On Wednesday, December 7th, myself and the three other River-Friendly Program Coordinators (Lauren Theis, Heather Desko, and Sarah Helble) traveled to the NJ State Museum in Trenton for the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award Ceremony. This year, there were over 45 applicants - the most since its inception in 2000 - and our River-Friendly Program made the cut! We were happy to accept an award for the water resources category. There were many impressive groups and initiatives to celebrate this year, including our co-winner of the water resources category, Jersey Water Works. Below is an excerpt from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection press release:
"CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION HONORS WINNERS OF ANNUAL GOVERNOR'S ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS PROGRAM
The Christie Administration today honored a broad selection of environmental groups, scientists, companies, educators and students from across New Jersey for their leadership to protect and improve the environment.
Honorees recognized at the 17th Annual Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton included a Stockton University professor who helped develop what became the first comprehensive forest management plan for the ecologically sensitive Pinelands region; a Jersey City afterschool program that is innovating state-of-the-art solutions to common environmental issues; a Newark business that has taken indoor farming to new heights; and a Central New Jersey organization that helps certify others in sustainable land stewardship practices.
Award winners also included a South Jersey school district whose development of an energy plan is expected to save its taxpayers more than $5 million over 15 years; a collaborative that leverages expertise from multiple sectors to study how to improve wastewater infrastructure statewide; and a pharmaceutical giant that has re-engineered its food waste collection program into a streamlined composting success story.
"This year's winners have demonstrated true leadership in finding ways to enhance New Jersey's environment," Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin said. "Through their collaborations and dedication, these honorees are setting high standards and excellent examples of how everyone in our state can help the environment through partnerships and commitment. As stewards of New Jersey's environment, we salute the outstanding 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. Including today's event, the program has recognized 160 winners since 2000.
The awards program is sponsored by the DEP, 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: www.nj.gov/dep/eeawards/"
River Friendly Programs of the Raritan Basin
The River-Friendly Programs of the Raritan Basin works one-on-one with residents, businesses, schools and golf courses to improve land stewardship practices and complete several challenges in order to be certified River-Friendly. The program, a joint initiative of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Raritan Headwaters Association and New Jersey Water Supply Authority, aims to help program participants be more mindful of their impact on water and land by following four key principles that address water resource challenges in the 1,100-square-mile Raritan Basin across Central New Jersey: reduce pollution, conserve water, restore habitat for wildlife and educate the public about becoming better environmental stewards. To date, the program has worked with hundreds of residents to become River-Friendly, and is currently working with 13 schools, 16 businesses and 7 golf courses to achieve the designation.