,000 in recycling revenues. Earth Friendly Products offsets its energy consumption by making the manufacturing power process 100 percent green. It generates 200,000 kWh/year with in-house solar panels and purchases 1 million kWh/year through Renewable Energy Choice, resulting in a carbon neutral operation since 2013. Also, employees are encouraged to pursue sustainable lifestyles through a $2,000 incentive to purchase eco-friendly cars, $1,000 incentive to relocate within 10 miles of the facility, and $2,000 to install solar panels on their homes. The company also published a book for children titled, Tips for Students of the Earth.

Nominees in these two categories should demonstrate 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 and one will be given to students/youth in grades K-12 (student involvement must be emphasized).
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Ama Koenigshof, Trail Builder and Educator, NY-NJ Trail Conference, Peter Dolan, New Jersey Program Coordinator, NY-NJ Trail Conference, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: New York – New Jersey Trail Conference

The NY-NJ Trail Conference is a nonprofit group with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs, bringing together more than 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people. Since 1920, the Conference has created, protected and promoted a network of 2,000 miles of public trails. It organizes volunteer service projects to keep these trails open, safe and enjoyable. The NY-NJ Trail Conference’s recently established “Trail University” program is designed to improve the quality of public trails by increasing the trail-related knowledge, understanding and skill base of its volunteers, staff and partners. Their workshops are taught by professionals and experienced volunteers, with topics ranging from trail building and maintenance to shelter caretaking and stone splitting. In the past 12 months, 263 Trail University attendees have contributed 1,100 hours of service in New Jersey by participating in on-the-trail courses. Many of New Jersey’s State Parks and Forests rely on the NY-NJ Trail Conference volunteers to keep trails maintained, well-marked and safe for public access, in addition to reducing erosion and protecting sensitive habitats and aquatic areas. In 2013, volunteers donated almost 17,000 hours to help benefit State public lands.

Janet Mead, Science Teacher, Williamstown Middle School, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin, Sandy Keen, Volunteer Advisor and Rutgers Environmental Steward, NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, and several student Environmental Club members.

Winner: Williamstown Middle School Environmental Club, Monroe Township Public Schools, Gloucester County

Middle school science teacher Janet Mead and Sandy Keen, a Rutgers Environmental Steward and Master Gardener, created the “Community of Caring Gardens’’ environmental program at Williamstown Middle School. It was a natural fit for the environmental club at a school located at the headwaters of the Great Egg Harbor River and in a town with 3,000 acres of environmentally protected Pinelands habitat. The environmental club engages 150 students in grades 5-8. These student volunteers lead and accomplish projects, such as creating gardens for native species, growing vegetables for the community, constructing portable habitats, making rain barrels and rain gardens to reduce erosion, building bird houses, improving recycling efforts, and building fish ponds. The projects are funded by donations and promoted to the community via a school website. On a larger scale, Williamstown Middle School also participates in NJDEP’s Project Learning Tree Green Schools Program, is working toward ECO-Schools USA certification through New Jersey Audubon, and is working with the Monroe Township Green Team in Sustainable Jersey’s program for municipalities.

Nominees in this category should demonstrate committed values toward the environment and an appreciation of it and their accomplishments should contribute to the conservation, restoration and protection of New Jersey’s natural resources and environmental quality.
NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano, Caroline Ehrlich, Woodbridge Township Chief of Staff, John McCormac, Mayor, and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Winner: John McCormac, Mayor of Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County

Since becoming mayor in 2006, John McCormac implemented several environmental and sustainable programs to protect and restore the environment, while taking into account Woodbridge’s economic and financial factors. His accomplishments support his belief that “if you go green, you will save green.”

Under Mayor McCormac’s leadership, Woodbridge Township received $2.4 million in rebates from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to install solar panels at six municipal buildings, secured $5 million in open space funds from the county for preservation, and implemented single stream recycling that reduced his town’s land-fill disposal costs by $135,000 while increasing recycling by 44 percent (to 65 percent in 2013, far above any larger town in New Jersey). Other activities promoted by Mayor McCormac include:

  • Working with the school board to conduct energy audits of school buildings that led to building upgrades and energy conservation measures;
  • Supporting the remediation of 29 acres at a former manufacturing site, part of the Keasbey Redevelopment Zone, facilitating a future energy complex as part of the redevelopment of this brownfield site;
  • Restoring through the municipal Redevelopment Agency, more than 100 acres of wetlands along the Raritan River and fostering construction of the future Woodbridge Waterfront Park; and
  • Forging a partnership between the township and CIEL Power to offer a Township-wide Home Energy Assessment program. For a low fee, homeowners can get a home energy assessment and qualify for up to $5,000 in rebates or a $10,000 zero-interest loan to incorporate energy saving improvements.
In addition, Woodbridge Township has been named the Sustainable Jersey champion for four years and has been selected as a pilot community in the national program of STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities), in conjunction with Sustainable Jersey and Rutgers University.

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Click HERE for previous winners!

Note: The preceding project and winner descriptions are based on information provided by the applicants and/or third party nominators.

  

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Last Updated: December 8, 2016