|(#03043) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Jane M. Kenny celebrated Earth Day today by presenting ten awards to New Jerseyans for their outstanding efforts to improve the environment and protect public health. Regional Administrator Kenny presented EPA’s Environmental Quality Awards and a Performance Track Outreach Award at a ceremony held today at EPA’s offices in Manhattan. Maria Falcon, the producer of a popular environmental television program in Puerto Rico, also spoke at today’s event.
“The champions we honor today reflect a growing awareness that we have to do all we can to protect our precious environment,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “We have some mighty challenges ahead of us. It is tremendously gratifying to know that people like our award winners are working so hard to protect the environment and public health.”
EPA presents the Environmental Quality Awards annually to individuals, nonprofit groups, educators, business representatives, government officials and media representatives from New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of the environment in the region. Winners are chosen by a panel of EPA employees who review nominations submitted from inside and outside the Agency.
The Peformance Track program recognizes top environmental performers - companies that voluntarily go beyond compliance with regulatory requirements to attain levels of environmental performance that benefit the environment, people, and communities. The outreach awards recognize members for outstanding public education efforts, encouraging other businesses to join the program.
National Environmental Performance Track Outreach Award
Ideal Jacobs Corporation
Maplewood, New Jersey
Ideal Jacobs, a full-service printing company, has been one of the most proactive supporters of Performance Track. CEO and president Andrew Jacobs has participated in numerous speaking engagements on behalf of Performance Track, has sought out opportunities for EPA to do outreach for the program, and has enthusiastically promoted the program in the small business community and within his industry. Mr. Jacobs has looked "outside the box" in his outreach efforts, communicating through words and actions what Performance Track facilities represent.
The 2003 Environmental Quality Award Winners in New Jersey are:
Leslie M. Ficcaglia
Trustee, Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries, Inc.
Recognized as one of the leading conservationists in New Jersey, Leslie M. Ficcagliad has distinguished herself through more than 30 years of contributions to the protection of natural resources in the Southern New Jersey Delaware Bayshore Region and the Pinelands Preserve. Leslie was a key player on the county task force that succeeded in getting the Maurice River and its tributaries to be the first river in New Jersey to be designated part of the national wild and scenic rivers system. She volunteers her time to foster ecotourism as a means of protecting the region’s resources. She helped this year’s A Birder’s Guide to Cumberland County get published. Leslie has also coordinated the new Cumberland County Raptor and Martin Festivals, which attracted more than 1000 participants in each of the last two years. .
William B. Honachefsky, Sr.
Clinton, New Jersey
William B. Honachefsky, Sr., a 35-year environmental professional, was one of the pioneering scientists who first championed the conclusion that environmental sustainability and local land- use planning were inextricably linked. He has authored three books on environmental protection and land-use planning. He has lectured from Florida to Maine, providing free training and lectures to thousands of local land planners, government officials, and citizens on how they could begin, through the preparation of ecologically based Municipal Master Plans to improve the quality of their environment and the quality of their lives. His latest book, Ecologically Based Municipal Land Use Planning , has been highly praised by the planning profession, and some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges have adopted it as part of their planning curriculum.
Special Efforts for Special Wastes
Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority
For more than 16 years, the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) has been providing safe and convenient outlets for residents and businesses to dispose of and recycle both their hazardous waste and household hazardous waste. This local agency has been able to increase the self-sustainability of special wastes management efforts in the county while expanding the kind of wastes it handles. Under its umbrella , a comprehensive array of special waste streams are captured and managed using progressive techniques. MCMUA initiatives include an e-waste recycling program, a universal waste recycling program, a battery recycling program, a tire collection program, a materials exchange program and a “Catch the Fever” mercury thermometer exchange program. The “user friendly” atmosphere of its operations has led to larger participation by the public and larger quantities of special waste being properly managed in the county.
Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners
The PVSC undertook three programs to help protect and restore the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary. The Commissioners supported more than 250 community shoreline cleanups and does their own riverbank cleanups using 15 full-time staffers and specialized equipment, including a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle. The program has removed 418 tons of floatables and 1,700 tons of shoreline debris. They also began a water quality sampling program in the Passaic and Hackensack rivers and in Newark Bay. In addition, they volunteered to help design and participate in a field survey of volatile organic compounds, which ultimately found that VOCs in the harbor were below the levels of concern.
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY
East Orange, New Jersey
Since the early 1990s, Verizon, one of the world leading providers of communication services, has created and maintained an Employee Commute Options program at 30 work sites throughout New Jersey in collaboration with Meadowlink Commuter Services. The program provides information and services that encourage more than 7,600 Verizon employees to carpool, vanpool or use public transportation. As a result, 6,820 vehicle trips are being eliminated every week, more than 350,000 trips each year, easing traffic congestion and improving air quality. After New Jersey’s Employee Trip Reduction Program mandate was repealed in 1996, Verizon was one of the few corporations in the state that chose to maintain their status as an A-1 corporate citizen and continue employee commutation improvements. Today, their program continues to thrive as employee participation rises.
Eastampton, New Jersey
Responding to a State of New Jersey pilot program to encourage the construction of housing that is both affordable and sustainable, Pennrose designed and built a development that is as friendly to the environment as it is to the pocketbook. Located in Burlington County and opened last September, Eastampton Town Center features energy-saving utilities such as solar water heaters, water-efficient washers, additional shade tree plantings, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The original, car-oriented layout of the development was redesigned to encourage pedestrian traffic. In addition, the positioning of the buildings and the size of windows on individual units were changed to take maximum advantage of the sun. Best of all, Pennrose and its contractors have integrated a great number of these sustainable features into their normal practices.
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENT or COMMUNITY GROUP
Pequannock River Coalition
Newfoundland, New Jersey
The Pequannock River Coalition was formed in 1995 after spikes of high water temperatures from the manipulation of river flows in water supply reservoir releases resulted in major fish kills in the Pequannock River. The grassroots organization has conducted an intensive temperature monitoring program which identified impaired river segments and tributaries and has helped in brokering a minimum flow agreement for reservoir releases in the affected river reach--- the first of its kind in New Jersey. The Coalition’s success led to a contract with another local environmental group to monitor temperatures in an adjoining watershed and they are developing a web-accessible temperature monitoring manual and a seminar to teach other groups about tremperature monitoring and techniques. The Coaltion’s river clean-ups, tours and hikes and publication of the Stream Care Guide has increased public involvement, awareness and support for river preservation.
Camden City Garden Club
Camden, New Jersey
The non-profit Camden City Garden Club gives city residents, young and old, opportunities to learn gardening and discover the natural world. The club’ ;s Grow-Lab teaches elementary school children science and math skills through horticulture in a mini-greenhouse. Its Community Gardening Program serves more than 1,000 people, maintaining community garden sites throughout the city. And through the Camden Children’s Garden the club opened next to the Camden Aquarium in 1999, youngsters can enjoy gardening fun through a host of creative and educational activities.
PRESS AND MEDIA
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Lawrence Hajna has amassed an impressive body of work in environmental reporting. Thorough in his research, Mr. Hajna has covered a wide range of issues including pollution, suburban sprawl, Superfund, environmental justice, wildlife, the fishing industry, weather and agriculture. Noted as one of the state of New Jersey’s foremost sources for news on the environment, he continues to raise awareness and increase understanding of these issues among the newspaper’s readers. His reporting has also led to action by government at the local, state and federal levels.